Post-survey report (long read ahead!)
Thanks to board member and activity director Aaron Zorndorf for setting up our second member survey. As last year’s survey was the first in many years (or ever?), we wanted to do a second one to see if our response and actions on the 2023 survey had paid off.
The feedback we received is great, and serves us as our compass in navigating how we plan events and handle our operations in 2024. Out of 780 emails sent out, we got 69 responses. This means only 9% answered the survey this year, and we need to keep that in mind when analyzing the data. The demographic charts and other statistics may be skewed, but the real treasure is in the comment fields. This is where we get new ideas and inspiration, where we find items we may need to act upon, and the guidelines for our work in the coming year.
Below you will find the results from the survey, as well as our action points for each section. We are not including the hundreds of individual comments we received, but will address the trends that have emerged from them.
One thing we have to point out, in response to one comment: The YSC is not about a certain ethnicity. If you are bothered with the fact that members or their guests may be of non-Scandinavian heritage, you are in the wrong club. Read our bylaws, and read our code of conduct.
Let’s start with the demographics. Just like last year, predominantly male long-timers over 40 years of age.
General satisfaction with the club: 67% of respondents rated overall satisfaction 8/10 or greater
77% of respondents rated BOD performance 8/10 or greater
83% of respondents rated communication means 8/10 or greater. This is a major improvement from last year, which saw 59%.
Conclusions on first part:
We were happy to see that most members like us and appreciate the club and the work the board puts in. Many people feel that communication has improved, but there were also many useful suggestions on how we can kick it up a notch.
We want to clarify that the website is always the #1 go-to to find out about events and news. We post all events to our social media channels as well, but the website is the main information source for our members, and this is also where you purchase tickets and sign up for events.
Some people complained about not getting our emailed newsletters. There is not much we can do from our end (although the webtech team IS looking into this), but want to encourage everyone to take a thorough look at their spam filters, as the YSC emails may get stuck there.
The most negative comments were about our website. This is still a work in progress, and got side-tracked last year when we had an attack on our payment system and had to go back to the drawing board and eventually get a new provider for that functionality.
We have implemented a “subscribe to newsletter” option. This is primarily for spouses who are on a family membership but don’t get the newsletters. Or just anyone who is interested in the club!
Finally, some people complained that the booking system for Tahoe is tricky. Some feel that it is difficult to get the dates you want, and we want to again clarify that the same booking rules apply to all members. Reservations open up 45 days ahead of time, but weekends do book out quickly. Sometimes you have to stay on top of it, and make your reservation as soon as that day opens up, even if it means getting on the website at midnight.
This brings us to our cabins…
The Tahoe cabin
In general, people are very happy with our Tahoe cabin and how it’s being managed.
Some of the feedback we received in the comments we have already touched on in this report, that people feel it’s difficult to book the dates they want. During winter, the cabin is extremely popular for weekend reservations. Anyone who wants a room for a weekend needs to be ready to make their booking as soon as the 45-day reservation window opens up.
There were again some complaints about the heating system, but that is being worked on now.
The parking is always an issue, but there is not much we can do about it, unfortunately. Building out a larger parking deck would be very expensive.
There were some requests for organized weekends at the cabin (hiking, biking, etc). This is something we would need to look at, since we only have 7 rooms, and it depends on the number of people in each room.
The Clear Lake cabin
This one had really improved since last year. We believe it’s a combination of better water quality/lake levels, and a higher number of events offered in 2023.
People really want to continue the dock repair project
Complaints about interior of cabin – which will this spring see a new floor installed!
Someone mentioned “a la carte” weekends. These are the weekends in between the big themed event weekends. You pay the lower, non-event booking fee, fix your own food, and just hang out.
Maybe fix up the porch area?
Requests for more family event weekends
Cultural weekends, perhaps a Nordic cook-off?
Events, and general comments
We received many suggestions for additional events. These are the ones that very clearly trended, and we are actively working to implement as many of these as possible:
- More family events
- More camping/outdoorsy activities
- More joint events with other Nordic organizations
- More hikes
- More events outside of SF
- More cultural events (movie nights, fika, potluck, etc)
- Bring back the Yosemite weekends
Longer notice for overnight events, such as camping
Several comments to make events less focused on alcohol, and hints that there is too much drinking going on. We will absolutely do our best to change this. The days of the drinking culture seem to be winding down in many other places too. Also, we want our events to be fun and safe for everyone who join.
We get several requests to bring back the Yosemite weekends. This is unfortunately near-impossible, due to the major changes in the reservation system for the park. That, in combination with the much higher fees, would make it a huge challenge to book. If someone volunteers to give it a try, let us know!
Another BIG item for us to look into is how to attract/retain younger members. There has been a shift in the demographic, and we need to find ways to adapt to that, and recruit new members to join. This is another area where we would love to find volunteers to help out. Considering the age of some of us on the board, we’re not really the people to go out and talk about the club with 20-somethings. 🙂
A big challenge in 2023 was to get people to actually commit and sign up for events. We noticed a clear trend of people waiting longer to sign up and buy tickets for our events. This is troublesome, but again not isolated to just our club. It’s a general trend, which seems to have ballooned after the pandemic. The board is looking at implementing early bird pricing and clear cut-off dates, and incentivize early commitment.
Comments about the website. This is still high on the priority list for 2024, and the webtech team are working on it.