I hear your hobby goes well beyond a quick glance at the Directory as we travel down the many roads
It really is quite amazing the hobby with the hobby you have had all these years.
I love statistics too - and the many ways in which you can "interpret" them.
If quesions such as in a Membership Survey are asked correctly - any Organization can get an excellent reading for their members past, present and yes even forsee the future.
But as dwightdi points out - the organization has to know what they are doing before any such survey can even come close to validating the questions it is trying to answer.
I belonged to an amatuer sport as their staff member for 15 years - with a Board, Executive regional structure of over 500 with well over 100 Associations and 15,000 members at the time.
It is inevitable that ever organization goes through transitions - and barometer readings need to be checked and double checked. Whether the Organization is young or old by Non-Profit standards.
The first thing our Board did was to ask themselves - if we want to do this right which is the best way to do it? And they hired a professional consulting firm to come in and perform the task.
This meant first defining all the facets of the sport and it's volunteers, staff and members. It was quite clear in order to critique - constrcutively - the organization and it's programs, activities goals and objectives that the same survey could not go out to the same people.
It would be impossible for a Volunteer say at the National level to look at the Organization the same way as a Unit President or a Paid Staff Member or even a first time member compared with a longstanding member. All these demographics were taken into consideration.
(using approximate numbers) Just a small observation of the recent survey - of the 8000+ members of which I assume include the total number of Officers in the organziation - only 1500 retruned the questionnaire. Of the 1500 68% 1020 reported that they were or had been officers of the Organization.
First with this staggering response - I would certainly hope that the tabulators were able to figure out if they were active officers or past officers. Because surely you would not allow such a high percentage critique the very programs they are providing to their membership
Another simple observation was over 50% of the respondents were over the age of 66 - dig a little deaper and 88% are over the age of 51.
Which would probably be correct to say that 95% of those respondents no longer work. So as dwightdi mentioned and Streamer23 - how can this member profile possibly give a barometer reading for the Organization and be the voice of all those new members with children, pets and still both work very much.
And lastely which I had brought up in another thread - there is the matter the second part of the questionnaire that apparently a 42 page comment book was compiled. But to date there has been nothing further mentioned of this.
I sure hope that this survey was the "sampling" survey - to let the organization know that they are in serious trouble - an that it was a starting point - for stage two of the Critique - and that a more thorough and accurate sampling of the membership will take place in the very near future.
Another small obeservation too - that we should not all be too quick to jump on statistic either..
Take a unit that is doing their bit - really well the members are happy and they have a great number of different members all satisfied - and yet their numbers are dropping consitently every year.
Please do not rule out the known and sad fact that membership decrease can be attributed to death. You just have to look at the years where there was a tremendous increase in membership - and then add on the average span of longstanding members - then you can pin point the year or period of years that your membership numbers will drop in large numbers. Especially if the Member recruitment program has not been operating at full speed.
Very similar to sports - the year of and the following year of Olympics, Olympic sports registartions jumps - if the country does really well or the actual provincial/State contingent then the numbers go even higher.
....but then a professional company would be able to let WBCCI know these things and help them steer in the right direction.