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Old 07-20-2012, 06:48 AM   #183
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I suspect that rallies and caravans have an inertia all their own. The first time one is held, the attendees say, "Hey, that was fun! Let's do this again, same time next year!"

Eventually, it becomes, "We have to do it, because it's traditional." Unfortunately, the people who started the tradition have moved on (or, sadly, passed on), and those that came behind don't change the tradition, because it's traditional, even if it doesn't meet the needs or schedules of the present membership.

Polls and surveys often have a bad odor in WBCCI; suggestions to have one are met with much skepticism as to their effectiveness, and doubts as to whether anyone pays attention to the results. However, I believe that much useful information could be gleaned from a simple survey asking "Why didn't you attend [_____] event?"

If there is a preponderance of answers all in a similar vein, whether it's, "Couldn't afford it," or "Too far away," or "Didn't fit my schedule," or even, "Didn't know about it until it was too late to register," then at least the event organizers would know what to fix for future years.

The first step to solving ANY problem is to define the problem. With regard to low attendance, the problem is not "Low Attendance." That is only a symptom of the problem. Kind of like going to the doctor and telling him, "I can't seem to stop coughing." The coughing isn't the problem; pneumonia, or tuberculosis, or a chest cold, or whatever is causing the cough is the problem.

I believe that until WBCCI figures out WHY attendance is down, there can be no effective solution that will bring attendace up, except by coincidence and dumb luck.
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Old 07-20-2012, 09:31 AM   #184
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I believe the international was supposed to be a business meeting more than a fun thing originally. Few want to go to a business meeting. Jim
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Old 07-20-2012, 09:55 AM   #185
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Back in the 60s when close to 4,000 trailer showed up that was one hell of a business meeting. The two main topics of discussion were how to remove the top off a Jack Daniel's bottle and how deep to dig your gofer hole.

Some things have changed with the advent of pump out.
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Old 07-20-2012, 09:58 AM   #186
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The Balloon Fiesta rally in Albuquerque grows every year. It's small because of limited space, but was up to 103 last year and probably more this year depending how much space can be freed up. Provide something people want and they come.

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Old 07-20-2012, 10:48 AM   #187
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I believe the international was supposed to be a business meeting more than a fun thing originally. Few want to go to a business meeting. Jim
If it's a business meeting, then attendees should be limited ONLY to people who have business there. Anything else is a waste of resources.

I don't think it's meant as ONLY a business meeting. If the idea is to boost attendance, then the attitude should be "Let's have some fun, and as long as we're going to be here anyway, let's conduct some business." If you start with, "We're here for business, and as long as we're here, let's have some fun," then naturally there will be almost zero attendance from people who aren't there for the business.

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The Balloon Fiesta rally in Albuquerque grows every year. It's small because of limited space, but was up to 103 last year and probably more this year depending how much space can be freed up. Provide something people want and they come.

Gene
My point exactly. Rallies with low attendance happen because the organizers don't know what's missing, so naturally they can't provide it.
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Old 07-20-2012, 11:17 AM   #188
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I believe the decreasing attendance at the International in symtomatic of the decreasing membership, which was a major topic of discussion at the IBT Board meeting there. And, this is more of an attitude swing in the club than a decrease of numbers, which of course, is also an issue. Several points were made of how to change the WBCCI to attract new members, specifically those in the age group of 50-60 which should be the target age of the club.

However, it was clear to all the upper management of the club will have none of this. They do not want to change or improve the club, IMHO.

The case was also stated the club cannot do anything about members aging an becoming incapable of participating....that will happen no matter what is done.

The thing is, what it takes to become an International officer in the WBCCI (really the only group that can efectually change things) is many years of progression "thru the chairs" to get there. As an example.... up to three years as Unit VP, a year as Unit President, up to six years as Region VP, then two years as Region President, then up to three years as International VP, for a year as International President.

Folks, this can be up to sixteen years of indoctrination of how things are done, and how they've always been done. Granted it can happen faster, but it can take that long. Additionally, and in my opinion this is the main reason things in WBCCI will never change for the better, after a person finally gets to a position where he can be influential enough to make a change, it is not in his personal best personal interest to do so.

Now that I have made that statement, I'm sure the wrath of the WBCCI International Officers will come tumbling down upon be, but if so, so be it.
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Old 07-20-2012, 12:12 PM   #189
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And of course, the current economy and the price of fuel also have an effect on attendance.
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Old 07-20-2012, 12:58 PM   #190
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And of course, the current economy and the price of fuel also have an effect on attendance.
Undoubtedly the long dragged out state of the economy is a factor, particularly for those who were getting significant interest income in the past.
I think fuel prices less so.. In 2008 diesel prices were pushing $5.00 a gallon and the rally in Bozeman had over 800 attending, even though this is in a low population area.

The following year in Madison the attendance increased by less than 100 even though it was convenient to major population centers and fuel was about $2.00 a gallon cheaper.

In 2010 the rally went to Gillette possibly an area of less interest to many and more remote. This was also the first full hookup rally which effectively raised the price for the 3 amp attendees by $200.00. There had been 270 or so in 3 amp in Madison. The Gillette attendance was down by just about that number. I am sure that is not the whole reason but it likely was part of it.
The attendance has continued to drop, now having gone down by 50% in 3 years. It may be approaching the point where it will no longer be feasible to have an international.

In our case we skipped the last 3 because we were not willing to pay the extra price for hookups we did not want.
I am sure others have other reasons
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Old 07-20-2012, 01:19 PM   #191
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It may be approaching the point where it will no longer be feasible to have an international.
As long as there are club officers who get reimbursed for traveling to it, there will always be an International. Even if they are the only ones left in the club to attend it.

Just being realistically cynical. Or cynically realistic.

General question: What is the minimum number of members that WBCCI needs to maintain in order to even have a club? A hundred? Fifty? Three and a half?
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Old 07-20-2012, 02:06 PM   #192
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As long as there are club officers who get reimbursed for traveling to it, there will always be an International. Even if they are the only ones left in the club to attend it.

Just being realistically cynical. Or cynically realistic.

General question: What is the minimum number of members that WBCCI needs to maintain in order to even have a club? A hundred? Fifty? Three and a half?
No officers are reimbursed for traveling to or attending the International Rally.
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Old 07-20-2012, 02:16 PM   #193
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It has been several months since I read the bylaws (and it was pretty dry reading even then), but I do remember that some club officers are reimbursed at a set rate for traveling to (but not returning from) certain club events.

I forget which officers, and which events. If you say the International is not one of those events, I'll take your word for it.
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Old 07-20-2012, 02:19 PM   #194
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They can spend a month while a mere member can only stay for a shorter time. I thought the EC has a stipend or allowance to travel to necessary meetings and the International and IBT rally would be necessary among any others that they do business such as International Rally promotion or visit other rallies to let members be in contact with officers, no? There are also the dinners and thank you perks to consider. I thought the region officers were taking a hit from their travel allowance???
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Old 07-20-2012, 02:32 PM   #195
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Between up to a month of free camping, free banquet meals, and splitting the $125,000 per year travel expenses allowance some Officers will show up.
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Old 07-20-2012, 03:17 PM   #196
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I think you have to look at what it costs someone to be on a board. I've been on a board of a nonprofit that had 4 board meetings a year in various part of the state and the organization picked up some of the expenses depending how the donations were coming in. Board members were expected to donate. Some couldn't afford it, so some dinners or lodging helped them a lot. Personally, I never took the lodging money, but did accept a few free lunches. It was a lot of work to be on that board and when I was an officer sometimes 10-20 hours a week, maybe more.

I have read the leaders of the WBCCI are expected to travel to a lot of meetings around the country and that costs a lot. If you are not pretty well off, this gets expensive.

So that's one side of it.

The other side is that it costs the organization a lot, causes resentments, and I don't think the WBCCI is the type of organization that solicits donations. The organization has been shrinking for years and the proportion of money for travel, meals and other costs keeps increasing, or used to if it has been cut down recently.

There should be a reasonable medium. Some people need help with expenses, some don't. Lavish costs (banquets don't usually sit well with members) and more traveling than minimums need to be controlled. I think an explanation of why the leaders need to be at the International for weeks before the actual event should be forthcoming because this is also something that has been criticized for years. People who want to contribute time but can't afford the expense of being on a board should receive some reasonable help or the volunteer pool shrinks too much.

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