Affiliate Brainstorming
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Petaluma, CA
    Posts
    5,479

    Default Affiliate Brainstorming

    One of the biggest reason for my election to the PPA Board of Directors is my interest in strengthening PPA in this manner: To strengthen the various affiliate levels throughout the country.

    We hear, very often of the different affiliates, Local, State and Regional going into either bankruptcy, or near bankruptcy. My interest in creating new ideas to cope with the new era in trade organizations is, I would guess, the thing that tipped the scales with the PPA nominating committee. However, ever since Jack Reznicki called me to say that there was an opening on the board, I first thought I was the highest bidder sorry, my bad...

    So, let's see how large this gets. If it gets too large, I will try to break up each of the discussions into individual thread (just thinking about how the Masters threads and the Cafe Guerbois thread become unwieldy).

    All ideas are welcome, and we will also discuss about "Sacred Cows" which are usually the culprits of a failing organization. So, lets start with this:

    Do you see any "Sacred Cows" in your associations?

    A Sacred Cow is anything that your association just can't let go of because of "tradition". Usually, board members are afraid to let go of certain aspects of the association for fear of reprisals from the older, established members. Very often, Sacred Cows are the very thing that keeps an association from moving forward.

    So, let's open this up and see what we get out of this. This information will be important as you all now have the eyes and ears of the PPA board of directors!
    Michael Gan,M.Photog.Cr. CPP,
    Meritage House of Photography

    If your business depends on you, you don't own a business-you have a job. And it's the worst job in the world because you're working for a lunatic... You can't close it when you want to, because if it's closed you don't get paid. You can't leave it when you want to, because if you leave there's nobody there to do the work. You can't sell it when you want to, because who wants to buy a job?
    —Michael Gerber
    http://www.meritageonmain.blogspot.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Palmyra, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    9,214

    Default Sent this to our 2009 prez ...

    Hi Michael;

    I sent this to our 2009 PPAofPa prez, Bob Demmler. I don't know how the rest of the year will go but we got a bigger turnout for the meeting we just had, on Sunday and Monday, than anticipated. And, I expect a big turnout for the April convention with Keith & Holly Howe speaking. It will remain to be seen how the June & October meetings go.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    NH
    Posts
    2,205

    Default

    David Trust and Al Hopper were at the PPANE convention a couple years ago talking about this issue. After hearing their talk, I had our NH Board do several brain storming sessions on SWOT. (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Weaknesses) We also talked about the SC's in our organization. It was definitely worth the time investment.
    Don
    M.Photog., Cr., CPP, D.C.Ph.

    www.donchick.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Petaluma, CA
    Posts
    5,479

    Default Sacred Cows Number 1: Aspiring/apprentice memberships

    Yes, yes, the argument can go on and on about this: Should our associations be truly a professional organization, in-between, or a "camera club"?

    In many associations, aspiring members are the financial "life's blood". But with the high number of aspiring members in an association, at what cost would this be to the Masters and the more advanced members of the association? Certainly, if you have renewals of your older, more experienced members, how many are showing up to the meetings to offer guidance to those aspiring members?

    Idea #1: Make the core vision of your associations focused on "Photographic Excellence". That is, surround your key programming around your Master Photographers so that they have a place to come and learn something. Fund these programs (it will take a big chunk of your budget) with "Night Schools" where your beginners can participate in various themed weekly "classes" of the basics. The night schools are generally taught by the active members who receive a small $100 fee for their time (most donate it back to the association).

    A few of the associations in California do this with much success. The Northern California group raised enough money to have the following speakers come in one year: Lizbeth Guerina, Fuzzy Duenkle, Kevin Kubota and Jim Gardner. Not bad for an association of 90 members. Programming like these attracts the Master Photographers (as well as a large audience) and also helps the judging pool for print competition at the end of the meeting! What this does is help foster photographic excellence to the newer members by having the presence of the Masters!

    Idea #2: Make it harder to get into the association for aspiring members. This is not an exclusivity issue, but rather, a controlled issue for the active members to be able to enjoy their membership. Let me clarify this. If you have too many aspiring members, the Masters get inundated with requests. the Masters are charged with teaching others, but there has to be a limit, otherwise the Masters start to burn out and stop attending the meetings, thus the ball starts to roll for scaricity of experienced members.

    Do accept aspiring members with open arms, it is good for our profession as a whole, but limit the numbers that you will allow each year. I would recommend that your aspiring members be no more than 20% of your total membership (so 100 members, 20 would be aspiring). Make your aspiring member for a period of one year (two years at the most) and have their transference to active membership based on their fiscal year that they joined. This way, you can have a shorter waiting list of aspirings to get in at various times of the year.

    Idea #3: Make your aspirings work for their active status. Whenever I mention this, it's almost like a light bulb turns on for most board of directors I speak to! Aspiring members have much more to gain with membership than active members. Since their learning curve is so steep, they are usually a sponge (not deroggatory). Make them pay for the priviledge of learning from the pros. Citing Northern California as an example, again, they increased the dues for aspirings. While the actives are paying $125 a year, the aspirings pay $200.

    With that comes a comprehensive program that they must complete in which their sponsor must make sure they follow: Must attend the "Business 101" night school, must be involved in at least three committees in the association, must submit images for review at the end of their year for qualification as an active member, must attend 2 month's night schools (at their cost), must produce copies of State and federal business/sales tax license (and local if applicable).

    I can't tell you how involved the active members who went through this program as aspirings are. Those who don't make the grade will at least have the understanding of what it takes to be working pro, so the association knows that "at least they've tried" to steer photographers in the right direction.

    Starting professional excellence and photographic excellence is the way to go in the modern association. In the "old days", most pros had at least basic fundamentals taught to them in JC's, but with the advent of the auto everything, that has gone by the wayside. Now, it has been the increasing pressure of the associations to educate the masses, but at what expense to your core membership? Consider these ideas to strengthen your association. Not dilute it.

    Next up: Now that your have your aspiring membership under contorl, how about certification?
    Michael Gan,M.Photog.Cr. CPP,
    Meritage House of Photography

    If your business depends on you, you don't own a business-you have a job. And it's the worst job in the world because you're working for a lunatic... You can't close it when you want to, because if it's closed you don't get paid. You can't leave it when you want to, because if you leave there's nobody there to do the work. You can't sell it when you want to, because who wants to buy a job?
    —Michael Gerber
    http://www.meritageonmain.blogspot.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Palmyra, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    9,214

    Default Here in Pa.

    Hi Michael;

    Here in Pa. we do have an aspiring category. They do not qualify for all perks as firm members. When I joined the PPAofPa in 1978 there was only firm membership. When I served on the Board of Governors, past PPA President Ann Monteith & I pushed and got the aspiring category instituted. It was set up to allow those part time to make a transition to full time over several years.

    I want to add a thought. I am seeing a number of our state members working part time somewhere else to make ends meet. A friend is an excellent photo retoucher and now works at Kohls department store and does retouching part time. I think this will keep happening more and more. At our annual members meeting, at the April convention, I plan on making a motion to allow aspiring members to enter print competition which they can't do now.

  6. #6

    Default

    I can shed some light on this...

    Too many organizations try to go all out on their conventions and seminars. Too many speakers to pay for - I hate dual track programming. Expensive banquets and meals to pay for. Too expensive a resort to host the convention. Too many at the top getting free lodging and registrations. Publications that cost too much to produce. An expensive website to better serve its members. Computers, projectors and sound systems that always need updating. Unnecessary monthly meetings.

    Here in SD, we run a very frugal organization. We have very few board meetings, but we have lots of phone calls going back and forth to make it all work. We've managed to accumulate a few dollars in reserve. We make our events happen without any infighting between our board members. We are here to serve.

    The biggest reason for financial failure in affiliates is egos that are too big.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Sheboygan, WI
    Posts
    2

    Default Open for suggestions

    Our Wisconsin Affiliate Convention is being held this weekend. Our membership numbers are down as well as our convention registrations. We are attributing this mainly to the economy. Also, many national conventions are now being held in Jan & Feb, which squeezes the Education budget of many studios. With this being said, We are looking for ideas to grow our association despite these obstacles. I understand that atleast one affiliate, I think it is Texas, includes convention registration into their membership dues with great success. I would appreciate anyone out there with first hand knowledge about this idea, or other suggestions to post a rely.

    Thank you,
    Judy Strukel
    WPPA VP

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Palmyra, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    9,214

    Default Here in Pa.

    Hi Judy;

    The PPAofPa annual studio dues are $210.00. For that we get to attend a 2 day meeting in February, a 3 day convention in April, a 2 day meeting in June, and a 2 day meeting in October. All speakers are included in the dues.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Petaluma, CA
    Posts
    5,479

    Default

    California is testing out the convention as a member benefit this year, so we'll see what the increase in attendance (and increase of membership) will be. There are two conferences this year. Western States in Pasadena in March, and the ProPhoto Expo (a new feature) in South San Francisco in August.

    We've been trying to get more people to attend the convention side of the conference. The trade show attracts about 3500 people each year, but the turnout for the programming has been on the low side. There are around 500 PP California members, so we hope most of them will show up this year!
    Michael Gan,M.Photog.Cr. CPP,
    Meritage House of Photography

    If your business depends on you, you don't own a business-you have a job. And it's the worst job in the world because you're working for a lunatic... You can't close it when you want to, because if it's closed you don't get paid. You can't leave it when you want to, because if you leave there's nobody there to do the work. You can't sell it when you want to, because who wants to buy a job?
    —Michael Gerber
    http://www.meritageonmain.blogspot.com

  10. #10

    Default

    Ok, my thought is that we should encourage as many aspiring members as possible and certainly make them work for an active membership. I'm even wondering if you could implement yet another membership level just for those who wish to invest in education. I mean, not every aspiring member is willing to pay for their education. Having another membership level could help separate the hobbyist from those who truly wish to become professionals.

    Sooooo, let's say there is an "aspiring professional" level that guarantees you invitations to participate in various educational events throughout the year while a more general "aspiring" level would only include you in general events such as conventions and not the night classes that Michael suggested. I would also think that the "aspiring professional" level might get you an opportunity to assist with print competitions and volunteer behind the scenes for other events which could help you earn an active membership. Of course this new membership level would have an additional cost.

    I'm sure you can tell I don't have this all worked out in my head, but you see the direction I'm headed in... or at least I hope you do...

    I was also wondering if we could create one of two OPEN events per year where non-members could participate for a set fee... We could use such an event as an open call of sorts to help build membership while creating additional revenue at the same time. It would be pretty easy to advertise through local camera dealers.
    CK McDaniel, Cr Photog., CPP
    Because Photographers have a BETTER IMAGE ...
    www.StudioEnVogue.com

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