By Ginger Painter, F23514
Vice Chairman, Member Recruitment Committee
A new committee was born soon after Jeff Jefcoat, F118344, was elected FMCA national president last year: the Member Recruitment Committee. This 13-member committee was organized to further Jeff’s goal of increasing the membership of Family Motor Coach Association. The committee first met in November 2001 and is made up of the spouses of Executive Committee members.
FMCA membership growth was slower in 2001 than it has been in recent years. Fortunately, this has turned around in early 2002, and we hope to keep it moving in the right direction. The active membership count at the end of 2000 was 119,260 families; the total at the end of 2001 was 120,761 families. Through April 2002 our count was 122,880 member families, a net increase of 2,119 in the first four months of 2002. FMCA has continued to attract new members, but we also lose members, mostly because of health issues that prevent families from traveling any longer or because of death.
One of the things we need to remember is that FMCA is a member-owned association, and all of us are member recruiters. With this in mind, as we travel, stopping in rest areas and staying overnight in parks, we all see motorhomers who do not have an FMCA emblem (goose egg) on their coach. If, as ambassadors for the association that we own, we approach them with a smile and a copy of Family Motor Coaching magazine, we can give fellow motorhomers a chance to know about this association.
My favorite point to make, one I have made at chapter meetings and forums I have been asked to speak at, is, “There are 120,000-plus active members in FMCA. If all active members bring in one new member each year, we couldn’t handle the influx. Even if only half of you decided to accept the challenge and recruit one new member family, keeping up with the influx would be quite an undertaking. Anyway, I think you get the idea.”
In 1963 a small group of people with a common interest in travel formed our association. As they drove down the road they greeted other motor coach owners and took the opportunity to tell them about how they could participate in this fun group. That’s how FMCA grew. In the almost 40 years that my husband, Charlie, and I have been rolling down the road, we’ve noticed that this method is still the premier way to introduce people to our association.
Of all of the many member benefits we can show prospective members, Family Motor Coaching magazine is the most significant. If you see a fellow motorhomer in a rest area or campground without a goose egg on his or her coach, walk up with a magazine and a friendly greeting. Give him or her a member application or point out the FMCA member benefits that are printed in each issue of the magazine. (To find the page numbers for the benefits pages and the accompanying membership application, look in the Advertising Index for “FMCA Family Application.”) Talk about FMCA’s other benefits, too, such as discounts, insurance coverage, the Traveler’s Message Service, the mail forwarding service, and more. Don’t forget to tell them about chapter rallies, area rallies, and international motorhome extravaganzas (conventions) that are held across the United States and Canada.
When the new Member Recruitment Committee met this past November, we tried to think of ways to stir up interest in FMCA and re-create the excitement that was sparked almost 40 years ago. Many ideas were discussed. We were intrigued to see that Justice & Young, the marketing consulting firm that FMCA is using, picked up on some of our ideas. As a result, FMCA is planning to offer a special member recruitment promotion that will coincide with the association’s 40th anniversary celebration at our premier international motorhome extravaganza in Buffalo, New York, in July 2003.
We hope all FMCA members will join in our enthusiasm and bring in those new members. Don’t worry: We can take in 120,000 this year. If you bring them in, we’ll take it from there!