New beginnings

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I’ve received several calls, all wanting to know “the story” about OWAA’s budget. The story of course, is how much of a shortfall are we going to have in our budget and should they continue their membership?
If you’ve yet to renew your dues for 2012, you absolutely should be a member. Despite a tight budget, we don’t plan to cut member or supporter benefits.
Like many other associations, OWAA has been hit hard financially. However, unlike a lot of other groups, we have a board that cares and is willing to work to fix things. We remain the largest association of outdoor communicators and continue to add new members every month. The other question was about the amount of our shortfall. The 2012 budget is being developed now and we will have more concrete information available after the board meeting next month.
I hope you choose to stick around. Here’s why. We a have solid base with some of the most familiar names in the industry. We all can learn from them. I have heard several say they don’t need OWAA anymore. Care to bet?
Do you think that the quarterbacks on the competing Super Bowl teams don’t practice anymore? Of course they do, right up to the morning of the big game. Plus, they study their plays on the way to the game. The same goes for the other positions: linemen, coaches, even the referees. Why do they practice? They want to win and they don’t have any more than a split second to make decisions that are worth thousands of dollars to themselves and teammates.
So next time you question the value of your OWAA membership, remember the Super Bowl quarterbacks. Your situation is not really all that different.
What does a professional communicator stand to gain by attending OWAA’s annual conference? Here’s a personal example. Wade Bourne once gave a seminar on radio at a different conference. It was brilliant and I came away with practical ideas to do a radio program. Today, we produce two profitable daily radio programs. Had I not attended that seminar, would I have come up with the idea for doing radio? Probably not.
At another conference, Tom Huggler spoke of writing books and publishing them. I haven’t done one… yet. But Tim Tucker and I put together a seminar booklet on finding sponsors for bass pros. For a little effort, we generated a healthy profit. I’ve also written a booklet on promoting tournaments for a client.
You will miss every opportunity you don’t take. Your next money-making project just might be waiting on you at the next OWAA conference.
I attended the strategic planning committee meeting in November. I’ve been to a number of such meetings and this one is the first to bear fruit. It was held at headquarters in Missoula — OMG was it cold. With wind chill, it never felt warmer than 10 degrees. Of course, everyone picked on me for being a desert dweller who couldn’t handle the cold and wind. It might have been cold and windy outside, but inside it was hot and heavy, an excellent meeting with real results.
Robin Giner, our executive director, put together a great agenda to follow. We came away with five goals, including a fundraising project and membership campaign. These are doable.
Goal 1: By 2013 establish an OWAA brand with a clearly defined marketing campaign.
Goal 2: By 2015, OWAA will stop membership decline and begin to increase membership. Stopping membership decline in 2012, and increasing net membership membership numbers by a rate of 1 percent in 2013, 3 pecent in 2014 and 5 percent in 2015 will accomplish this.
Goal 3: Retain membership at 85 percent renewal beginning in 2012.
Goal 4: Reach attendance goals for each conference.
Goal 5: By 2015, donations and new grants will average $15,000 annually.
Under each goal, the committee outlined methodology and tools to use. But I am going to leave those details to committee members to write about in Outdoors Unlimited once the plan has been approved by the board.
These new beginnings bode well for OWAA, aren’t pie-in-the-sky, but very doable. I invite you to pitch in and lend a hand to help other volunteers build a better OWAA. ♦
— OWAA President Mike Walker,

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