Iron Trust membership survey 2013

The aim of the 2013 member survey was to gain feedback on the Iron Trust’s first year of operations and, more importantly,  give an indication of what members expect from the organisation in the future.

The questions were determined by a sub-committee of the Trust’s board and sent to members on Sunday June 9. A total of 58 responses (more than a fifth of overall membership) were received by the June 19 deadline. This page lists te responses and what conclusions the Trust’s board believe can be drawn from the response.

questionone

Q1: Do you feel valued as a supporter of Scunthorpe United
Answer: Yes 26 (44.8%) No 32 (55.2%)
Conclusion: It is a concern that more than half of respondents said they did not feel valued by the football club.

questiontwo

Q2: We have passed 250 paid members, built a £2,000 shareholding, established regular contact with SUFC management / board of directors, put on a fund-raising event with Alex Calvo-Garcia, put member questions to the SUFC board, jointly released information on SUFC’s budget, signed up several former players as honorary members and agreed with SUFC to create an archive through the “Iron Museum” project. Do you consider this a success for our first year?
Answer: Yes 52 (89.5%) No 6 (10.5%)
Conclusion: Almost 90 per cent of respondents were happy with the Trust’s progress after the first season.

Q3: What should the Trust’s current focus be? (1 being top focus, 2 second and 3 third)*
Answer: Raise  money for shares: 1: 13; 2: 19; 3:23
Work towards seat on board: 1:17; 2:20; 3: 19
Improve fan engagement/experience: 1:27; 2:15; 3:13
Conclusion: There is support for all three areas, but an indication that working to improve the experience of supporters and engagement with the club is considered a priority (42 out of 58 responses put that as first or second focus).

Q4: Where should the Trust spend our money?*
Answer: Shares: 1: 25; 2:10; 3:2; 4:9
Community projects: 1:5; 2: 13; 3:24; 4:9
Club projects: 1:18; 2:25; 3:9; 4:9
Kit sponsorship: 1:0; 2:5; 3:14; 4:32
Conculsion: There is a clear indication that purchasing shares in Scunthorpe United Football Club should be the main expenditure of the Trust. The answers also indicate a willingness to spend some Trust funds on projects with the club, and quite categorically shows kit sponsorship is not considered a good use of resources.

Q5: Please tick all the below you believe the Trust should be doing to raise funds
Answer: Evenings with former players: 44
Merchandise: 42
Raffles: 32
Lottery: 28
Band/race nights: 36
Prediction competition: 25
Conclusion: There is interest in all possible revenue generators, but a clear indication the Trust should continue to focus on evenings with former players (such as the Alex Calvo-Garcia) and merchandise (Such as beanie hats). An online store is close to launch, while the Trust has been raising money through the sale of Iron-related artwork created by member William Wharton.

Q6: Do you have any ideas or skills that could help the Trust with fundraising or further development?
Answer: Two responses were received, one describing “archival and historical” projects as a “good way to draw fans into Trust’s work” and the second was an offer of assistance to build/maintain social media and html newsletters to members.
Conclusion: It is pleasing to see positive feedback on the Trust’s planned “Iron Museum” project, which is being developed in partnership with Scunthorpe United Football Club and Study United with advice from North Lincolnshire Museum.

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Q7: Members for 2013/14 will receive a pinbadge, which would you prefer?
Answer 1: 13, 2: 20, 3: 8, 4: 16
Conclusion:The second design will be used.

Q8: Some fans have decided against joining the Trust. We are keen to see if we can do anything to change their minds, have you been given any reasons for them not joining the Trust?
Answers:

  • They have unrealistic expectations of possible achievements and timescale to complete them.
  • SUFC must try and win the hearts and minds of the local community. Care more about the fans.
  • Biggest problem is expectation of Trust’s role & perception of it being in club’s pocket. Trust’s actions in making a difference for fans can eventually change this perception. This is a long-term project.
  • More emphasis could be put on attracting exiled supporters. I am often told: “Yeah, but I’m not a local so what’s the point?”.
  • Fans saying ‘I’m going to join the Trust’ but not actually doing it. Make it as easy as possible to register.
  • Not aware of this issue – it could be that some people prefer to be negative about the work / impact of the Trust rather than supporting the organisation. p Clash of interest with established supporters groups.
  • Apathy and scepticism p Perception of not doing anything p No, but some of the older fans cannot see the advantage
  • No, lots of apathy I am afraid, just hope united can have a decent season 13/14 fans always seem more positive when the team are doing well and I think this would also help the trust attract more membership
  • I have been told people are unhappy that the Trust is wasting money on a museum when it’s STATED aim was to have shares. It certainly LOOKS that way…..
  • Scepticism about whether board membership is achievable or seen as desirable by existing board members p No, but they are yet to feel the benefit of the Trust’s work or see in any format p Reasons given are that the Trust is either ineffective or in the club’s pocket.
  • I think there is a general apathy that nothing will change, Trust or no Trust. Historically trusts seem to have most influence when club is in dire straits and I don’t think enough supporters see rather value.
  • Nothing to attract young people, bit of an old mans club? p Apathy and generally can’t be bothered are the usual reasons given.
  • Nothing seems to be happening, Trust not very pro-active.
  • Lots have said “what do I get out of it”.
  • Waste of time, club not in trouble.
  • Being tight mainly.
  • None at all as a distant supporter I believe that the trust has SUFC fans at its heart.
  • People say they do not believe it will make a difference and will not stay the course. Need more proof that it is being taken serious by the club, also non members do not know who the people are that on the Iron Trust board.

Conclusion: In order to make it as easy as possible to join, the Trust will seek to make the options to sign-up, already wider than any existing supporter group, clearer to all. There is also a knowledge gap, with some supporters apparently describing the Trust as “ineffective” or “not doing anything” – in part this can be explained by the lack of public progress on Trust policy of “fan engagement” (though it should be noted the club has received a lot of praise for its social media work) and the Iron Museum project (the Trust has been advised not to ask for any donations etc. until the project is more advanced). The Trust needs more evidence of its positive working relationship with the club – while also attempting to show it is not “in the club’s pocket”. It should be noted that no money has been spent on the Iron Museum project, although the response to question four suggests there is a willingness from members for Trust finances to be spent on projects in partnership with the club.

Q9: Do you have any further comments on the Trust not covered by these questions?

  • Congratulations should go to those who are giving time, energy and effort into the organisation.
  • It is good to see the Trust being proactive and trying to open up communication. It has been a closedshop too often.
  • Keep up the good work p Keep up the good work. I now live in Aldershot and they have set up a similar scheme and have many more members. You have my full support.
  • Trust has 800 followers on Twitter, but only 250 members. Needs a push next year to get those interested in joining up. Visible presence in town itself would help.
  • Perhaps more emphasis on getting other supporters groups on board.
  • It would be helpful to know exactly how individuals can help the Trust – be part of the board etc.
  • Renewals, not given any emails stating that the Iron Trust would like to have me back as a member. The advertising is non existent.
  • Thank you to the Trust board for taking the time and effort to advance the club p Not sure what the benefit is of creating an Iron Museum in these formative years.
  • Too much work for little visible reward. Need to focus on core aim of Trust, to become a credible voice of the fans. The most visible way of achieving this is to continue buying shares in an attempt to get a seat on the board. Need to identify something to offer to encourage the doubters to rejoin to maintain momentum of the first year.
  • Q3 Answer: All are of equal importance. Q4 Answer: Improved Advertisement of the Trust/its work/benefits of membership should have been listed.
  • Turn out to Trust events I’ve been to has been poor, little interest shown in the auctions etc. Hopefully in time things will improve but it feels like only a very small minority of Trust members actually take part in events.
  • The Trust can and will support more supporter involvement That is vital to increase revenue and drive the club forward.
  • Quite a few mentions of Trust Board get togethers, not always information being fed back on the reason for these meetings and if anything worth while comes from them.
  • I think you may have to persuade some existing members to renew, some joined to give it a try and may be not convinced by what they have seen so far.
  • A great deal of work seems to have been put in by the founders of the Trust in the first 12 months of it’s existence. I think they can be justly proud of what they have achieved so far.

Conclusion: It is pleasing to see positive feedback, but responses also make clear there are plenty of ways to increase awareness and participation.

Question 10 asked respondents to confirm their name so we could check all responses were from members. This information will remain confidential, but we can confirm every response was from a full member. Our thanks to every member who took the time to fill in the survey.

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