Executive Director’s Commentary
By Don Eversmann, F240000
FMCA has not sent out a mailing to the entire membership for many years. With more than 120,000 member families today, it would be costly to do so. The postage alone could run in excess of $40,000. We would need to have something very urgent to communicate to justify that expense.
However, members do receive mail offers from FMCA partners to let members know about benefit opportunities being made available. These mailings are approved on a case-by-case basis by the FMCA Executive Board, and approximately four or five of them go out via a third-party mailer each calendar year. Other mailings are sent by FMCA to selective groups of members to encourage them to consider joining a chapter. And, of course, dues renewal notices do have to be sent.
Members who register for FMCA conventions and area rallies receive confirmation packets full of information about the events, and in some cases we send out promotional materials offered by exhibitors.
The office staff, especially folks in the Chapter Services Department, sometimes feel as though they are constantly sending out mail. The bulk of it is chapter materials; area newsletters; Governing Board updates; legislative notifications; etc.
Throughout the history of FMCA, Family Motor Coaching magazine has played a vital role in communicating with the FMCA membership. Over the years the magazine also has generated significant advertising dollars, which help pay for many of the programs and benefits that FMCA members enjoy.
We certainly feel that Family Motor Coaching magazine is the number-one benefit to members, and plan to continue to showcase the association through it. We are currently in the process of updating the magazine to make it even more appealing to you and expect to unveil the new look early next year. The magazine is an extremely beneficial resource, especially the January issue, which communicates so much of the value of being a member of FMCA.
In addition to the print magazine that we all enjoy, modern technology has provided other options and opportunities for communication. Today approximately half of the active member families in FMCA have provided us with e-mail addresses “” that’s more than 60,000 addresses. Now we are able to communicate in a few seconds to thousands of motorhome owners.
The ability to do this is very important when it comes to legislation that could affect some members’ use and enjoyment of their motorhomes. In the past, the only way we were able to reach the folks who would be impacted was to sort out the particular members by zip code, and then mail them the information. The mail was not always received in a timely manner to allow the members to act on the information. These days we are able to communicate quickly with members who have provided us with their e-mail addresses, making it more likely that they will receive the information in time to alert their political representatives. We do still use postal mail at times for members without e-mail addresses on file.
FMCA now is using a new computer program that lets us send out e-mail messages in bulk. It’s called “blasting” by the e-mail marketing industry. It allows us to reach out to new and existing members to help keep them informed about items of interest or current membership opportunities, and to inspire them to actively participate in the association. Rest assured that we have already discussed the need to limit this type of communication to be sure members do not consider it a nuisance.
We used an e-mail blast a couple of times recently to assist areas in communicating to their members regarding their area rally. The e-mail messages served a very valuable purpose, and we were able to communicate quickly and cost-effectively.
We recognize members’ right to decline the opportunity to receive such e-mail blasts, and realize that not everyone has the same e-mail setup. Some of you may receive e-mail through accounts as you travel, or via a cell phone or “smart phone,” or have limited storage space for e-mail. These and other circumstances may prompt you to seek to limit the amount of messages you receive. Federal legislation called the CAN-SPAM Act passed in 2003 requires e-mail recipients to be given the option of indicating that they do not want to receive e-mail from a commercial source. In each e-mail blast from FMCA you will have the opportunity to indicate that you no longer desire to receive these communications. If you indicate this preference, then your e-mail address on file in the FMCA database would be used only to communicate with you one-on-one if specific issues related to your membership arise, much as your telephone number might be used.
We are glad we have the opportunity to communicate to members about items of interest via a short e-mail. If you have not yet given the FMCA office your e-mail address, please provide it to us through our Web site, FMCA.com. Or, contact the Member Services Department at (800) 543-3622. Don’t forget to let us know if your e-mail address changes, or any other membership data as well.
When it comes to communication, I would be remiss if I did not remind you that FMCA is a service-oriented association; thus, the telephone is still a valuable means of communication between the membership and the national office staff. I’m pleased to say that each phone call (Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time) is answered by a pleasant person who then routes the call to a knowledgeable staff person. Yes, we have a live person at our switchboard, not a computerized recording. Please do not hesitate to pick up the phone if you need questions answered, because we are interested in making your FMCA membership a valuable part of your motorhoming experience.