In an effort to better understand the needs of its driver-members, the Women In Trucking (WIT) Assn. recently used a research class to conduct a member survey.
There were 139 drivers who responded to the online questions. Most of them (65%) had joined in the past two years. As expected, the majority (88%) was female, but 11 male drivers who are members of the association completed the survey. The average age of the respondent was between 50 and 59 years old.
The economic condition of the driver population was evident in the responses, as the most commonly cited reason for non-renewal was financial. “Have not had the extra money to renew, even though the dues are very low,” wrote one driver. Nearly one fifth of the drivers stated they were no longer driving as the reason for non-renewal.
When asked what they would like to see as benefits for joining the association, drivers asked for insurance plans, discounts on products and services and more merchandise from the association. Drivers also asked for more opportunities for networking and communication with other members.
A portion of the survey was dedicated to the Salute to Women Behind the Wheel (salute2women.com). Half of the drivers have not attended this celebration devoted to honoring female drivers. The top reason cited was because they could not get time off to attend the event held each March in conjunction with the Mid-America Trucking Show.
The survey was conducted by graduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Stout under the supervision of Dr. Jeanette Kersten. Kersten’s students assist nonprofit associations in conducting research that they might not have access to due to financial considerations.
“The results from the students’ study will allow us to learn how we can attract new members and give our current driver members better value for their dues,” said Ellen Voie, WIT’s president & CEO. “The findings have been shared with the board of directors and will be a topic of discussion at our upcoming strategic planning session in January.”
The UW-Stout graduate students, Melisa Entinger, Jeremy Senstad and Erin Steffeck, recommended that the association focus more efforts on marketing toward students and to male drivers, who might not be aware that both men and women are welcome as members.
“Thanks to the excellent work by Dr. Kersten’s students we can use this data to determine how to meet the needs of the driver population,” Voie said. WIT currently has 1,800 corporate and individual members.
Women In Trucking Association, Inc. (womenintrucking.org) was established to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry, according to the organization’s mission statement.