Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 01-25-2009, 07:42 PM   #141
Rivet Master

 
Southwestern , Ohio
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,669
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
Nuvite,

A more important question is why are so many WBCCI members leaving? And, also important, why doesn't an organization that has so much going for it in terms of tradition and history not have 20,000 or 30,000 members? There are more Airstreams on the road all the time; why not more and more WBCCI members? It's not the economy, because the drop in members has been going on for years and years.

Gene
I think that you know the answer to your questions as well as the rest of us. Here are my answers:

1. Why are so many WBCCI members leaving?

One significant cause is that every year several hundred WBCCI members either die or age to the point that they no longer can or wish to participate. Given the demographics of the membership, most units have to recruit several new members each year just to maintain their membership numbers.

And this year, in addition to the MAL fiasco, we had

(a) the disciplinary actions against two popular members which alienated hundreds (and over which billions of electrons have been spilt on this forum alone), and

(b) the collapse of the financial markets which have reduced the assets (and retirement income) of practically every Airstreamer.

2. Why doesn't an organization that has so much going for it in terms of tradition and history not have 20,000 or 30,000 members? There are more Airstreams on the road all the time; why not more and more WBCCI members?

Among other things because every organization that has much going for it in terms of tradition and history is losing members. Can you name one national or international participatory membership organization that is growing? You name it--fraternal organizations, service organizations, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, etc., etc. They're all losing members--because membership in such organizations is no longer popular.

(Not counting "mailing list" organizations like the Audubon Society and the National Rifle Association which are doing very well, but are no longer the participatory organizations that they once were.)

And, unfortunately, the economy does have a lot to do with it and is going to continue to have a lot to do with it in the future. Frankly, I am not very optimistic about the future of RVing, let alone the WBCCI, given the current economic and political trends.

But please don't try to compare a bunch of people lurking on an Internet forum with a real organization of dues-paying and participating members. Not the same thing at all.

Tell me, how big do Airforums rallies get to be? I have heard of several in the 20 or 30 trailer range. Most of the 150 or so WBCCI units get that many at a Unit rally, a hundred or so at a typical Region rally, and, until quite recently, more than a thousand at the International. This is not implied as criticism--I like smaller rallies--but Airforums, with all its umpteen thousand "members", doesn't even come close to the stodgy old obsolete WBCCI.

Cheers,
Nuvi
__________________

__________________
Nuvite-F is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2009, 08:18 PM   #142
Rivet Master
 
Gene's Avatar
 
2008 25' Safari FB SE
Grand Junction , Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 10,840
Nuvite, actually I don't know conclusively why membership is dropping. I have some ideas, of course. And I don't have to solve the problem, thankfully.

I know a lot of organizations are shrinking, but the WBCCI has been shrinking for years and the latest shrinkage is a major concern. Yes, the financial markets are in bad shape, but the decreases started long, long ago. Yes, Airstreamers die or retire from RV'ing, but new ones are born. Considering that a lot of Airstreams roll on for many, many years, and new ones are being made every year, there should be more and more potential members if the organization is relevant to all the new people introduced to Airstreams.

The MAL fiasco, the disciplining of popular members and the other examples of people who have been turned off are well know to readers of these threads—and maybe that is the problem. The organization is turning off people, present members, past members, never members.

Maybe those other organizations losing members also need to look at themselves. That others fail is not an excuse. I have served for more than 5 years on the board of a regional organization that has been losing members for the past two years (not anything like the WBCCI though) and almost everyone on the board has grey hair. Most of the people who attend the annual membership meetings have grey hair. Unfortunately, I do too. I keep talking about change and at the most I get lip service and nothing else. The staff does great work (they are younger), but the board misses the point over and over. To get them to endorse use of the internet for fundraising or communication with members is a struggle. I know how hard it is to change an organization hellbent to a crisis.

I don't know how big Forum rallies get to be Nuvite—and I wouldn't want to go to one with 1,000 members, or even a couple of hundred. I like small (hey, we agree!).

A "bunch of people" on the Forum is much harder to quantify because the nature of the internet is so different from the organizations we are used to. I will now try to figure out how to "lurk" while sitting at my laptop. I thought lurking was done while standing or walking on tiptoes while wearing a trenchcoat.

Regardless of the reason for dropping membership, something has to change or the bleeding won't stop. It's simple to diagnose (I'm going medical again), in my opinion, the cure is the hard part. To reverse things will take new people, new ideas, and relevance to younger people. You can consider me a friend of the WBCCI because I do want it to succeed.

Gene
__________________

__________________
Gene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2009, 09:40 PM   #143
Rivet Master
 
mbmbstreamer's Avatar
 
2006 25' Safari SS SE
1969 27' Overlander
Martinez , Georgia
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 631
Delayed Response on Membership

I'm not sure if anyone has answered this question directly, but I'll provide a little information from our experience.

In some units, anyone who joins after July 1 is carried until November. At that time, their application is submitted to Jackson Center. In our case, we applied in April and became members in May. In late August we were asked to pay again...since all member renewals need to be in before Nov. 1 to be carried in the Directory.

Last summer in Bozeman we joined the Vintage Inter-club. We received our first newsletter just this month. I would assume that our membership was entered effective November 1.

If you don't hear from someone and you have submitted an application to a unit, just give them a call or send an e-mail. I'm sure they can explain the status of your membership.

Hope this helps.

Matt
__________________
mbmbstreamer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-25-2009, 10:06 PM   #144
Rivet Master
 
hampstead38's Avatar
 
1967 26' Overlander
Upperco , Maryland
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 1,087
Blog Entries: 22
Well, some organizations are growing... particularly those volunteer associations focused on a "cause" or "mission." I belong to a few and would be delighted to see even more volunteers.

Perhaps Gene's point is that we all have an interest in anything that keeps us from owning a "legacy technology." From my perspective, the Airforums were very influential in our decision to buy an Airstream; the WBCCI was not. Before we ever bought the Overlander, we found all sorts of help, advice and counsel here. There wasn't any oath. There wasn't any rulebook. There wasn't any fuss about one's red number. People were generous, open and gracious... and I had no problem opening my wallet to support this endeavor.

Counting members or rally attendance is missing the point. Look at the activity level on these forums and as Gene pointed out, consider how many potential Airstream owners the Airforums touch. The WBCCI is a club for people who own Airstreams to hang out with other people who own Airstreams. The Airforums are a social network where owners, potential owners and the just plain curious can communicate, problem solve and cooperate in a spontaneous and self-organizing way.

I hope the WBCCI solves the problem of the membership decline, but in the long run, I believe the continued success of the Airforums are more important to Airstream in the long run. Your mileage may vary.
hampstead38 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2009, 10:17 AM   #145
Rivet Master
 
hampstead38's Avatar
 
1967 26' Overlander
Upperco , Maryland
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 1,087
Blog Entries: 22
Web site data

Link

If you want data on the Airforums, you may find the above link interesting. The site generates almost 145,000 visits per month (US) and over 163,000 visits per month (global). Worldwide, that represents nearly 65,000 people a month and over 830,000 "page views."

What I found interesting are the forum demographics. We are 91 percent white, 63 percent male and 45 percent over 50. We are more "southern and western" with strong participation from California, Texas and Florida.

Oh, I'll bet someone curious person will ask about traffic on the WBCCI site. Ask and ye shall receive.

Link

The WBCCI data is "sparse" so it's probably not as accurate as the Airforums data. The estimated traffic is 3,300 per month (est.). The demographics are 69 percent male, 97 percent white and 77 percent over 50.

Interesting stuff.
hampstead38 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2009, 11:05 AM   #146
Rivet Master

 
Southwestern , Ohio
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,669
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
I know a lot of organizations are shrinking, but the WBCCI has been shrinking for years and the latest shrinkage is a major concern.
But that's the point--most of the old organizations that are shrinking have been shrinking for years. Robert Putnam's scholarly study of the matter, Bowling Alone, traces the decline of participation-based organizations clear back to the 80's--about the time WBCCI membership started to decline. Is this a bad thing? Putnam seems to think so, but apparently society as a whole doesn't. (Putnam didn't have any solutions either.)

Quote:
The MAL fiasco, the disciplining of popular members and the other examples of people who have been turned off are well know to readers of these threads—and maybe that is the problem. The organization is turning off people, present members, past members, never members.
Yes, you have identified two aspects of the problem. First, the management of the WBCCI has shot the organization in the foot numerous times, and, second, these mistakes are trumpeted to the world (including potential members) on the internet.

Quote:
Maybe those other organizations losing members also need to look at themselves. That others fail is not an excuse.
Oh, believe me, they are. But they're still shrinking.

Quote:
I have served for more than 5 years on the board of a regional organization that has been losing members for the past two years (not anything like the WBCCI though) and almost everyone on the board has grey hair. Most of the people who attend the annual membership meetings have grey hair. Unfortunately, I do too. I keep talking about change and at the most I get lip service and nothing else. The staff does great work (they are younger), but the board misses the point over and over. To get them to endorse use of the internet for fundraising or communication with members is a struggle. I know how hard it is to change an organization hellbent to a crisis.
So you know how we WBCCI members who are trying to drag the club into the 21st century feel!

Quote:
I will now try to figure out how to "lurk" while sitting at my laptop. I thought lurking was done while standing or walking on tiptoes while wearing a trenchcoat.
"To lurk" is the standard Internet term for reading forums without contributing. I didn't invent it. Here I thought a 21st century kinda guy like yourself would have known that.

Quote:
Regardless of the reason for dropping membership, something has to change or the bleeding won't stop. It's simple to diagnose (I'm going medical again), in my opinion, the cure is the hard part. To reverse things will take new people, new ideas, and relevance to younger people. You can consider me a friend of the WBCCI because I do want it to succeed.

Gene
Glad to hear you're a friend of the WBCCI, as am I (as well as a member and unit officer). My strategy at this point is to do all I can to make my unit successful and let the International club do what it's going to do. The International organization is structured to resist change and there's little the membership can do to change it. My hope is that the successful units (and there are many of them) will continue to thrive and eventually build a new WBCCI when the old one finally collapses.

And have fun and enjoy life as long as we can--one way or the other, its only a club.

Cheers,
Nuvi
__________________
Nuvite-F is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2009, 11:12 AM   #147
Rivet Master
 
Gene's Avatar
 
2008 25' Safari FB SE
Grand Junction , Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 10,840
Very interesting data Hampstead. The Forum seems to be younger, not quite as affluent (probably a function of a younger population) and better educated. The difference is visits is extremely high.

Gene
__________________
Gene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2009, 11:33 AM   #148
Rivet Master

 
Southwestern , Ohio
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,669
Hampstead,

First of all let me say that I appreciate your thoughtful and experienced input. Not trying to be argumentative here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hampstead38 View Post
Well, some organizations are growing... particularly those volunteer associations focused on a "cause" or "mission." I belong to a few and would be delighted to see even more volunteers.
Could you name some? As I say, practically the long-time participation-based organizations that I know of are shrinking--and very concerned about it.

Quote:
From my perspective, the Airforums were very influential in our decision to buy an Airstream; the WBCCI was not. Before we ever bought the Overlander, we found all sorts of help, advice and counsel here. There wasn't any oath. There wasn't any rulebook. There wasn't any fuss about one's red number.
Oath? I've never seen one. Most members never see the rule book, and you seldom hear anything about rules at a unit rally. As far as red numbers, IMHO our old Airstream wouldn't look right without them.

Quote:
Counting members or rally attendance is missing the point. Look at the activity level on these forums and as Gene pointed out, consider how many potential Airstream owners the Airforums touch. The WBCCI is a club for people who own Airstreams to hang out with other people who own Airstreams. The Airforums are a social network where owners, potential owners and the just plain curious can communicate, problem solve and cooperate in a spontaneous and self-organizing way.
My point is that comparing numbers of forum "members", who signed up once (at no cost), and 90% of whom seldom even post anything, with the number of dues-paying, participating WBCCI members--as Gene did--is completely meaningless. That's not comparing apples to oranges--it's more like comparing apples to screwdrivers. They're completely different things.

Cheers,
Nuvi
__________________
Nuvite-F is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2009, 12:27 PM   #149
Rivet Master
 
hampstead38's Avatar
 
1967 26' Overlander
Upperco , Maryland
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 1,087
Blog Entries: 22
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation began in 1984. It has steadily grown to about 150,000 members. (I'm a life member.) People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals began in 1980. It has steadily grown to about 2 million members (I'm not a member). Facebook, a social networking site began in 2004. It has added 150 million active users in four years. (My daughters twisted my arm to join). I would call this strong growth.

As for your bone of contention with Gene, you seem deeply committed to your point. I'm not arguing that forum membership is the equivalent to WBCCI membership. The Airforums represent a different organizational paradigm than the WBBCI. The WBCCI is very similar to other declining membership/social organizations like the Lion's Club or the Rotarians. In my opinion, the WBCCI faces very similar challenges in making itself relevant to a new generation. If the WBCC is content to stay at 5,000 members and slowly wind down over the next couple of decades, there really isn't a reason to have a discussion. Having read the report of the long-term planning committee, however, it seems to me that at least some WBCCI members are concerned.

As for an oath, the officers apparently take one, as do the members to support the officers. As for the Blue Book, I haven't read the whole thing but I did find the color-coding of the nametags very entertaining (see page 51 of the document, or 72 of the PDF file). Maybe I have it wrong, Nuvite, and the Blue Book is really just a drink coaster at rallies... but I had the impression that people actually care if one displays flags or how. I know people care about the red numbers.

I'm an easy going guy, Nuvite. I live not far from Gettysburg, PA. A bunch of folks like dressing up in Civil War attire and reenacting battles. It's not my cup of tea, but more power to them. They have a hobby. They seem to have fun. They aren't hurting anyone... God bless them. Now, if the number of reenactors was dropping, and I had some interest in Civil War reenactments, I'd probably be curious. My "day job" is running an organization... and part of this is undertanding what makes organizations work and what makes them fail. There's no doubt in my mind that the WBCCI has some very happy members. I also have no doubt that it has substantially fewer members than it did 10 years ago. To the extent we discuss this without people getting upset (or becoming stuck on one particular point, say, the comparison of forum members to WBCCI members), I think the discussion can be useful.
hampstead38 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2009, 12:49 PM   #150
Rivet Master
 
ts8501's Avatar
 
1990 34' Excella
1964 22' Safari
Savage , Minnesota
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 582
Images: 7
I would be interested in thoughts related to why certain groups within the WBCCI are still growing. Units such as the Washington DC Unit, Four Corners Unit, Wisconsin Unit, and Vintage Interclub all come to mind. At least it is my perception that these groups are all growing.
__________________
"I've got aluminum fever, and the only prescription, is more AIRSTREAM!!!"

'64 Safari Resoration Blog ("May"):
http://ts8501.blogspot.com/

TAC MN-6
WBCCI/VAC 11736
AIR 25979
ts8501 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2009, 01:34 PM   #151
Restorations done right
Commercial Member
 
Frank's Trailer Works's Avatar
 
1962 26' Overlander
1961 26' Overlander
Vintage Kin Owner
Currently Looking...
Baltimore , Maryland
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 5,547
Images: 2
Nuvi, He's got ya. There is an oath. See in this photo from our Installation Ceremony ....
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_3176.jpg
Views:	83
Size:	313.9 KB
ID:	74611
That is our President, Rob Baker being sworn in. Don our region President came in from Canada and officiated. We built a fire. Did it at sunset. Rob said "ya, I will serve my unit and club as any good President should" and then Star said "ya I will serve my Unit and Club as any good first vice president should"... and so on down the line to the trusties. Some wore those blue hats. Rob and his son there, did not. Either did the past president there to the left. So what? Is that bad? You make a commitment to a job. Cops do that too you know. They all take an oath to serve.

Come to a WDCU rally and see if you like it. If you still feel so strongly about it, you have room to talk. Never know, you find a bunch of people that do exactly as you discribe the forums
Frank's Trailer Works is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2009, 01:42 PM   #152
Rivet Master
 
robandzoe's Avatar
 
1958 30' Sovereign of the Road
Plymouth , New York
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,775
Images: 19
Send a message via Skype™ to robandzoe
No Beret ?

That's right... I forgot my Grandfather's beret... but that is my WBCCI VAC cap... that proudly has my WBCCI #2820 on it, with a WDCU #170 on the side!!

Thanks Frank!
__________________
Rob, Zoe', Stanton, Bryce, Braedon and Finn Baker
Do you Listen to the www.theVAP.com
Plymouth, NY 13832
http://bakersacresofchenango.blogspot.com/
Courtesy parking
Flag Pole Holders - http://robsflagpoleholders.blogspot.com/

robandzoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2009, 03:07 PM   #153
Rivet Master
 
Gene's Avatar
 
2008 25' Safari FB SE
Grand Junction , Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 10,840
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuvite-F View Post

My point is that comparing numbers of forum "members", who signed up once (at no cost), and 90% of whom seldom even post anything, with the number of dues-paying, participating WBCCI members--as Gene did--is completely meaningless. That's not comparing apples to oranges--it's more like comparing apples to screwdrivers. They're completely different things.

Cheers,
Nuvi
I think it may be comparing apples to brussels sprouts and is not "completely meaningless". Both draw from a pool of Airstream owners and others interested in Airstreams. Both groups are more educated than the average American and have a higher income. Some people are members of each, though it would be very interesting to see just how much overlap there is (sampling some of the Forum membership list indicates there isn't a lot of overlap, but the list may be much out of date and/or incomplete). Contacts to each website tell us something, but not enough. The WBCCI has more contacts via rallies and in-person meetings, the Forum has more via website and probably PM's. The WBCCI costs more in money than the Forum, though the Forum collects a fair amount of money voluntarily. Time is another measure of commitment—obviously WBCCI national, regional and unit officers contribute a lot of time; Forum moderators and some people who post also contribute a lot of time. Measuring time commitment is very difficult. Comparing web site contacts (see the links Hampstead posted above) shows the Forum is an internet based organization (no surprise) and the WBCCI has a minor internet presence. The numbers in the link indicate that even though 10% of Forum members post reasonably frequently, many more members and guests read the posts. This is a measure of influence as well as participation.

The analyses of the web presence of each organization can contribute to the analysis of more important questions. To concentrate on a statement I made that I should have qualified is something of a red herring distracting from the questions that have to be answered:

1. How can the WBCCI be relevant to a significant number of Airstream owners?

2. How should "significant" be defined? 5,000? 10,000? 20,000? 2,000?

3. Depending on what the WBCCI decides are the short and long term membership goals, how to achieve them?

Some organizations are expanding, some shrinking. The hierarchical model has been modified successfully by some organizations (look at the Obama campaign). There is something to be learned there. Certainly in a non-hierarchical model is is difficult to quantify the achievements of the organization. I am used to the traditional models and can thrive within them, but I am aware they are not working. I am as confused as anyone about how to change to adapt to a new world, and, fortunately perhaps, I am old enough not to have to figure it out, but simply to observe. It does seem this new world is much more democratic and chaotic. It allows people to make decisions (good and bad ones) for themselves rather than have others do it. This is the challenge for the WBCCI. The WBCCI leadership seems to have made it clear to the members at large who wanted an internet unit that not only the online approach was unacceptable, the members at large themselves were not wanted. In taking that action the WBCCI took a big step towards self immolation. It will take a lot of work to change the belief the WBCCI is internet unfriendly and is unwilling to look at new ways of organizing. A few years from now, that action may be looked at as a major turning point in the decline of the WBCCI.

And, there is a challenge for the Forum—it is in one way a commercial enterprise, but also an influential one created by its members rather than by its owners. How will the influence of the Forum be manifested in the future? Is it to be channeled? Can you "channel" chaos? This really is a question to ask about the internet as well. It's more than an information (a lot of the information is BS, wrong or silly, but a lot is true) device.

This is a time of change. It is exciting and some will succeed and others will not. It is uncomfortable. It is crisis that must not be wasted.

ts8501: my impression is that some regions are declining less than others. I don't have numbers on units and indeed some may be expanding. Perhaps someone with those numbers will share them with the Forum. Are the expanding units the most informal ones? Perhaps some units can establish their own internet presence, for example, an FCU Forum separate from the WBCCI.

Gene
__________________
Gene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-26-2009, 03:30 PM   #154
Certifiable
 
mistral blue's Avatar
 
. , .
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 4,460
Wink Don't be fooled

In the picture Frank posted, it kinda looks like the kid with his arm up is swearing them in, but it's actually the crazy dude in the white short sleeve shirt doing the honors. (It got pretty nippy at night. What was Don thinking? )

I don't think you can make it out but a couple of the flags in the background are Jolly Rogers, Tibetan prayer flags and (*gasp*) NY Yankees flags of various shapes and sizes.

Visits to the Baseball Hall of Fame and Howe Caverns took up my days when we went to this particular campout. Unfortunately, I'm not at liberty to disclose what took place after the (clearly lengthy and overly officious ) ceremonies.

BTW. I am a member of the New England Unit ("NEU").
Different unit. Different Region.
Family nonetheless.
(Q: Why would anyone from a different unit go to a business rally? I wasn't the only one, either.)

Full disclosure:
I have never seen an actual Blue Book.
I do not own a beret of any color but think they can be rather jaunty on the right head.
I do not have any red numbers on my trailer but I like seeing them on others.
My wife and I are in our forties, we both work full time and we have a young boy (who likes to raise his hand apparently ).

I am also a member of many other camping clubs.
I feel that by joining these clubs I am giving my family more opportunities and choices than by not joining.
These clubs are therefore relevant to me.
When they cease to be relevant we will move on with many, many warm feelings and terrific friendships.

I am extemely satisfied with my experiences within the WBCCI.
The past couple of years in the club have been phenomenal.

I am SO looking forward to 2009! (Yes, my cabin fever is rising.)
__________________

__________________
"IT'S A MAGICAL WORLD, HOBBES, OL' BUDDY... LET'S GO EXPLORING!" ~ CALVIN
mistral blue is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
MOHO at WBCCI Rallies henw WBCCI Rallies & Events 29 07-27-2017 12:28 AM
A/S Plant NO LONGER going to WBCCI Rallies! Pearl54FC WBCCI Rallies & Events 40 08-05-2008 10:07 AM
To all WBCCI members streamer23 WBCCI Forum 32 10-11-2006 09:42 PM
Are Forum members WBCCI members? 83Excella WBCCI Forum 8 07-03-2002 12:37 AM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:07 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.