The Capital Improvement Program Opinion Survey
You’ve involved the membership in the facility planning process through focus groups and possibly a comprehensive membership survey. Your Long-Range Planning Committee has worked hard for months, with the assistance of a club planning consultant, assessing member priorities and using the results of the member research to develop an improvement program that will meet with the approval from your membership. You have informed the membership of the proposed improvements through town hall meetings and a professionally developed improvement program brochure and communications package.
Not so fast. There is one more step in the planning process that can be crucial to the success of your program – the Improvement Program Opinion Survey. This short survey – normally 3 to 4 pages – is sent to members after they have seen the presentation and received the program brochure, but before they are asked to vote. The purpose of the Opinion Survey is to test member satisfaction with the proposal as a whole, with its individual components and with the proposed funding program. Many times, the results of the survey confirm that the club’s leadership has “hit the mark” with the proposed improvements, and they know they can proceed to the vote with confidence. However, despite the committee’s best efforts, certain aspects of the proposed program or the funding plan may not meet with the approval of the majority of the membership. If there are weaknesses in the plan, the Opinion Survey will identify those weaknesses. The committee can then modify or tweak the plan accordingly before the final vote.
For example, one component of a proposal might include replacing the old metal lockers in the men’s locker room with new, wood lockers. The opinion survey reveals that men are attached to their big, old metal lockers, and feel that replacing them with wood lockers would be an unnecessary expense. The majority of members support all other components of the plan as well as the funding program. The program can then be modified to save the old metal lockers, possibly dressed up with wood end caps, which will eliminate the one weakness of the proposed plan.
By taking the final step of the Opinion Survey prior to the vote, clubs can often change certain defeat into success by listening to the members and modifying the improvement program accordingly. Remember – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
About Tom Strutz
Hailing from the Los Angeles area, Tom left sunny Southern California at the ripe old age of 17 to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point. After graduating with a degree in Civil Engineering, he spent 11 years on active duty in the Army and then another 11 years in the Army Reserves, eventually retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Along the way, Tom earned a Master’s Degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management from Florida International University in Miami. During his 22-years in the Army, he had a chance to see the world, with assignments in South Korea, Germany, the Pentagon, Virginia, Indiana, Florida, Alabama, Maryland and Washington state.
Tom has been with the McMahon Group since 1990, serving as head of the survey and market research division. During that time, he has worked with over 1,500 private clubs on a wide variety of survey and research projects, achieving the rank of “Survey Guru” at McMahon.
Over the years, Tom has been a jack of many sports – golf, tennis, racquetball, squash, water skiing, snow skiing, running – but a master of none. His current pastime passions are gardening, cycling and nature photography – often combining the latter two on rides at a lake near his home in suburban St. Louis.
Tom and his wife Marlene have two children in their 20’s. Katy is an artist working at an animation studio in Portland, Oregon, and Marcus is studying Mechanical Engineering at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.