What did we learn from 2015 census in the Midlands?
This week all RYA affiliated clubs will be getting an email asking you to complete the 2016 RYA Affiliated Club Membership Census.
The survey is conducted every year to give us with the insight we need to increase our understanding of the current capacity and health of the nation's sailing club network and inform us what you require from us to grow.
For those of you possibly new to club committees this term, and to whom the census is new, or anyone who may have missed this when it was first published, it is worth revisiting the results of the 2015 survey, specifically in the context of the Midlands.
Overall the picture was positive. Only two clubs in the region didn't submit survey data, and with a response rate of 97%, the Midlands' return was significantly higher than any other region and well above the 85% national response rate.
The 2015 census showed there had been continued slow and steady increase in overall club membership in the region since 2013, and arguably most significantly, a big decrease in the percentage 'churn', or the number of people that left in the past year.
The 2014 churn rate was abnormally high and it will be interesting to see this year's figures to draw firmer conclusions. But we should still be encouraged by last year's results, which suggest that the projects you ran, like Go Sailing and Start Racing, to keep people active within your clubs, were working.
The census told us that clubs in the region had filled 70% of their membership capacity, so there was plenty of scope to introduce new people to the sport while maintaining our focus on those successful projects that are keeping people sailing.
Activities our clubs believed were likely to produce membership growth included promotion, marketing, open days/tasters and less formal ‘offers’ as well as facility investment.
One of the most puzzling insights was that more than 50% of clubs couldn't provide an accurate figure for how many people had joined and left the club in a given year. Information on why people left was also disjointed.
If we are to better prevent people from leaving clubs we need to understand the factors that contribute to them not renewing club membership.
If you can't get answers from the individuals themselves, look at what sort of member they were and how they engaged with the club to see if there is any pattern in the type of members you are losing to try to better understand what projects you might need to introduce to retain these types of members in the future.
Your club contact will recently have received an email from Clubdev@rya.org.uk with information about the census and a link for you to submit your membership information.
By completing the census before 1200 on 15th August 2016 your club will automatically be entered into a prize draw. One club will be selected at random to receive a £500 prize of their choice and two additional clubs will each receive a £250 prize.
You can also check out the full 2015 Census Insights report here - RYA Affiliated Club Membership Census 2015 Insights (England)
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