This was the first Chairmans’ Conference in the Area and all Area Clubs were invited to send up to 2 representatives to the event. We had also arranged for the Club Support Officer, Andy Symons, and the BMFA’s PR Consultant, Paul Tallett to come and speak to the Conference. The event was held in Bury St Edmunds on 3rd October 2018. Mike Rieder (Chairman), Paul Hoey (Delegate), Mike Woodhouse (Sec/Treas), Phil Gutteridge (Area ASC) and Peter Jenkins (webmaster) were present from the Area committee while 22 attendees from 16 Clubs attended. See the list at the end of this report.
The Conference Agenda was as follows:
- An insight into the new BMFA Membership Portal – Go Membership – by Andy Symons
- BMFA Website hosting for your Club – by Andy Symons
- Data Protection – GDPR and how it affects you – by Andy Symons
- Break for Buffet and discussions
- How to improve and maintain your membership (Growing membership table)– by Paul Hoey (EA Area Delegate)
- How Clubs can use social media to improve membership – by Paul Tallett (BMFA PR Consultant)
- Q &A – hosted by Mike Woodhouse and Peter Jenkins
Each of the above topics was supported by a presentation and clicking on the heading will take you to it. To summarise on each of the items:
- Andy explained the working of the new membership system which was well received especially by the Club Secs/Membership Secs! Key points were:
- Individual members can access their own details and print off their Achievement Scheme and Membership Certificates. Each time you gain an AS Certificate, you can instantly print off your new membership card with the details
- Club Secs/Membership Secs automatically have access and more people can be added if Clubs wish.
- Country members can be added.
- Any members joining will be instantly shown on the Clubs list of members – however, the Club first has to accept the application in the normal way.
- Greater functions come with a paid for service called Club+. This would allow Club and BMFA subscription fees to be paid on-line with credit/debit cards.
- Clubs will need to put down a marker for their location but Andy advised not to place this on their flying site to avoid the attention of burglars! This will enable potential members to find them in order to join. Clubs will retain the ability to accept or reject on-line applicants.
- The system has now gone live to all Clubs and all individuals in the BMFA. Your initial password is your surname followed by your BMFA member number without any spaces.
- Go is the company that provides a hosted membership service to a very much large club community than the 36,000 BMFA members. Go provides all the necessary security and GDPR controls on running a membership system.
- Andy then described the free of charge webhosting service that the BMFA offers and Mike Rieder showed how MSRM uses this service. In summary:
- The website needs a small amount of effort to learn and to keep up to date
- Very useful for new members looking for information on the Club
- Can have a password protected members only area.
- But – keep it clean and don’t paste photos/videos of crashes.
- As most of those present felt that they had dealt with GDPR Andy just took questions on the topic.
- Paul Hoey presented his ideas that had been developed to address a membership shortfall at the South Norfolk MFC. This had provided a net increase in Club membership. Paul also described the importance of approaching the right level of Local Authority for help. In short, these are the Unitary, Borough of District Local Authorities not the County Council.
- Paul Tallett then explained how he had become involved in helping the BMFA on PR. Paul is a PR professional and also a model flier. The launch of the National Centre caused him to offer to help the BMFA with their PR activities. This has resulted in a great increase in the number of members interacting with the BMFA via Facebook and Twitter. He has also helped to get a new film made by professionals about model flying and this will be used by the BMFA for publicity purposes in the near future. He showed the film to the meeting and it went down well.
All attendees agreed that the event had been a success and would like something similar next year.
The following Clubs were represented:
- West Essex Aeromodellers
- Newmarket MFC
- Ipswich Radio Control Model Club
- St Neot’s Model Flying Club
- Norwich MAC
- Acle Model Flying Club
- BTR MAC
- Orwell Hodel Heli Club
- Lakeside Model Flying Group
- South Norfolk MFC
- Ospreys MAC
- Mid-Suffolk Radio Modellers
- Breckland MAC
- Northrepps MFC
- IVC MAC
- Stansted MFC