Executive Director’s Commentary
By Don Eversmann, F240000
Just about every association uses some sort of incentive to recruit new members. But no matter what that incentive is, the bottom line is that the person joining the group must believe it’s worth the price of membership, or he or she wouldn’t align with an association and an ongoing annual expenditure.
With some professional associations, potential members take the organization’s test and thereby apply for and receive certification, as well as continuing education credits to maintain that certification. You might say that the certification is the hook that draws them into membership, and the continuing education requirement keeps them attached.
Family Motor Coach Association is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a “Social Club,” and it has no such way to dangle this type of “carrot” to convince people to join. FMCA is the sort of group that must stand on its own merits and attract members based upon a perceived value of membership.
Some people receive free memberships in FMCA when they purchase a motorhome. Others join because they like Family Motor Coaching magazine and believe that its articles and advertisements are enough to justify the cost of membership. Some join so they can attend FMCA rallies with their friends. Others join because a member explains all the benefits, such as insurance discounts, mail forwarding, etc., and invites them to join. Another key reason many motorhome owners join FMCA and continue to renew year after year is that they enjoy the relationships that they gain through chapter membership.
Whatever the reason an individual or family joins Family Motor Coach Association, it is quite evident here in the national office that the main way FMCA gains members is through the “member-get-a-member program.” Nearly 50 percent of the motorhome owners who join FMCA are recruited directly or indirectly by FMCA members. As I said in the first paragraph, the person joining the group must believe it’s worth the price of membership. Much of the recruitment credit can be attributed to current FMCA members who are proud of their affiliation with FMCA and want others to share in something that they have found to be valuable.
Most FMCA members will talk up FMCA membership without even considering the idea of getting a reward for doing so. Many have found that FMCA membership has so enriched their lives and the use of their motorhomes that they believe anyone who owns a motorhome needs to be a part of FMCA or they are missing out on the most important aspect of RVing.
Most organizations have a membership drive wherein they ask current members to get out there and recruit new ones. FMCA has an ongoing recruitment program that is in place 24/7, 365 days a year. No matter where you are or what you are doing, you can probably share how you feel and why you are a member of FMCA. My barber owns a motorhome, so that leads us to a discussion quite frequently. Even my dentist has a motorhome, but that discussion needs to be held before the instruments enter my mouth, unless I just want to give a simple “uh-huh” or “huhhm” as I listen to her share motorhoming experiences.
In Sunday school recently, I was told by another class member that his brother, a mechanic, was getting a job with one of those RV companies that make “trailers, the motorized type.” When he called them “mobile homes,” I shared with him the differences in terminology, and our conversation focused on the true enjoyment of owning a motorhome.
On page 37 in this issue of the magazine is an ad that spotlights all of the recruitment incentives (rewards) that FMCA has in place to encourage and reward you for becoming involved and sharing your love of FMCA. These are ongoing incentives, so you can always be on the lookout for others to experience the valuable benefits of FMCA membership.
You will see depicted the FMCA North American Road Atlas & Travel Guide that you will receive for recruiting one member during the promotion period (the current atlas promotion period started July 1, 2003, and will continue while supplies of the current atlas last; a new edition of the atlas will be introduced in January 2005, and the program will pick up again then). Once you have received the atlas, your next reward for every member recruited is a $5 merchandise coupon good toward the purchase of FMCA or Camping World merchandise. The more members you recruit, the more merchandise coupons you will receive.
In addition, you can be eligible to have your name added to the “Membership Club.” This list recognizes members who have recruited at least 10 other motorhome owners to FMCA and was formed to encourage new member recruitment. Membership Club pins are awarded to those who successfully recruit 10, 25, 50, 75, 100, 125, 150, 175, and 200 new members. Pins are sent automatically to those who qualify. His-and-hers watches are awarded to those who reach the 100-member mark. Each year during the annual meeting of the general membership at the summer convention, watches are presented to those who have become eligible to receive them during the past year. The Membership Club roster is printed in the January edition of Family Motor Coaching. In the January 2004 issue, the Membership Club was listed beginning on page 309. Is your name there?
Please don’t forget this year’s special membership recruitment program, “Gimme Five!,” which was announced in the April 2004 “Executive Director’s Commentary” column. With “Gimme Five!” any current member who recruits five new motorhoming families to FMCA in 2004 will receive a special reward: a year’s free membership in FMCA (no limit to the number of free years that can be earned). So, be sure to check out the ad, which depicts all of the recruitment rewards available to you for your efforts.
And please consider discussing Family Motor Coach Association membership with others where you live and as you travel. Tell them about what you have found to be of value, and share your pride and excitement. Let’s all try to get our names in the Membership Club listing next year, or receive our next Membership Club pin, and encourage others to do likewise.