Executive Director’s Commentary
By Don Eversmann, F240000
We’ve made mention in past issues of the magazine that FMCA isn’t experiencing the membership growth it once was. However, I am happy to say that the membership is still being supported in the same manner as in the past. FMCA continues to concentrate on motorhome owners as they enjoy the lifestyle that we all love. As FMCA searches for member benefits, encourages members to join and enjoy chapter membership, and schedules international conventions and area rallies, we are all aware that these efforts and opportunities are fueled by membership dues and commercial participation.
Right now, I personally believe that FMCA’s membership numbers are being impacted by the fact that the United States experienced a reduction in births during World War II, and a relatively smaller number of people were born from 1941 to 1945. While no one gave this group of individuals a label, these people stand out in terms of numbers. The folks born during that period now fall within the average age of the FMCA membership (approximately 62 to 66 years old). While FMCA recruits from a variety of age groups, with 120,000 member families, any five-year segment of the population can significantly impact membership statistics.
I think that by now we are all aware that society is labeling the newest and next generation of FMCA members as “baby boomers.” They were born between 1946 and 1964. As they enter the empty-nester years, consider retirement, and join us on the road, one notion that is being circulated is that baby boomers are not joiners, not like the members of the “silent generation” are. I think that the majority of us question that statement. Those of us who are FMCA members know from firsthand experience the great enjoyment that can come from sharing our lives with others. Sometimes it’s nice to use the motorhome to “get away from it all.” However, many motorhome owners have shared with me that the true enjoyment they have experienced has come from the camaraderie and times shared with others who have similar interests.
Now, for the sales pitch. If you believe as I do that FMCA is a viable and valuable organization, then certain things need to change in order to reach the baby boomers.
FMCA is taking steps to welcome the newcomers. First, as reported in the January issue of Family Motor Coaching magazine, FMCA’s official publication will take on a more modern, lighter format starting in May. I believe current members will be pleased with the magazine’s new look and proud to share it with other motorhome owners who aren’t yet members of FMCA. Also, FMCA continues to improve and update its Web site and electronic communication media in an effort to reach those who find today’s technology an important part of their lives. At the 77th International Convention in Perry, Georgia, this month FMCA will be reaching out to its members by holding open forums wherein members can suggest ways to make the association better in the future.
FMCA needs your help. Members need to let non-member motorhome owners know why joining FMCA is worthwhile. We need the communication with fellow motorhome owners that only you can provide “” the face-to-face sales pitch, if you will. Members used to recruit almost half of the new members to FMCA, but that percentage has dropped to almost 40 percent. That 10 percent decrease represents in some years a reduction of 2,800 new members. Please reach out to the boomers and let them know that they will certainly enjoy their motorhome lifestyle more if they become a part of a very social group of motorhome owners known as FMCA.
And while we are talking about numbers, let’s look briefly at the membership benefit that you have told us in all of our surveys is the most valuable “” Family Motor Coaching magazine. In the past few years, a majority of magazines across the board have been experiencing decreases in print advertising. While FMC’s decreases have not been as severe as those of some others, they are still noticeable. Most print magazines, FMC included, use a ratio of advertising to editorial to determine how many pages the publication will be. Thus, more advertising makes it possible to include more editorial material. Plus, many of the significant FMCA member benefits are paid for by the revenue that the magazine generates.
I encourage you, as you travel, to share with commercial entities how important Family Motor Coaching magazine is to you for ideas and products. Let them know that advertising will bring business to their door. And when you encounter current advertisers, let them know that you found them and their products via an FMC magazine ad. All too often we forget that feedback, whether it be through the Reader Service program or by telling our story to an advertiser, goes a long way to show the benefit of their ads. Advertisers are now faced with more ways to reach an audience than before “” through the Internet or other mass media technologies “” so it’s important for them to know how you found them.
As the title to this column says, “If It’s To Be, It’s Up To Me.” Let’s all continue to reach out and share the benefits of FMCA and keep it strong, even as this world continues to change.