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local club officers unite...

Discussion in 'TLCA- Discussion Forum' started by dmc, Aug 8, 2005.

  1. dmc

    dmc

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    So this thread...

    https://forum.ih8mud.com/showthread.php?p=619576#post619576

    got me thinking about what local clubs can do to increase/influence TLCA participation/membership. I'm curious what other clubs have done to increase/maintain membership.

    Having browsed around a little bit I realize that Wasatch Cruisers is a bit different in a few ways from many other clubs. Primarily our official monthly activity is not meeting at a restaruant or member's home. We have an official Trail Run every month. We are a 4 wheeling club first and a social club second. We have secondary activities each month. Some are social (restaurant, bbq, bowling) and some are technical (first aid, welding classes, wiring basics) but they are not considered official functions toward club participation.

    Which brings us to a second anomaly. We required 3 trail runs a year to maintain status as an active member. I know some people and clubs look upon this as foolish and unnecessary but it was in the bylaws when I joined and every year when it comes up for discussion it is maintained. The current officers have talked about different levels of membership depending on what people want to get from the club. Full membership is for TLCA members only. We allow non-member (jeep drivers) to join as associate members but we only have 2 out of 50+ who are not TLCA.

    This year's set of officers made a decision that to maintain members we need to give more responsibilty to the membership and take less for ourselves. Of our 24 events this year I think the elected officers are responsible for 3 of them. This has been incredibly successful for the club and especially for those who have owned the activities. The member in charge of the activity is responsible for all communcation leading up to the event, all trail leading and education duties during the event, and doing a write up for the club newsletter after the event.

    I was an officer for 2 years (2002-2003) previous to becoming President. During those 2 years it seemed like the 5 of us did everything. We were all very burnt out. The 04 officers made it a point to off load some of the burden and I think this year we have made it even moreso. I feel like we have 30 solid members working on behalf of the club. Instead of being told where and when to meet we have far more active discussions on each activity and the enthusiaism is noticable for each run. When the trail leader is excited it tends to trickle down. That has been our basic attempt at maintaining membership.

    Growing the club has been a bit more difficult. We have grown in the last few years mainly through word of mouth. Most of the new members have been 80s owners as well. As our club dynamic changes so do our activities. Trail Rides have to cater to a larger array of vehicles and driver skills. Needless to say some of us miss the hardcore trails. It's a balance that is tricky to find and I'm not sure we're doing it properly. Our club has always been about quality over quanity so we're not looking to eclipse Lone Star in numbers. However in the 5 years I've been in the club we've only had 1 potential member not get voted in. Something to do with the safety of themselves, club members and completely idiotic 4 Wheeling skills and ethics. Perhaps he was the exception that proves the rule. It must just be a sign that most Cruiser owners are solid people. We'd like to continue to grow as a club but not sure the best way to go about it. Honestly I'm clueless. Aside from word of mouth and our newsletter at a local dealership we haven't really tried anything else.

    I'd like to hear from other clubs what they have done well and what hasn't worked. I'd also like to know what hurdles/obstacles you face.
     
  2. Rzeppa

    Rzeppa

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    Hi Dave,

    It sounds like your experience is similar to what I have observed (and experienced first hand) at Rising Sun. There've been some tough times and we've bounced back. One of the key things is, as you noticed, to get a larger fraction of the club involved in doing the work. I've seen times in Rising Sun where only a few people did most of the work, and guess what? A lot of them burned out. When I became Commander in 2003 I was determined to not burn myself out; I had already been Secretary (and occasional webmaster) for several years before that and was already pouring a lot of my personal time into administrative tasks. So I made it a priority to delegate, and let the club be organic. Instead of directing, I tried to lead, and especially cheerlead. Attaboys go a long way.

    When I was nominated for TLCA IR, I knew I had to step aside as Rising Sun Commander, in order to not be spread too thin. I was happy to hand the reins over to Matt Farr, who's done a superb job, and I've gone back to being Secretary, and still working on the Cruise Moab committee.

    While Rising Sun is an extremely active club, we normally stay around 45-50 members. One of the questions we (officers) sometimes have to ask ourselves, honestly is "do we really want a club with 100 or even more members"?

    To address your last two sentences, the main thing is to keep it fun, and easy. As soon as you start imposing a lot of requirements, I think you start to lose people, or prevent them from wanting to join. When it's fun, word of mouth does just fine at keeping a good membership base. The other thing is as we've both said, having a large fraction of membership participate in leadership of various activities and events. Spreading the work around not only helps keep the leaders from burning out, but also helps each of those members feel more involved and enthusiastic.
     
  3. KOWBOY

    KOWBOY President

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    Damn ... ya'll seem to be real serious 'bout this stuff. Required Trail runs, meetin's, sharin' work loads ... Gawd love ya Folks .. keep up the good work. :cheers:

    Don't mean the least bit of offense here .... but just thought I'd throw out another viewpoint on retainin' club membership ..... The White Trash viewpoint.

    Right now we're sittin' on 22 members ... with a few more waitin' in the wings. My Presidential viewpoint on retaining all these sorry sumbitches is very simple .. dues are due in January. Don't pay ... then your booted from the club. Ain't no reminders ... ain't no second chances ...

    If'n our club ain't important enuff for a member to renew their friggin' dues ..... we don't want 'em anyway.

    Simple thoughts ... simple minds ... simple people .... simply White Trash.

    :flamingo:
     
  4. trainrech

    trainrech

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    I agree with Jeff & Kowboy that imposing participation requirements is not necessarily a good thing. 15% of our club would probably meet your requirements. The balance enjoy wheeling, but due to work/family/other committments aren't able to attend as often as we would like them to. We are just happy to see them. We had a non-wheeling, GPS event a few weeks ago that 15% of our club showed up to. We had a BBQ in June that nearly 50% of our club showed up to. What more could/should we ask for?

    I might add that most persons travelled at least 1/2 hour, and a couple of families travelled 4 to 5 hours just to attend the club BBQ. Our club is spread mainly across four states, we don't have monthly or even quarterly "formal" meetings, but we do get a group together in some form or another nearly monthly.

    We are more in line with the honorable Elwood Chapter of LSLC - pay your dues, you are a member, don't pay your dues, you ain't.

    Just my rambling $0.02.

    Chris Rech
    Membership/Treasurer/Postal Clerk (cause nobody else will)
    Tornado Alley Cruisers
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2005
  5. bh4rnnr

    bh4rnnr

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    As Jeff mentioned. I think thats one thing that is working well for our club. One meeting and one event. Not to hard to do. I'm amazed at the participation from the club over the, from cruise moab, to trail clean ups and what not. It would be fun to see Rising Sun grow more but either way i'm happy with it.
     
  6. dmc

    dmc

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    As I mentioned our run requirements are sustained every year by the club as a whole so we tend to stand by it. We're also lucky in that 95% of our club is located in about a 40 mile range. I'm not really sure we want to grown to a huge club but the TLCA's goal to reach 4000 can be affected more at the grass roots level than from the National. Or at least that's my view of things.

    We've been taking some of our extra Trails and leaving them at our dealership sponsor and each issue has a copy of our club newsletter included in it. I think we've had one person join in 18 months of doing this.

    Getting TV and news press for our service projects has done wonders for our public image but still has yet increase our ranks. It seems as thought word of mouth is our only real avenue for growth and that will only go so far for obvious reason. I know there are a ton of Cruiser owners in Utah that don't belong to our club. I've talked with some of them on trails before. A lot of people aren't club types. The key for us is proving the value of the club. Hell everything I've learned about Cruisers I learned in the club environment. I just wish I found it sooner before i did so many stupid things to my truck. What can others gain from it?

    Has anyone reached out to TTORA chapters? We had a joint run last year with the Utah group and it was a really good trip but that was the end of it. Does teh TLCA want all those Taco guys? Okay it's late and I'm rambling.
    dmc
     
  7. cruiseroutfit

    cruiseroutfit Supporting Vendor Moderator

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    Its all about going back to the roots IMHO...

    TLCA's stance in 1979 (when they went national)

    So you have to ask yourself... Why do we need numbers?

    I am personally ALL FOR NUMBERS. As an "action" group, we have alot more push with 10,000 members (regardless of their individual activity) than with 3500 dedicated members...

    What do you think the original TLCA Founders had in mind? probably a mix of both as they did have a 2 per year run requirement too...

    Good topic Dave! :D
     
  8. woody

    woody unhelpful spotter Staff Member Admin

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    sorry to steal part of your quote and perhaps push it out of context, but the last post in the TLCA Land Use section was over a month ago....that has surprised me....
     
  9. Kaderabek

    Kaderabek SILVER Star

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    No reminders? Really? Not even a sticky in the club corner? Damn, that's harsh (and you're going to be lonely :D )!

    TJK
     
  10. KOWBOY

    KOWBOY President

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    Been lonely before sir. :grinpimp:

    I've marked my calender for the deadlines for TT submittals ... 'cause it's important to me. If folks wanna stay in our club ... I suggest they mark the calender for January.

    :flamingo:
     
  11. Kaderabek

    Kaderabek SILVER Star

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    You shame me so....

    TJK
     
  12. Owyhee Jackass

    Owyhee Jackass

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    Dave,

    Your club sounds like it is just right. I wouldn't change a thing. I don't see a reason to try to "grow" the club. Our club is pretty small, we may have had 30 members at one time, now we're down to about 10, 5 of which are "active" (meaning you can count on them to show up at most meetings and events) I understand why people come and go, people get busy, I "dropped out" for several months a few years ago.

    We only have 10 members, but we have 190 users registered on our site (www.nwcruisers.com) We haven't figured out how to get more people out but we're trying. I mailed a newsletter to every TLCA member in the area last week, with an invite to check out the club. This was Michael Aaron's idea, formerly of Rising Sun, one of our newest members. I think 30 is a good size but have about given up on trying to lure new members. If we can survive our current low, I think our numbers will come up again. We have 4 (formerly) active members in Iraq right now, I think they will be back before the end of the year, hopefully before our next club election.

    Dan
     
  13. TRT2

    TRT2

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    PMC is a large club, probably still the largest individual chapter in TLCA. We had over 100 club registrations renew this year and are currently at 116 applications (an application can have one member or two if married/significant other). We have achieved these number for the past 5 years.

    We only have two important membership requirements.... Be an Active TLCA and send us $20.00. There is no mandatory meeting or run requirements, but our membership is spread out and commuting to these events can be difficult. We also state 'Family and career first, then club stuff'.

    This is good and bad. The good is that we have many great members who join in when they can. I would feel bad if I missed out on their friendship because we imposed too many rqmts they could not meet. Our newsletter serves as the primary form of communication... if you see something that interestes you, you call the Run Contact and note your planned participation. Yes we don't hear from many folks for long periods of time but they have other more important things going on. That's OK. Often our trail runs have a small club atmosphere with only a few trucks showing up, but our big events like Fun Day, the Swap Meet and our October Meeting have phenomenal turn out.

    The bad, in my opinion only, is gaining commitment to support large activities. For instance, its hard for us to commit as a club for any specific challenge as you cannot really depend on all 250+ members to make it. Yes our club can commit to fund efforts, but calling for volunteers is sketchy.

    I have found that many folks join just to belong. That is OK. They enjoy being part of, they enjoy getting the newsletter and staying abreast of activities, but they might not actually participate at any great level. While other members are extremely involved and participate in everything offered.

    We do take the elwood appraoch on renewals, plenty of notice, two grace months (jan and Feb) but after that, if they have not renewed, its OK, they probably have other stuff to do and no extra change. It happens. They are dropped.

    But one thing is for sure about PMC... I believe we are a great asset to TLCA! Not only in helping to maintain membership in TLCA, but our efforts with regards to TLCA Sponsored events including the Swap Meet, McGrew Trail Ride and of course, my personal favorite, Rubithon! PMC has really stepped up to support my efforts as Rubithon Chairman including Funding the yearly trinkets and providing a large pool of volunteers. PMC, along with Toys on the Rocks, Toyotally Awesome Cruisers, LA Trail crew and a few other chapters really bring Rubithon together as an event. And PMC members support the other TLCA events by either volunteering or simply with participation.

    I also want to note a huge Thanks to the Toyota Trails editor for the Chapter Spotlight in Trails. I think this has been probably the coolest feature in Trails in quite sometime. Its time for more readers rigs, perhaps a page color and a page of B/W dedicated to stahlwort TLCA members.
     
  14. dmc

    dmc

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    I've been out of town for a few days and haven't really had a chance to come back to this topic. One of the things Wasatch Cruisers has always talked about is having a TLCA sanctioned event. We have a hard time coming up with people to help RS with Cruise Moab. Although I realize for some families it would be much easier to volunteer time and energy than the money for CM. However, I really doubt that we could hold our own event right now. Increasing our numbers will give us a larger pool to draw from for volunteers and cooridinators.

    This thread was started to gain ideas on how to help the TLCA reach 4k members and it seems by those who have replied that quality is better than quantity. I know I'm in that boat so perhaps the discussion should be 'Why does the the TLCA need to grow?' Has the concept been clearly deliniated by Chef and I missed it? Is it a financial decision? Is it a political pull consideration? Is this all way too much for something that is supposed to be fun?

    full of questions with very few answers.
    dmc