Attracting and Retaining Members – some more changes to trip fees and membership – August 2014

Thanks a lot for your contributions and ideas to the membership categories ideas – those of you that talked to committee members, emailed us, and posted comments.  It was really appreciated and has helped us a great deal to firm up the categories proposal.

Membership Categories – thanks for your feedback

We received many comments and emails about the membership categories changes – which was greatly appreciated. Generally you were very supportive of the proposal. Some of you talked about the Veteran Household rate; you felt $85pa, a $9 per annum increase, was too much given that a lot of veterans don’t use many of the club’s benefits nowadays. So we are now proposing a Veteran Household rate of $80. This will shift the proposal from being cost neutral to costing a couple of hundred dollars.

Another change you suggested was renaming the Senior Member to simply Adult Member. So we’ll do that too. Nothing changes about senior/adult membership apart from the name.

We have updated the original membership categories article with these changes.  The next step will be to present these at an Extraordinary General Meeting, probably sometime in November, to seek your assent to them and to make the required changes to the constitution to make them happen.  In the meantime we’re still open to any comments and suggestions you may have.

Some fee changes

The committee has approved some related changes to trip fees that will come into effect for the next financial year.  These are aimed at more fairly balancing the member and non-member contributions to the running of the club.

Higher non-member rates for trips

Currently, non members who come on our trips pay between $5 and $15 extra to go on club trips that use the van.  We’ve agreed changes to these non-member fees as follows.

  • Increase from $5 to $10 – Between Wellington and Himatangi
  • Increase from $10 to $15 – North Island north of Himatangi
  • Increase from $15 to $20 – South Island

This change has a number of effects. It increases the charges we take from non-member trampers to cover the financial costs and non-financial effort that comes with club trips – the club gear, Emergency Contact system, all the planning and effort that goes into the schedule and so on.  This increased charge will help towards non members contributing more fairly with cash instead of volunteer effort.  And of course, an increased differential provides more incentives to join the club, which helps increase membership and make these trampers more a part of the WTMC community.

$5 per adult donation for trips that are currently “free”

Daywalks, self drive family trips and other trips that don’t involve club transport or club facilities often don’t attract a WTMC trip fare.  We will ask for a $5 contribution from adult non-members who come on trips like this.  This charge isn’t compulsory but is expected.  It is used for the things in the background of these trips like club gear, emergency contact support and the logistical effort the the club puts in to make these trips happen – and it’s also used for donations to organisations like Life Flight Trust, track and hut maintenance, Baring Head plantings, and all the good things the WTMC does on participants’ behalf.

Remove the $15 Joining Fee

To balance these extra charges on non members, we have decided to remove the $15 club joining fee.  This one-off joining fee just created administration for not much benefit, and had the perverse effect of discouraging former members from re-joining.

More ideas – help us out!

As you can tell from the changes we are working through around membership categories and trip charges, you can tell that your committee is thinking quite hard about how to both attract and retain members.  We are looking at the two key questions:

How do we encourage people to join the WTMC, particularly people who go on trips with the club but don’t see the benefits in joining?

How do we encourage WTMC members to stay members? (and related to that, how do we encourage members who have stepped away from club activities to re-engage with the club?)

Here are some of the ideas that have been discussed at committee, the Tararua Hall and the Hop Garden, in the van on the way back from trips, and elsewhere.  We’re keeping an open mind on all of them and really want to hear what you think. Tell us in the comments!

Change the Joining Criteria?

The two overnight trips joining criteria means that a number of active and keen WTMC participants – skiers, daywalkers, family trampers with small children, day MTB’ers and others – find it very difficult to join and so stay as non-members, sometimes for years.  It would be great to give these people a path to membership and tap into their enthusiasm.

On the other hand, some people might have concerns about changing the requirements for membership changing the club’s character.

What do you think the club’s joining criteria should be?  How do we protect the club’s ethos but allow the participants in the groups above a path into the WTMC community?

Committee will be discussing this issue at our September meeting, and any thoughts you want to feed into this discussion would be very welcome.

Trying new things and fun things?

The WTMC runs many social events – balls, winter solstice parties at the lodge, the infamous Cross Dressing Southern Crossings, and more.  But the numbers of these have dropped off in recent times.  How do we bring in more social and fun trip and events?  What sort of events would you think would be fun?  What else should we try – and even better, would you be willing to organise something?

As FMC members we are also part of the consortium that has funding for volunteer maintenance and construction of back-country huts, tracks and facilities on behalf of all outdoor recreationalists.  What should we do?  What hut or track should we propose to ‘adopt’, and what sort of contribution would you be willing to make? Are there other ways we can get involved in “giving back” that will help grow our sense of community?

Do we need to be more friendly?

It is far too easy to recognise people on their first night of the club. They are the ones sitting on their own for the talk, intensely reading the schedule or standing looking at the sign up sheets. You can also recognise the people who have done one or two trips as they dash in to collect or drop off gear and try not to stay too long as they don’t want to stand on their own.

Once we get to know people we start to talk to them but as members and as a club we often need to be more deliberately welcoming so that we retain more of these new trampers.

We need your ideas about good ways to formalise this, so that we can welcome the new people to our community rather than just leaving it to chance.

More things for Veterans and Alumni?

There are many of us in the club who may not go on club trips but have too much WTMC in our veins to leave the club. What role can these members play in keeping the club vibrant? What kind of events/activities might draw interest and enthusiasm? Our existing members are our greatest asset – how do we express this?

It’s also not that far in the future when the club will turn 70, and even more memorable will be the 75th anniversary.  What sort of activities do members want for those key milestones?  They will be a chance for younger, older and former members of WTMC to remember and revitalise their connection with the club.

We need your feedback!

These are just a few of many ideas floating around.  What do you think of them?  What other ideas do you have that aren’t there? Anything and everything is on the table if it can help with attracting members and retaining members.  How do we make the club more fun, more welcoming, and tap into your enthusiasm more and help you to help the WTMC? Our members are our biggest asset, and we’re all passionate about tramping and about the club. We’d love to hear your thoughts – positive, negative or lateral!

Tell us in the comments, or by email to or chat to Mike G, Amanda or anyone on committee about this.  We are also planning a short town-hall style discussion on any of this, on a Wednesday night in late September after the usual slide show.  Watch for notice of this and come along and have your say.

We are looking forward to your suggestions and debate!

6 thoughts on “Attracting and Retaining Members – some more changes to trip fees and membership – August 2014”

  1. Club’s joining criteria
    How about allowing people to join without any criteria – but assessing after a year (or another suitable timeframe) whether their actions and values “protect the club’s ethos”
    Sort of like a probationary period
    You could state within this period that new members are expected to go on x number of trips (overnight or day)

  2. Thanks for reviewing these fees etc. Some thoughts from me

    1. Non member trip fee increases – yes support increases. The fees need to reflect the costs, including member time, in organizing and providing time. Non members should pay higher amounts to reflect these costs

    2. Membership fees – I would like to see them trend down more. There are quite a nr of members who retain membership (myself included) but don’t really participate much in the club anymore but retain membership out of loyalty etc. Would be good if membership fees could reflect our costs more. The main benefits I get are the journal (some cost to the club to produce), the newsletter (now its on line much less cost to club) and the FMC bulletin (which doesn’t seem to come out that often). Havent used the lodge for decades. I know it is hard to match different subs to different circumstances but would prefer more user pays and lower subs to encourage growth in membership numbers (and retention of existing members)

    Sure subs aren’t that much but added up over many many years it does make one think..

    Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

  3. 1. A buddy system would be useful for prospective members coming to Wednesday club nights. It can be awkward when everyone else is mingling and you know no-one. The buddy could assess what the visitors interests and capabilities are, and encourage them to join a suitable trip or two, after which time, the visitor will have people to talk to.

    2. Being able to sign up for trips on line would be useful as not all potential members live handy to Mt Victoria. Other commitments on Wednesday nights also make getting to the club difficult. Electronic communication is very easy and effective.

    3. Personally I would make membership for young people and families as cheap as possible. A club needs young blood to survive and they add new ideas, interest etc.

    4. I am not a member, but not sure if members have been surveyed recently to find out why they are not participating, what they would like to be doing etc. A club needs to change with the times, if it is to continue, (the running club I belonged to in Chch added a walking group, helped train people wanting to do Coast to Coast – so added kayaking and cycling, all of which grew the club and made it more dynamic and fun), and surely it is all about more people enjoying the natural assets of NZ.

    5. The pre-requisite of two overnight tramps doesn’t make sense if the potential member is an experienced tramper and is able to provide suitable referees who can vouch for them.

  4. Membership criteria should remain the same. When I became a member I lived in Taranaki which made very difficult to complete the tramps but I really wanted it. Commitment needs to be there.

  5. Thanks for listening to us old farts $80 is a good compromise.
    I would be loath to see us drop the requirement for 2 overnight trips . We are still a tramping club first and for most and while it is great that we have spun off into other activities we don’t want to see our identity change. By getting people to complete the 2 trips it gives them an opportunity to observe the standards we set on club trips and decide if we are an organisation they want to commit to. Surely if you are serious about the outdoors 2 trips are not a difficult requirement.

    • Mark and I are members, but in the 18 months since LJ arrived on the scene, we have not managed a single overnight trip between us, simply because of logistics.
      I wonder if there needs to be a way for family members to join that doesn’t involve overnight trips – perhaps requiring multiple day walks or some other set of actions that are more feasible? Because the increased cost on transport for non-members could start putting some family trampers off? I’m not sure how that would work though, and what rights it might give them / how difficult it would be to put in place.
      I know I was told before I joined that the two overnight trips was originally designed to weed out those who just wanted cheap access to the lodge for skiing!

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