Newcomer Retention Project

Source:Edward Lines

The Orienteering Foundation is sponsoring a review of what we've termed “orienteering newcomer retention”.  We believe this area is important for increasing participation yet it has not, as far as we know, been well studied to understand it and how retention can be improved. We are seeking some volunteers to help with the study - read on if you are interested...


There is an anecdotal concern that too large a proportion of newcomers to orienteering do not go on to become regular participants. It is recognised that some people trying orienteering may quite reasonably decide the sport is not for them, but, given the effort often involved in recruiting newcomers, a good or better retention rate would be beneficial to the sport.

Newcomer Retention Project

We are putting together a small group of 5 or 6 people to study this issue in the coming months, meeting from time to time by Zoom. It will be a good opportunity to input your experience of handling newcomers and/or using your analytic skills to investigate the issue.

The remit of the Newcomer Retention Project group is as follows.

  • Define "orienteering newcomer", and define and research the current retention rate
  • Define "regular participants", and research and quantify reasons why newcomers do not become regular participants
  • Identify and document examples of good practice in dealing with newcomers
  • Make recommendations designed to improve retention of orienteering newcomers
  • If appropriate, identify follow-up work that could be considered
  • Produce a written report on the group's work and conclusions

Commitment expected

Group members will be expected to participate in a series of Zoom meetings (perhaps 6 or so), each lasting no more than 90 minutes. The dates and times of the meetings will be agreed by the group itself and will be to a schedule that reflects the state of the discussions.  Once every 2 to 3 weeks would be typical.

Some work will need to be done between meetings, and a willingness to play a part in some of these will be expected.

Getting involved

If you are interested in getting involved in the project, please complete the volunteer form here: PDF or Word and return to Neil Cameron at the email address on the form by 24th April (extended from 11th April).

18th Mar 21