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How do you attract new club members

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Old 10-03-2012, 09:32 AM
  #1
countilaw
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Default How do you attract new club members

Every club started out as a group of friends with a common interest. As a kid, I started flying C/L went I was 8, building my first plane a Sterling Ringmaster. My small group of friends got interested in C/L also. We formed a little club. Not a formal club just a bunch of kids with a common interest. We flew our planes in the school yard. That was 1958.

Now it's 2012, and people are still flying in the school yards, parks, and in parking lots. I know in Arlington, Tx, the city has ordinances prohibiting flying on school grounds, in the parks and in parking lots. FYI, the fine is $200+. With this determent, you would think it would be a big boon to membership in the local clubs.

But still people don't seem to want to join a club, and still chance the risk of running afoul of the law.

What does your club do to attract more members?

Frank


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Old 10-03-2012, 12:36 PM
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Default RE: How do you attract new club members

We have been discussing this in some detail here:
[link=http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/m_11244799/tm.htm]http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/m_11244799/tm.htm[/link]
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Old 10-03-2012, 01:56 PM
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Default RE: How do you attract new club members

Hopefully, this thread is to just discuss ways to attract new members. As a group of people with a common interest, what can we do, what are others doing, and potential ideas to attract other hobbiest to our clubs.

Iam sure there are a lot of ideas out there. Tried and true methods and positive results.

Let's hear them.

Frank
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Old 10-03-2012, 03:58 PM
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Default RE: How do you attract new club members

OK, Here is my take on it and what has worked for our club....so far.
    [*]Get an Internet Site or if you have one revamp it and keep it updated with current events,pictures, etc..etc..[*]Get a Facebook Site and link it to your website. I still refuse to get a personal FB site but I created one for the club! Also keep it updated with currents events , pictures , etc, etc...[*]Make sure your club and field is accessible to everyone.[*]Organize some FUN events and ADVERTISE them on the local media sites and they usually run them the day before. Invite the local media out to an event to get some air time.[*]Make the events attractive to the parents too because that is who will be bringing the new younger members. Get the parents interested and the kids will usually follow.[*]Have a Learn To Fly day and make it free for everyone. Have free flight or rubber-band powered planes available for the younger participants to assemble and launch.[*]Have an Open House inviting the public to the field.[*]Contact the local Boy and Girl Scouts and have presentations and even bring them to the field for their meeting.[*]Mall Shows with plenty of literature to hand out.[*]How-To day at the field or make it part of an event showing the public how all of this works.[*]Make the monthly club meetings INTERESTING . Have a raffle , building tips, flying tips, etc.. Instead of the usual hum-drum.[*]Advertise, advertise, advertise![/list]
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Old 10-03-2012, 03:59 PM
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Default RE: How do you attract new club members

Frank, I thought about this for awhile and could come up with only two answers and without any local hobby shops left, I really only have one and that would be to have fun fly or airshow of some type and advertise it in some way. I did mention that exact thing at our monthly meeting monday and all I got back was negativity from all of the older guys in the club, which mean pretty much everone except me. Being 50, I was the youngest there, and the crowd at the meetings are mainly guys that don't fly much, if any, anymore. I wish I could come up with a sure fire answer but I'm drawing a blank? What are your thoughts on bringing more people into the hobby?
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:50 AM
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Default RE: How do you attract new club members

Just from my past experiences:

THINGS TO DO:
1. Make dues affordable
2. Have fun events
3. Be nice when explaining rules to new members, especially if that new member is an experienced RCer
4. Make sure that the kids in the club are invoved and help them out.

THINGS NOT TO DO:
1. Chastize members for not participating enough, some people are not retired and have a lot of crap in their lives. I would love to fly every weekend.
2. Have boring meetings, do something to make the meetings a little better if you want people to show up.
3. Stop an AMA member at the gate that just moved into town and tell them he can't fly here unless he is a member. This actually happened to me when I relocated. I was able to talk them into letting me fly, but ended up joining a different club.
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Old 10-04-2012, 11:23 AM
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Default RE: How do you attract new club members

we have had luck with a "buddy box" night. During the summer, we would have every Thursday from 5-7 as free lessons. Put a ad in the paper also. If nothing else, it made club members you did not see a lot come out and fly. We are a small club so it was nice to get together every week if nothing else.

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Old 10-04-2012, 07:36 PM
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Default RE: How do you attract new club members

Lookk like some pretty good ideas . How about some of you guys that don't belong to club. Why aren't you a member? What would it take to get you interested?


Frank
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Old 10-05-2012, 04:26 AM
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Default RE: How do you attract new club members

Get members like this in your club!
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Old 10-05-2012, 05:42 AM
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Default RE: How do you attract new club members

I'm not sure how we go about it, and I should,
but next Saturday we have 16 high school students
we're putting up on buddy boxes.

Last time we did this we ended up with 2 who stuck around
and got their wings. One build a Kadet.
Alas, we lost them to the military, one is a Marine.
Maybe this experience will help them in their career.

This is primarily initiated by two members who have a contact at the local high school.
We'll see what happens this time.

Good Luck,
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Old 10-05-2012, 10:48 AM
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Default RE: How do you attract new club members


Quote:
ORIGINAL: dasintex

Get members like this in your club!
That's a big reason clubs loose younger members ;when they start chasing skirts. Now if there was a way to get them to the field...win-win !

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Old 10-05-2012, 02:01 PM
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Default RE: How do you attract new club members

Maybe some free Hobby King coupons!!
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Old 10-05-2012, 02:37 PM
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Default RE: How do you attract new club members


Quote:
ORIGINAL: flyinwalenda


Quote:
ORIGINAL: dasintex

Get members like this in your club!
That's a big reason clubs loose younger members ;when they start chasing skirts. Now if there was a way to get them to the field...win-win !

Iwould be more active if we had members like those (or maybe if we just had some that are single).


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Old 10-05-2012, 05:49 PM
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Default RE: How do you attract new club members

Quote:
THINGS TO DO:
1. Make dues affordable
2. Have fun events
3. Be nice when explaining rules to new members, especially if that new member is an experienced RCer
4. Make sure that the kids in the club are invoved and help them out.

THINGS NOT TO DO:
1. Chastize members for not participating enough, some people are not retired and have a lot of crap in their lives. I would love to fly every weekend.
2. Have boring meetings, do something to make the meetings a little better if you want people to show up.
3. Stop an AMA member at the gate that just moved into town and tell them he can't fly here unless he is a member.
Best post in the thread...

That picture one was pretty good too.
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Old 10-06-2012, 01:28 AM
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Default RE: How do you attract new club members


Quote:
ORIGINAL: dasintex

Get members like this in your club!
Yeah, add them to the membership and think of how many wifes would start participating too!



Bedford
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Old 10-06-2012, 07:52 AM
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Default RE: How do you attract new club members

1) Have a good field without issues such as flight obstructions, unreasonable noise limits, unreasonable no-fly zones, or restrictive hours of operation.
2) Have low dues
3) Have an appealing and up to date website
4) Be friendly and welcoming to visitors
5) Have good events - fun flys, barbecues, etc.
6) Have interesting fun meetings - not a bunch of grumpy old men arguing.
7) Keep politics and religion out of all club discussions and communications - no quicker way to poison a club.

In my experience, if a club has the above they will be highly successful. Also in my experience, if a person is not interested in RC and aviation there is not much you can do to make them become interested. You sort of have to let those who are interested in RC find your club.
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:38 AM
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Default RE: How do you attract new club members

Another comment, and this I'm sure some will disagree with: Know your audience. It is generally older men who have the interest, spare time, and spare money for this hobby

Youth generally do not have the time, nor the interest, nor a way to get to the flying field, nor money, nor friends in the hobby. Our club has probably put several dozen scouts on a buddy box over the years. Exactly zero have gone further with the hobby. The average teenager's schedule is packed full, and the free time they do have they want to spend with their friends. They are not connected to aviation like older folks. Aviation and aerospace were cool 40 years ago. The moon landing is ancient history, the small local airports are gone, uncle bob did not fly in WWII, airline pilots are no longer cool, etc, etc. Trying to bring the hobby to youth is noble and good, but it probably will not increase club membership.
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:45 AM
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Default RE: How do you attract new club members

Yeah, we have done the cub/boy scout thing as well. We even did 3 exhausting TAG days with 0 new interested ones.
However, The EAA Young Eagles have attracted two young men and one of thier fathers now fly with us.
They got free AMA from EAA and our club extended the same offer to the minor.
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Old 10-06-2012, 03:54 PM
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Default RE: How do you attract new club members

You have to go after the young members and do whatever you can to get them and keep them. Who is going to keep the club going as the "older men" are forced to leave the club? It's the law of averages just like in sales. Get  20 people interested and exposed to the hobby and maybe get 1 to join. It's hard work but they typically aren't going to knock on your door if you do nothing.
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Old 10-06-2012, 05:09 PM
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Default RE: How do you attract new club members

Honestly, most of our club growth has been older men. These guys are totaly new to the hobby.
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Old 10-06-2012, 05:57 PM
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Default RE: How do you attract new club members

The best thing I've seen to do is work on encouraging members to talk about their hobby with others. In 7 years I've put 3 newbies on the buddy box who weren't there for training day, 2 of which were at the field by my invitation. One started the hobby and really ran with it, his first experience being to buddy box with me on my Cessna. Nothing beats talking about your hobby with others and offering to give them a chance at it.
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Old 10-06-2012, 06:48 PM
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Default RE: How do you attract new club members


Quote:
ORIGINAL: Tobtech

Just from my past experiences:

THINGS TO DO:
1. Make dues affordable
2. Have fun events
3. Be nice when explaining rules to new members, especially if that new member is an experienced RCer
4. Make sure that the kids in the club are involved and help them out.

THINGS NOT TO DO:
1. Chastise members for not participating enough, some people are not retired and have a lot of crap in their lives. I would love to fly every weekend.
2. Have boring meetings, do something to make the meetings a little better if you want people to show up.
3. Stop an AMA member at the gate that just moved into town and tell them he can't fly here unless he is a member. This actually happened to me when I relocated. I was able to talk them into letting me fly, but ended up joining a different club.
Great post!
Add that the club needs to make a concerted effort to constantly check those self appointed types, to "the things not to do", and it's all there. A club only needs a few of these types to discourage people. #3 goes along with how clubs seem to feel cheated by the idea of anybody flying without being a member. I think they lack seeing the bigger picture. Having regular fly-ins is a great way to promote model clubs, as well as AMA membership and model aviation in general. Sure there will be people who won't join, if they can attend enough fly-ins, but they do keep supporting the AMA.
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Old 10-11-2012, 09:27 AM
  #23
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Default RE: How do you attract new club members

We had a nice size club for the past several years,up until this past year, It was like what happen'd ? Went from a membership of close to 30 (with nearly all but a few actually flying) now down to literally just a few of us that fly. For us, I don't even know if we are going to still be a club next year, its looking pretty dismal. We even use to put on a public airshow every year, didn't do so this year though. Who knows who will show up this weekend?
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Old 10-11-2012, 11:22 AM
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Default RE: How do you attract new club members

The cliques and the old guard in any club can and is usually do seal it's fate. You may get some new blood on the board who has new ideas and wants to try and bring the club into the current century and try and save it from extinction  by implementing some and/or all of the above suggestions and will probably be successful. However, the old guard and the certain clique figures who try and run the club from the sidelines will usually not except or embrace that kind of change. Any improvements made will usually be short lived and you will see the club slowly or quickly revert back to how things used to be. Until those folks in the club are gone or finally give up it's an uphill battle. Any club has to make changes to attract and keep new members. It's very hard to try to make changes when you are greeted with push-back and when certain members are privately trying to influence the decisions of board members.
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Old 10-11-2012, 12:42 PM
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Default RE: How do you attract new club members

Belong to a club with 100+ members, most years we top out around 130. We operate two fields one in a city park one in a provincial park. Only run one club fun fly plus a little weekend long event called Warbirds over the Bay.
Gave up on mall shows as they just did not produce membership numbers. In three years of mall shows produced one new member.
Young kids just do not stay involved after getting wings but often we keep the dad so that works.
I joined in my late 20's and have aged along with several guys from that time. Now when we get new members they tend to be grey headed to start. The young guys (20 to 35) we do have are Heli pilots or the sons of long time club members. Some sadly come only to bring their infirm fathers and fly the dads old planes for a Sunday outing.
For all that we do have fairly interesting meetings featuring a mix of workshops, presentations from club members, outside speakers and the general club business.
Winter here shuts down flying for most but we do have a few die hard flyers that fly year round and at least two that only fly in winter. One owns a paving business the other a sailboat.
A heated building with AC power helps.
It takes lost of work to keep a club going we are always looking for board members/event coordinators, someone always steps up and the jobs all end up getting done and most times done really well.
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