Understanding ONZ’s Membership
By Christo Peters - Sun 29 Aug 2021 10:01pm
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Nearly two years ago Orienteering New Zealand provided a national membership database for all clubs.  This new system replaced the historical method of reporting membership figures – the excel spreadsheet. 

Through this process we have been able to better understand our membership demographics.  This information provides valuable insights about our club membership.  Despite most questions being optional, the response rate was still at least seven times higher than ONZ annual surveys . Over the next few editions we will briefly look at some of these statistics and what they say about our sport. 

Below in Part One we look at our member’s preferred disciplines v. events being offered. We also look at the length of time our members have been involved in orienteering.

Orienteering discipline interest v. events offered

64.9% of members identified Foot O as something they were interested in while 82.5% of events offered by clubs were Foot O. In contrast, 46.2% of members were interested in Rogaine despite only 14.2% of club events offered being Rogaine. Despite the obvious gap between membership interest and events being offered, trends over the last three years show a 5.5% reduction in Foot O events and a 6.4% increase in Rogaine events. This indicates that club offerings are moving in the same direction as membership interest. The large gap between membership interest and club events for Mountain Bike Orienteering (MTBO) indicates an area of potential growth.

Notes: (i) Data is across all NZ clubs. (ii) 63.9% of members completed this question.

Length of involvement in orienteering

62.6% of members have been involved in our sport for less than 5 years. Like nearly all other sports, orienteering experiences a huge drop-off in membership post-secondary school with approximately 90% junior members leaving. This loss of junior members is something that sport in New Zealand has tried to address unsuccessfully. Put simply, in trying to retain athletes post-secondary school means competing with societal factors largely beyond the realm of sport. Once juniors are removed from the equation, approximately one in five seniors leave clubs each year, something relatively common across NZ’s sporting landscape. Overall club membership growth over the last five years of increased by 14.8% indicating that club recruitment is working very well to not only replace departing members, but also to recruit new members to a degree that our sport continues to grow over more than a decade.

Notes: (i) Membership statistics are taken from current and past membership data. (ii) 71.7% of members completed this question

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