Sub-menu Navigation

How can the Satisfaction Survey help your club?

If you haven’t already, there’s still time to sign up for this year’s RYA Club Members Satisfaction Survey.

We caught up with a few of the clubs that participated in the survey launched last year, to find out what they thought of the process, and more importantly, have the results been useful?

So why take part in this survey?

It’s no secret that satisfaction plays an important role within all membership organisations, it is the leading indicator to identify why members are unhappy, and to measure loyalty. But how do you find out what really matters to your club members?

Gathering input from members in an honest and representative manner can be challenging. Feedback can often mirror the feelings of those shouting the loudest rather than the majority of your members. Many clubs will have tried to implement their own surveys, with varying levels of success – it’s a challenging process! So why take part in this survey?

Robbie Wilderspin from the Royal Air Force Yacht Club (RAFYC) explains: “The decision to take part was easy to make, based on having tried to devise a survey ourselves in the past and understanding how hard that can be, as well as a desire to give a voice to a wider section of our membership.”

Like many, for Highcliffe Sailing Club (HSC), the motivation for taking part was a decline in club membership. Stephen Waite, Treasurer at HSC commented: “We have had a difficult couple of years, with a decline in membership and some gaps in what we are offering to members.

“While we have a Q&A session after our AGM, this covers a limited number of members and is an extremely public forum. The Satisfaction Survey offered us a chance to approach current and past members, to get their views on the way the club is run and whether it meets their needs with anonymity.”

Were there any challenges?

It goes without saying that to gain accurate and reliable results, representative of the entire club membership, as many members need to complete the survey as possible. Clubs that have benefitted the most from their results worked hard to encourage members to have their say.

Stephen (HSC) said: “In many cases we only had one email address for each family, so we had to get addresses for each adult member. A lot of effort was put into encouraging members to complete their questionnaire and this paid off.”

This feedback was mirrored by many clubs with Robbie (RAFYC) adding: “One key learning point is that I’m not convinced the club has a complete list of all our members email addresses! This is something we have started to address.”

With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force last year, this is also something clubs must now consider when conducting their own data collection. Robbie (RAFYC) continued: “The most time consuming part of the process was writing the privacy policy for GDPR, which we were doing anyway. However, the provision of the appropriate clause from the RYA made GDPR compliance easy.”

And what about the results?

Each participating club was given a scoresheet detailing the factors their members thought were the most important, as well as how satisfied members were with these factors at their club. By identifying gaps between importance and satisfaction, clubs can see what they are doing well and where they need to improve.

Nigel Austin, Commodore at Cransley Sailing Club (CSC) said: “The results have been very useful and have allowed us to identify areas where improvement can be made. We had already pre-empted some of the results and as expected, the biggest request was for personal storage areas. We were thrilled to get one of the highest results in our region, does this make us the friendliest club around? We certainly like to think so!”

As Nigel mentions, some of the feedback could be pre-empted, particularly concerning equipment-based factors like changing facilities and access to parking and storage.

Similar results were flagged at HSC with Stephen commenting: “It was no great surprise that car parking was the biggest dissatisfaction due to expensive council parking charges. Changing facilities and in particular the ladies changing room improvements are already planned.”

These issues can be expensive to rectify and more interestingly can sometimes act as satisfaction maintainers rather than enhancers. Soft skills, like a welcoming, inclusive and approachable club environment can often be of more importance than any changes to infrastructure.

Stephen (HSC) continued: “The softer needs of our members require more thought, this is something that is being addressed and we are now focussing on promoting a more welcoming club environment.”

All clubs are being supported by their RYA Regional Development Officer (RDO) to understand the results and implement relevant changes.

The RAFYC are already seeing the value, with Robbie commenting: “The report has been useful as a guide to areas of concern, and our RDO’s help in understanding the feedback has also been valuable. When paired with the detailed comments from our members we have been able to start to understand that our ‘soft skills’ are where we need to focus.”

A bright future

For the majority of clubs, participation in the survey has been a positive first step towards the future. With Stephen (HSC) concluding: “The survey results came at an opportune time to help reflect on the future of the club. There is renewed optimism here in what is a competitive environment for all clubs.”

Find out more about the findings of the 2018 Club Members Satisfaction Survey, and make sure to register your interest by visiting –


Find books for your course at the RYA Shop

eBooks in the cloud
Our handy guide shows the books & DVDs that go with your course!
Please select...