By Jeff Jefcoat, F118344
Since I became president of FMCA, I have emphasized three primary areas that I believe deserve our attention and resources: new member recruitment; the quality of new motorhomes and of motorhome service; and member services. This article will focus on new member recruitment efforts.
Some have asked, “Why do we need new members? We are big enough now.” We need membership growth for several reasons, and I will expound upon two.
First, we lose approximately 15,000 members per year. We have analyzed these losses and found that the reasons are varied. Many members stop motorhoming for health-related reasons; others do so because of economic reasons or because they have other interests.
Another major reason we need to recruit new members is that new blood and growth are necessary for any organization, whether it is a church, a social group, or a business. The saying that “You continue to grow or you begin to die” has merit.
We are encouraging full participation at FMCA’s upcoming convention in Buffalo, New York, July 18, 19, and 20, for several reasons. On July 20, we will celebrate the 40th anniversary of FMCA’s founding, which took place in Hinckley, Maine. I believe it is very appropriate for us to commemorate this momentous occasion back in the Northeast Area.
FMCA is putting a great deal of effort and resources into our membership drive this spring. As most of you already know, in honor of the association’s 40th anniversary, two contests were initiated this past August. Everyone who signs up a new FMCA member, as well as every new member recruited between August 15, 2002, and June 30, 2003, will be eligible to win prizes in drawings that will be held on July 20 during the Buffalo convention. FMCA is committing approximately $25,000 to this effort. Everyone who recruits a new FMCA member between August 15, 2002, and June 30, 2003, will have his or her name entered in a drawing for a 2003 Chrysler PT Cruiser; one of three $1,000 cash prizes; or, one of six 14-karat gold motorhome charms. New members who join during that time will have the chance to win one of two great prizes donated by Creative World Rallies & Caravans: a 41-day Alaska caravan trip for two in 2004, or a post-Mardi Gras 2004 Caribbean cruise for two. Entrants do not have to be present to win.
For each new member you recruit between now and June 30, your name will be added to the drawing. The more new members you enroll, the better your chances. The 15 members of the Executive Committee are working hard on this campaign, but they are not eligible to win.
Does this new member drive offer any benefits to commercial members, particularly the motorhome manufacturers and dealers? Definitely. The more members we have, the more attractive and important our magazine ads become to the marketing efforts of these companies. In addition, FMCA members are a large and positive factor in the development of the motorhome industry and the recreation vehicle industry as a whole.
So, how are we doing in our efforts to gain new members? I say we are doing great and have formed a solid base from which to continue our efforts.
Here are a few statistics from the recent past for your consideration.
Year-End FMCA Member Families Net Gain
2000 119,260 1,623
2001 120,761 1,501
2002 125,245 4,484
Why are we asking you to help us enlist new members? To realize a net gain of 4,484 new members in 2002, 19,540 new applications and reinstatements were required. Of the 19,540 new membership applications the national office received in 2002, 8,430 were referred by the members “” that’s 43 percent. Your efforts are proving to be worthwhile. Please help us by enrolling at least one new member by June 30, 2003.
Montana RV Parking Legislation Tabled
Two bills related to overnight RV parking outside of established and licensed campgrounds recently were submitted to the Montana legislature (HB 314 and SB 171). These bills would have resulted in a statewide prohibition of overnight RV parking on parcels of land used principally as parking lots, unless the parking lot qualified and was licensed as a campground. FMCA joined the Escapees RV Club in rallying its members to assist in the effort to communicate RVers’ concerns regarding these restrictive bills to Montana legislators. To accomplish this, FMCA’s Legislative Advisory Committee, chaired by Max Durbin, F76454, sent an e-mail message or mailed a letter to FMCA members in Montana informing them of the situation. The efforts appear to have been successful, as the Montana legislature’s Web site lists the status of both of these bills as “tabled in committee.” Montana legislators apparently were flooded with mail, and some have even contacted the Escapees and FMCA and requested that no further correspondence regarding these bills be sent.
“We appreciate the tremendous response of FMCA members from Montana,” said Mr. Durbin. “Had it not been for their cooperation in quickly communicating with the senators and representatives, I’m afraid these bills would have advanced and would have been more difficult to deal with.”
Notice Of Annual Membership Meeting
The Family Motor Coach Association’s annual membership meeting will be held during FMCA’s 70th International Convention at the Erie County Fairgrounds in Buffalo, New York, on July 20, 2003.
Holidays For 2003
The FMCA national office will be closed in observance of the following holidays in the remainder of 2003:
Good Friday: Friday, April 18
Memorial Day: Monday, May 26
Independence Day: Friday, July 4
Labor Day: Monday, September 1
Thanksgiving: Thursday, November 27; Friday, November 28
Christmas: Wednesday, December 24; Thursday, December 25
New Year’s Eve: Wednesday, December 31
New Year’s Day Thursday, January 1, 2004