Your Feedback … And Ours

Your Feedback … And Ours

We recently made a survey available to SEDA membership to obtain feedback regarding our communication with members. Basically, we wanted to find out what works and what does not, or what we could do better.

We had 28 responses to the survey from our membership of 150+. Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond. As a direct result of these responses, we have made some immediate changes to our communications:

  1. We have reduced the Bleeps to once per week, unless urgent information needs to be distributed
  2. The Off Course newsletter will be produced three times per year. Right now, we are planning for February, July and October. Because we just produced a May/June issue, the next issue will be in October. A new production schedule and advertising information is in the works.

We were able to make some interesting observations as a result of this survey:

  1. About half of the respondents utilize our Facebook page
  2. Most of the respondents get SEDA news from the Bleeps, followed by the website, and then Facebook and the newsletter
  3. Most respondents enjoy the newsletter and still believe it is a valuable communication tool, but are not opposed to reducing the production
  4. Most respondents visit the website at least once a month, while a large percentage visit it weekly
  5. The most useful features on the website appear to be the Calendar, photo gallery, forms, prize lists and standings.

This is all valuable information and helps us determine where to focus our energies.

There were also several comments made in the survey which we thought would be good to address directly to clear up some misconceptions and offer further explanation. Comments are in italic and our answers are indicated in bold.

The first question we’ll address: What other features or information could we put on the SEDA website to make it more useful to you?

  • You currently include a list of trainers. Having a list of farriers, equine chiropractors and other equine service providers would be nice.  Yes! The “Resources” page on the SEDA web site does list a variety of other services and individuals. There is an open invitation on the website to submit more. We do our best to provide current information, but need to rely on the rest of you to help keep it updated. If you know something or someone you would like to see listed there, please send it in.
  • Dressage shows non-SEDA. Like in MS, LA, etc. Practice makes a better SEDA rider. More dates for shows that are not strictly dressage shows in areas like Mobile and Mississippi. There is a whole schooling circuit in Mobile that I was unaware of until today. Agreed! This is why we list all of the competitions we know about in the USDF and USEA areas we are part of in the SEDA calendar. Typically, these consist of USEF-Recognized or USEA-Recognized shows because there are so many individual clubs or stables offering schooling shows, we have no way of knowing what they all are. If you know of some you’d like to see added, please contact the Calendar Chair so we can get them in the calendar.
  • Region 9 and USDF forms. We don’t provide links to specific forms because the links change regularly and it’s not possible to stay on top of the changes on every website. Instead, we do provide links to the respective national sites (USDF, USEA, USEF, USDF Region 9) to make it easier to find what you need. You will find these links in the “Forms” sidebar available on many pages of the SEDA website.
  • Maybe you could encourage people to submit any photographs they take at all the different events throughout the year. I think people might enjoy that feature. We do! There is an open invitation for every newsletter – and we specifically publicize this offer in the Bleeps and on the website and on Facebook before each publication deadline. We would LOVE to get more content from our membership at any time, not just for the newsletter! We have begun to post articles directly on the website before they will appear in print, and encourage everyone to send something in!
  • Links to interesting web sites (usefnetwork, dressage clinic sites, international happenings, etc.) We do offer links to some of these things on our “Resources” page. Again, if there is something you would like to see there, please contact the webmaster so it can be added in.
  • More about different instructors in the area. We’d like to include more information about other instructors. The Facility Directory and Trainer Directory on the website are paid advertisements which are open to any instructor/facility of any discipline. For a mere $50 per year, their information is listed on our site, in our newsletters and in our annual Member Directory. If you know of other trainers or facilities who should be on our list, please share with them the form on the website so we can make their information available. To help facilitate interest in this advertising option, it is helpful if you mention where you found out about them – they want to see a value for their advertising dollars!
  • Update suggestion box answers. Absolutely! When we receive ‘suggestions’ we post the answers as quickly as possible. We haven’t received anything in months. So, therefore, we can’t answer questions we don’t have!

The next question: Please take a moment to tell us more about how you would like to receive communications from SEDA. For example: What we are doing right regarding our communications with members? What we could do better? Is there a method/media we are not utilizing which you would find helpful? What kinds of information do you want us to share? Please be as specific as possible.

  • I would prefer the printed version and would be more than willing to pay extra for it. Maybe people that choose this option could pay a fee for this? We considered doing this when we moved to a digital format. The reason we opted not to do it were that it just wasn’t cost effective for our membership. Printing and mailing is expensive. To get the best price on printing, you have to meet minimum quantities (around 50). If you do not, then you pay a large per unit cost. With the size of our newsletter, you would be looking at $7-$10 per unit per issue, plus postage which is about $2 per unit now. So, to cover that cost, we’d have to charge those individuals something like $30 per year extra. That’s a lot! If it were only a matter of a few dollars, it would be more feasible, but that’s not the case.
  • I would like to see the scores/results posted the the website quicker. We understand this and appreciate the concern expressed here. Please remember, this is a volunteer organization, and all the volunteers wear many hats, their SEDA involvement being just one of them. Everyone works as quickly as possible around other life obligations. Also note, we cannot post information we do not receive, so in the case of show results, we can’t make that available until show managers send it to us. Standings will always be a minimum of two weeks after the show date simply because that is the timeframe allowed for getting scores in to the Chairpersons. Then you have to allow time for that to be entered in the database and then transferred to the website. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
  • I would like the bleeps to include more classified ads if possible. That way people could submit a more timely entry rather than waiting for the news letter. We are currently revising our advertising program and will look at including classifieds in the Bleeps. However, please note that all classified ads are also listed on the website.
  • I don’t see advance notice of Board meetings. Needs to be in Bleeps as well as website. They are! Board meetings are mentioned in the Bleeps (look at the upcoming events) as well as in the calendar on the website and the news on the home page of the website.
  • Keep using Facebook to get info out quickly. I like the Bleeps but the content can be a bit dry. It might be fun to include things like tips, or fun videos, or more engaging content. Yes, the content of the Bleeps could be considered a bit dry. The main function of the Bleeps is to provide quick news information our members need to know. Realistically, this information cannot be too long or include too much because people do not read it. Attention spans are very short and only about 60% of membership read the Bleeps. Facebook tends to be the portal for more social items like videos, photos, training articles, and other fun things which come up on the Internet. Facebook posts are fed onto the website so those without a Facebook account can have access to some of that information as well. There is just too much to include in the Bleeps. As we build up more content on the website, we will put links to those articles in the Bleeps, so hopefully that will make the content more interesting for some.
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