2017 Membership Survey: the results

Our 2017 membership survey aimed to find out what members think about Making Music as an organisation, what they think and value about their membership with us and what they think about the specific services, resources and support we offer. It was completed by individuals representing 20% of our members groups – a big thank you to all of them.

The results are extremely useful in finding out what members value and want. They play a key role in helping us develop our plans for the future and decide how and where to invest members’ fees, and our time and effort.

You can download the full survey results (complete with tables, charts and commentary on all the questions) and below you will find the headline stats together with a summary of our key findings - and the actions we have already taken or plan to take.

Headline stats

  • Members are happy with their membership - 84% said they were satisfied or above with their membership and less than 1% were dissatisfied.
  • Our members know that we care - the average score for ‘how strongly do you agree that staff care about members’ was 8.7 out of 10 (10 being strongly agree)
  • The most valued aspect of membership is in-line with 2014 survey results: practical services and advice, followed by lobbying and advocacy, being part of a wider community of musicians and then artistic services. 
  • The practical services scored highly in terms of satisfaction. 91.5% of responses rated our practical services as being 4 or 5 out of 5 (only 1.1% rated as 2 or less).

Key findings and actions

Members are happy

Overall the results are positive. Members value Making Music as an organisation and their membership with us, and feel that we do a good job of providing support to help them run their groups. That is not to say there are not areas that we need to work on and improve.

The priorities haven’t changed

 A clear message of what members’ value about their membership came out in the survey and it was in line with the 2014 results.

  1. Practical services and advice
  2. Lobbying and advocacy/representation of leisure time music
  3. Artistic support
  4. Connecting members with each other

The biggest challenges members face are: recruiting members, falling audience numbers and financial problems

This is something we have known for a while and there is a clear link between all three. The number one priority in our five year plan (2017-21) is to:

Help Making Music groups become stronger and better able to connect with new members and audiences

This is at the heart of all the services and resources we develop for members and will continue to be a primary focus.

Awareness of services is up – but could be higher

The awareness of services and benefits has generally increased from 2014. However, a common theme throughout the survey was that respondents did not know about all the things we do, or that anyone in their group can register for our site and have access to all of the member benefits and resources that we offer.

The wheels have already been put in motion to find new ways of spreading the word about what we offer. We know not everything is relevant to everyone and so want to avoid the blanket approach of just telling members about everything. We want to make sure members are finding out about the services and resources that are relevant to them and their group.

Members find it hard to find online resources

The point above focuses on how we can tell members about what we offer, but of equal, if not more importance are members being able to find what they want when they need it. The results show this is not as easy as it should be and is something we need to improve.

One thing we have done immediately is produce one page overview resources which lists all of the resources available on a particular topic, so that members can easily see, at a glance, what is available.

We will continue to look for more ways to improve how members can look for and find resources. User feedback is extremely useful when approaching a task like this so if you have any specific feedback about searching for resources please do get in touch.

Youth engagement is a problem for groups – but they don’t know about our project

The results show that recruitment in general, and youth engagement, in particular, are big problems for groups. However at the same time awareness of our Youth Engagement Project, which is specifically dedicated to helping with this problem, is low. The good news is that those who do know about it find the resources and events useful.

Clearly our job here is to increase awareness of the project and resources, something we are already tackling by creating a specific space for the project on our website (coming soon). And we can start right now by directing members to an overview of the resources that we have available. 

We provide very good one to one service

The ratings for the service we provide to members via email and phone all scored highly and have all gone up from 2014. We are very happy about this as we think the one to one help and advice is a vital part of what we do, and it is good to know members value it too.

A particular point of encouragement for us was that the score for how much members think we care about them also scored very highly. We have a very dedicated team at Making Music with a lot of passion for music and music making, who really do care about our members. It is good to know this comes through when we speak with and met members and we will do all we can to maintain and improve on these high standards.

Satisfaction with services is up – but there is always room for improvement

Satisfaction rates for most services and benefits have either maintained very high levels from 2014 or improved. However, this is not across the board.

It can be easy to focus on producing new content, but we shouldn’t, and won’t, lose sight of the need to monitor and improve existing services and resources too.

We are not perceived as being open and welcome to all types of groups as we would like

We know this has been a perception for some time and it is one we want to change. Our Exploring Making Music Project was set up to help look at this. We want to wait for findings from this project later this year to help get a better understanding of the issues.

Lobbying and Advocacy is important – but we could tell people about it more  

Members see our lobby and advocacy work as being important and the issues they think are important are the issues we are focusing on. However awareness of what we do is lower than we would like and less people thought Making Music was ‘A good advocate for voluntary music-making’ than in 2014.

This fits in to the broader theme of members not knowing about everything that we do to support them, lobbying and advocacy will factor into the work we do to address this.

Event topics are not always relevant

A common reason for people not attending events was that topics are not always relevant. This is something we have already started to address. Events are now less focussed around a specific topic and are more general (e.g. Helping your group to thrive). This gives those present the chance to set the agenda and raise and discuss the topics that are relevant to them.

Make the Council more accessible

Comments in the event section were very heavily weighted towards making the council more accessible and regionally based. This is something we had already implemented for 2018 with seven regional events across the UK.

Members find Highnotes more interesting than useful (and want the focus to be on them more)

This  fits in with current thinking; we see the website and email communications as the main channel for practical services and want Highnotes to be a magazine that is interesting to anyone who likes music.

The most common suggestion for new content was more features about groups – something we have already addressed with the new sections ‘Exploring music’ and ‘Why I make music’.

We hope you find this Making Music resource useful. If you have any comments or suggestions about the guidance please contact us. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the content of this guidance is accurate and up to date, Making Music do not warrant, nor accept any liability or responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the content, or for any loss which may arise from reliance on the information contained in it.