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Old 12-17-2013, 09:55 AM   #141
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The three tier structure as set up in 1964 means that it takes 13 years to ascend to International president or 7 years to just have a seat as backup Region 1st VP at an IBT meeting. That means the decision makers( and capable of implementing change) are all old and out of step with the younger generations' needs and desires that we trying to attract. If you have dedicated 10 years of your life to attain your office, and waited that long, you are not about to give it up.

The biggest drain on the dues is the $200,000 (out of $360K) we pay for the 4 ladies at Jackson Center. Very little is spent on buying services that are directly useful to the individual members. Hq staff eats $34 of your $65 dues. If we could lower the dues to be competitive with other Airstream clubs, we might be able to attract more members.

I have been with the organization 19 years and little has changed, except the membership has dropped considerably and the dues per member have gone up, because the overhead at the top has not been reduced. The ECC has at least tried to modernize the communication. The 2020 committee tried, but little was implemented by the older leadership. Change has come about at some progressive local units, but programs at the International level remained the same.
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Old 12-17-2013, 09:59 AM   #142
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Ah, I don't think you're right there, Dwight. I know folks near the top who haven't even been members of the club for that long.

Again, though, if you want to work on this stuff, I'll help you out by creating a thread for you. But that's not this thread!


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Old 12-17-2013, 10:49 AM   #143
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Lynn,

Perhaps this thread should be called "Trying to Herd Cats".

However, if you want to see what works, check out the units that are expanding. The 4CU has been very successful, as you know. It can't be just about the informality, so what else do they do? Some other units have also been successful and they may have some good ideas from actual experience.

But you can't drive the people away who live in the past and like the way the club has been run. You need their dues and other support. Maybe units can be classified by the type of members they want. Since units overlap geographically, this could work. How to differentiate codgers' groups from others require some linguistic dexterity, but I know you could do it.

I can remember many posts from people who tried out the club and found it was run by people from a different world than theirs. Find them and offer them a different experience. They showed an interest in a club and maybe they'd give the WBCCI another chance. If you can recapture those that gave up on the club and are active on the Forum, they will tell how it is so much better on the Forum and that will encourage others to join.

People love bargains. Give people a discount for the 1st year—it doesn't have to be free (better if it isn't because that degrades the perceived quality). Give those who joined and quit a bigger discount to try it again. Make sure these new and not so new people are directed toward units that match their expectations—if not, you'll just drive them away again.

There is little question young people organize differently—and in fact, so do some old people. It is a cultural split that if reflected in other parts of American (and probably Canadian) culture. It would be interesting to see a survey of attitudes of Forum and WBCCI members. For some the Forum replaces the WBCCI, for others, it is the only game in town. What the Forum offers may be an example for what the WBCCI should be doing. If the WBCCI doesn't want to, or can't offer a similar online experience, maybe the 2 groups can work together. For example, combined dues at a discount (I know the Forum doesn't call the $20/year dues, but who cares what it is called?).

Glad to hear there are so many new people taking over—publicize it and what they have done. Let people know what they can do to continue the process. This also goes to showing people who have rejected the club that things are different.

The culture wars that happen in every vibrant and evolving society are reflected in how people see old line organizations. Show that everyone has a place in the club—different units for different folks—and that no one group controls everything. Club reputation has been damaged and healing that takes a long time. If the club leaders recognize the problem and face it, then they can change reputation. Some of the above suggestions may help change perceptions.

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Old 12-17-2013, 10:59 AM   #144
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Gene, some of those very people who, by your own reckoning, are with growth units are now also with the IBT. Your citation of old-school people is just plain irrelevant. These people are no longer around in positions of authority -- except in the minds of people like yourself, evidently.

Times change, Gene. Catch a wave or drown.


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Old 12-17-2013, 11:41 AM   #145
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Lynn,

Who are the current IBT, who will be present at the 2014 midwinter?

That info might be helpful.


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Old 12-17-2013, 12:04 PM   #146
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That info is available on the first page of the agenda for the Winter IBT, linked from that thread here at Airforums, Maggie.

Meanwhile, I've been working on group discounts.
  • Making some progress on understanding the Michelin Advantage Program and forwarded that info to the relevant person on the IBT.
  • Still trying to understand the special discount program that Costco runs for associations. I've found references to it, but little of substance. Does anybody know any specifics on it?

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Old 12-17-2013, 12:06 PM   #147
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Gene, some of those very people who, by your own reckoning, are with growth units are now also with the IBT. Your citation of old-school people is just plain irrelevant. These people are no longer around in positions of authority -- except in the minds of people like yourself, evidently.

Times change, Gene. Catch a wave or drown.


Lynn
Lynn you speak of all the great new people running the club while the old timers are no longer in positions of authority. If this is the case can you tell us about the changes and improvements they have made to the club so far?

It's true that some units like 4CU and the Oregon Unit and some in the east are doing well but I don't see much change on the national level.
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Old 12-17-2013, 12:17 PM   #148
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Lynn you speak of all the great new people running the club while the old timers are no longer in positions of authority. If this is the case can you tell us about the changes and improvements they have made to the club so far?
Ditto.

Let's have some mind and attitude-changing info!


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Old 12-17-2013, 12:19 PM   #149
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Dan, the IBT has ultimately little influence over the most vital aspect of WBCCI membership, namely, the local unit. And that's the way it should be.

Where the IBT has been active, however, is in promoting new units and new national events (even over the objections of more old-style units in the vicinity) with new ideas. You can also see progress in some of the motions being entertained at the coming Winter IBT, including one to alter the date requirements of the International. See the current Winter IBT thread on Airforums for more information.

What this thread is about is to feed new ideas forward in the attempt to attract a younger generation of Airstream owners. As I wrote privately to Gene a little while ago, there is ample evidence of a generational change in interests across the board when it comes to RV clubs and to RV-related activities like old-style "snowbirding." The WBCCI is thankfully not vested financially like the businesses that cater to old-style interests. Many of those businesses are simply closing their doors and hanging the for-sale signs in places like low-elevation AZ.

My aim is to revitalize the WBCCI with suggestions on additional offerings to attract the generation of owners with different interests.

I hope you will help me to do so.


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Lynn you speak of all the great new people running the club while the old timers are no longer in positions of authority. If this is the case can you tell us about the changes and improvements they have made to the club so far?

It's true that some units like 4CU and the Oregon Unit and some in the east are doing well but I don't see much change on the national level.
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Old 12-17-2013, 12:38 PM   #150
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just a quick aside/clarification before you all can go back to re-creating the WBCCI.

"old" is just a state of mind and many of us 'elderly' AARPies can be just as forward-looking and progressive as the more youthful.

so - hopefully we can differentiate the old in years from the old in attitude.

- we now return you to your regularly scheduled discussion -
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Old 12-17-2013, 12:53 PM   #151
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I feel the same way, too, and cringe at the notion of generational difference (while I'm investigating my Medicare options). I suggested elsewhere that maybe what's at the bottom of it is some kind of outlook difference or somesuch, but it is just really hard to get around the observable changes without reference to time/age/generation.

These are, however, generalizations. True, they are generalizations that have real impact on people's lives (e.g., the businesses closing down in the snowbird areas), but they are by no means golden rules that cover every single member of a generation. Thank heavens.

Furthermore, I am not suggesting that we dump all the old stuff in favor of brand-new stuff. Rather, I've tried to be careful in saying that we need to add to what we've got, catering to all generations, not just to younger folks and not just to oldsters.


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just a quick aside/clarification before you all can go back to re-creating the WBCCI.

"old" is just a state of mind and many of us 'elderly' AARPies can be just as forward-looking and progressive as the more youthful.

so - hopefully we can differentiate the old in years from the old in attitude.

- we now return you to your regularly scheduled discussion -
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Old 12-17-2013, 01:19 PM   #152
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Since the BB seems to have a couple pages of new members every month, and a much shorter list of deaths the membership should be going up fast.
Since it is not likely those on the Obit list will renew it might be interesting to examine how long the new members stay in. If it is only a year or two it indicates a serious problem and perhaps these people need to be surveyed (again) to find out the reason they didn't stick around and whether it is political, lack of interesting activities, or some other reason. We need to ask Them what they wanted and did not find.
I never felt the there was a lack of activity at the International, but then I was always with the vintage club. It may seem much different for a newcomer tossed into the general population.
I go for the vendors, seminars, and to see friends. We rarely bother with the entertainment and there is no need to explain why.
For the last week I have been trying to think of things I would like to see more of that would be practical to do and coming up with little.
Unfortunately I can think of things that I would eliminate if I had the opportunity.
Perhaps , since the rally is now much smaller there is an opportunity to pick Venues that have more interesting things in the area. I must admit though I rarely leave the rally site doing most of my touring on the way too and from
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Old 12-17-2013, 01:25 PM   #153
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It is hard to come up with stuff, Rick, and that's why I'm asking for input. So far, though, I think we've seen some pretty cool ideas in the thread. At some point, I guess I need to comb the thread again and distill out the recommendations for events, activities, advantages, and so forth, maybe into a spreadsheet or something. Thankfully, though, the thread won't just disappear, so there's no need to do this immediately.

As far as the International is concerned, granted, there are a few seminars and vendors, but not that many, really. Of course, there's the vintage area. That's certainly where we'd be, complete with ... well, let's see how the political winds blow for what's legal and what's not.

Meanwhile, let's continue to brainstorm! Think outside the box about what a younger generation might want!


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Old 12-17-2013, 02:50 PM   #154
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Originally Posted by eubank View Post

Meanwhile, let's continue to brainstorm! Think outside the box about what a younger generation might want!

Lynn
Young folks want the same things we want.
They want to travel, see new places, and gather with their social friends.

We have three grown children. Only one wants, and has, a travel trailer. He and his wife have their own circle of friends with whom they go on outings. They do not need, or want, to join any group, pay any dues, or get any magazine. They communicate with their friends and go "camping" without any of that.

This is not to say that WBCCI should not try to get younger members, it is only to say that there is a big difference between now and many years ago when "camping clubs" were in vogue.

This may be the biggest battle, and one that is hard to overcome.
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Old 12-17-2013, 03:32 PM   #155
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Jim, you may be right with this: Younger folks just don't want to do the club thing.

But it really depends on what one means by the club thing. Surely, if we define it in just the way that it has been defined for the last few decades, then we may find ourselves as out of business as the "snowbird" businesses.

So, then, it's really up to us to redefine what the club thing means. I've been suggesting that it may involve the notion of "benefit," where we define that term in two ways:
  • Benefit qua finances. This traditional understanding of benefit would involve various ways in which paying for the club dues results in an ROI that is potentially greater than the dues themselves. As many vendor discounts as we can come up with, basically.
  • Benefit qua fulfillment. This kind of benefit involves looking at essentially every event we currently put on and asking a simple question: Would people want to attend this event even if there were no WBCCI -- and, perhaps, even if there were no RVs involved at all? If the answer is yes, then we're probably doing the right thing.
At the upper level, there isn't a whole lot we can do, but there are some things. Of course, continue to support lively units; that's a given. Put the pedal to the metal and support them even more. But, again, I'll pound on my little drum and repeat that the International must be made into a real rally, one where a multitude of activities trump business meetings at every possible turn.


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Young folks want the same things we want.
They want to travel, see new places, and gather with their social friends.

We have three grown children. Only one wants, and has, a travel trailer. He and his wife have their own circle of friends with whom they go on outings. They do not need, or want, to join any group, pay any dues, or get any magazine. They communicate with their friends and go "camping" without any of that.

This is not to say that WBCCI should not try to get younger members, it is only to say that there is a big difference between now and many years ago when "camping clubs" were in vogue.

This may be the biggest battle, and one that is hard to overcome.
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Old 12-17-2013, 03:53 PM   #156
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I have only been a member of WBCCI for 8 years. We are able to go on the caravans so we have a lot of participation and value for our dues.

WBCCI does have some things going for it. It has a large cash reserve built up from the glory days of high membership. It has a corporate structure that provides a lot of stability. It is hard to change but that might, in the long run, be an asset. It certainly provides some stability. I have some respect for the IBT type of management. But then I also respect and appreciate the electoral college for electing the US president.

We do not go to the international meetings. I am not sure how they could change it to make me want to go every year. The people that do go attend to reunite with their old friends and the officers attend. And I have to admit that the pomp and circumstance in that meeting was a turnoff for me. This year we are going on the Landmarks west caravan. My choice is to speed a week a Gillette for about $500 and attend the meeting or to drive right past Gillette and fish the Firehole, the spring creeks, or the Bighorn for about the same cost. Have not decided yet, but...

I was in another group, The Forest Products Society, that addressed the problem of declining membership by hiring a public relations firm to do a campaign. Net result is we lost a quarter million dollars (mortgaged our building to raise the cash) or so and did not gain a single member. In fact it launched a 3 or 4 year decline. It might be better to approach some problems with subtle, long term change than with a full frontal assault.

As Rick Davis points out more of the problem may be retaining members than recruiting them. An marketing push may not help that problem. Our unit is declining in number of members and in volunteers for positions and running rallies. Sorta a local death spiral, I think. We do have members in their 50's and we load them very heavily. But when someone who has been a member for years suddenly puts their Airstream only lot and their trailer up for sale it suggests that they have just decided to go another way. Not sure how you would keep them. We have had new people come to one rally or dinner, express their liking of it, and then never show again.
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Old 12-17-2013, 04:28 PM   #157
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Good contribution, Bill!

Now I want you to use your imagination: Suppose that International in Gillette were to include club-sponsored outings to fish for trout at Cook Lake and for walleye and pike at Keyhole? Plus, say, some expert fish cooking advice for open-fire grilling? And a fish fry. And ... well, use your imagination!


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I have only been a member of WBCCI for 8 years. We are able to go on the caravans so we have a lot of participation and value for our dues.

WBCCI does have some things going for it. It has a large cash reserve built up from the glory days of high membership. It has a corporate structure that provides a lot of stability. It is hard to change but that might, in the long run, be an asset. It certainly provides some stability. I have some respect for the IBT type of management. But then I also respect and appreciate the electoral college for electing the US president.

We do not go to the international meetings. I am not sure how they could change it to make me want to go every year. The people that do go attend to reunite with their old friends and the officers attend. And I have to admit that the pomp and circumstance in that meeting was a turnoff for me. This year we are going on the Landmarks west caravan. My choice is to speed a week a Gillette for about $500 and attend the meeting or to drive right past Gillette and fish the Firehole, the spring creeks, or the Bighorn for about the same cost. Have not decided yet, but...

I was in another group, The Forest Products Society, that addressed the problem of declining membership by hiring a public relations firm to do a campaign. Net result is we lost a quarter million dollars (mortgaged our building to raise the cash) or so and did not gain a single member. In fact it launched a 3 or 4 year decline. It might be better to approach some problems with subtle, long term change than with a full frontal assault.

As Rick Davis points out more of the problem may be retaining members than recruiting them. An marketing push may not help that problem. Our unit is declining in number of members and in volunteers for positions and running rallies. Sorta a local death spiral, I think. We do have members in their 50's and we load them very heavily. But when someone who has been a member for years suddenly puts their Airstream only lot and their trailer up for sale it suggests that they have just decided to go another way. Not sure how you would keep them. We have had new people come to one rally or dinner, express their liking of it, and then never show again.
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Old 12-17-2013, 04:31 PM   #158
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Young folks want the same things we want.
They want to travel, see new places, and gather with their social friends.

.........

This is not to say that WBCCI should not try to get younger members, it is only to say that there is a big difference between now and many years ago when "camping clubs" were in vogue.

This may be the biggest battle, and one that is hard to overcome.
Excellent point, and likely very, very true.

Another thing to remember is that many younger people who have a trailer may still have to make daily decisions about how to allocate limited resource $$'s.

International and local dues are expensive, and no tangible benefit compared to mortgages, shoes, dental/medical bills, etc.

What thought has been given to reducing WBCCI costs to then lower, rather than raise, dues?

Are the costs of 4 employee salaries + benefits justifiable at this point in time?

If they don't cost $200,000/year, Lynn, what do they cost?


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Old 12-17-2013, 04:46 PM   #159
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I know that the four employees are pretty expensive, but at this point I don't think anybody really has the heart to fire people. I understand that these four have put in good and faithful work for years on behalf of the club and are not idle. Again, I'm not in any position of authority and never will be, but I'm pretty sure that some thought has been given to natural attrition.

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Old 12-17-2013, 05:20 PM   #160
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We had one lady retire two years ago and they replaced her with another younger woman. We have three levels of employees in the 4 person staff. They have plenty of time to answer the phone on the second ring. They are very friendly and helpful. We used to have Cindy's husband as executive director, until 2000.
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