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Mike G

3 Points

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There are three points hidden in the Rockford show thread that I want to run up the flag for further discussion.

 

1. Eric had the idea that a USB flass drive loaded with 5 years of bulletin pdfs and other info would make a great new member handout. Easier to haul around than boxes of lures and flies, but better? I think it is a great product and would buy one.

 

2. Pushing the pdf idea into the future. What about distributing the bulletin electronically instead of hardcopy? Save printing costs and postage. Eliminate the griping when the mail is slow. BTW I have a growing pile of old bulletins in my basement that I will hand out the next time I work a show. I can view the achived copies any time. Downside, some guys need a hardcopy for whatever reason. Now we have to maintain 2 distribution lists. Charge extra for hardcopy?

 

3. Jim J pointed out an awkward fact of ISA life. 5% of the members are doing 95% of the work. Some members did more work Saturday at the Blowout than other members do in a year. Gotta work on that inequality.

 

Just some thoughts.

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I prefer reading my newsletter in hard copy, reading stuff off a screen just isn't the same.

 

Getting more folks involved is the desire of every group, haven't heard of a great solution yet. Not that we shouldn't try.

 

The flash drive prolly would not have as much appeal to the older set. At a Roundtable meeting I heard a discussion on distributing flash drives, believe it was like $5 each if you bought in large quantities.

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Item 1.

Flash drives bought with our logo cost about $10 each. That is too costly to hand out to new members for free. If you send me a flash drive, I'll copy all the newsletters going back to 2005. All the old newsletters are already available to all members by going into the archives. The user name and password for accessing them is published in every newsletter. The last several issues are not online until we get a new web guy in place which we are working on.

 

Item 2.

We attempted to let members choose to get the issues electronically but there are a few issues. Number one being we would need someone to keep track of those that want it and that person would be responsible for sending out the large files. We had no takers. We asked if anyone was interested in getting the newsletter electronically and the response was minimal to non-existant. Most guys like to have the hard copy that they can hold and read. As time goes on maybe more will be interested in an e-version. As it is only about 1/3 of our membership is even registered on our forums and even fewer check in here on a regular basis. 25% of our membership did not supply us with an email address. It appears not everyone is ready moved to the paperless world yet.

 

Item 3.

Have you ever been in a club of any kind where the 5% do 95% of the work was not the norm? In many cases, it is more work for me to have others help me than to do it myself.

For the most part, our members have been pretty good about stepping in when needed. Our officers can be over worked at times but as you have seen at the outdoor shows, it is the members who man the booth. When work is needed at cleanups, water willow plantings and at kids fishing events, it is our members who do 95% of the work.

We can't force anyone to volunteer and twisting someones arm to get them to do something they would rather not usually leads to a less than adequate job.

I've been here a long time and believe me, we keep our eyes open for those who are willing to help and recognize those who we think will be an asset to the organization.

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I agree, most members enjoy the hardcopy. I too like the hardcopy for the fly patterns that are published, when I want to try a new pattern. I also like to look through some old issues that are seasonal....like if it's June, I'll look over past June issues for ideas.

 

For shows, I brought up an idea to have a computer there to show people what the website looks like and what we have to offer. The problem with that was access to the wireless internet....you need to pay for it. A solution to that is to present a visual, a dvd can easily be made and played in a PC. (I am actually taking that up on my own...I hope to put together a video library for members to check out....I talked with Mike Clifford about it who said it's a great idea and was brought up in the past. I hope to video members catching fish, doing cleanups, doing events ect. We will see how it goes.)

 

As for volunteer work, a lot of it is done by members on their own...I posted a few clean up events last year on the Fox River....I was the only one to show up....that's fine....I know Norm had similar difficulties with members helping for the yearly K3 clean ups. I like to believe that most people volunteer when they can. It's a new year so maybe people will be more active this year.

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I am glad to see thoughts coming:

 

Here are some more thoughts that occurred to me.

 

1a. Though the price of flash drives is coming down, the cost is still too high especially since we have a more reasonable alternative right under our noses. A simple no bells CD-R costs about 15 cents. And that price is coming down. It would hold about 30 years of archived bulletins. But since there are only 10 years in the archive there would be plenty room for other stuff. This would replace the bulky copies of the bulletin in the signup packet and perhaps the box of lures or flies.

 

1b. jim b 's idea of a lap top at the show sounds great. A continuously playing DVD or Power Point presentation would capture a lot of interest. I have seen this before. Of course there is the question of who's laptop and how to guard it.

 

2. Hardcopies are a hard problem though a lot of people are saying that by 2025 newspapers, magazines and books as we know them will be a thing of the past like 35 mm Kodachrome film. Right now I get my news from the web-not a newspaper. And I throw out most catalogs as soon as I get them preferring to shop on the websites.

 

We need an incentive to make the conversion. If it cost you $5-10 more for a hardcopy membership, would you switch to an E subscription? Or would knowing that foregoing the hardcopy put $5 more into the ISA Conservation fund help you make the change?

 

3. In terms of volunteer activity the ISA facebook page is very promising. Posting an activity there can reach way beyond an announcement in the bulletin on on this site since the bulletin and the site have much more limited readership.

 

This does not solve it all since there are still the XT AOL-dial-up users to consider.

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One idea for the bulletin....What if when ISA sends out membership renewal notices each year, members have the option of selecting between a hard copy or an electronic bulletin? Although I certainly prefer a paper copy, I'm more than happy to get an electronic version if it cuts down on costs and trees...I already receive a number of newsletters and magazines from my other conservation affiliations through electronic means nowadays. Give folks the option, and I bet there might be a pretty even split between the PDF and the hard copy. That might at least be a way to start the transition.

 

-SB

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I put a notice in the newsletter once asking if anyone wanted an e-version of the newsletter and no one responded so I don't think there is anything even close to an even split.

 

If one of you is willing to identify and track those who want an e-newsletter and send it out, along with keeping 2 versions of the data base so we don't send a hard copy to those got the pdf, let me know and we'll see if we can set it up.

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I put a notice in the newsletter once asking if anyone wanted an e-version of the newsletter and no one responded so I don't think there is anything even close to an even split.

 

If one of you is willing to identify and track those who want an e-newsletter and send it out, along with keeping 2 versions of the data base so we don't send a hard copy to those got the pdf, let me know and we'll see if we can set it up.

 

I'd be happy to help with this. Shoot me a PM and let's discuss how to go about this....

 

-SB

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I'm not sure I understand getting away from the print version, if that's what the discussion is leaning towards.

???????????

 

Everybody I've spoken to looks forward to it immensely, myself included.

....and I'm as web savvy as they come.

I get my news from the internet as well, but I will never go in for getting my Bronzeback Bulletin online.

Just my opinion, of course.

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Well, that's certainly new and improved. I like where you're going with it.

I like that scenario, but we're currently working to get all of the current archives up to date.

The way this is going to work is once the print version has been sent out, then the next cycle archive will be posted.

You don't get the bread and butter for free online as any shmuck looking for the best of the best.

So, yeah.....somebody needs to step up and keep track of it all...like daily. Good luck with that.

:D

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Down the road I would consider volunteering to maintain the lists after I know more about what is involved. But I am getting ahead of myself.

 

First I want to know what the incentive is for going paperless.

Will the member get a discount? How much?

Or will a contribution equivalent to the discount be made to the ISA Conservation Fund?

Or does the member just get a warm fuzzy environmental feeling?

These are positive incentives (carrots).

 

If we are serious about being environmentally correct, however, there is a more radical approach. Make paperless the norm and add a surcharge for a hardcopy membership. The money again would go to the conservation fund. The charge could be waived for hardships and other reasons. This is a negative incentive (a stick).

 

Whether we use carrots or sticks, we need to put some teeth into making the change because, as has been noted, most members probably lean toward the status quo hardcopy. And we have to sell the advantages of going paperless.

 

So, Scott, let me know what is involved in maintaining the lists. It is almost as easy to train two as it is to train one. Steve and I can backup each other and you would have a spare in case something happens.

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The idea is to offer members a choice. I'd be fine opting out of the hard copy and receiving the bulletin as a PDF. Or simply accessing it in the online archive once a PDF is available.

 

I want the PDF sent to members. That way only members get to look at the latest edition. As Mike noted it is possible for outsiders to get at the archives.

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I definitely like the idea of having an option as to bulletin format, and I'll be happy to help with this. I have some questions similar to Mike G, though.

 

My biggest interest in getting electronic versions of newsletters, magazines, etc. is often to save the organizations that I donate to a few bucks that I hope will ultimately go toward conservation activities. Cutting down on all the magazines that are scattered around my man-cave is just an added benefit. So what is the average per-member cost of the hard-copy ISA bulletins? And given that, how many members would have to opt for the electronic version to realize a meaningful cost savings to ISA? Now, the cost alone might not be the only reason to offer an electronic version, as some folks might even prefer getting their bulletin that way, but if this could actually benefit the organization, it might be one incentive.

 

On that note, where would any realized cost saving go? There might not be any 'right' answer to that question, but that might be a good discussion point.

 

-SB

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All money paid for dues goes to running the organization. Dues pay for the newsletter, the web site, insurance, outdoor shows, membership, meetings, postage, office supplies & misc expenses. The Bronzeback Blowout is what pays for most of the conservation efforts. So, any money saved from not printing and mailing the newsletter which would be about $2 per issue per member, would go back into keeping the club running.

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You can't help but be amazed at how digital media has changed every aspect of our lives.

I think it was the last issue of the Bulletin that I wrote a ton about this.

Yep, "The Times They Are A-Changin" was the title.

 

I also get many of those editions of newsletters and also the print version in my mailbox.

Prairie Rivers Network, American Rivers, National Great Rivers Research and Education Center and some other conservation heavy folks.

Can't say I'm against having all of that to carry around in my pocket.

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By the way, I hope everyone took the time to read Graham's ramble about the resourcefulness of smallies.

Outstanding read.

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On that note, where would any realized cost saving go? There might not be any 'right' answer to that question, but that might be a good discussion point.

 

-SB

 

First, I have a warm fuzzy feeling since I just requested that Bass Pro remove me from their mailings. I shop on line and throw the books away almost as soon as I get them. I will be saving more trees in a month than I would save all year by going paperless with the ISA bulltein. I did it via their CS Chat Line.

 

Scott's answer is a good one and gives us a sense of costs. It costs about $2 per issue for each member. My compliments to ISA for the low cost. I would have expected it to be more. Volunteer authoring and editing are a few of the things that produce this good value for the dollar product, I suspect.

 

Then a little voice said caveat. Having been an Industrial Engineer for 30 years I automatically look at costs in terms of fixed and variable. (y=a+bx) Because of the low volume and high $ efficiency of the bulltein operation, it is hard to generate a lot of savings out of the process. To make his mark in industry, an I.E. needs to work on high volume, inefficient, fat, sloppy operations.

 

Just guestimating say $1 of the 2 is fixed cost (a) that we would have no matter how we distributed the bulletin-like, writing, editing, layout, and printing setup before a single bulletin is printed. The variable cost (bx) varies with the number of units (x). It is based on the unit costs for things like printing, labeling, and postage for each bulletin. I guestimate that as the other dollar in the bulletin.

 

With paperless issues we save that last dollar though we have some cost for distributing electronically. Lets guess 25 cents. That nets us 75 cents per issue for each member that signs up for paperless. If 100 members sign up for paperless, ISA saves $450 per year. But we are stuck with a two headed monster for a distribution system. A business would not do this because its extra labor cost for the dual system would cancel the savings. With free volunteer labor for maintaining the lists ISA has some gain though we can ask if that is the best use of volunteer time. All of this is a rough calculation because of the guestimates though you can see where this is trending. There is not a big savings margin to work with if anything goes worng.

 

As Eric points out, ISA officers have to rule on whether it is worth digging further into this.

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Just guestimating say $1 of the 2 is fixed cost (a) that we would have no matter how we distributed the bulletin-like, writing, editing, layout, and printing setup before a single bulletin is printed. The variable cost (bx) varies with the number of units (x). It is based on the unit costs for things like printing, labeling, and postage for each bulletin. I guestimate that as the other dollar in the bulletin.

 

With paperless issues we save that last dollar though we have some cost for distributing electronically. Lets guess 25 cents. That nets us 75 cents per issue for each member that signs up for paperless. If 100 members sign up for paperless, ISA saves $450 per year. But we are stuck with a two headed monster for a distribution system. A business would not do this because its extra labor cost for the dual system would cancel the savings. With free volunteer labor for maintaining the lists ISA has some gain though we can ask if that is the best use of volunteer time. All of this is a rough calculation because of the guestimates though you can see where this is trending. There is not a big savings margin to work with if anything goes worng.

 

As Eric points out, ISA officers have to rule on whether it is worth digging further into this.

 

As I said, our costs are $2 per issue. There is no cost involved for editing, layout and printing set up because I do all of that for free. Our costs are all fixed - printing and postage. I don't know where you get a cost of a quarter to distribute electronically. There would be no labor cost involved because a member volunteered to do it for free.

 

Eric did point out that the ISA officers have to rule on whether this is worth digging into and we did. We didn't just start here yesterday. I've been the treasurer, and newsletter editor for 10 years. The cost of producing the newsletter and the quality of the publication did not just happen by chance. We looked at electronic distribution quite some time ago and we constantly evaluate all our costs. We used to mail the newsletter by first class postage. That got it into homes a lot faster than the bulk rate we use now, but that added over $1.25 to the cost of each one we mailed out. We put some of that savings into the color cover we have now.

 

We figured out that the cost savings of an e-version did not amount to much considering that we believe the paperless version is not going to be a popular option. Considering Steve Butler volunteered to ask the membership again, it is worth polling the membership to see if more members may be willing to forego the printed version.

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OK. It is better than I guestimated. From what you say we save a whole two dollars per issue for each member that opts to go paperless. 6x500x$2=$6000 per year if the whole membership opts in. Of course the survey will tell us more closely how many people will opt in.

 

Remember I am tentatively volunteering to backup Steve. I am tentative because I don't know what training, skills, computer power, software, and hours are required to do the job.

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Steve will write an article about this for the newsletter. Any one who wants to opt out will let him know. I can flag those members on the data base so they will not be sent an issue, Steve will send those members the e-version on the first of the month the issue comes out. I can't see why he would need any help. The only software needed would be an email program which everyone already has. All that would be required is to have the list of email address' and to send one attachment to all of them.

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Sounds like a good plan.

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I am glad to see thoughts coming:

 

Here are some more thoughts that occurred to me.

 

1a. Though the price of flash drives is coming down, the cost is still too high especially since we have a more reasonable alternative right under our noses. A simple no bells CD-R costs about 15 cents. And that price is coming down. It would hold about 30 years of archived bulletins. But since there are only 10 years in the archive there would be plenty room for other stuff. This would replace the bulky copies of the bulletin in the signup packet and perhaps the box of lures or flies.

 

1b. jim b 's idea of a lap top at the show sounds great. A continuously playing DVD or Power Point presentation would capture a lot of interest. I have seen this before. Of course there is the question of who's laptop and how to guard it.

 

2. Hardcopies ...

 

3. In terms of volunteer activity...

This does not solve it all since there are still the XT AOL-dial-up users to consider.

 

I still have some adrenalin left from last weekend. 1b is getting some attention. 2 is also on the way. But 1a is out there. Think of it as less than 10 months (lessthan a year) till the next OD show. It is not too early to to begin planning.

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As for the slideshow loop on a laptop at the shows, we did have one on the Kayak at Rosemont this year. It generated some attention.

Several years ago, I made it a point to study the traffic around booths with video and determined that people are drawn to it like bees to honey.

A great way to draw them in for the subsequent sales pitch.

Worked for me at Tinley a couple times.

 

HOWEVER-

Not all venues offer the option of electricity, and some are not affordable if an electrician needs to hook up the outlet.

 

What needs to be understood here is that no two people work a booth exactly the same way.

Everyone has their own style, so we can push our training manual and give suggestions, but that's all we can do.

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