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    • Doodle Bugger
      Participant
      Post count: 6
      #1432 |

      Just throwing this out for consideration and feedback from VMBC administration & other members…

      I have been a member for quite a few years and have continually paid my dues and looked forward to receiving the club magazine and to the development of a club website with forum capabilities. There are, however, a few things I’m noticing that I’m starting to wonder about…

      First, I read in the VMBC Magazine, ’14-’15 winter issue, that dues will be increasing by $5 to $30 for ’15-’16. While that is a 20% hike, I don’t have a major issue with that but am curious as to where the revenue from membership dues actually goes. I assume that it’s magazine printing, postage, a stipend/salary of some sort for the secretary (she is paid, right?), and awards for the meet. It wouldn’t surprise me if there were other expenses related to the Portland meet. I’d say that is all very reasonable. I recall sometime back when a very basic ledger was printed in the magazine outlining the club’s cash flow. I’d like to ask for the club to be more transparent about its cash flow so that the general membership has a better sense of what’s going on rather than simply being told there are “rising cost of expenses” so the dues are going up.

      Second, I live very far away from Portland and my career (I’m not retired) makes attending the meet impossible these days (though I have attended before). As a result of not being able to partake in the Portland meet, I’ve begun to regard my membership as basically a $25 magazine subscription to the club’s publication. I’ve been able to live with that. I also figured that some very small part of my dues was going to support the secretary’s position (deserved, IMHO) and the cost of having a club website. But things have changed…the website forum does not require paid membership to utilize the forum, meaning anyone can use the forum that the general membership is supporting with their dollars. There are clubs, like the AMCA, that require paid membership before forum use is possible. While I am pointing this out, I can live with an “open forum” in the VMBC’s case. The thing that I’m seeing now that I really do NOT like is that the club magazine is now posted online for anyone to see (member or not) for free. If we, as the membership, are paying for the creation and publication of the magazine via our club dues and the magazine is being given away online for free, I have a problem with that. I realize my membership entitles me to attend the Portland meet at no additional cost and allows me to place free ads in the club magazine, but what other benefits are there to members other than the magazine? As far as I can tell there are no other benefits. So, when you take the magazine out of the benefits of being a paid member (since it’s now available for free) – that leaves $25 – and soon to be $30 per year for the ability to go to Portland (which I already said I can’t do) and place ads in the magazine – that seems like not a lot of bang for the buck for someone in my situation. I cannot possibly be the ONLY member that belongs but cannot attend Portland regularly. It won’t be popular, but I think that offering the online magazine for free ended and that it certainly should not made available for free on the backs of those that are paying for it in the first place.

      Thoughts?

      • This topic was modified 7 years, 5 months ago by Doodle Bugger.
    • Darren Chafin
      Participant
      Post count: 60
      #1439 |

      Doodle bugger,
      We have changed the meet so that it falls on the weekend. So many were skeptical that it would be a good change, but the first year immediately eased their worry. I hope that you can join the meet again. It has really grown in the last several years to include the field in the back. It just keeps filling up so fast now and what used to be baron is used now for camping and vending space.
      I’m so glad that you brought some of this up. I never did touch base with the website very much other than here it is and didn’t really explain my plans for it, although most of it is self explanatory now.
      Years ago before my presidency of the club we did indeed publish where our money was spent. As I recall we did away with publishing it because Joyce was called by many of our members and asked questions about the balance and different bills. She was spending a lot of time on the phone trying to explain reasons for certain charges and so on. Many of our members don’t understand that our fiscal year ends at July 1st. So when we showed a balance of $20,000 in our bank account in January, folks thought we had $20,000 and we are collecting again for membership, although the $20,000 was already allocated for two more magazines being the spring and summer issues. That’s when the questions would come. Also I think it was around that time the girls, Tonya and Denise, were about to take over the books. Well they wouldn’t have been able to answer any question at the time since they were just introduced to the job.
      Another reason we didn’t want to publish our accounts was the space taken up from the magazine. When we spend $10,000+ for a single issue we wanted to get as many stories and such in as we could. With Kaitlyn having some experience now with how the bills are paid and what are the reasons for the bills we may revisit the situation and take a look at publishing a record of our accounts again in a simpler form.
      With that said I can somewhat give you an account of your membership. Free entry onto the grounds is a benefit as you mentioned along with free advertising in the for sale or wanted ads. $20 of it goes towards just paying for the magazine. Years ago, again before my presidency, it cost about $4 an issue. The cost of publishing a single magazine is now closer to $5. If our club was a larger size we could probably get that number down. Of course the more you order the lower the cost applies. Another $3 per member pays Kaitlyn for her services. She is indeed the only one on the board that is paid for her services. A little over $1 goes to pay for the complimentary license plate that you receive for attending the VMBC meet. If you add that all together it comes up to a little over $24. Now the postage for the magazines , the envelopes they arrive in, your membership card, any office equipment, and office supplies is not figured into the $25 membership, and much more little things that I couldn’t list. This would be a book. That’s just a quick dissect of your membership. Actually the membership fee hasn’t covered the items listed for years. The only way that we have made ends meet is the profit from the swap meet and show at Portland. The problem is that in the past few years rental of the grounds has went up along with utilities. I’m sure you can relate to your gas, electric, sewage, and water bills going up. We also pay for porto potties, golf carts, trash collection, insurance, trophies, building rental, any damage that the grounds has sustained, such as when the motor home destroyed the grass during the great flood, and so on. It’s just now that the show profits are cutting to close to not having enough money to cover the many various bills from the show, not to mention any small reserve for an emergency.
      Now for the reason for raising the dues. Aside from the $25 not covering the membership benefits, As stated in the past magazines, my dad, Garrett Chafin, is resigning from the editors position. He has continued to do this for free all throughout his term. The club has paid for half of his computer. That’s it! We have advertised in several past issues that his position will need to be filled. No one has come forward to do this in the last two years! One person did come forward two years ago, but she cannot do it now due to life changing events. If no one doesn’t come forward we may have to pay a person to assemble the magazine.
      As for this website, so far no money has been paid by the VMBC club members. I have personally paid $3,060.00 out of my own pocket for this website to be a reality. Also 99% of the information on this website is my own time and in most cases, wording also. Because only a few board members understand the importance of a website, I feel I have to prove to them why it is important before asking for the funding. Now this website isn’t the grand website that the Antique Automobile Club of America or the Antique Motorcycle Club of America has built, but we don’t have $10,000 – $15,000 into it either. I believe the AMCA wishes you to be a member for the reasons of their online library. They have a lot of time and money wrapped up in all those old ads, catalogs, and owners manuals that are available for viewing. If you consider we spend $40,000+ a year for 4 issues compared to the $3,000 I have invested in this website it’s a much better deal because it should last 5 years and reach tons and tons more people. Of course it will need an update every so often, but still it will come nowhere near the cost of $200,000 in 5 years.
      I feel this website is necessary for our club to grow in membership and stay the largest club of its kind. It really needs to be available to everyone that has access to a computer, including the forums. That’s why I pushed a forum to take top priority with my website designer. I think many folks including the younger generation needs a way to ask questions of the older generation for answers. If they have no way to reach us then why would they want to be a part of our club, or how would they learn how to fix a 60 year old scooter of whatever make? So far I am very happy with our website outcome, although I am still quite unsure how to do some tasks. Still lots of learning to do.
      As for the online VMBC magazine, only two magazines have been uploaded. The first issue was for the website designer to set a place for it on the website. The second issue was for my training so to speak. You see the website had already been online for a few months, and I hadn’t tried to upload a magazine yet. I wanted to make sure I didn’t need any special programs to do this, and that I personally could do it before the warranty (if you will) was up on the website. So to answer your other question the VMBC magazine will not be uploaded every issue. Perhaps just one issue per year will be uploaded. I did get some great feedback that members did like the idea because they could read it wherever they were by bringing it up on their phone, I-pad, any computer, or whatever. It was just a process that has run its course to make a somewhat updated copy for sample. Another copy probably won’t be uploaded for some time.
      Sorry it has taken me a while to answer back, but answers like this take me a while to type (chicken peck) out. I hope this has answered your questions.

    • Doodle Bugger
      Participant
      Post count: 6
      #1441 |

      Hi Darren-

      I very much appreciate the response.

      It’s helpful to have more insight and thus a better understanding of the club’s financial position, how membership fees are allocated (spent), and what the club’s significant financial challenges are. As to rising costs, I’m sure everyone can relate in some way to that.

      I (and I suspect most members) was not aware that filling the editor role has become so problematic and has moved us to the point that bumping up membership dues was necessary because this will likely become something we have to pay for in the future. Unfortunately, I am another one of the many that isn’t able to step up to do the job as my [paid] work life already sucks up most of my time and the rest of the time I try very hard to spend with my wife & daughter.

      I agree with the importance of a web presence and think you’ve done a great job with this and could certainly consider moving the club into the 21st century with a website to be your legacy. The fact that you’ve invested heavily in it personally is really incredible and is certainly something I was not aware of. That said, the fact that it was done on a “budget” is even more amazing…my assessment is that you’ve done well for the money here.

      Thanks for explaining the situation with making the magazine available online. I certainly understand if there is a sample publication made available online and think that’s a good idea. I just didn’t want to see ALL magazines end up online where they could be accessed by anyone for free while the membership was still paying for the magazine to be created in the first place…that I would disagree with.

      I think you’re on the right track here.

    • Darren Chafin
      Participant
      Post count: 60
      #1443 |

      Thanks! This website has been a major ordeal to get it the way I think the club would like it, the way I wanted it, and something that I can handle updating. I definitely wanted to keep the costs down while ending up with a site that is worth while. A little over two years ago I screwed up with trying to keep costs too low, and got exactly what I paid for. The company (Now Marketing) did a excellent job of giving me a superior website over the last one for the amount of money I paid. They have been very helpful when I get stumped on updating or moving things around on the site. I hope members continue to participate and keep it active.

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