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Old 01-05-2013, 05:27 PM   #61
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We have full time employees at HQ right now and pay their healthcare plus a 5% matching payment for their 401 IRA's. That is where the bulk of the dues go. It is about $200,000 per year, which would be $35/member. The officer travel budget is about $100,000/yr. or $17.50/member. That leaves $12.50/ member to cover insurance, office building, and all other programs.

I, for one, certainly think the ladies at HQ more than earn their keep.

One thing that I am curious about, your quote indicates that there are about 5,714 members contributing to the numbers above.

Where did you get the total member numbers?

The January, 2013 Blue Beret indicated only 5,232 members in the numerical members listing. This is a membership discrepancy of almost 10%.

If additional revenues are not raised the club will be operating with a deficit in the very near future unless either costs are reduced or the number of active members are increased.
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Old 01-05-2013, 06:46 PM   #62
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I thought there were 2 employees. The numbers dwightdi gives indicate a base salary of very roughly $60,000+ each plus benefits and taxes. Sounds like a lot for clerical duties. If 3 fulltimers, almost $45,000 each.

Benefits and employer taxes generally are around (again roughly) about 1/3 of total compensation.

I know there are complaints about the dues being too high. I think they are reasonable for a nonprofit organization. What is important is what they do with them and whether the members get their money's worth. That is where the organization has a problem. Some nonprofits rely on volunteers to do some of the clerical work and ask the directors to help too. Directors are often asked for donations too.

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Old 01-05-2013, 07:52 PM   #63
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I believe right now we have: Cindy Reed as the Corporate Manager, Deb Sailor is the Blue Beret Editor, Deb Mann is the Membership Director and out newest employee is Julie Rethman, who takes care of member services. You can get the full financial statement upon request from Jackson Center. They issue them quarterly, as well as membership figures. Individual salaries are not published. The healthcare package for our 4 full timers is pretty expensive. The cost of liability insurance for the club and event organizers is over $30,000.

None of the members of the committees get paid. However; the marketing committee does spend the majority of his $15,000 budget with a marketing company previously owed by him and now run by his kids. Some committees are more active than others and some members put in more time than others.

Good Sam has close to a million members, so they can spread their overhead over more members giving them less overhead cost per member. Even Escapees and FMCA has a lot more members than we have.
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:28 AM   #64
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At the last Winter IBT we attended, in 2011, the WBCCI reported having about $1,000,000.00/ONE MILLION DOLLARS in savings/holdings/investments.

It would seem prudent to perhaps draw on some of that, if absolutely necessary, while trying to cut expenses and retain/increase membership.



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Old 01-06-2013, 08:50 AM   #65
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The club puts together complete quarterly financial statements, that also include membership numbers. You can get a copy by requesting them from Jackson Center. I read them with some interest.

It does seem that we have quite a large reserve, but in the current market, we are not making much interest on them. The Madison Rally shortfall of $103,000 was paid from the reserves. The next year, they raised the Rally fee and make $87,000.

Personally, I feel we should reduce our expenses to match our fallen membership numbers and use some of the reserves to cover us while we make the required changes.

Investing some of the reserves in programs that would enhance the club's benefits to the members might also be a good idea. Unless we change the way we operate the club and improve the benefits available and attractive to the new generation of Airstreamers, we will likely see a continuation of the fall in membership.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:07 AM   #66
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Investing some of the reserves in programs that would enhance the club's benefits to the members might also be a good idea. Unless we change the way we operate the club and improve the benefits available and attractive to the new generation of Airstreamers, we will likely see a continuation of the fall in membership.
Perhaps we ought to branch off into a new thread, and ask the WBCCI members— and potential menbers— exactly what kind of benefits they would want in order to join or to remain in the club. Market research, in business terms.

We could seed the list with the benefits already provided. Then, once we have a decent list of existing and potential new benefits, follow it up with a poll to get an unofficial vote and a tentative ranking from most to least popular.

Then we would know where to concentrate our efforts. A benefit that few potential members want is not worth spending resources on.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:19 AM   #67
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Perhaps we ought to branch off into a new thread, and ask the WBCCI members— and potential menbers— exactly what kind of benefits they would want in order to join or to remain in the club. Market research, in business terms.
A good thought, Protagonist, but I think that was done a year or two ago.

There is too much domination of self-interest up top, from what we saw and see. There needs to be a shift in their orientation toward dues-paying members---such as more empathic than autocratic.

That's the basic, fundamental change needed, from our perspective. If that happened, everything else would follow.


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Old 01-06-2013, 09:40 AM   #68
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If there are 4 employees, does the $200 K compensation budget reflect the former 3 or the present 4? With 4, the compensation gets pretty low, though it may be normal in rural Ohio (rural areas typically have low salaries). $200 K split 4 ways is more in line for rural incomes. Two working on membership means some recognition about problems, but one has to wonder if they are effective. Perhaps they cannot put enough fingers in the dike given the IBT blunders.

I think the WBCCI is in a bind because to run the nuts and bolts or the organization they need money, but they aren't the type of nonprofit that can get grants and donations unless they get some imagination and find ways to do so. Perhaps they could do research on RV issues and find a way to bring money in that way to supplement their employee expenses. But with leaders that are stuck in a past that probably never was, it is hard to find imagination and creativity.

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Old 01-06-2013, 09:43 AM   #69
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A good thought, Protagonist, but I think that was done a year or two ago.

There is too much domination of self-interest up top, from what we saw and see. There needs to be a shift in their orientation toward dues-paying members---such as more empathic than autocratic.

That's the basic, fundamental change needed, from our perspective. If that happened, everything else would follow.


Maggie
I agree. It has been done and largely ignored. I think the befits are largely how you feel. Unlike Good Sam that you join just to avoid paying extra at camping world or for the road side assistance, the WBCCI is na experience based membership. If it was a great experience and every rally I had a blast, I would be willing to pay more $$ But we are both still working so we can't take advantage of the caravans nor the rallys that start on Wed or Thur.... Nor are we retired and I sure as heck hope we never get that retired mind set! We seek adventure, travel and fun. Whether it is 10 minutes from here with friends in a state park camp ground and glass of wine or a cross country jaunt... Doesn't matter. It just has to be FUN!

The main conflict/points are the membership is diverse and the majority of the senior members are senior and therefore forget why they joined.

There should be a new board position for someone with less than 3 to 5 years of WBCCI experience. Hopefully they will bring the why back!

Just my 2 cents (or $1 if we were at a rally )
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:55 AM   #70
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A good thought, Protagonist, but I think that was done a year or two ago.

There is too much domination of self-interest up top, from what we saw and see. There needs to be a shift in their orientation toward dues-paying members---such as more empathic than autocratic.

That's the basic, fundamental change needed, from our perspective. If that happened, everything else would follow.
I only joined a year ago, so the last go-around may have been before my time. But one reason why I suggested doing this on the AirForums, is to allow greater input from people who don't belong to WBCCI, but who might join if the club's benefits are attractive enough to them to justify the price.

If it was up to me (and it's not up to me, so I know it will never happen, but a guy can hope…) I would start with the basic purpose of WBCCI— the WBCCI mission statement— and examine every committee, and every office, to see if they support that basic purpose. Any that don't would get the axe.

The mission statement, taken directly from the WBCCI Constitution, is: "Wally Byam Caravan Club International, Inc. is a diverse community of Airstream owners with a commitment to Fun, Fellowship and Adventure." Poorly worded, because a MISSION statement is supposed to be WHAT WE DO, not WHO WE ARE. The way it's worded, it's an identity statement, not a mission statement. But the gist of the mission is, WBCCI provides its members with enjoyable, safe, and interesting experiences in the company of a diverse group of Airstream owners.

That would require looking at TWO sides of the equation: (1) What is the office or the committee supposed to do; (2) What does the office or committee actually do. Every office, every committee, every from the President and Executive Committee on down, has to contribute in some way to maintaining a diverse membership and/or ensuring that the club activities are enjoyable, safe, and interesting.

Important to note, a diverse membership is not necessarily a large membership. A smaller club that caters to the needs of its members more viable than a large club that doesn't. Of course, defining "diverse" is problematic as well. Does it mean a mix of retirees and working stiffs? Wealthy and dirt-poor? Full-timers and weekenders? Varied marital status, ethnicity, geographical location, political affiliation, age, gender?
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:26 AM   #71
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the majority of club members do not participate in the forum and most do not even know the forums exist and do not care. So what forum members think of the operation of the club is not representable of the club majority. Jim
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:40 AM   #72
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the majority of club members do not participate in the forum and most do not even know the forums exist and do not care. So what forum members think of the operation of the club is not representable of the club majority. Jim
What you say is true. However, if the club ever want to attract new members, then the opinions of people who aren't yet club members are important, regardless of what the majority of existing club members might think.

Since AirForums is the best and easiest way to reach Airstream owners who aren't yet club members, I would think that anyone wanting to expand WBCCI membership SHOULD find out what the AirForum members think.
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Old 01-06-2013, 11:04 AM   #73
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What you say is true. However, if the club ever want to attract new members, then the opinions of people who aren't yet club members are important, regardless of what the majority of existing club members might think.

Since AirForums is the best and easiest way to reach Airstream owners who aren't yet club members, I would think that anyone wanting to expand WBCCI membership SHOULD find out what the AirForum members think.
I couldn't agree more. At times WBCCI members have acted like nonmembers have no right to question how the club is run. All that does is make nonmembers even less likely to join.

I have met WBCCI members and they seem to be like anyone else; they do not appear any more dangerous than nonmembers. Some even could be accepted as normal people. But they haven't been able to change much about the club. The rules to ascend the golden ladder of leadership seem to make sure only those who think in lockstep get very far. Once people become leaders of units or regions, some may get co-opted and feel once they get to the top, they will reveal their true beliefs and change things. By the time they get there, maybe they will have become the same as the present leaders. It appears to take years and years to get to the top—how many give up with frustration or give up with age? How long can you play along to get promoted (i.e, selected by the nominations process controlled by the leaders) before you have lost your soul?

Having some experience in serving on Boards of Directors, you have to be careful what you say if you seek reform. You have to develop relationships with people—friendship matters, often more than logic. You have to compromise and trade things with others. It takes years to get changes through. I served on a fairly large regional organization and a group of us managed to bring some modernization, but there were always people ready to undermine change. But we got legislation adopted and influenced local pols. We had a dozen employees. When some of us left (5 1/2 years was enough), the old guard took over again and have managed to reduce membership by half or more, have 2 employees and they weakened the organization so no one listens to it anymore. It takes a lot of work and time to take over an organization and nothing is certain.

The WBCCI has a history that should be preserved, but over time that legacy has been forgotten and to someone who has joined the Airstream ranks in recent years, the WBCCI is something creaky from the past. It is interesting to see how a community unravels, but the process has become somewhat boring. It is like watching a train wreck, but the train has thousands of old, beat up cars going 5 mph and slowly hitting into each other—no big crashes, no explosions, no screams—just slowly crunching to a stop.

The club is being replaced by the Forum, some other clubs with small numbers, but dedicated members, Airstream Life and small groups of people that just find each other. All will probably co-exist for several years, but how people organize will keep changing. The internet has expanded opportunity for relationships to develop, but predicting what happens in 5 or 10 years is foolish.

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Old 01-06-2013, 03:32 PM   #74
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None of the members of the committees get paid. However; the marketing committee does spend the majority of his $15,000 budget with a marketing company previously owed by him and now run by his kids.
Wait. Are you saying that the guy in charge of the marketing committee pays his kids' company to do the marketing? That would not fly at my company. Every year, I have to take training about how that would not happen. That is so questionable that I have to ask if it is really true.
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:56 PM   #75
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Wait. Are you saying that the guy in charge of the marketing committee pays his kids' company to do the marketing? That would not fly at my company. Every year, I have to take training about how that would not happen. That is so questionable that I have to ask if it is really true.
It is really true. We were at the IBT midwinter meeting when that contract was announced and then voted on.

I then spoke personally to the father-who-sold-his-company-to-his-son, where the new contract went, and he confirmed it.

As I recall, this father was also the maker-of-the-motion, regarding to whom the contract would be awarded. It seemed like a done deal, the motion and voting were just a formality.


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Old 01-06-2013, 04:45 PM   #76
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$100,000 for officer travel? Last year we traveled thousands of miles, spending over 200 nights in our Airstream. Nobody reimbursed us for any of that, and that's just fine. What in the world makes their travel such a benefit to us that we should pay for it?

Now with this advertising fiasco coming to light?

This whole thing is beginning to leave a very bad taste in my mouth, and I can't imagine that I am alone.

And they want to charge me another $1.00 to attend an event? It's not the dollar. It's the mindset.

Unbelievable
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:10 PM   #77
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The usual conflict of interest provisions to prevent self dealing provide that if a board member or their immediate family (different definitions of that, but sons certainly are immediate) would profit by an action of the board, the board member must not vote on the matter and may not make motions or even sit with the board during the debate. He can sit in the audience. Some states have statutes on this, some don't. But corporations usually have such a policy. Apparently the WBCCI doesn't have one, or ignores it.

A member of the organization can ask for info about such a policy and then also check state law (statutes and case law) about this. A member can sue over these things, but it usually costs a lot for little return monetarily.

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Old 01-06-2013, 05:10 PM   #78
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Jim, I think the difference for officer travel is that they're required to do the travels, no matter what their personal travel preferences might be. It's part of the job description.

I don't think we should reduce their travel reimbursements. However, I'd bet that change to the job descriptions might be in order. Or some other structural change making the necessity of so much travel less of a burden to the club.


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Old 01-06-2013, 05:15 PM   #79
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Most nonprofit boards ask directors to donate—they could do the travel and not ask for any money.

Does anyone do an audit to see if they are visiting friends and relatives along the way, or seeing the sights? At the least, the costs should be proportional to actual business conducted.

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Old 01-06-2013, 05:26 PM   #80
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The usual conflict of interest provisions to prevent self dealing provide that if a board member or their immediate family (different definitions of that, but sons certainly are immediate) would profit by an action of the board, the board member must not vote on the matter and may not make motions or even sit with the board during the debate. He can sit in the audience. Some states have statutes on this, some don't. But corporations usually have such a policy. Apparently the WBCCI doesn't have one, or ignores it.

A member of the organization can ask for info about such a policy and then also check state law (statutes and case law) about this. A member can sue over these things, but it usually costs a lot for little return monetarily.

Gene
This man was not part of the IBT, but a WBCCI member. Can't recall his name but there was discussion of this issue at the time, on the midwinter IBT meeting thread for 2010 I believe. Might have been 2011, the last of these we attended.


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