NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, April 2006
Presidentís Corner
by Bill Moeller, President
wmoeller@arkansasusa.com
(click to email author)


We had a lively discussion about declining membership and increasing club expenses at our March meeting. I want to thank the 26 folks who were there for their thoughtful participation, and for the excellent ideas they put forth.

Our Newsletter Editor and mainstay Bill Shook reported on the research he has done and on some of the thoughts the Board has come up with regarding these issues. Basically, our membership has steadily declined over the past couple of years and now stands at 51, while newsletter printing and mailing costs have increased significantly. Newsletter expenses are running about $100/year more than we are taking in dues, our only source of income. With a bank balance of roughly $3,000 this is not yet a crisis, but the trends are in the wrong direction and some action is called for today to prevent grief tomorrow.

Your Board has drafted a flyer about the Club which we plan to make available in places computer folk are like to see them, and we are looking get some visibility on local free TV. This we hope will grow our membership, and our income. We are also investigating whether to put the entire newsletter on our website rather than mailing out hard copy to our members. This would not only reduce expenses, but would offer other advantages, such as searchability, as well.

Member reaction at the meeting was very supportive of the initiatives to increase membership, with suggestions that we (1) be sure to place some flyers in the local libraries, and (2) that members take one of the extra newsletters Bill always brings to our meetings and give it to a prospective member along with an invitation to attend a meeting. Reaction to the idea of dropping the hard copy newsletter was not as warm. One member commented that she would rather pay $5 a year more in dues than give up the newsletter. When pressed regarding whether they would rather see their dues increased to $25 per year, or convert the newsletter completely to electronic form, 17 of those present said raise the dues, 2 said go completely electronic, and 7 expressed no opinion.

As Bill said at the meeting, there is no pressing need to make the newsletter decision quickly, and action on increasing membership is already underway. Please continue to think about these two questions and let us know what you come up with. 51 heads are better than 6.

Shift gears: I want to thank Robert Davis again for his fine presentation at this meeting on The Care and Feeding of your Computer. His photographs of that totally plugged-up-by-dust computer drove home to me that I should not judge the interior condition of my machine by its carefully wiped down exterior, and his hands-in demo of the proper use of canned air gave me the confidence I previously lacked to get in there and blow it out myself. Thank you Robert!

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