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THA Membership Survey

During 2013, the College and the Association conducted a survey of the alumni in order to gain important feedback.  The Association will be producing a fuller report about what we have learnt and what we intend to do about it but we summarise the main messages here drawing, primarily, on the results of the online survey.


  1. We need to communicate somewhat better – too many members are not sufficiently aware of what the THA is, who the committee are, what the distinction is between College and THA events, etc.  There is also insufficient awareness of THA events and activities (although 70% appeared to know about the Cambridge Dinner).
  2. Only one person had any real concern about the way that the THA is run.
  3. Approximately 20% of those who responded had attended one or more THA events in the last five years, generally older members are more likely to have attended events.
  4. Amongst those who had attended events there was a reasonably good level of satisfaction with THA events, greater in the case of those who had attended more than one event.  There appeared to be a significant level of disinterest in those who had not been to an event in the last five years.
  5. The most common reason for not attending an event was ‘too far to travel, (38%), followed by ‘not sure if anyone I knew would be there’ (33%),  ‘I did not know about them’ was cited by 14% of people and ‘price’ by 11%.

Summary of Responses

Emails were sent to 6,214 alumni, 2,524 of them were opened and 617 completed the survey – representing 10% of the alumni contacted and 24% of those who opened the email.

70% of those who responded were UK-based and 29% based outside the UK.

Of those who responded 415 (67%) had been undergraduate students, 120 (19%) graduate students and 80 (13%) both undergraduate and graduate students.

Geographical split

The responses were split across 48 countries: 433 from the UK, 46 from the USA, with between 10 and 20 from each of Germany, Australia, Canada, France and Switzerland.

Awareness of the THA

Of those who responded 500 (81%) said that they were aware of the THA, 108 (18%) were unaware of it and 9 (1%) had heard of it but were not sure what it does.  These percentages applied equally to UK-based alumni and those living outside the UK.

Awareness was highest (at about 90%) for those who matriculated before 1970, in the mid-range (at about 80%) for those who matriculated between 1970 and 1989 and dropped to closer to 70% for those who matriculated after 1990.

Of those who responded 449 (73%) knew that they were members of the THA, 66 (11%) did not know that they were members and 102 (17%) were not sure.

There was again somewhat of a split on matriculation year with alumni prior to 1980 being significantly more aware of their member status – only 60-66% of members matriculating 1980 onwards were aware of being members and about 25% were not sure (compared to 87% and 7% for those matriculating in the 1960s).

There was very little awareness of who was on the committee (78% did not know who was on the committee and 11% were not sure).

We asked people which of the following activities of the THA they were aware of:

THA awards315%
Cambridge Dinner43270%
London event24640%
Regional events16427%

The awareness was relatively skewed by age:

THA awards5%4%
Cambridge Dinner90%51%
London event61%19%
Regional events41%14%

[Note: people were generally more aware of College events (which probably largely equates to reunions) than THA events, but this can probably be largely put down to the fact that they will normally have had personal invitations to attend the College events and are more likely to register them.]

Attendance at Events

We asked people if they had attended an event organised by the THA in the last five years:  87 (14%) had attended one event, 37 (6%) had attended multiple events.

43% of those who said that they had attended just one event had brought a guest.  59% of those who had attended more than one event had brought a guest to at least one of those events.

Attendance rates generally increase with age with a noticeable split between those who matriculated before 1970 and those who matriculated after.

Attendance levels are obviously dependent upon where people live, however it is interesting to note that the proportion of people from outside the UK (11%) who have attended an event is not as low compared to those from the UK (15%) as might be expected.

Satisfaction with Events

We asked people about the degree of satisfaction of the events under a number of headings and asked them to rank them from very dissatisfied, through fairly dissatisfied, neither satisfied not dissatisfied, fairly satisfied to very satisfied.  The ratings were analysed dependent upon whether or not the member had attended events.  In the case of members who had attended multiple events the only responses that were negative came under the heading ‘chance to meet contemporaries’ where 3% of people were ‘fairly dissatisfied’.

Suggestions for Improving Events

We had a number of responses to our question about possible improvements to events, 6 of the responses were about the distinction between College and THA events. 

A number made comments about ‘including spouses’, and other suggestions include name tags, advance attendance lists, the need to hold regional events, etc – reinforcing the message about communication since those are already the norm.

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