What did we learn from the 2015 census?
On the 6th June your club should have received an email asking you to complete the 2016 RYA Affiliated Club Membership Census.
The survey is conducted every year to give us the insight we need to increase our understanding of the current capacity and health of the nation's sailing club network and to inform us what you require from us to grow.
For those of you new to club committees, or for whom the census is new, or anyone who may have missed this when it was first published, it is also worth revisiting the results of the 2015 survey.
Overall the picture was positive with a response rate in England of 85% of affiliated clubs, which means the Insights we draw from the data is considered robust and credible.
The 2015 census showed there had been an increase of 1,172 club members across the England since 2014 with a slight increase in the number of members per club.
It also told us that clubs had filled around 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 about 50% of clubs couldn't provide an accurate figure for how many people had joined and left the club in a given year, and so provided estimated figures. 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, how long they had been a member and how they engaged with the club. Look for patterns in the type of members you are losing to try to better identify 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)