OWAA Continues to Grow

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In the eight plus months I have served as executive director of OWAA, people ask me two things over and over. “What does OWAA do?” and “What do you do?”
Of course the first one is easy, even if we all answer a little differently. In our strategic plan we present our core values like this: OWAA is the premier national association of professional outdoor communicators who learn, network, engage their peers, find business opportunities and mentor the next generation of outdoors communicators.
That core values statement is my “elevator pitch” response.
When answering the second question my response goes something like this; “I work to get more members, more money, more often.”
Here are some of operational things I reported to the membership at our conference in Lake Placid, N.Y., that make that happen.
The organization is currently holding its own financially. In discussions with the treasurer about assessing the bottom line, it appears we’re in approximately the same shape financially as we were at this time last year. We have
made some expense adjustments and continue to review expenses in search of additional efficiencies to keep costs down.
The key to our financial security rests predominantly in the revenue side of our operations. We can’t “cut” our way to financial security; we need to “grow” our way there. Your membership recruitment efforts and referrals are essential to our continued growth and are most appreciated in 2013.
How did we stack-up to the goals in our strategic plan? As of this report we know we will exceed our recruiting goals for supporting groups. We are on track to by the end of the year grow supporters by 9.5 percent bringing our number of supporters to 173. Our growth in individual membership is still not where we want it. Our goal for 2013 was to grow by 1 percent. Currently we have 824 members; we need 874 to reach that goal. We will get close but may not make it. Some of this is because of the demographics of the membership and the state of the communications business.
We had very good attendance at our annual conference with 108 members registered (that is 13.5 percent of membership and our goal was 15 percent.) We had 47 supporting groups registered (that is 25 percent of our supporting groups and our goal was 20 percent). Total attendance was 268.Conference always provides our members and supporters great educational and networking opportunities. That generally translates into more financial opportunities.
In the end, OWAA is a reflection of our membership. We are a close knit community of professionals who cherish the outdoors. Our work helps people understand and enjoy the great outdoors.
The opportunity to be part of the leadership team at OWAA is exciting, challenging and a career highlight for me. Thank you for giving me this honor and privilege and the chance to work with you as we guide OWAA forward into the future.
It’s great work, isn’t it?♦
—OWAA Executive Director Tom Sadler, tsadler@owaa.org

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