Kimber here... So, I find this all fascinating. (brace yourself, I'm on my soapbox.This could get long...)
We, as the membership, PAYED for the IBT to travel to the mid-winter meeting, where they focused on 2 main issues. Their own self-preservation of a dwindling moho membership and the delay of the new FORWARD-THINKING, membership-growing unit.
Does that make sense?
For the past 3 years we've seen the membership drop. Yada, yada, said about how 'change' is imminent and 'change' is good. Thanks president for those REAL words of wisdom in every issue of the Blue Beret. What is the real message?
Is this the change that you were talking about? Focusing membership efforts on the smallest group of 'A/S' owners? Focusing a membership drive for the least-progressive members of the club? Boy, I'm confused.
Improving communication was also discussed at this membership-paid-for meeting. The need to improve the internet based infrastructure was the focus. How long has this been worked on? 9 mos.? How long should this take? All I can say is WHAT TAKES SOOOOOO LONG? Look at these forums and look at Save Wally. It doesn't take long to get people of like minds and interests together.
I'd really like to know what is being done to improve the membership and moral in the club. Why aren't they focusing on the REAL important issues at hand?
The whole WBCCI process is mired in RED TAPE and pomp and circumstance. Worse than the government. Maybe it's because "most of the members are past military." (Quote, from Chicago Tribune story, of Daryl Ewles, July, 2004.) They're in control and we all just have to sit back over here and do what they say. 'STAND DOWN, PLEASE." ...WHAT? I payed for this?
Motion form from the Region 12 BofD meeting authorizing travel expenses for the region 12 First V.P., October 2006... "All reimbursable expenses shall conform to the WBCCI Blue Book Bylaws and Policy, Appendix #3, Page 1, with an amount not to exceed a limit of $1,500. This allowance, if passed, would apply to either ground or air transportation." (this is for just 1 meeting in the year...)
And the prize quote from just 2 days ago at the IBT meeting by past Int'l president, Jim Franklin, "if you don't like it go get a Winnebago and join another club." Now, that's priceless!
Conversely, another quote by Dicky Riegel from the same 2004 article mentioned above states, "Our newer customers are well-educated, fun-loving, roving spirits with an interest in design." These people that he speaks of, along with the new and existing vintage owners, are the biggest prospective member to the club.
This is MY club too!!!!! And I say let's change it!
I joined this club to feel and live the vision of adventure that WALLY believed in. Yes, he was a salesman, but he really did believe. If he didn't he wouldn't have spent all the time he did ADVENTURING! So, this is not the club that Wally built. If the IBT is trying to make more out of it than that, they're on the wrong track.
The following ideas are what I'd like to hear come out of an IBT meeting. (enter dream state – you are now in deep R.E.M. sleep)
Begin with the “Pledge of Allegiance”, RAP STYLE (O.K. It’s a dream and not everything makes sense) I Pledge allegiance to Wally’s vision of what the WBCCI stands for…
Now on to the meeting.
Agenda items for a 'NEW' forward-thinking IBT annual meeting (this is the way the meeting should have gone):
A) Marketing campaign update. The new marketing committee will give an overview of their current and future marketing ideas and implementations. Included will be recent press coverage of events, including one by CNN's Jenny Moos at the International in Perry, where new and vintage trailers were represented. Editorial coverage is working too! America is still in love with our silver gem.
Remember, press coverage gets new members.
How about developing programs that meet the needs of today's younger demographic? How about a MARKETING plan that targets new and vintage membership (both young and old). A/S sales of new trailers are smokin' and so are sales and renovations of vintage and older trailers. How about more community-minded projects that come from the hearts of WBCCI membership as well as being press-worthy events. The WBCCI is a 501(c)(3), NOT a self-fulfilling prophecy. Seems to me that there's a lot of profit in the coffers. Non-profit. (Profit.) Non-profit, (Profit.)
Why doesn't the Profit pay for the gas? Why did the membership cost go up 2 years ago?
B) Cost saving measures implemented this year. The WBCCI has saved a total of 22k this past year. In celebration the WBCCI will re-invest this by having all of the Unit flags refurbished. Bright-spanking new flags will be shown next year at the International. Update of new membership materials.
Why doesn't the club put out the membership roster and info on a CD and get RID of the printed copy. (If a few really need it that way, print it out on a laster printer and send it. Or, maybe another member who's close to the member without a computer could print it up for them.) Remember, 501(c)(3). Work together.
Okay, how about those 'advertising' materials the WBCCI currently uses.
. Start from scratch with a new and refreshing tangent. Most of the of BS that is in the Blue Beret could be put up on-line and the rest, the stuff we really want to see -- big beautiful pictures of scenic travels and fun silly, crazy pics of rallies, and, good picture-laden stories of maintenance and renovations -- could bring the Blue Beret into the 21 century. Am I wrong? That's what I want to see.
C) 1. Marketing and advertising is working. The Web Committee updates us. With the reduction of the Regional entity to 2 positions, the cost savings have been moved to the creation of informative Unit Web sites. Each Unit now has a Website with a easily recognizable names. Each site is filled with exciting photos and current information and contacts. The committee will also update us to the effectiveness of new memberships.
C) 2. Name recognition campaign. The IBT has recognized the need for a WBCCI name recognition campaign. We will be discussing and voting on the procedure to fulfill this need. Development of 2-line response to 'Who is Wally Byam?' and a procedure for Units to be easily identified with the Airstream brand. i.e. "Airstreams of Washington D.C. Unit," or, "Airstreams of Four Corners Unit."
Oh, and how about Unit Web sites? Where are they?
This is the number-one recruiting tool in today's world. And I don't need an expensive or 'friend-conducted' survey to tell me this.
In an effort to educate myself about the dynamics of the Units across the country as a whole I perused each region's Web site and from there unit sites that were listed or linked -- I was sorely dismayed. Roughly 30% of the membership is represented this way. The rest are only listed as a phone call or not at all. I can assure you that I was not going to call any of these to find out what the dynamic of their Unit was like. I wonder how many others have been curious about joining a 'local' unit and turned-off by the lack of information and pictures and didn't feel comfortable phoning for info.
We don't have to change the club's name to become the most recognized and coolest adventure club in the RVing community. Simple, cost-effective and no-cost tactics can be implemented to boost the WBCCI to the forefront.
Again, this is a lack of the leadership to recognize the way the world works these days.
D) New and fun traveling programs and incentives bring in new memberships. New members are joining in nicely and becoming adapted quickly to the adventurous Airstream lifestyle. New ideas and programs are popping up across the Units and brining smiles to member faces. The Programs Committee will update us on the proposed Host-A-Rally program. It is working well for several Units and there will be discussion on empowering this as a Unit standard.
Volunteers are people too!
Volunteers are the heart beating momentum of a Non-profit. Reach out to the membership for volunteers to promote the club. Seek out and use their expertise to propel your entity to the height of promotional bliss. Spread the work around.
The IBT as a whole is OUT-OF-TOUCH. When I think of them, and especially recently with all of this Four Winds/Mandalay BS, I only hear that giant sucking sound. The sound where everything as we know it is eaten alive and destroyed. We all get destroyed and the Langoliers* survive and flourish in their own right.
It is up to us as the membership as a whole to get this back up and running in a progressive manner. All of these crazy ideas are hurting the club, both in public relations and in prospective and current membership. If we start working TOGETHER, we can make great things happen and make the WBCCI trim and efficient and moving forward.
" by Stephen King - a group of travelers on a red-eye flight from California to Maine wake up to discover that most of their fellow passengers have vanished mid-flight, along with one of the pilots and all of the flight attendants, when a plane passes through a mysterious time warp. The survivors manage to land, and discover that time seems to stand still--and the mysterious Langoliers are in hot pursuit. The Langoliers' job is to erase moments in time that have already passed into history. The survivors still exist because they were asleep when the plane passed through the warp, and they realize that if they can all be asleep once again when the plane returns back where it came from, they will survive. However, one passenger (the pilot) must remain awake--and doomed to die--to see the plane on its return through the warp... Do you see the parallels to WBCCI leadership and what is happening to us now) Crunch, crunch, CRUNCH! The Langoliers are coming for YOU!