David Franson
December 16, 2011

Remembering to “Re-Member”

D. Franson

It dawned on me recently that it’s been a long time since the Wichita Aero Club made a concerted effort to get our existing members to renew their annual memberships and even longer since we mounted a campaign to add new members.  This recollection on my part was, in large part, prompted by a quarterly financial statement that showed the Club’s actual membership revenues falling woefully short of projections. With a structure that requests members pay annual dues, we became so pre-occupied with other aspects of the Club’s business like recruiting speakers,  hosting luncheons and a golf tournament, selecting a WAC Trophy recipient and putting together a gala to honor him or her that we forgot something pretty basic… remembering to renew our relationship with members!  

It’s not like there weren’t other hints. The word “member” makes up most of the word “remember,” after all. And, the “re” at the beginning could easily point to the idea of “renewals.” But, we didn’t get around to it…until now!  Now is definitely the right time for all of us to make renewing WAC membership a priority–even those who joined the Club mid-year or on a specific date and expected a reminder to arrive somewhere around the anniversary of that event. That’s because, at the end of 2010, we determined that maintaining the records and currency  of our growing membership was rapidly becoming a significant challenge for our part-time WAC staff. We announced that we would be going  from an “anniversary date” based approach to a “calendar year” membership plan. The board also voted to revise the rate structure slightly, as well, primarily to allow corporate members–especially Founding and Charter members–to have some flexibility in paying their dues.  

At roughly the same time, we also began a transition from one accounting system to another, a process that took longer and was more complicated than anticipated. In addition, we added on-line payment for new memberships to our website. Finally, a change in the personnel principally charged with maintaining membership records also contributed to the delay in sending out renewal information. As a result, our 2011 membership renewal campaign never really got airborne. We sent out a couple of e-mails, but membership renewal packets were never mailed. Needless to say, it’s hard to remember to renew a membership if you don’t even receive a reminder.

We apologize for the confusion and gratefully acknowledge those  members who paid your dues without being prompted. Now that 2011 is nearly past, we’re moving ahead. A membership renewal packet, complete with membership cards will be arriving in the US Mail right after the holidays. Everyone, regardless of when you joined originally, will now receive this reminder at the beginning of each year and memberships will run from January 1 to December 31. We hope you’ll respond by mid-March so that we can process all of the membership renewals during the first quarter.
If you didn’t renew your membership during 2011 and would like to, we’d really appreciate it. You can do so when you pay for 2012. Regardless, we’ll try to be a lot better at record-keeping and communicating from now on.  

We’re also making it easier to renew your membership, as well. There is, of course, the traditional way to pay your annual dues–by return US Mail with a check or money order.  But, we’ve now added a RENEW MEMBERSHIP button on our website. You can click on that link and pay via credit card on PayPal. You can also click here to renew. Upon receipt, we’ll send you an acknowledgement along with your membership card and a Wichita Aero Club member certificate suitable for framing. I plan to display mine in a prominent place–somewhere I see it every day. That way, it can serve as a reminder to me when it’s time to re-up!  

No matter how bad my memory has become, I can’t help but remember and be thankful for your patience and support of the Wichita Aero Club during the past year. And, as we remember the reason for the season, we wish you great joy and prosperity now and in the coming new year. 
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