With a declining and ageing member base and no well-planned membership campaign underway, Radio Amateurs of Canada is having to face up to the inevitable funding crisis that is lurking on the horizon. (This isn’t news BTW.)
Not that the RAC executive shares readily with the existing membership but we can pan out some nuggets of gold from the usual dross as the result of an online survey sent from RAC to the dwindling membership.
(BTW I’m thrilled to see a survey as many of us former RAC execs and regular members have been advocating doing surveys for a long time. Of course, if you’re not prepared to listen to the answers it doesn’t make any sense launching surveys but that’s another point.)
Ironically the first words on the survey talk about RAC’s commitment to keep its membership informed through various means and social media.
Well if that was true how about cleaning up the 1980s themed RAC website and finding somebody who can write for the RAC blog which got ripped out of WordPress where it was hosted for free and easily accessed by any executive member of RAC (presupposing of course they could write a post in either official language) and burying it inside the crumbling RAC site where it has been come a dustbin for the depositing of old RAC official bulletins?
This is such a dumb use of the blog site and sure doesn’t constitute keeping the members informed via social media.
Where are we when it comes to Facebook?
(Go have a look for yourself? See any RAC executives on the site? Director Bill Gipps is the only executive member I found listed by searching Facebook. Bill lists several other RAC executive members as friends but I couldn’t readily find them without looking at Bill’s Friend’s List. ) And then there’s Twitter and texting and FourSquare and how about a RAC wiki and the list goes on without RAC.
Folks, the future has passed us by.
Anyway the survey:
First question asks about email. Already we’re in trouble. Email is so 1971.
Next question: Have you been receiving The RAC Report on a regular basis?
Well duh. If you’ve got email and you’ve let RAC know the address and you’re a member you’re getting the report. Of course if you’re running an intelligent email program your spam filter might be catching the report. 🙂
A better question would have been do you find anything useful in the RAC Report or is it just a rehash of old news?
Let’s look at more of the survey. There are lots more questions of no consequence and then we get to the heart of the matter. RAC can’t afford to keep printing 4,500 copies of The Canadian Amateur which is costing each member $17.91 for our six issues annually.
The survey suggest printing only 2250 magazines which I wonder is closer to the actually number of members and if it is we’re in a lot more trouble than we thought. But of course we can’t get accurate membership numbers. You might want to ask yourself why?
The survey states when it comes to RAC “the financial future is dependent upon increasing its membership and making further changes to the production of the paper version of The Canadian Amateur.”
If we want to keep the magazine in print or electronic form, we’re going to need to keep the editor. (Anybody who thinks an association magazine should be run by volunteers is hereby encouraged to start one.)
If we want the online magazine to look nice and work on our new smartphones, IPads and computers we’re going to need to pay for a good graphic artist and web designer.
Then we’re going to have to start a real online membership campaign where we encourage young people (anyone under 50) to join our ranks. (There’s a huge movement within the ranks of the young to do-it-themselves and we’re missing out by not engaging these youngsters via social media.)
Note to RAC:
Email is not social media and the days of spark-gap thinking are over.