Mike Karnes, Charles Youngblood, Samantha McKinney, Phil Vance, Brad Davy, Steve Sides, Ron Graham, Doug Pilcher, Michael Verzywelt, and Rusty Fried
Pollyann Falk, Ann Marie Holder, and Gayle Ireland with Spark Strategic Ideas
Meeting began 9:01 p.m. EST
Marketing Strategies – Ron Graham and Pollyanna Falk
Ron Graham has spoken with Pollyanna Falk with Spark Strategic Ideas on what we can do to address the membership drop and contest participation levels. Mrs. Falk is with Spark Strategic Ideas. Ann Marie Holder, CEO of
Spark Strategic Ideas, and Gayle Ireland, Research Partner, helped present the proposal to the BOD.
Spark Strategic Ideas is a full service agency in Charlotte, North Carolina. They research who the organization really is, their strengths and weaknesses, and goals for the future. Once all this information is collected, they can then coordinate a plan that helps the organization. The IMAC organization has different perspectives from the BOD, members, former and prospective members. We must first understand the environment. By understanding all of this, it helps the organization grow. If the IMAC organization asks why, the information received may be just what they want to hear, but a third-party would receive real responses. Spark has worked with several non-for-profit organizations with their marketing strategies.
Mrs. Falk presented the proposal to the BOD. With the membership drop, the problem is that it cannot be pinpointed to just a few reasons because there are multiple. Spark is recommending to do the research to see what the main problem is and then come up with a solution to fix it. They will be conducting a survey with three groups, current, former, and prospective members. Each contact will have a 10-12 minute survey. Currently, there are 5,000-6,000 emails available to reach out to for the survey. Spark’s goal is to receive 300 responses. They will follow up with contacts until they reach 300. Spark will manage all phases of the data collection process. They also recommend to include an incentive for filling out the survey, one grand prize of a $250 VISA gift card, and 2 one-year IMAC memberships. Everyone who fills out the survey will be included in the drawing for these prizes.
Questions that Sparks recommend include for current members but are not limited to: why are you participating; reasons for joining; why are you continually renewing your membership; any challenges, changes, or improvements; perceptions; or competitive options or alternatives. Questions for past members but are not limited to: reasons for joining and leaving; any challenges, changes or improvements; perceptions; and competitive options or alternatives. Questions for prospective members but are not limited to: how did you hear about IMAC; level of interest; reasons for interest; motivators or barriers to join; expectation for membership; perceptions; and competitive options or alternatives.
The BOD will receive a detailed written report to see what Spark has learned from the survey. This will be a two-phase, 7 week process. The proposal submitted is $9,500 and $350-400 for incentives.
Gayle, research partner with Spark, would like to emphasize the importance in having a third-party involved. This is important to past and prospective members that aren’t able to access the website. This insures people the anonymity and real honest answers. The question arises if we are delivering the correct information to the correct audience.
Ron says that he sees this as a return on investment. What will the survey include, multiple-choice, open-ended, or both? Yes, some of them will be lists that can rate, rank, or select. There will be options to enter answers to questions or their own comments. Questions that are answered with “other” are taken very seriously. This will be an unbiased survey and have the option to put in their own responses when needed.
Brad wanted to know Spark’s experience and id they have worked with another organization that has the same structure of IMAC, such as geographical issues, and was it successful. Gayle says geography is no longer an issue due to modern technology. If there are geographical issues, their survey is built to address and see what these issues are in different regions. One case study in the real estate market. They had offerings to buy in a community. One offering was not receiving any interest. There offering wasn’t appealing to the right audience. The survey identified the correct audience and then changed their offering and sold out the community. It was extremely successful.
The BOD will review and get back to Mrs. Falk. The BOD thanked Gayle, Ann Marie, and Pollyanna for their proposal, taking an interest, and accommodating their time for the meeting.
Samantha forwarded Spark’s proposal to the entire BOD. Mike suggests that the entire BOD review the proposal, gather their thoughts, and any ideas that they have. Currently, the cost of the survey is 40% of our membership income. Ron recommends that we get other bids submitted for a marketing strategy. Brad has mentioned it to his daughter to see if her company is interested to submit a proposal within the next couple of weeks. Brad agrees that we should have the information gathered by an unbiased, third-party. This proposal is only gathering information; it is not providing the solution. Ron believes that this would be an investment for IMAC.
Website Issues – Charles Youngblood
Charles brought up that he thinks the website is not working and functioning like it should. Many on the BOD have not had any issues. Brad has tried to duplicate some of the problems and the only way he can is if he uses the .com for the old website. Brad and Doug say they both use Internet Explorer. Ron has also received a lot of questions and issues about the website. Some members who are still having problems registering for the website need to email Samantha and she will forward it on to be taken care of. Membership issues need to be forwarded to Phil. Rusty says that the older generations are having the most problem with the website. Rusty gave an example of many couldn’t find the forums because the name was changed to “The Hanger.” Doug has an outside forum for the website navigation question and answer. Steve gets questions about why the membership list is no longer available, forums are hard to use, or about the new features compared to the old website. Many members would like to see the member search back on the new website. The member lookup is not available because of all the information of each member that is connected to their profile. It is a huge opportunity for information to get out to marketers. When you click on a message posted from a member, click on the name and then user profile. There is a “pm” button where you can send that member an email. We are also supposed to be using our names for our profile, instead of an alias. Ron says that he would like to see the articles that are written, such as on the NC page, to be tagged into a forum for all members to view. Currently, they can only be view on NC regional page.
Charles also brought up the issue of people logged into the website using an alias. He believes a previous board voted years ago and members were told that their login would be changed to their correct name.
2017 Sequences – Mike Karnes
The Unlimited sequence is still being worked on. Mike has posted the Basic, Sportsman, Intermediate, and Advanced, including the alternates, for the BOD to review and vote. These need to be reviewed as soon as possible for they can be posted to the website for the members. Unlimited will hopefully be posted within the next week or two.
2017 BOD Elections – Mike Karnes
Right now, the only contested race is the SE and SW regional directors. Please get a bio written up and sent to Roy to be posted.
Flying Giants Post – Mike Karnes
Many of the BOD has read the forums on the Flying Giants website on the membership drop. There is also a poll on the membership drop. Many ideas have been posted on the membership drop such as, not scale enough, limiting plane size, inconsistent judging, contests too far away, etc. The BOD reviewed the poll based on the results as of September 19.
2017 National Judging School – Doug Pilcher
The hotels are narrowed down to two options. One is across from the school itself. Doug’s wife is trying to get the best deal between the two hotels. She is trying to get them to include breakfast and airport transportation for pickup and drop off. There is no room guarantee and you can cancel within 24 hours without no penalty. As of now, we are not ready to start booking rooms. Doug will put the hotels on each region’s page with a link. Doug has several vehicles available if the 15- passenger vans do not work out. The companies do not want to commit to a price this far in advance. Phil is going to send the BOD a report of a complete run down of expenses from the 2015 National Judging School. Each region can send 2 members, up to $1,400 per region at IMAC’s expense. Any additional will come out of the region’s fund. Mike is also going to get a current list of our National Judging Instructors to send to the RDs.
Treasurer’s Report – Phil Vance
Phil emailed the regional funds report to the RDs. We have received our check for the participation at the NATS. We also received funds for the Horizon Hobby Airplane Auction by Charles Lewis. Phil will get the BOD a report for the NATS, when he sends the one for the Judging School. The current balance as of September 19:
The NATS expense has went down since we use contestant judging and the McCullough Center for the banquet. We also will be having the judging school and possibly a marketing cost as expenses within the next year. The marketing costs would be a significant expense. The National Judging School will cost between $8,000-10,000.
2018 IMAC World Championships – Mike Karnes
The BOD is aware that Wayne Matthews has pulled out of the World Championships, International Liaison, and all the committees. Wayne has emailed all the documentation that he has started to all of the BOD and certain members. Doug believes that we should contact the 40 plus volunteers to see if they are still willing to help. If not, we need to start finding replacements. The BOD also discussed the financial sponsorships and donations received for the last Worlds. The last Worlds finished in the black, with around $6,000. No money came out of IMAC funds. It was the consensus of the BOD to review all the documentation that Wayne sent and to have a meeting around the first of October to only discuss the future of the 2018 Worlds.
No regional issues to report.
Meeting adjourned 11:42 p.m. EST.
Addendum post meeting: Mike followed up with webmaster on Charles concern over use of aliases on the website. There was no record found nor did the webmaster recollect any such change of alias user names to proper names. However the BOD does ask/suggest that members do indeed update their entire profiles to include real names. This is not a change to an alias on forums but only in your user profile. At this point there is not a motion nor a vote passed to exclude aliases. This also provides consistency to the RPS system and ability of users and contact between users on the site.