Keith Baker comments again

I hesitate to point everyone to Keith’s second comment because everyone else’s comments are just as valid and heartfelt but Keith has taken my counterpoints to his first comment and expanded upon them and he makes a lot of sense.

Here’s the link to Keith’s second comment.

And after you’ve read Keith’s missive go read everyone’s comments abut RAC and where we need to go and then add your own thoughts. The RAC Blog is open to everyone and that includes members and non-members and not just the RAC executive team or the VP of PR.

This is your blog.

1 Response to “Keith Baker comments again”

  • Peter, (et al)

    Here’s another “round” idea that might be worth putting before the Executive or on a member survey.

    As you may know, I currently write the quarterly “Sky Surfing” column about amateur radio satellites in the US-based (primarily short wave listening) publication “Monitoring Times”. While the paper-based version of that publication is still printed and mailed to a list of subscribers, it is also distributed to a number of newsstands both in the USA and here in Canada at numerous outlets (like Chapters) and others.

    Have has the current RAC leadership considered doing something similar?

    Now, granted, this approach might involve doing a little up-front selling with some of the “big box” bookstore chains in Canada. But having TCA…. with wholly Canadian content on a Canadian bookstore shelf every other month… might actually generate some new Canadian hams who might then eventually join RAC. This falls under the heading of “growing a bigger pie” that I’ve alluded to earlier.

    This approach might also generate some additional advertising revenue for the organization in the short term because, by boosting circulation, our TCA advertisers might be willing to cough up some additional dollars for their advertising…and RAC might also be able to attract some new advertisers in the process if the circulation were higher.

    What’s more, the folks at Monitoring Times also offer their subscribers an online version of the magazine (called the MT Express) at a reduced subscription rate. Distribution is controlled by a password and online subscribers get to choose between a hi-resolution and a low-resolution scan of the .pdf version of the paper magazine plus a foreign frequency listing that is NOT in the paper edition.

    I’m sure there’s been some discussion about moving TCA online and, as with our AMSAT semi-monthly “Journal”, I’ll also bet there have been some very heated debates on this issue among the RAC Executive.

    Clearly, there are those of us who still want a paper version of the magazine in our hands every other month, and are more than willing to pay for it. But I also know (from the apparent success of “MT express”) that there is now a growing population of computer savvy hams who DON’T want all of that paper and might be just as willing to support RAC…at a reduced “online rate”… without it.

    It seems to me that, unless RAC decides to completely drop TCA in favor of a newsletter of some sort, the current fixed costs of putting TCA together every other month are going to be the same regardless of how it’s distributed. You’ve also now created a password protected area on the RAC website. It seems to me that putting an online version of TCA up there in password protected format could now be done at little added cost to the organization. It might also reduce the size of the press run (not to mention skyrocketing Canada Post mailing costs!) both of which might, in turn, yield some marginal cost savings.

    However, by offering a reduced rate option for membership to RAC, you also give both new and renewing members a CHOICE of how much they want to support the organization as well as what they get in return for that support. By using this approach, RAC might be able to offer an optional reduced annual cost of membership (and now, for folks in Ontario and BC, the stupid HST that has to be tacked onto it) back into the $20 – $30 range to the point that more Canadian hams who are now “sitting on the sidelines” might actually consider joining, if for no other reason than to support the government advocacy role of RAC.

    And the last time I checked, the revenue generated from two $30 memberships about equals the one $60 membership RAC ISN’T now getting because of a perceived “I can’t afford it” factor.

    Indeed, my hunch is that offering a reduced rate membership to RAC (and/or an online version of TCA) might actually STIMULATE overall membership…and, in turn…revenue. And, if the online version gets “hacked” a time or two…so what? That’s ALREADY happening now with uncounted “pass around” copies of the paper version.

    Moreover, it seems to me the more copies of TCA that RAC puts into the hands of Canadian hams, the more “free” advertising RAC gets for promoting itself among our Canadian ham population…which…if that advertising remains positive…should generate its own added revenue stream. As I’ve said, “quantity” has a “quality” all its own.

    And, by “positive” I mean, free of the seemingly constant mantra of “we’re on the rocks and are in survival mode” and the growing perceived “executive malaise” that long time supporters of the organization have been reading and hearing as of late, both here in the RAC blog as well as in TCA. THAT seemingly constant drumbeat of “we’re in trouble” is now wearing VERY thin among current members, not to mention turning a lot of potential dues-paying newcomers OFF.

    As I have shown, there are lots of “round” ideas for raising revenue for non-profit, hobby-based organizations like RAC out there besides standing at a hamfest booth trying to generate membership with our hands out in the same old way.

    Indeed, as Bob Cooke has so eloquently noted in his latest posting elsewhere, the RAC Executive simply needs to start getting creative in looking for ways of how best to exploit all those “round” ideas for generating added revenue.

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