The most commonly asked question posed to me from members as I move through Branches or meet new members on rides is ‘how are our membership numbers going?’ Clearly this reflects the view that growing numbers reflect a strong Club. At first cut this is a reasonable proposition, although my view tends to be that an active membership beats numbers anytime. However, without a basic number of financial members it is increasingly difficult for the Club to provide the services it does to its members without sustaining losses or increasing subscriptions.
This year the numbers have plateaued around 14,800 after the usual significant reduction December-January each year when the vast majority of renewals are due and non-renewal numbers are large. At December 20117 we had 16,042 members and by end January 2018 the numbers had fallen to 14,752. However the numbers have held steady since January and our membership is some 320 more than the budgets upon which our annual operations are based. Our big challenge is to increase the renewal rate so we retain members into future.
The last AGM Event at Barmera is now a fond memory. From the Treasurer’s perspective the 2018 Event was most memorable in that it produced a surplus of $101,582 which is excellent considering the risk associated with this type of event and the unforeseen expenses which can arise during the course of the event. The financial outcome reflects the competence and dedication of the 2018 Event Committee/Team and the general positive spirit which prevailed in the management team at the Event. The Event Treasurer has identified at least $70,000 savings achieved by volunteer work or donated services. Also, we must not lose sight of the fact that all National Office Staff time and other NAO costs are not charged back the AGM resulting in boosted surplus which is absorbed by the Club.
Given the contribution from the Barmera Event the Club’s operating accounts to end July 2018 show a surplus of some $64.033. This is a significant surplus however it reveals an underlying operating deficit of $40k (approx.) relating to normal activities of the Club. This situation is being addressed by changes in the format of Riding On which will yield savings of $70k per year. The NatCom is considering operational changes to our IT System (iMIS) moving to a cloud based system which may yield savings as much as $50k per year depending upon NatCom’s final decisions relating to website hosting and e-mail marketing. More of this in the Summer Edition.
John Osborne #41785
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