New SOA-only membership option for 2018

For the 2018 new membership year, from 1st November 2017, we’ll be offering an additional membership option to new and existing members. As well as the new option meeting the needs of our members, our funding from sportscotland is based on member numbers so it is a valuable aid to growing our membership and further developing orienteering in Scotland.

The new option will allow members to join only their local club and the SOA, and is suited to those who only orienteer locally and won’t be participating in major events. It’s important to note that British Orienteering fully supports the SOA in providing this additional option. British Orienteering membership will still be the primary option, as it allows more flexibility for event and competition entry. However, we recognise that due to the geography of clubs and events in Scotland, many folk wish only to orienteer locally and British Orienteering membership is less relevant.

At the end of the last membership year, 2016-17, SOA surveyed all lapsed members by email. Of the 49 responses, 33% indicated that they decided orienteering just wasn’t for them, but importantly, factors that would have encouraged others to re-join were having this new membership option (19%), and more local events (10%).

Over the last nine months, we’ve been running a pilot project with two clubs, SOLWAY and STAG, to offer members the option to join only the club and the SOA. We currently have 58 members in the scheme, made up of existing and new club members, which represents about 38% of each club’s total membership. The feedback has been positive and constructive; both SOLWAY and STAG felt that through being able to offer a Club and SOA membership they retained members who would otherwise have left.

Due to the results of the survey, combined with the success of the pilot programme, at its June meeting the Board moved to offer this additional option to the whole membership from November 2017.

Members who choose to take up the Club and SOA option will receive all the standard benefits of membership, including insurance cover, communications, reduced entry fee at events (where applicable), etc. It will be less expensive than joining British Orienteering, but there will also be some differences with regard to participating in some larger competitions, or being a main event official.

Further details of the new membership option, including benefits and limitations, can be found on the membership page.