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2019 IC Business Report

2019 IC Business Report

About the 2019 IC Business Report

The IC Business Report is designed to provide the IC Council and all ICs of the World with a yearly update of the club’s members, events and general activities. It allows ICs to share best practices, to learn from each other, and to give feedback to the IC Council. Furthermore, the Council is then able to monitor ‘issues of major concerns and general improvements’ and to ascertain how it can help to improve these. 

38 out of 42 ICs responded to the 2019 survey, which was distributed via Survey Monkey. The missing ICs were Bulgaria, Croatia, Finland and Romania. For completeness, the 2018 report for Finland and the member demographics for Bulgaria from previous years have been included in this analysis for a vis-à-vis comparison. This means we have data for a total of 40 ICs (out of 42), with missing data for Croatia and Romania. Last year we recorded data for 40 ICs (out of 40), including 36 template responses and four email messages.

It is really positive to see such high responses. Ideally, every single IC should be responding as this ensures that the information collected is more informative for both the Council, Regional Representatives and each individual IC.   

Each ICs President and Honorary Secretary has already received a copy of their responses and an individual report.

Additionally, the Regional Representatives of the Executive Committee participated in a discussion on the findings and key issues in each region. We have included this analysis at the end of the report and are deeply grateful for their contribution. 

For any questions or feedback, please email both Gustavo Herrero (Honorary Secretary) and Tash Starling (Website & Communications) at the IC Council:

gustavo@herrero.la
ts@ictennis.net

Contents

Executive Summary

Member Demographics

Younger Members

IC Junior Challenge

Activity Overview

Committee Members

Communications

Finances

Areas of concern and other comments

Regional Representatives Meeting

Executive Summary

Vis-à-vis last year’s Business Returns (taking the 39 respondents which completed both years templates), there has been a modest 1.3% net increase in the total number of members (accounting for deceased members). Gender distribution remains fairly stable over the last seven years, with 71% male and 29% female members. It can be perceived that we are experiencing an aging effect of our membership, with approximately 65% of the total being ‘senior’ (i.e. over 55 for males and over 50 for females), with only 16% in the ‘younger’ category (i.e. under 45 for males and under 40 for females).

Activity remains stable year-on-year. This is still an area that could be improved. It is also a challenge cited by a few ICs.

There are some general consistent areas of concern and request for help cited.

  • Ability to attract/retain members, especially younger members
  • Demographics of members
  • Low % of member participation in activities
  • Funding issues

Now in its 96th year, the IC continues to build and broaden members, to increase activity, to promote the objective of good sportsmanship and to enhance the lives of various disadvantaged young people. We continue to encourage new nations to join and are delighted to see the reinstatement of Hong Kong and the formation of the IC of Croatia, bringing up the total IC family to 42 ICs from all continents.

Member Demographics

  • There has been a small increase in the total number of members: 4,548 in 2019 and 4,488 in 2018
  • Of the 4,548 members, 29% are female (1,322) and 71% are male (3,226). This proportion is broadly in line with the last 6 years
  • Not all ICs provided the age breakdown requested, but those that did account for 4,316 members (3,077 male + 1,239 female)
  • We are still experiencing a similar aging effect of our membership. Approximately 65% of the total are ‘senior’ (i.e. over 55 for males and over 50 for females), with only 16% in the ‘younger’ category (i.e. under 45 for males and under 40 for females).

Younger Members

  • 29 out of 39 ICs (74%) actively pursue recruiting younger members
  • The issue of attracting younger members, or getting younger members to participate in fixtures is one of the most cited challenges, despite a concerted effort by many ICs
  • Of the 267 new members whose age category was identified by respective ICs, 75 (28%) belonged to the younger categories. However, this is down on last year, where 42% of the new members belonged to the younger categories
  • ICs which have had more success with recruiting younger members, do not charge a subscription fee to Juniors and ‘touring players’. Although this poses a challenge when they cease being in those categories and should start paying.

IC Junior Challenge

  • 22 ICs (plus Botswana, Ethiopia and an IC SA Development Team) participated in the 2019 IC Rod Laver Junior Challenge qualifying rounds.  Eight in Europe, five in Asia, four in South America, four in North America, one in Africa (plus Botswana, Ethiopia and an IC SA Development Team)
  • The team from Ethiopia was part of the TDKET ICP programme (overseen by the IC of Germany). It was their first trip to South Africa and an absolutely fantastic opportunity and successful trip. 
  • Challenges cited by those ICs who did not participate include: lack of Junior players, Juniors are not strong enough, insufficient funding, and the event not being relevant for Juniors in their country.

Activity Overview

  • The number of events* participated in remains stable year-on-year, with 28 out of 39 ICs (72%) stating that they participated in the same number of events as in 2018. 7 ICs experienced an increase and 4 a decrease.

*Number of IC events/ activities, which the club participated in (excluding the IC Junior Challenge): Council events, IC international matches, bilateral matches, internal competitions, and social events..

  • % of member participation remains broadly the same and this is still an area of improvement and a challenge cited by many ICs.  

  • 28 out of 39 ICs (72%) engage in charitable activities. This is up from 63% last year and from 57% the previous year. This is really encouraging.  

Committee Members

  • 36 out of 39 (92%) ICs have female board members. This is the same as last year.  
  • Only 22 out of 39 (56%) ICs have board members <45 years. This is no change to last year and an improvement in this could be a way of ICs effectively recruiting younger members
  • 38 out of 39 (97%) ICs have board members who were ex top 10 players in their country

Communications

  • 30 out of 39 ICs (77%) have someone responsible for marketing and communications on their board
  • 23 out of 39 ICs (59%) have active websites
  • 29 are Council websites (16 one pagers and 13 full websites) and 13 non council sites
  • All but one IC communicate with their members via email
  • 25 out of 39 ICs (64%) produce a periodic newsletter. This is up on the 53% last year. This is really encouraging as this will help with the some of the areas of concern, namely member participation and the ability to attract/ retain members
  • 23 out of 39 (59%) of ICs re-distributed the IC e-News (IC Council newsletters) to their membership base. Please could everyone start (or continue) to do so as this is an important way to keep in touch and update all ICs around the world
  • 28 out of 39 (72%) of ICs pass on information received from the IC Philanthropy Foundation

Finances

  • Only one IC has increased its annual subscription fee (by $5 USD). All others remained the same as in 2018, with the average subscription fee of $57 USD
  • Although this was not a question explicitly asked, a few ICs identified that they charge younger members (identified here as U35 or students) a lower subscription fee. The idea of charging different categories of membership is something which has come out of the Regional Representatives discussions. This is something they will be discussing with their respective regional ICs.  
  • Dues collection in arrears average 16% for all ICs. Most ICs (76%) have a policy in place to deal with members in arrears
  • Not surprisingly, dues are the largest source of revenues for ICs
  • Many ICs cite discussions with sponsors or donors or fundraising events for increased support

Areas of concern and other comments

  • The graph below shows the main areas of concern for all ICs, with the most prevalent areas being the same as last year: the demographics of members, the ability to attract or retain members and the small number of active members
  • We recognise that by giving dropdown options, we are somewhat limiting ICs to these areas (although there is an ‘other’ option to select). One commonly cited area of concern under ‘other’ is the vastness of some ICs and the challenges with having dispersed members. Also the remoteness of some ICs from Council events.
  • Other cited answers are shown in the table below the graph, with a common suggestion being an event for younger members.

 

Regional Representatives Meeting

The following table depicts the percentage of ICs that responded to the concerns listed, in each region.

The Total is the weighted average of each concern (weighed by number of ICs, not by number of Members)

GREEN represents the #1 concern, BLUE the #2 concern, and ORANGE the #3 concern. All regions share the first two concerns.

Australasia and South America differ in regard to the #3 concern.

Other Concerns/Comments

South Africa/ USA/ Brazil: Vastness of country/ widespread regions

Japan/ Argentina: Remoteness from events

Ireland: Consider events U30

Russia: Consider events U44

Italy/ Luxembourg/ Bahamas: Younger players are unwilling to pay, and/ or expect to be paid#

Canada: Ageing members (37% over 75); combine golf/ tennis events; consider three-day events (two play, one leisure)

Argentina: Possibility of acquiring tickets for Grand Slams

Honorary Secretary Gustavo Herrero and Website and Communications Coordinator Tash Starling held a Zoom meeting with Regional Representatives on Sunday 21 June 2020. Relevant Business Reports information was shared with participants prior to the meeting, and further correspondence followed thereafter.

The group reached consensus in regard to recommendations to be considered by ICs upon addressing the various challenges identified:

  • The engagement of younger and female members in IC governing boards is viewed as a good way to nurture higher membership and participation of those groups.
  • Create a category of honorary junior members and touring players, from which members would “graduate” upon reaching a certain age and/or retiring from tour play, applying for regular active membership.
  • Celebrate domestic matches with reputable local tennis clubs or with neighbouring ICs, involving different categories and genders.
  • Hold social gatherings either as standalone events or in connection with matches. These could include members’ families, to further engage younger members and strengthen bonding relationships among all members.
  • ICs in countries that host ATP or ITF tournaments could obtain free ground passes for members, and perhaps rooms to host brief IC social gatherings at the tournament venues.
  • ICs that host ICP programmes may consider engaging participants in an annual social gathering. It has been proven that younger generations tend to have an interest in philanthropic endeavours.
  • ICs with funding issues could consider instituting a Lifetime Membership category, collecting a handsome subscription fee for it.
  • Also recruiting a sponsor that would fund an Annual Dinner to which members who are current on their dues could attend with their partners.
  • Issuing Newsletters with international and local tennis content is seen as a means of strengthening relations with members.
  • Relaying news received from the Council and from ICP is also viewed as a way to enhance that bond.
  • ICs that participate in the IC Rod Laver Junior Challenge should consider keeping in touch with players that represented them, and even consider naming some of them “Ambassadors,” with the aim of inviting them to join the IC as they evolve in their careers. The Council is working on a list of past participants (“alumni”) of the Junior Challenge that may be helpful to extend invitations to local or neighbouring ICs’ players to participate in events.
  • Finally, the group recommends that the Council EC consider the organization of an IC event for younger players (e.g. 28-35 and 35-45) in attractive rotating locations, with good side programs and low entry fees.

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