I received my 2013 TCA Membership Roster and, as I have done for the past nine years, I thought I’d share a quick look at the Tandem Club of America’s (TCA) demographics. You can find the full report HERE at TheTandemLink.com.
SUMMARY: While the year-over-year slide in membership appears to continue, this year’s annual net attrition may be something of an illusion. While on the surface it would appear that TCA had a net loss of another 15 members, a substantial number of the losses appear to be associated with the expiration of the 50 free TCA memberships given out at the Mid-West Tandem Rally in 2011. So, perhaps what we really have this year is some actual GROWTH in membership! Regardless, as of January 2013 it would appear TCA now has 621 members on the books which would still be about a -2.3% drop from the 636 TCA members who were signed on as of January 2012.
Now, getting back to that anonymous gift of 50 free TCA memberships given out at the Midwest Tandem Rally in Ann Arbor, Michigan. From last year remember that membership numbers for several states close to Michigan & Michigan proper all saw a pretty good bump during 2011: Michigan (up by 21). Ohio (up by 10), Indiana (up by 8) and Kentucky (up by 8) were the ones that caught my eye with net increases. Again, remembering from my analysis last year I wondered aloud: “So, it will be interesting to see if the states / regions that enjoyed a ‘bump’ from the free on-year memberships will be able to sustain or even build on those gains when we look at TCA membership in February 2013.” So, where did we see the big gross losses over the last year? Michigan -30, Ohio -19, Indiana -9 and Kentucky -7 were some of the bigger drops, with Minnesota in the mix at -8 and Illinois at -7. Hmmm.
So, if I discount the 50 losses associated with probable expiration of the MTR free-TCA memberships we end up with a net increase in TCA membership of 35 for the past year. Now, before you go and get all excited this year I also tallied up the gross changes by state. That is to say, I went and compared the 2012 and 2013 rosters state-by-state, name-by-name to see who fell off and who joined and that was quite revealing.
- Total members who left TCA during 2012: 156
- Total new members who joined TCA in 2012: 141
I gotta tell you, the loss of some 25% of your total membership in a single year is not something to take lightly. I’m not discounting the 50 free memberships here because the fact remains that 156 TCA members failed to sustain their membership. Now, some of these could be members who have reached a point in their lives where they’re no longer able to ride for many reasons, be it health, children, work or loss of interest vs. simply not seeing the value of membership. Hopefully the folks at TCA are doing some ‘exit interviews’ or questionnaires to find out why folks have dropped their membership.
However, it is worthwhile to see that there were also 141 new members, most of them coming from California, Florida & Texas. While I have no data to support it, my gut tells me that California’s driver may be Crank2 Performance’s influence on the market, Texas could be some influence from House of Tandems or our very active Texas-based tandem clubs near Dallas, Austin & Houston. Florida is getting a big bump from the Panthers tandem club based in the Villages, where we’re also seeing a bit of a migration by members from other states.
Just looking as some details:
- 16 states saw 76 net losses in membership (the same as last year) while 20 states saw a net increases of 61 for a net-net change of -15.
- After curtailing the bleed off of members over several years last year with a net loss of 1 member for 2011, California actually added a net of 9 members in 2012, Texas gained back the 8 it lost in 2011, and Florida led the way with a net increase of 10 members in 2012. Again, the biggest losers were Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.
- West Virginia joined the ranks of the un-represented states in 2012 which include Wyoming, Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and North Dakota.
- Looking back and comparing TCA membership to 2002 when I first started following the data, overall TCA membership has fallen by 836 or about 57.4%.