Jay Copp 0000-00-00 00:00:00
Survey Shows Former Lions Still Like Us A survey of former Lions shows that three of four had some issue with their club yet 80 percent still described their experiences as Lions as positive and more than half would consider rejoining. The survey of 1,559 former English- speaking Lions in 32 countries including the United States and Canada was part of Project Refresh, a comprehensive global membership study by Lions Clubs International. The survey was done because of membership stagnation: three of five Lions clubs did not grow in 2010-11 and a third had no new members. Fifty-two percent of former Lions surveyed described their overall experience with Lions Clubs as very positive and 28 percent said slightly positive. Eleven percent said it was slightly negative and 9 percent very negative. Why are they no longer Lions? Seventeen percent said there was a lifestyle change such as a job switch and 8 percent said they had no issues with Lions. Forty-seven percent said their leaving was because of both a lifestyle change and issues with their club and 28 percent said they left purely because of issues with Lions. The top five reasons why Lions said they quit were: unproductive meetings, 43 percent; not enough younger members, 42 percent; meetings not enjoyable, 33 percent; “felt like I did not belong,” 33 percent; and “the club felt too political,” 32 percent. The next five reasons: Lions were “too old-fashioned and stodgy,” 30 percent; “like the club but there were personal lifestyle changes,” 30 percent; not enough focus on helping the community, 30 percent; “not the types of services for the community that interested me,” 28 percent; and “not enough opportunities to serve the community,” 25 percent. “There are three main points here,” says Shad Thomas, president of Glass Box Research Company in Chicago, which undertook the survey. “They talk about not enjoying meetings, where a Lion spends a lot of his or her time. There is the club atmosphere. It’s too political, old-fashioned or marred by cliques. And there’s the service aspect: there aren’t enough opportunities to do the service they wanted to do.” The former Lions who quit for lifestyle reasons and those with issues with their club describe their experience in starkly different terms. Ninety percent of those who left for lifestyle reasons said their club provides valuable services that directly help others while just 51 percent of those with issues with Lions said their clubs provide such services. Seventy-four percent of the former Lions who left for lifestyle reasons said their club encouraged members to take a leadership role compared to 40 percent of those with issues with Lions. The numbers are similar for aspects of club culture: 85 percent of former Lions who had lifestyle changes said their club was very welcoming compared to 36 percent of those who had issues with Lions. Opportunities to socialize: 77 percent compared to 34 percent. Welcomes diversity: 78 percent compared to 41 percent. Embraces technology: 53 percent compared to 22 percent. Too many cliques: 12 percent versus 47 percent. “I think the data says clubs really have to look at the quality of their meetings. Do members feel they are productive and worth their time?” says Ken G Kabira, group manager for Membership, Programs and Communications at LCI. “What is the club atmosphere? Is it welcoming? What about the service projects? Are they what the members feel strongly about?” Clubs need to think about membership in new terms, says Kabira. “We clearly have an opportunity to improve retention, but retention is an outcome. We should focus on what clubs do. Think of it in terms of member engagement or club experience. What needs to be done so that members are engaged and satisfied?” Don’t put the cart before the horse, he advises. “Focus on the club experience such as meetings, atmosphere, and service projects–not the numbers. If we focus on member satisfaction, then they will stay and your retention figures will improve,” he says. President Madden has encouraged Lions to do four “pit stops” this year to assess their club and set goals. That’s a valuable way for clubs to improve the club experience and fuel membership growth. Clubs can also visit the LCI website to for advice on using membership tools such as “How Are Your Ratings,” a member satisfaction survey tool, and the Community Needs Assessment, both which are downloadable from LCI’s website. Clubs can also take advantage of webinars and online training tools that LCI makes available to develop action plans to improve members’ experience. The good news is that the survey showed former Lions are receptive to rejoining. Thirty-two percent said they were slightly likely to join and 20 percent said very likely. Clubs are encouraged to invite former members to rejoin. “Reach out to them. Ask them what their grievances were. Personalize it by having a friend contact them,” says Kabira. Project Refresh also included a survey of non-Lions (October LION). Survey results pertaining to reasons why Lions are satisfied or dissatisfied will be detailed in an upcoming issue of the LION.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
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