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Cutting Cost's instead of "thoughts on raising dues"

Discussion in 'TLCA- Discussion Forum' started by General Sherman, Aug 21, 2006.

  1. General Sherman

    General Sherman

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    OK, I'll start this one
    What are you thoughts on this.
    Do we need a full color trails?
    Do we need to Donate to BRC as a club or can we just do it on our own?
    Do we need paid employees and how much do we pay them?
    I'm not sure yet where i fall on these questions but i'm curious about the rest of our club. Maybe some of you have ideas to cut costs as well.
    Please don't flame me for this i just want to know what TLCA members think and i think it would help the BOD to know as well.
    Neil
     
  2. TRT2

    TRT2

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    Yes, we need color.
    Yes, we need some paid employees. It is simply too much for volunteers. Look at our volunteers right now... they are burnt out, and no one is lining up to take their place.
    If you look at the history of TLCA, our foundation is firmly rooted in land use and supporting/steering those types of groups (BRC, United, Cal4wd).

    no flaming req'ed, those are good questions.
     
  3. General Sherman

    General Sherman

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    Hey Tony,
    Just for the record i don't disagree with you but i, from my admitedly ignorant perspective, i don't really know to what extent we need those things. I'me not nieve enough to think we can run TLCA without paying people but to what extent. I to enjoy the color trails but to what extent. I still enjoy my old ones and yes even the old old ones. I guess what i'm looking for is instead of "yes we need this", is the inevidable compromise of what we "need" and what we can afford. If Dues are raised for trails costs than i'll pay them because i love the club. But i would argue that we should be looking at cutting costs first. What i'm looking for here is what the general membership feels, IF ANYTHING, should be scaled down. It seems to me that if Trails is the reason for increasing dues than Trails should be the first thing to look at controling costs. Maybe im wrong and i already conceded my ignorance of the specifics so convince me! Anybody.
     
  4. 2ndGenToyotaFan

    2ndGenToyotaFan Ice-Bound Moderator

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    It's complicated....
    If we have 3500-4000 members and only about 500-600 are attending events, then that leaves 2900-3500 that seem to be in it just for Toyota Trails. I don't think we can afford to cut back on our sweet mag. The last issue was half black and white, and half color. And after checking it seems that the color has been creeping in more and more each issue this year. Maybe we should put a hold on it at 50% for a while? Or maybe we should buy a printing place and print them ourselves? (That's a joke!)

    I think in the other due raising thread some one said we haven't had a dues increase in about 10 years? I don't think it's just the trails that is causing thoughts of an increase. Inflation is catching up with our association. 10 years ago gas was 80 cents a gallon.... That's on the extreme end of things, but you get the point. The problem is we don't have a lot of volunteers ready to jump on board and get things moving again.

    Here's my idea. Fliers! Eh? Next issue of trails insert a page to be pulled out with 4 fliers on it, and instruct (maybe threaten? hehe) members to leave them on Cruisers/Trucks/4Runners/FJ Cruisers. Make the fliers with a picture of all the different models of vehicles we accept into our awesome club on one side and all the info about our organization on the other. I know they will have to be small pictures, but seeing the vehicle you drive on a flier will make people more interested than just the statement that we accept 4WD trucks, 4Runners and FJ Cruisers. We do have a sort of exclusionary name...
     
  5. Hulk

    Hulk

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    This is in the works. You can see a black and white version for Toyota vendors here:
    http://www.tlca.org/ads/tlca_vendorflyer.pdf

    A version for general membership recruitment will be on the way soon.

    Matt Farr
    TLCA webmaster and marketing guy
     
  6. DaveWest5150

    DaveWest5150

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    ya know.... there are two ways "WE" can look at this situation... sit around and bitch about raising the dues a couple of dollars, and ask what is the club doing for me....
    Or you can get of your lazy little butts, raise money for the TLCA and enjoy the fact that you have the ability to go to TLCA sanctioned events, meet new people, make new friends
    and have fun!
    that being said... if your not part of the soulution, you are part of the problem.
     
  7. General Sherman

    General Sherman

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  8. General Sherman

    General Sherman

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    Come on Dave, You know me as good as anybody here. Its not about a couple of bucks. It also isn't about people being lazy. WE can't expect people who live 20 hours from the nearest TLCA event to be as active as you are. It is also not about "what the club is doing for me" It is about increasing membership. Those of us that have been around a while will probably still be here if the dues increase.We can expect to see an increase in events and event participation as we see an increase in membership. I don't think that increase comes with increased dues. I think added value is how we increase membership. Maybe Trails is added value maybe not, but if it is, the increase in dues would offset the cost of the New Trails not add value,...My opinion.
    So maybe we can talk about how to increase membereship, maybe we can talk about cutting costs. Regardless, anything is more productive than talking about increasing dues.
    That mentality that thinks its just a couple of bucks is why we end up paying to much in taxes, for gas or anything else. I verywell could be wrong but i don't see anybody coming up with any convincing argument for an increase and i'm still waiting for our finantials. Until we all have seen them do we really know are options
     
  9. DaveWest5150

    DaveWest5150

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    WE can't expect people who live 20 hours from the nearest TLCA event to be as active as you are.

    Neil, how long does it take you to get to Moab? it takes me right around 15 hrs. Thats my point, Why is there only a handfull of events to go to? Granted I can only afford to go to some of the events, due to time, gas, and money. this board is opinions, I think that if more Chapters would do a little something, rather than sit around and say " I cant afford to go to RUBITHON or MOAB or GLITTER GULCH GAMBLE" there would be more chances for clubs to get together, Isnt THAT what this club is for?
    Dues have not been increased for along time, from what I understand, the increase is not for the " trails " but for the overall TLCA. Remember theres alot of advertisement dollars coming in.
    Neil, You know this not an attack on you (you guys just started a new chapter right?) That is what will increase membership, If every chapter did a little something there would be more options, More chances to meet NEW faces, More chances to become involved
    and More chances of membership increasing. Our club IS doing something....

    LOOK FOR SOMETHING NEW FROM THE TRAILCREW IN FEB.

    remeber people this club is about having fun... if it becomes too business like it wont be fun
     
  10. woody

    woody unhelpful spotter Staff Member Admin

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    As someone who lives 1400 miles from Moab and 850 miles from Tellico, I know all too well that making events is difficult.....interestingly, once I attended my first, I was hooked, and have committed to attending a minumum of 1 per year.

    Cutting costs sounds great, but those "easy" cuts are most likely at the expense of supporting other great national associations like United 4WD and Blue Ribbon. The operating costs of the association, as a simple result of inflation, continue to increase.

    TLCA has been continually working to increase membership numbers, allowing some of these operating costs to be "watered down" thru increased income, but thus far many of the plans and ideas have fallen short of the goals.

    I can say $5 is pittance, but I pay $100 a year (each) for business memberships...for TLCA, for Blue Ribbon, and for United4WD. (IIRC, I've held at least 3 individual memberships in United for the past 4-5 years thru the various state/regional associations I belong to...which reminds me, I need to check if my business membership is active there....hhmmm)

    To answer your questions:

    IMO, color is what brings the life to the Trails...I have issues back to the early 90's when it was photocopied on yellow paper, and issues when it went to black-white in the 90's. The photocopy stuff is informative, and the black-white made it nicer, but the full color really brings the stories and information to life.

    BRC is a tossup....part of that lies on what the "focus" of the TLCA needs to be...given the many events it supports and the insurance it carries for those events, it's obvious that land use is an important part of TLCA, and Blue Ribbon is one of few great national associations to support for land access. (The alternative is to drop BRC membership, drop United membership, and then drop support/insurance of events...really, they all go hand in hand....then turn TLCA into nothing more than a Land Cruiser Restoration Club, and we can meet at Hooters and polish our shifters - all written tongue in cheek ;) but you get the thot)

    Paid employees....intrestingly, I think we need more of them. Paid = ownership = true hard work and dedication. IMO, having a fulltime office/CEO would bring in more members and raise income, because you'd have someone who is working fulltime towards success. The way things operate now, it's a volunteer/part time gig, and unfortunately, real life intervenes with any volunteer position. On the pay, start with a good base and commission/performance on top of that. The only way any "business" will succeed is because of the dedication of an owner, because the success/failure of the business is on their shoulders.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2006
  11. General Sherman

    General Sherman

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    Brian,
    I appreciate your input and have some thoughts,

     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2006
  12. woody

    woody unhelpful spotter Staff Member Admin

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    unless your experience differs from mine, you have that backwards.....I know of folks who have attend TLCA events as "unregistered outsiders", maintaining a TLCA membership, but only showing up to ride trails privately. With many events held at public places like Moab and Tellico, this is as unavoidable as telling a Jeep owner they can't use the public trails during an event.

    me, I like pictures....honestly, I rarely have time to actually read the trails...usually I skim a few articles of interest and that's all I get thru. If it was text only, I'd discontinue since the photos are what drag me into some of the articles...and personally, it's the tech stuff I enjoy the most. I also know lots of folks aren't into the tech but prefer the interesting stories. The variety of Trails content is what keeps all of the readers coming back.

    The original BOD goal was 4000 members, and that has yet to be obtained...despite many ideas and attempts. The reasons for the goal was to address the costs increase associated with Trails, with administration, with inflation. Unfortunately, that leaves two alternatives...raise taxes (er, dues) or cut services.

    Personally, I wouldn't vote to have my services cut. Period.

    IMO, if more folks stepped up like Jeff Zepp did this weekend at the Cruiser Rally in Denver, working his butt off for a day recruiting and re-signing members, the association would have it's goal met. Gimmiks haven't done it, freebies and drawings haven't either...PERSONAL time and that PERSONAL interest is what brings in people...

    TLCA is nothing more than a bunch of people with Land Cruisers....the Cruiser is the excuse to be around the people....remove the Cruiser, and most of the people will still be there, still friends, still hanging out....

    just not as greasy ;)
     
  13. TUFFTORQ

    TUFFTORQ

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    This poor ol' horse has been beaten to death...

    I and a few others discussed this in the earlier thread. Either drive membership and events with a strategic marketing & sales plan or risk increasing dues without some other benefit besides Toyota Trails and watch membership decline even further each year.

    I do think that before we begin chopping away at a key position ie. administrator, we may want to think about the risk vs. gain. Who's going to saddle up and take care of her or the other position's endless tasks without compensation? This is just one that I believe is crucial to our organization. On the other hand, large expenditures such as Toyota Trails needs to be re-evaluated and weighed. Some have said that Toyota Trails is why they joined TLCA. I personally joined for the events and cruiserheads friendships. Is it really worth an annual cost of $100K+ to the organization if the same material is on-line and available in other publications?

    Again, drive membership, generate additional revenue at events with a TLCA booth for membership and merchandise. Reaching 4000 is attainable. Without a plan, how does the organization expect results. If there is a plan, it needs to be tweaked. I submitted my marketing & sales ideas with goals and objectives to the BOD; as a volunteer.

    Mark

     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2006
  14. Ian Rogers

    Ian Rogers

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    i think that this is the way to go.... this is what we did back in my frat days, if we up dues we will decrease mebership.
     
  15. woooody

    woooody el Jefe

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    I don't know that the numbers support that conclusion that membership is declining (thus "declining further"). In fact, I think membership is the same or up over last year? Yes, a few years ago, we were at or above 4000... but being at 3600 is OK.
    My point in bringing the admin position up was to put a measurable number on where our dues go. $8 out of every $25 collected in dues. I'm not advocating eliminating this position, just asking if we've evaluated cost vs benefit. I don't want the "low bidder", but I do want to make sure our monies are spent wisely.
    So -- Here's the thing -- It doesn't cost us $100K. It's wrong to throw that number around. It does generate revenue. Cut back on the Trails quality, and you may see a similar, or larger cut in revenue. We are currently having some issues with retaining advertisers. Reducing the quality of the item they are advertising in won't help
    Yes, I saw those. I think there may be some issues, and I will happily reply on bodrepsi in hopes that we can do some of the doable ideas. Some may not work quite as you hope.

    Thanks
     
  16. 65swb45

    65swb45 Supporting Vendor

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    Thanks for posting up Dave. It sounds like Trail Crew is getting ready to step forward and become part of the solution.

    :bounce: :bounce:
     
  17. General Sherman

    General Sherman

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    [QUOTE}So -- Here's the thing -- It doesn't cost us $100K. It's wrong to throw that number around. It does generate revenue. Cut back on the Trails quality, and you may see a similar, or larger cut in revenue. We are currently having some issues with retaining advertisers. Reducing the quality of the item they are advertising in won't help


    Thanks[/QUOTE]

    Ross i agree with every point you made and value you opinion as much as anyone here maybe more. My only thought that differed was this. Advertisers don't make there disicions on where to spend by how nice the mag is ( Generally) They are more concerned with circulation. I.E. how may housholds am i going to reach? If you want to ensure Trails is successful you can't be declining in membership. Our advertisers know that the people seeing there add are specific potential customers (Unlike a Toyota add in Home and Garden or even Four Wheeler). They just want number-the more the better.
    The question still remains-Do we think we will get more members by having UV resistant paper? I don't and to go one further i don't think higher dues to afford that UV paper and all that color is responsible unless those membership number goals are reached.
    first.

    Just a thought
    Neil
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2006
  18. General Sherman

    General Sherman

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    Last edited: Aug 23, 2006
  19. TUFFTORQ

    TUFFTORQ

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    If TLCA was at or above 4000 members in the past and at a rate of $27 per member that's 400 members gone for whatever reason and $10,800 in revenue lost, if we actually have 3600 members now. To me, it's not just o.k. Why not try to recapture it through a membership drive? How many total members do we have currently and how many were there in 2005, 2004?

     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2006
  20. woooody

    woooody el Jefe

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    Not to be picky, but it's actually only $25, due to the fees from Pay Pal. With those members comes the need for 400 addtional magazines, at $2 per issue -- so the net loss isn't $10K
    Advertising income is roughly $50K -- It's in the P&L under revenue/income - Advertising
     
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