By Jerry Yeatts, F390000
The following is adapted from the Executive Director’s report presented to the Governing Board during their meeting August 27, 2012, in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Overall, Family Motor Coach Association remains financially healthy despite a prolonged recessionary period and a decline in membership. As of this writing, FMCA has investments totaling more than $7.6 million. More importantly, FMCA is fortunate in that it owns the buildings and land it occupies and has no long-term debt of any kind.
In February 2012, the Executive Board tasked me with identifying $1.2 million in expenses that could be reduced over a 12-month period. Staff members scrutinized all budget lines, and I am happy to report that we exceeded the Board’s expectations, and the reductions were implemented during the May 2012 Executive Board meeting. While there have been some unexpected expenses over the past few months, the national office staff has continued to be cognizant of the overall expenses of the association.
Beginning September 2012, membership renewal notices will be included with Family Motor Coaching magazine. Membership renewal notifications have been redesigned and will be mailed along with a plastic-wrapped magazine. This new process will result in substantial savings as compared to the prior process. For members opting to not receive a magazine, renewal notifications will be sent in an envelope.
National Office Update
In August 2011, the FMCA national office staff was composed of 45 full-time employees and four part-time employees. With attrition during the past year, the national office staff currently consists of 37 full-time employees and four part-time employees. While this may be perceived as positive as it relates to the budget, the reality is that this association lost 144 years of combined experience with staff members who departed over the past year. Since seven positions have not been filled, it has become more difficult to maintain the level of service expected by the membership.
The transition to a new fiscal year posed a few challenges with the current computerized accounting system (Microsoft Dynamics GP). As preparation was made for the yearly audit, a number of changes were made in order to streamline entries and to have a better picture of the association’s financial situation on a daily basis. The additional attention given to the accounting procedures will assist the national office as a new accounting system is implemented in January 2013.
A presentation was given to the Executive Board at the November 2011 meeting by Group Management Services, a professional employer organization (PEO). With constant changes in state and federal laws regarding workplace issues, Group Management Systems has proven to be invaluable as it relates to these critical human resource issues.
A new telephone system was installed in March 2012. FMCA’s IT Department worked very closely with Cincinnati Bell in the implementation of this system, running new cable and assuring a smooth transition from the old phones to a new state-of-the-art system. The implementation of this new system has resulted in significant savings.
As noted previously, the long-anticipated transition to a new accounting and scheduling system is in the final planning stages and will be implemented in January 2013. A great deal of coordination has taken place over the past several months in assessing the needs of each department and determining the best processes for transferring information from the many databases. The staff is looking forward to all of the possibilities with this new system.
Several years ago, a consultant assisted the Executive Board and staff in identifying long-range goals for the association. One of the outcomes of this exercise was the acknowledgment that Family Motor Coach Association is considered “The Voice” of the motorhome owner.
FMCA is fortunate to have retained the services of Jon Tancredi, TPR Associates, to once again tell the story of this association to motorhome owners and future FMCA members. Since May, FMCA has received media coverage in such markets as Los Angeles, California; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Kearney, Nebraska; Dayton, Ohio; Denver, Colorado; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Rockford, Illinois; Springfield, Missouri; and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Media outlets in Portland, Oregon; Scranton, Pennsylvania; and Tampa, Florida, have expressed interest in doing a piece on motorhoming and involving FMCA members in the news story. In addition, other news outlets, including industry Web site Webcasts and newspapers, have been contacting the national office recently about events and actions affecting motorhome owners. FMCA has begun to strengthen its position as “The Voice” of the motorhome owner.
Mr. Tancredi’s goal is to build FMCA’s brand through traditional and new media outlets and to establish it as the one-stop shop for everything RVing: joining the world’s largest motorhome owners club, pushing legislation, encouraging RV use, educating novice and veteran RVers, demonstrating the fun of RVing, and establishing itself as the expert on RVing. He has outlined several initiatives that may prove beneficial in increasing exposure and in recruiting new members.
Mike and Jennifer Wendland, F426141, embarked on a journey beginning August 10, 2012, in their Roadtrek RS-Adventurous. Mike has been a reporter for NBC for a number of years, and spent years working for the Detroit News and later the Detroit Free Press, and has seen most of the country from 30,000 feet, via airplane while traveling to and from story assignments. Termed the “Open Mike Tour,” over the course of a two-week period, Mike and Jennifer traveled from Detroit to Yellowstone National Park, and then to Indianapolis, discussing the joys of motorhome travel and the benefits of membership in FMCA with various media markets. During this most recent tour, Mike wrote a blog that could be read on FMCA.com, as well as on Facebook and other social media. His monthly column, “Open Mike,” made its debut in the September issue of Family Motor Coaching magazine, and we anticipate more articles and tours from Mike and Jennifer in the future.
FMCA has provided banners to each area to display at area rallies, as well as local shows and promotions. One vinyl banner displays the famed goose egg and shows the fun and fellowship of RV friends. Two retractable vertical banners describe the benefits of the association and the cost of membership. These tools should assist the areas in promoting the association and recruiting new members for FMCA.
In conjunction with the installation of the new telephone system, the Member Services Department relocated to the Clough Pike office in March 2012. The primary objective of this move was to share resources between the Member Services Department and the Chapter Services Department, if possible.
FMCA’s Member Services Department is tasked with contacting each member who has not renewed. Efforts are under way to utilize part-time employees to dedicate time to making these critical calls. This concept will be evaluated on an ongoing basis to determine whether such a program should be continued or modified.
FMCA’s IT staff has designed a smartphone app that is currently available for use with Apple iOS and Android devices. FMCA is awaiting approval for the app with Blackberry. Utilizing this technology is another way FMCA is connecting members to resources while on the road.
FMCA currently has 655 campgrounds as FMCA commercial members. We are eager to add more campgrounds and resorts to the Campground Connection program as a benefit for the membership. As part of this special program, members may search FMCA.com or the smartphone app for campgrounds and resorts in a specific area. An interactive map helps guide members to the facility, and the app provides information about accommodations and a means to contact them. FMCA asks the campground or resort to offer a 10 percent discount on overnight stays.
More than 2,200 members have benefited from the Michelin Advantage tire program since its inception. This benefit has saved many members hundreds of dollars off the cost of tires.
The Tour Connection, powered by Fantasy RV Tours, also has been extremely popular, offering members-only tours to events and places such as the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta; Calgary Stampede; and Washington, D.C., during cherry blossom time. Cruises to the Western Caribbean and to Alaska also have received tremendous response from the membership. A special FMCA 50th Anniversary tour following the 88th Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase in Gillette, Wyoming, June 19-22, 2013, was announced to the membership at the Indianapolis Family Reunion.
One of FMCA’s newest benefits is the Office Depot national discount program. Members signing up for this free program may receive discounts on thousands of items, as well as receive free shipping on orders over $50.
“Connections” seems to be an appropriate name for the tremendous efforts made by these companies. FMCA has also continued to reinvigorate relationships with long-time partners such as Coach-Net, Kampgrounds of America (KOA), National African-American RVers Association (NAARVA), and National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC). Through these relationships, we hope to continue to grow our membership, offer benefits to the members, and strengthen our ties within the industry.
As FMCA begins a year-long celebration to honor the great tradition of families and motorhoming, we also wish to prepare for a bright future welcoming a new generation of motorhome owners to the family. With nearly 500 chapters across the United States and Canada, we would love to hear how this special year will be commemorated and consider your celebrations for publication. A “nostalgia” room will be planned for the Gillette event in order to place old photos, magazines, and other memorabilia relating to the history of FMCA. If there are items chapters or members wish to “loan” the national office for this special room, please contact Dianna Mitts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FMCA is very fortunate to have such a dedicated staff working on behalf of the association on a daily basis. They have maintained an extremely positive attitude during our challenging times and remain devoted to ensuring the success of this great association for many years to come.
Important FMCAssist update. As noted in the September 2012 issue, FMCA’s relationship with On Call as a provider of the FMCAssist program officially ends on September 30, 2012. During its August 27, 2012, meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, the FMCA Governing Board voted to partner with Seven Corners to provide members with assistance services. The new program will not be funded by FMCA, however. Members will have the option of paying the premium associated with the Voluntary Member Participation insurance plan, which pays covered expenses up to certain maximums, or using Seven Corners only for assistance and to make arrangements for them as needed, with the member being directly responsible for all related expenses. The premium for the Voluntary Member Participation option is $85 per year for a single person or $105 for a family.
Arrangements that can be made include the following: emergency medical air and ground evacuation; medical evacuation home when unable to drive; repatriation of mortal remains; return of spouse, dependent children, grandchildren, and handicapped children; family member medical reunion; RV/vehicle return; return of pets; and various concierge services. Program requirements include the following: must be 100 miles from home and must call prior to transport. (Full-timers are considered to be 100 miles away from home at all times.) Exclusions include traveling to secure medical care or medical advice and traveling against the advice of a physician. Additional exclusions apply.
For additional information, see page 14 of the October 2012 issue of FMC magazine or visit FMCA.com.