Survey of Trust Joiners and Leavers
As it’s important to us to know what our members think, we developed a survey to ask our new members what prompted them to join the Trust. Every member (we have an email address for) is sent a link to a short, on-line survey. We ask them how they joined, where they first heard about the Trust and what was the most important factor in their decision to join.
What our new members tell us…
Since we started the survey, we’ve had 50 responses from 255 new members (20% return rate). Here is a brief summary of what they have told us:
Where did you hear about the Trust? There is no clear winner here with word of mouth amongst friends, family and fellow Trust members working alongside hearing about the Trust at SJP or reading about us online. So as a Trust, we need to keep on improving our communications and get the message of Trust membership, and what it means for ECFC, out there through as many ways as possible.
How did you join the Trust? We asked this question as we wanted to be sure that joining the Trust was accessible to everyone who wanted to join. Signing up online is the most popular method, closely followed by joining up whilst at SJP. Post is popular too. What our new members are telling us is that ensuring there are many ways to join is the right way to go. When spreading the word on the Trust we need to let people know how straightforward it is join us. Since we introduced the Trust Information Stand in Red Square at each home game, we’ve signed dozen of members this way. We’ve also spoken to many fans and Trust members. It is an important part of our engagement with you, our members, so please do visit us next season.
What has been the most important factor in the decision to join the Trust? We offered members several options and asked them to choose just one:
- To feel as if I do “own my football club” – 45%
- Wanting the chance to have priority for tickets – 7.5%
- Wanting to contribute financially to the football club – 37.5%
- Wanting to receive Trust member benefits – 5%
- Wanting a say on important football club matters – 5%
The responses here mirror those from our membership survey in 2012. Although we know member benefits, such as ticket priority and club discounts, are important to members, they do not rank highly for the main reason for joining the Trust. What is clear is that we have to make being in the Trust feel special, make members feel like they can sing “We own our football club” and be transparent on where our member subscriptions go. We work hard to these ends (see the ‘Your Club’ section of our website for more details on how the club works) but we know there is much more to do.
The comments we’ve received so far in response to this question also serve as a poignant reminder of why the Trust is the majority shareholder of ECFC, what the Club means to people and to the community. There were also reminders as to why spreading the word of what we and ECFC are about is so important. A member said:
“The football club has been part of the fabric of Exeter life and supports people both in the community and people that are disadvantaged. I … fully appreciate the work the club does outside of Saturday afternoon match days. e.g., the disability league. I think many more people would be supportive if they knew the true opportunities and benefits enjoyed by many created through Exeter City Football Club. It’s not just Football, its hope, aspirations and brings the community together, I’m just glad to be a small part of it.”
But what about those that leave the Trust? The views of those members who choose to leave the Trust are equally as important to us as those who join. We also developed a ‘leavers’ survey asking what the main contributing factor was in the decision. If a member expressed dissatisfaction with the Trust in anyway, the survey asks them to expand and tell us more.
Unfortunately as many members leave the Trust by simply not renewing and do not often write to us to let us know, we have been unable to send links to this survey to as many people as we would have liked. As a result, we will now be sending out the link to members with their second renewal reminder asking them why they are considering no longer being a member. This can only help us improve our engagement with members and take us further as a Trust.
Of course as Trustees we speak to lots of members and non-members alike through our Fans Forums or at games but we feel it is also important to capture people’s views if they make the decision to the leave the Trust. We will feedback on the results from our Leavers Survey in due course and let you know what we will be doing to address the issues raised.