The RAC AGM – So What’s the Plan for the Future?

RAC held its annual general meeting in Newfoundland with about 22 hams in the room and 19 (later reduced to 16) people linked in via an online webinar.

I’m thrilled that there was a webinar but it’s a shame that more effort wasn’t put into promoting it but it was a good first effort. You see webinars  promote more open disclosure and communications. This webinar is first good step and should be encouraged and repeated at all future events.

But let’s look at the reality. If we take the RAC guys out of the room all told only about 20 hams in total (in person and online) out of the entire Amateur Radio population in Canada estimated to be as many as 45,000 took the two hours to attend.

This means RAC is not enrolling its membership.

The members are voting with their level of participation. This means to me that the members aren’t seeing the value of being RAC member anymore. This is frightening and needs to be turned around.

What did these 20 stalwarts hear?

RAC is spiralling down as far as membership is concerned and nothing concrete is planned to combat this crisis. There is some wringing of hands but no action that I’ve heard about.

The second big issue that has been hurting RAC has been its dismal financial situation.

The good news is RAC will balance its budget in 2011 but the bad news is almost all of the savings have come by cutting services. This means we get less for our membership dollar.

Instead of being roughly $55,000 in the hole, the expense reductions come from cutting costs at The Canadian Amateur and some legal issues that cost a bundle which are now over. Staff costs have been reduced and we haven’t spent much on the website which was supposed to be a priority but remains its tired old self.

The outgoing QSL bureau is still costing us about $8,000 a year. Someone should really compare this cost to similar bureaus in other countries. Do we need a gold-plated outgoing QSL bureau?

One good thing to report is Ontario North director Bill Unger says a meeting has been setup with the new minister of transport here in Ontario re Bill 118 the distracted driving legislation. Go get’m Bill and congratulations on this action step.

Aside from reporting that the board and executive met in October there was nothing about the long-promised vision statement or the transformational change that was promised in TCA. The transformational change would have necessitated involving all the members and clearly that hasn’t happened.

Also, unlike this meeting in Newfoundland where the executive get their expenses paid for (including travel), the October meeting expenses came out of their pockets and it’s really a shame that nothing came of it. This seems like a wasted effort.

President Bawden said something near the end of the meeting to the effect that some people (?) should stop writing about the problems at RAC and help out with the solutions.

That would be me except I had such a bad experience working on this executive that I’m not going back until there are some fundamental changes and then we’ll see.

For anyone who would like a roadmap on how to change an organization I’d invite you to visit CQ Canada. IMHO there’s more clear thinking and proposed action steps to be found on these pages than anything I’ve heard recently.

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About Peter West

I am retired. I'm invested into bike riding, guitar playing, yoga and Ham Radio. I am a former photojournalist, newspaper and magazine editor and public relations practitioner with national, regional and local experience. A long-time member of Toastmasters International and an active Amateur Radio (Ham) operator here in Canada I am taking on new challenges.

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