The Capital Improvement Program Opinion Survey

69950011 - help us to help you headlined newspaper on the table
69950011 - help us to help you headlined newspaper on the table

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!

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About Bill McMahon

Bill is a private club planner providing strategic planning, member research analysis and facility planning services for private clubs across North America. Bill joined McMahon Group in 1999 and has worked with over 200 clubs helping to solve their strategic and facility needs.

Bill is Co-Editor of Club Trends, a quarterly report published with the National Club Association (NCA). He has written for many private club publications like The BoardRoom Magazine, Club Director and more, and has been a featured speaker at national conferences, local chapters and other associations serving the private club industry. He is also on the NCA’s Communications Committee.

Bill has been instrumental in developing and enhancing the McMahon Group online presence. He created and runs Clubtopia® ( – an online business directory of firms and companies serving the club industry.

Bill’s club memberships have included Bellerive Country Club (St. Louis), Glen Echo Country Club (St. Louis) and the Missouri Athletic Club (St. Louis). He has served on the Boards of Cinema St. Louis ( and the Tennessee Society of St. Louis (former President).


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