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Thread: CFC - Membership Drive?

  1. #11
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    Ken, that is a pertinent question to ask. I doubt if anyone has worked that out but someone needs to (our new Treasurer?) because without an analysis of how much everything costs from ratings to newsletter to overhead PER PAYING MEMBER, we are kind of stumbling in the dark.

  2. #12
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    I presently don't know the details of any of our contracts, but I would have to think that our variable costs are now fairly low and we mostly have fixed costs.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred McKim
    I presently don't know the details of any of our contracts, but I would have to think that our variable costs are now fairly low and we mostly have fixed costs.
    Does *anyone* among Governors know details of the CFC contracts? I think not. It may be that most of the EXECUTIVE do not know contract details either. I seem to recall the Prez being asked about the CFC book outsourcing contract and some mumbling about the need to keep details confidential as part of the agreement (paraphrasing).

  4. #14
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    I know (knew) the details... I also know that at least the equipment deal was reworked due to the google warning on the CFC site last year.

    The large majority of the CFCs expenses are indeed fixed to a point, although the deal with EKG is to some degree tied to membership levels, and obviously some other things might get more expensive should we double the membership base.

  5. #15

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    Interesting to note that the FQE just signed a deal with the CMA re. books and equipment.
    http://www.chesstalk.info/forum/showthread.php?t=3412
    Last edited by Ken Craft; 07-06-2010 at 11:29 AM.

  6. #16
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    If the CFC is to do a membership drive, as planned by a committee (or not), the CFC has some thinking to do first.

    Questions the CFC may wish to ask itself include:

    1. What similar efforts to increase membership have been tried in the past?
    2. What could the CFC try to change about itself or organized chess in Canada that would make having a CFC membership appeal to more people?
    3. What resources and possible ideas for executing a drive does the CFC have at its disposal?

    Regarding Q1, In the past as far back as I can recall, the CFCs efforts at anything resembling a membership drive have been largely passive. For example, 2-year memberships were offered at discount, compared to buying two 1-year memberships back to back. Members were once offered some sort of incentive for signing up new CFC members. Online advertising was tried. A national chess week of nation-wide simuls was voted for by the Governors, but there was no follow up with local clubs and organizers by the CFC Executive. Governors were not clamouring to fill the void. An officer of publicity was voted for but no one has volunteered for the position in a long time.

    Regarding Q2, here's a blast from the past that may provide insights into what a good portion of CFC members, or potential ones, might desire even nowadays (ignoring the issue of rating deflation, which has been dealt with, and the demise of a print magazine and the CFC office in Ottawa):

    From the 05-06 GL#4:

    "Kevin Pacey: I'd like to present a snapshot of results on October 29, 2005 for three polls I took on the chesstalk message board. I was limited to giving a maximum of 10 choices per poll for respondents to select. These polls are hardly scientific but they may be of interest, as they may point to what many members feel most passionate about. More to the point is that we could
    do better if we wished, such as by having a reader's survey sent out with the magazine.

    Posted October 27, 2005
    What's your biggest problem with CFC-rated events held in your area?

    Competition too weak too often 22% votes:17
    Competition too powerful too often 0% votes:0
    Entry fees usually too high 8% votes:6
    CFC fee too high 6% votes:5
    Events often poorly organized 1% votes:1
    You have to travel, expenses high 6% votes:5
    Committments normally prevent you from playing 27% votes:21
    No big problem with such events 15% votes:12
    Prefer postal/internet/casual chess 5% votes:4
    Other: 9% votes:7
    78 votes total

    Posted October 28, 2005
    What would you like to happen most concerning chess in your area?

    Coaching made available 10% votes:5
    Attracting more 2000+ rated players to events 19% votes:10
    More round-robins between closely rated players 13% votes:7
    More class sections in swisses 8% votes:4
    More tornados (4 round events on one day) 4% votes:2
    More team events 4% votes:2
    More events in general 25% votes:13
    Faster time controls than now usual 8% votes:4
    Slower time controls than now usual 6% votes:3
    Other 4% votes:2
    52 votes total

    Posted October 28, 2005
    What's the thing you'd most like the CFC to do?

    Manage national event(s) differently 3% votes:2
    Put the magazine online 5% votes:3
    Lower membership and/or rating fee 15% votes:9
    Study the future of the business office 8% votes:5
    Deal with perceived ratings deflation 13% votes:8
    Revise or reform the CFC handbook 0% votes:0
    Ask provinces to improve elections of CFC Governors 6% votes:4
    Get more members 31% votes:19
    You're content with the way things are: 3% votes:2
    Other 16% votes:10
    62 votes total"

    What I might take away from these not too old chesstalk polls and try to apply nowadays is:

    1) People may be somewhat divided on whether they want todays (faster) time controls faster/slower, but most don't seem to have that as a big concern. So the CFC need not encourage organizers to change their TCs.

    2) With ratings deflation having been corrected, concerns about the competition in typical events being too weak or underrated may have been lessened.

    3) Internet chess may not have pulled away as many players from over-the-board competition as some have feared.

    4) The CFC (membership/rating) fees and entry fees may not be too high for the large majority of people.

    5) No one who responded placed top priority on revising or reforming the CFC Handbook. Only one person thought local events were so badly organized that it was their top concern. Two people thought national events were managed badly enough to make it their first complaint. The elections procedures for Governors wasn't a top concern. In short, few are very concerned with changing CFC/tournament rules and regulations, or the record of their implimentation.

    So far so good, more or less....

    6) A lot of people want there to be more CFC members and more CFC events organized. This begs the question of how to aquire more CFC members (and perhaps thus more organizers). Until more organizers are aquired, existing organizers perhaps need to be encouraged by all means possible to work harder. A president's message coming out now and then in the CFC Newsletter might not hurt.

    7) A lot of people nowadays simply aren't able to play at most weekend events (and thus many might not see much value in having a CFC membership). This suggests the CFC should strive to provide other playing options and services. A CFC internet server, or another deal with ICC, is a long way off probably. Providing more support to clubs affiliated with the CFC is an option, so that these clubs could be encouraged to recruit more members. The CFC apparently is not in a position at the moment to provide many more services.


    Regarding Q3 (what resources and possible ideas for executing a drive does the CFC have at its disposal?), the CFC has limited funds (unless it raids the Chess Foundation), so a major advertising campaign would seem hard to mount. A deal with the CMA has been suggested, but the CFC may be in a position akin to begging for favours. Off the top of my head, I would refer the CFC to my points #6 and #7 above for ideas.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Armstrong
    Can CFC start a school membership drive...?
    As I noted in my previous post, one would first consider the resources and ideas that the CFC has available for executing such a drive.

    The CFC could send schools emails and snail mail (including flyers). It has Governors who might phone or visit schools for recruiting purposes, but I wouldn't count on a significant number of them doing it. The CFC might encourage local tournament or club organizers to do the recruiting work, on behalf of the CFC, but I imagine most would be keener on just pursuing what they're already into in the way of organizing.

    That seems to leave asking the CMA for help...
    Last edited by Kevin Pacey; 07-08-2010 at 04:32 PM.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Armstrong
    CFC Membership Stats as of: 2010/05/01

    ......... Family Honorary Junior LIFE Adult Participating Junior. Total
    Total..... 18....... 66 .....176.. 370..975............ 278........... 1883

    Total Paying Adults: 975 ( Adult ) + 370 ( Life ) = 1,345
    Total Juniors : 176 ( Junior ) + 278 ( Participating Junior - category no longer exists - was the " cheap " option - how many will renew at the highter price? ) = 454

    Is it a reasonable target for CFC to try to reach in 2010-11 ( fiscal year started May 1 ) an adult total of 1500 memberships?

    Can [the] CFC ... try to increase junior memberships to 500?
    Here's a link to past as well as present CFC membership stats, as given on the CFC website:

    http://www.chess.ca/MemStats.shtml

    If we compare last year with this year, we see that Ontario memberships' total has gone up slightly, while most other provinces/territories stats have gone down slightly.

    In any case, this year's stats for CFC membership totals are within the range of the 'new normal' that has existed since 2008. The 2009 total of 1925 CFC members suggests that it wouldn't be too surprising if next year's total was at least 2000 CFC members. Therefore a target of 1500 adult and 500 junior members for any membership drive worth it's salt may simply be too modest.

    Part of what is involved in asking what the CFC might do to make having a CFC membership more attractive is looking for large past mistakes that may have cost the CFC good will, causing it to lose large numbers of members. A future attempt to woo back lost members can be based on conclusions drawn.

    CFC membership took a beating between 2004 and 2007, a period that covers what the CFC's rating committee back in ~2006 dubbed the deflationary period of ~2004-2006 for the CFC rating system. As former CFC Governor Peter Stockhausen commented in a GL later on, allowing the CFC's rating system to deflate was a BIG mistake from a business point of view. What also happened in this period was that the print magazine was cancelled without real compensation to members. Hence the CFC membership fee was for a time definitely overvalued, and again more members were probably lost as a result.

    Since those dark days rating deflation has become a thing of the past, and there is a CFC online newsletter that most members can easily gain access to. However, my question is: has the CFC tried to contact past members and point out that it has corrected these (and possibly any other) problems (i.e. deflation and no magazine) that may have been a turn off for members who quit during the 2004-2007 period especially?
    Last edited by Kevin Pacey; 07-09-2010 at 04:40 PM.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Armstrong
    Hi Fred:

    Motion 2010-17 at the AGM institutes the Position of Public Relations Coordinator ( replacing the old Director of Publicity Position, which never got filled year after year ). The motion says:

    " 8C. The Public Relations Coordinator will be responsible for promoting the image of the CFC and for promoting chess generally to the public. "

    I can see this positon possibly involving a membership drive.

    So a number of questions arise:

    1. Do you think this person should Chair a Membership Drive Committee?
    2. Or should this file be given to one of the Executive, and they would chair it?
    3. Or do you think a governor or a non-governor member could be chair ( there has been some talk among the governors, that governors should chair, because of their direct commitment to the CFC, and their position puts on them a reporting obligation that may be less strong with a non-governor )?

    I am especiallly interested in your views on this, as an Executive Candidate ( for Treasurer ).

    Also, I note that no one has volunteered yet to sit on this Committee. Do we have a governor who would be willing to Chair this Committee, if the Executive should decide that the Chair need neither be an Executive member nor the new Public Relations Coordinator non-executive officer?

    Bob
    I think that Bob Gillanders, if he wins the CFC Presidency, should ideally be the chair of the Membership/(Membership Drive) Committee. He's placed an emphasis on increasing CFC membership numbers as part of his campaign, and even stated the (modest?) goal of having the CFC try to have 2000 CFC members by May 1, 2011.

    I feel this way even though the president supposedly should not exercise constant active and general supervision of "Those matters which have already been delegated to Committees appointed by the Assembly of Governors" (CFC Handbook, Section 2, Duties of Officers, PRESIDENT, 4 (b)).

    Having an Executive member on the membership committee such as the President (who has access to the CFCs books) could mean there will be less delay(s) in receiving any pertinent information required for the committee to decide on a course of action to recommend. Time is of the essence if we are to increase CFC membership numbers.

    If Bob Gillanders wins the CFC Presidency for 2010-11 and does wish to chair the CFC's membership committee then it may make it worth the effort for me (a non-CFC Governor [but CFC member, and past CFC Governor]) to volunteer to sit on the CFC's membership committee. If he wishes, Bob can reach me at Pacey47 at sympatico dot ca, if he sees this post.

  10. #20
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    Default Membership drives

    Hi Kevin,

    I have been reading your posts. Thank you. You are contributing some good thoughts and suggestions.

    One huge untapped reservoir of potential members is the general public. To them, organized chess in Canada is invisible. People are often surprised to hear there is a chess club in their community! A Chess Federation? you've got to be kidding! A simple brochure program, 50% CFC content and 50% local club content, will do wonders.

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