2010 USOF Membership Survey Report

A few months ago, USOF engaged in a survey to take the pulse of its members. To gauge what you think. To find out what you are interested in. To find out what your "hot-buttons" are. The purpose of this survey was to not only provide input into the development of the new strategic plan, but also to create the base for future programming, media vehicles, and sponsorship opportunities.

About the Process

The survey was created by a small group of USOF volunteers, each with experience in their area of specialization. Some had marketing experience, some with our website, and some with the magazine Orienteering North America. Each of the people involved in developing the survey had a vested interest in making the product or service better.

The survey was fielded two ways. First, USOF contracted with Survey Monkey to provide an on-line vehicle and real time results. The on-line survey was promoted via conventional orienteering on-line gathering places: Boardnet, Clubnet, and Attackpoint. Second, for our members who do not have a computer, or choose not to fill out on-line files, we provided a copy of the survey in Orienteering North America magazine. As a result, approximately 250 USOF members, plus a few others in the orienteering community, responded to the survey. Based on the length of the survey, this was seen as a good response rate.

Membership Profile

  • Of those who responded, 26% identified themselves as members of USOF for over 20 years, a very large percentage. Interestingly, the next highest group was a tie between those who have been a member for less than five years and those who have been a member for six to ten years at 18% apiece.
  • The majority of those respondents were either Family (43%) or Individual (39%) members.

The Value of Membership

  • Of those who responded, 41% percent said that their USOF membership was a "good" value for their money.  Another 27% said that it was a "great value."  Combined, two-thirds of USOF members felt positively about the value of their membership.  Another 25% felt that it was average. Moving forward, our goal will be to shift the "good value" to "great value" and the "average value" to "good value."
  • 83% of our members are aware that their membership comes with benefits.
  • Our members were asked what benefits were most meaningful to them. Presented with a list of 13 benefits, five were selected by more than 50% of members. A complementary subscription to Orienteering North America was the top vote getter (88%) followed closely by A-meet discounts (85%) and then high quality competition opportunities (A-meets/club teams/national championships/national rankings) at 77%. Rounding out the top five were access to the USOF website (66%) and promotion of local clubs to boost membership (51%). Of all of the potential benefits, none received less than a 21% positive response rate which shows the options given are consistent with members' wishes.

Feedback on  the US Orienteering Federation website:

In this age of high speed communication, an effective website is a critical step as we move forward. It is our welcome mat to the world.

  • Of those who responded, only 3% use our website daily, 21% weekly, 32% monthly, and 35% use it a couple of times a year.
  • Overall, respondents are not satisfied with the current site, use it infrequently and only for very specific tasks.
  • The sections that people visit most often: event calendar and schedule, club information, results, virtual binder, rankings, rules, course-design standards, vendor information, US Team information, and contact information.
  • The top content members would like to see added or changed include: searchable calendar of events and club information, updated and modernized design, online features (such as membership payment, A-meet registration, donations, and a USOF store), club related content, a media center, a map archive, an Orienteering North America archive, training information, a meet director tool kit, and a discussion board.
  • As a way to raise funds for USOF, 70% would welcome advertising on our website or accept it "as a necessary evil." Only 10% would be opposed to advertising on our site.

Feedback on Orienteering North America

Members have been, and continue to be, engaged in Orienteering North America magazine. For many it is one of their main connections to the sport.

  • 52% of members read most of the magazine within two weeks of receiving it, while 22% can't wait to read it cover to cover once it arrives in their home. An additional 23% of those who responded may read an article or two until the next issue arrives.
  • The sections that people visit most often (those receiving over 50%): A-meets and big races, "Look for your choices, pick the best one, then go with it," Athlete Profile, Coaches Corner, USOF News, Health Issues, and Nutrition.
  • Multiple suggestions were made to improve Orienteering North America from resurrecting old features to focusing on juniors to redesigning the magazine. The common thread that ran through the comments is to continue to focus on news and information that orienteers can use.
  • Most respondents (57%) thought it was not a good change to publish Orienteering North America electronically instead of in print. About one quarter (26%) thought it would be a good change to make, while 17% were indifferent.
  • In addition, if Orienteering North America became an all digital publication, most respondents would remain USOF members but the majority (53%) would read it less often, while 36% would read it the same. Only 11% would read it more often.
  • If Orienteering North America magazine were a separate publication where orienteers bought it separately from their USOF membership, 43% would pay $10 a year or less for eight issues, 35% would pay $10 to $15, 13% would pay $15 to $20 and the rest (9%) would pay more than $20 a year.

Additional Membership Feedback

Members were then given the chance to provide additional feedback and suggestions. Again, responses varied, but focused on enhancing the quality of competitions as well as promoting the sport throughout the country.

Moving Forward

     As noted at the beginning of this article, USOF has begun a series of steps to take your suggestions and develop the appropriate projects and actions. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Development of the new strategic plan, utilizing this survey as one of the key sources for information.
  • Creation of a new USOF website, incorporating many of the new features (some over time) that are suggested here.
  • Development of the next generation of Orienteering North America magazine. Working in partnership with publisher Donna Fluegel, to look at all aspects of the magazine from design to content to format. This survey tells us that Orienteering North America is an important part of the benefits package, and we must continue to develop it to meet the expectations of our members while keeping costs in line.
  • Development of a new promotional strategy to make orienteering appeal to current orienteers, potential orienteers, and sponsors. It is through tools like this and the constant dialogue that orienteering will continue to grow.

Glen Schorr
USOF Executive Director

17 May 2010