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Old 12-11-2016, 07:04 AM
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United States, LA, Shreveport
Joined Apr 2012
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How to improve membership in RC clubs

Anyone have any advice, any words of wisdom, any suggestions, as to how we can increase numbers?

My club, when I joined, had over 120 members. Now, our club has under 60.

In the past 3 to 4 years, a surrounding neighbor of ours, sold dirt from around our flying field, so that the Interstate 49 extension could be built. Meaning, they took dirt from his property, and used it for the construction of the highway. As a result of this, the area near to our property, is now a huge hazzard! mainly, water!

I have attached some photographs I took, one day, having fun, installing a camera to my 91" Extreme Flight YAK. Fun day that was!

Well, last night, we were at our club's Christmas party, and talking to the members, we discussed this, and I was trying to figure out, what is happening to our hobby. One of the members, who is a retired colonel, and has been flying RC for over 50 years, says, in general, the hobby is gone. People do not build, and do not spend that time talking about building, flying, repairing, as they used to in the past.

I mentioned to them, and I do not know if this is valid at all, that in 2015, the sales of drones exceeded 1 million. Thinking, this is one way for anyone to enjoy RC stuff, without dealing with airplanes, and the amount of time required in our hobby to get one in the air, and the amount of skill required to land one (we all take this for granted), however, as compared to a drone, they are cheap, and anyone can fly one, and you hit a switch, and it lands on its own (some of them).

Well, one of my friends mentioned, how ARF's has made it so much easier for people to fly, and although those pilots do not spend the time to build them, maybe, it is easy to get in to the hobby as it is to get out of it, if anything happens to their ARF.

Well, what are your thoughts?
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Old 12-11-2016, 07:56 AM
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United States, VA, Amelia Court House
Joined Oct 2010
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You should probably move this to a thread as you would probably get a lot of input. Clubs in this area I live are small compared to yours. We have one that has about 60-70 members and another with around 15-20. 120 would be huge here!

I would imagine there are a lot of things that impact membership and some are localized to the area the club is in. I would go to some of the members that left your club and do an analysis of why they left.

A few quick things come to mind:

1. Costs - cost to join and overall cost to fly. It is easy to tie up some serious coin in this hobby. I probably could have took my coin and done a ton of other things a whole lot cheaper.

2. Location - not usually a big deal, but could weigh in in some places. What are the demographics in the area that affects potential membership? How has the area changed?

3. Time investment - fast paced society, who has the time anymore? When you tell someone how long it takes to learn how to do this they often are quickly discouraged. It is often said, you get the kids involved you get the whole family. Most clubs frown on this. I used to volunteer for Parks and Rec and this really makes a difference in involvement.

4. Public relations - how are folks promoting RC, what are they doing to promote, or are they promoting it at all?

5. Recent surge in drones - you don't need a club to fly these and young people love them. What about foamies that don't require a club to fly? They are quite popular too and somewhat affordable.

6. Competing hobbies - this is probably bigger than one realizes depending on age group.

7. Economic situations - many simply cannot afford the hobby (drones are fairly cheap, planes can get expensive)

8. Club mentality - I have been in the hobby about eight years now and sometimes the whole club mentality can pluck your nerves. RC club administrator roles are volunteer and with little expertise hurts many clubs more than it helps. Granted they do the best they can, yet without expertise you will have issues. Some clubs have people that do more harm than good.

9. Club members want to be left alone and could not care less about club membership. Usually this is the older generation that are not interested in sharing the hobby with anyone.
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