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Membership Fees Raised, Your Opinion??

Discussion in 'Member Feedback' started by verde2002, Oct 16, 2009.

    verde2002 guest

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    Just curious what others think about the membership fee increase of $8? In this economic downturn I would think it would make more sense for BMWCCA to give more value for the $40 annual membership fee to keep the members it still has rather than raise the rates for us who have chosen to continue our membership. What is to keep more members from cancelling membership now that it costs even more? With the unenployment the way it is our membership here is a luxury that less and less people can afford. Usually you have a sale to get your customers back not punish the ones who have chosen to stick it out and stand by your side.

    optic guest

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    I don't have too big an issue with the increase (though I agree with you that this may just drive more people to not renew), but I'm struck by the fact that $15 of my dues go to Roundel, which I never read, and only $10 or so actually goes to the national club. I'd much prefer to see that $15 go to the national and local than to send me a magazine I immediately recycle.

    BIMMIR guest

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    Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Like anything in life, you'll get whatever you invest, be it time, or money.
    I'm Ok with the increase, but I'm fortunate to be in a good position in this economy. I can understand how many might have difficulty with the increase, and choosing to spend the $40 or $48 at all. I also, really enjoy Roundel, my favorite magazine, and would pay $15 - $20 a year for just the magazine, so, everything else after that is a good value by comparison. If anyone is interested in buying a new or CPO car, the $48 is the best value imaginable given the rewards program of $500 or more.
    Given the increase in postage alone over the last several years, it's a wonder there have not been any increases this long.

    There is also al lot to make benefit of in terms of membership, (if you choose to) that you may not have experienced yet, since you both appear to be new, given the post count. Events, fellowship, advice, Mike Miller alone can save you hundreds of dollars a year!

    Again, everyone is entitled to their opinion. I can understand yours but thought I'd share mine too.

    Have a great day, and get out there and enjoy the drive - you"ve got a BMW! :)

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    Brian A

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    I really believe that BMW CCA staff earnestly work to operate efficiently. I feel like my $40/$48 year is efficiently spent. Things cost what they cost. After that, it's a "value for money" question and I feel like I get a lot of value. I love this club (... sniffle, sniffle, sob).
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    $8 a year shouldn't really drive people away. I mean, $8/year is like what, $1.5 more a month? I'm pretty sure that isn't something that will drive people away, and if it is, then they probably don't feel it's worth being in the Club to begin with. I'd even pay $20 more a year, because I feel it is well worth it. Others may not, and if that's the case, they might not even be getting their money's worth, be it a lack of participation or whatever reason.

    Heck, I didn't even know they raised the rate until I read this thread, but I didn't even flinch when I read the words "fees raised" because I knew it wouldn't be unreasonable.
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    It will cost me $4 more a year (with 5-year renewal), but that's no problem. By taking advantage of one of the more obscure club benefits, my membership is actually free and I still get a discount on my Sprint bill. 'CCA members get employee discounts of 15% with Sprint. For two accounts that would retail at ~$145/month, I get about $22.50 off. That's $270/year. Knock off $44 for my 'CCA membership and I still save $226/year on my cellphones. For those who think they'll be cute by saying, "Sprint sucks", save your typing fingers. It works for me and no one cares about your opinion.

    If you regularly buy new BMWs, you would be insane not to join to get the $1000 loyalty rebates. Even if you buy only one, that saves you enough for a lifetime membership - or almost five 5-year renewals at the new rate.

    BMWtoyz guest

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    I agree it is not a lot of money, however with membership already slipping I cannot help but think this is going to have a negative impact. Most households are tightening their budgets and eight bucks is eight bucks. Either way I will most likely stay.
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    I'll gladly pay it just for Roundel, by far the best club magazine out there, if not one of the best auto magazines around.
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    Membership $ increase

    One can argue about the amount of the increase, but BMWCCA did present their case pretty well. Just factoring in inflation, the "old" membership price should be ~$46 in current dollars. I'll trust BMWCCA is, therefore, wisely spending that other $2 on some necessary items such as staff insurance, rent, transportation, etc.
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    Many angles.

    $8 is a 20% increase, and all at once and in an economy like this it just looks bad.

    That said It's $8 a year, so whatever.

    Membership has been going down for several years, in fact way before the economy took a tumble. Please don't use the economy as an excuse for that. Especially when membership in other German car clubs have grown significantly during the same time period.

    That said we have been due for a raise for a while. I think that this was a long time coming and just ended up being poor timing and a decision that just took to long to finally be approved. At least I hope so.

    I too do not like what I see as to how this money is broken down.

    I love the Roundel, I am also a member of several other German Marque car clubs, at least one of the other clubs for sure has the bmw cca beat all around, but for publications the Roundel is far superior and in my opinion is an important cornerstone of our club. At least for now...

    That said there is also much wasted space in the Roundel being printed every month. The classifieds? In a periodical that needs a 6+ week lead time? That is insane. Maybe consider moving them all to the website as it would lighten the printing cost as well as jump-start the popularity of the website.

    The chapters getting such a big slice? So they can print a newsletter? in 2009, a paper newsletter? Really?

    I was an editor myself of what I thought was WAS one of the best chapter newsletters in the country. But has anyone noticed this is 2009?

    All in all though I am much more in favor of a price increase rather than a content, staff, or club activity decrease.

    So, In favor for sure.
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    An idea which might also substantially negate the value of the classifieds and interest in them. The lead time is a non-issue already for anyone out there with internet access and desirous of immediate access to them as they're on the website already. The printing cost of the +- 5-7 pages is likely covered by the numerous commercial ads on those pages. If those commercial advertisers were to advertise anyway, those ads would have to be printed on 2 or more pages.

    Removing them from the Roundel completely is no guarantee of driving traffic to the website either. I subscribed to PC Magazine for years, and they went to online-only a few years ago, and I don't think I've looked at the website twice since, although I always enjoyed the magazine. Same for the Roundel - speaking for myself, I'd much rather be able to hold it in my hand and read it, in print, on paper, including classifieds, versus having to deal with laptops, pc's, clicking, scrolling, screens, etc., and enjoy it the way it is, and has been. Having the classifieds available online and more immediately is a nice bonus for anyone actively shopping, but I enjoy perusing them in the magazine for curiosity's sake regardless of whether I'm looking for anything or not.

    Considering that only a small fraction of membership do anything with the website, I suspect dropping the classifieds would mean classifieds would become a less viable marketplace for members overall to buy and sell, considering that the Roundel is a majority of members' primary interaction with the club; far fewer are active members participating in chapters, activities, etc.

    You make it sound like the only thing any chapter ever does is print newsletters, and you already know they do a lot more than that. The dues rebated to chapters makes driver's schools, club races, and all other chapter events possible.

    And yes, I prefer my newsletter to be something tangible, print on paper, in hand, that I can read without electronic means.

    The fastest way we could kill this club and chapters would be to think that throwing everything online ONLY is an ideal way of presenting ourselves and any related information. Online requires one to seek it out and initiate that; a magazine and newsletter that one can have in hand both present themselves, and do not force someone to seek them out, which in today's busy and time-constrained world many people would not bother to do.

    As for $8/yr increase in dues - big deal. Anyone here NOT feel lucky they can opt to spend the $40/yr on club membership already? Anyone here who doesn't completely waste, blow, or rationalize an overexpense on something completely frivolous of $8 in a YEAR? That's a little more than 66 cents a month, or .021917 (roundabouts) cents per day. A smidge more than 2 one-hundreths of a cent. Anyone not wasting that much every day is probably on such a tight budget that they're not in the 'CCA, or likely to be considering it.

    Not that anyone should minimize the value of a dollar or adopt congress' apparent attittude (a trillion here, a trillion there - pretty soon it all adds up to real inflation, a worthless dollar, and national bankruptcy for generations, but hey! We can always print more! but, I digress...)

    Point being, it seems unlikely most members already incurring the expenses related to driving or owning BMW's couldn't afford an $8 dues increase, unless they just don't want to for whatever reason(s).
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    steven s

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    I'm willing to bet that more people read the classifieds in Roundel than online.
    I can't prove it of course. I'm just basing it on the number of phone calls we get who do not use the website at all.
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    I'm a lot more likely to read the classifieds than the racing stuff......... So, let's kick the racing stuff and those drolling articles on new top-of-line models (which I can't afford) off the island to cut costs.

    Of course, that's just me, king of my own little mind and, possibly, this cubical.

    Have a good one.
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    TeamStowell We love driving!

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    A bargain at any price....

    Compared to the costs of other organizations I belong to, $48 is a great deal. I think Bev and I pay close to $120 to belong to the SCCA every year. I think it is great that national gives us a credit for refering new members to assist with the payment of our dues.
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    Several things that must be understood for this discussion to be productive:

    First, the $15 quoted for your subscription to Roundel on the magazine masthead is just a figure used for post-office regulations. The reality, if you look at the financial statement in the October issue (p.16) is that of the total expenses of the Club, about 40% of that is Roundel if you don't factor in the income that Roundel advertising, reprints, classified ads, and first-class mail requests bring in. When you factor those items the percentage of the Club's expenses related to Roundel are less than 17% of total expenses, or less than $7 per-member per-year of the current $40 dues.

    Another thing to remember is every member gets Roundel. Not every member goes to an event, interacts with their chapter, or contacts the national office staff. For perhaps as many as 90% of our members, Roundel is the Club. And those members take the credit card, generate the numbers that draw the million-dollars in advertising that offsets Roundel production costs, and also create the workload for an ever-growing office staff in Greenville. But I also will point out that Roundel costs, other than postage, have not increased in over seven years, even when compared to membership waxing and waning over that same period. The same cannot be said for office expenses which support chapter and member activities, events, insurance, conferences, etc. It is the 55,000-or-so members who do nothing but read Roundel that pay for the fun the other 8,000 members and their spouses enjoy with their chapters, and their friends at Oktoberfest.

    As for print classified ads, it's quite apparent that members still enjoy them, whether they're reading them or posting them, and others willingly pay to place them as non-members or to expand their ads or include photos.

    So please continue the discussion but remember those few points of reality as you make your comments and formulate your thoughts. As a four-digit-member-number member, I enjoy seeing this form of discussion and inquiry on the part of the members. Keep it up!

    deilenberger guest

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    I would have to ask what additional value I'm getting for my $8? I don't do chapter events much. I don't do HPDEs at all. Roundel costs haven't gone up according to the last poster who sounds as if he knows what he's talking about - so what is the value for the 55,000 "other members" associated with an $8 increase in a down economy?

    And does anyone know where the June BOD minutes are? I keep looking for them and can't seem to find them.
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    It all comes down to what advantage you take of your membership. If it's just a magazine subscription to you, then yeah; an $8 annual increase is pretty steep and maybe you should reconsider. OTOH, if you get a rebate for buying just one car, that covers 125 years of membership at that $8 increase. I get more than the $8 annual difference every single month with the club's Sprint discount of 15%. I happen to know (you know) that this club's benefits are a heck of a lot better than a certain other BMW-oriented club's ... ;)
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    I just happened to be paying my Sprint bill when your message posted. Looking at my discount I see somehow Sprint has changed the BMW discount to "Employee Discount Sprint 7%". So I used the "member discounts" tab here to get the information, called the Sprint number, entered the listed extension and got Monica's voice mail. I left a message. Then I called back without using the extension, punched "0", explained my question and was told I'd be transferred to a customer service person. I got another voice mail. We'll see how far I get with that. I'll have to look back and see how many years of discount they owe me.

    I do recall signing up at either an O'fest or a Techfest in the vendor area for another Sprint phone for my daughter at no charge for the phone plus some accessories thrown in. The phone and the accessories arrived, but so did a $100 charge on my next bill. That took nearly two months to unwind, and I was already a Sprint customer. Sprint blamed it on an outside contractor but made good on the offer. And I'm still a customer.

    Check your bill!
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    Hi Don. That would be me. Sorry for the anonymity but I just never put in a sig line. I know that's a no-no on your list! I'd prefer people read and consider the post first, then worry about who wrote it or what model their soapbox is. But I'll put one in this message, just for you! And just this once! ;)

    But don't take my word for it. As I suggested, check the Club finances for 2008 compared to 2007 in last month's Roundel (p.16). You can go back, as I did, several previous years and check the published Club financial information, if you can find them since the month and location varies every year, and confirm what I said. I presented that information in printed form to the board at the board meeting in Scottsdale this past January after several board members suggested we drop the classifieds from the magazine to save money. (Something they'd apparently discussed in a conference call but not with Roundel staff input.) Lot of good that did me! ;)

    -Phil Marx
    BMW CCA Member #6021 Lifetime
    Former BMW CCA president, vice-president, RVP, zone governor, and managing editor
    Currently: '95 525i 5sp (daily driver), '98 318ti (kids' car), '88 535is, '87 535is, '86 535iA, '76 2002 2.3L Korman Stage IV, '75 2002, '74 2002, '73 2002tii, '73 2002tii, '73 2002, '70 1600 Cabriolet (Polaris), '70 1600 Cabriolet (Sahara), '64 700 Cabriolet (white), '64 700 Cabriolet (red), '63 700 Cabriolet (parts car), '57 Isetta 300 convertible (sliding window), '56 Isetta (sliding window sunroof coupe), '56 Isetta (b/w), '81 R100CS, '72 R60/5, '68 R69US, '67 R27 (white). I may have missed one or two.
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    • Staff

    executive director

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    Membership Benefits

    Please visit this link to view the full range of membership benefits. http://bmwcca.org/index.php?pageid=member_discounts Most of which have just been added in the last year and a half. If you do not find value in the "new" member benefits hopefully you do find value in the discounts available at most BMW Centers and from many Independent Dealers and Shops.

    If you are looking at the financial statement in the October Roundel please remember that statement is for 2008. When the year is finished and our 2009 statements are complete they will reflect the sour nature of the current economy. Both sponsorship and advertising dollars are down and that requires more member dollars to maintain programming.

    The best way to beat the price increase is to extend your membership now before the increase goes into effect. Many members have taken this time to extend their membership out three years. By the time they need to renew the increase will be that much smaller for them.

    Your comments, questions and concerns are always welcome.


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