[NAFEX] Membership, focus, journals, etc...the face of NAFEX

mangodance bmn at iglou.com
Tue Feb 12 14:45:36 EST 2008

A few words:

I would not be in favor of broadening the scope of interest to 
worldwide.  While worldwide, there may be folks who might be interested 
in NAFEX, to change the scope so drastically is to become another 
organization.  My question would be, how would we differ from other 
like-minded organizations?  We may have a declining membership, but when 
you change the focus of the organization, how many more would we lose? 
INGA might be able to gain more out-of-state members by going 
national...but how would it be different from NNGA?  The identity of an 
organization is not something with which I'd be cavalier.

re: online journals:

I am a fan of online distribution.  However, to send something the size 
of Pomona in email would be prohibitive.  I have had the discussion with 
board members to make it available online.  This is a seed of a 
discussion however.  BTW, I've also had the discussion of making the 
archives digital as well.  Again...this discussion is in its infancy and 
a LOT of work would be involved.

My general thoughts about organizations:

This organization, like nearly every other organization to which I 
belong, seems to be traveling the same path.  As an organization, we're 
aging.  That's good from the standpoint of having expertise and 
knowledge, but without looking at recruitment, we slip.  Recruitment and 
marketing are easy to mention, but harder to accomplish.  Let's face 
it...nobody likes marketing.  We'd all rather spend our time outdoors 
playing with trees.

A friend of mine thinks the opening of the internet is responsible for 
the decline of group memberships.  I think this may be stretching a 
coincidence.  I think as groups age, they tend to lose elders and/or 
workers...those which have wider spheres of influence and outreach. 
These gaps are not well or easily filled many times.  I think groups 
also tend to not get the word out effectively...marketing and PR.

Because I think the website is the single greatest marketing tool for 
the organization, I've been trying to gather in the website so we can 
make changes discussed months ago.  Once it is done, the site needs 
major work.  In order to get to folks:

1) you need to give them a place to go...and have that place listed 

2) once you pull folks into the site, you have to feed them...CONTENT is 
greatly needed

3) we have a LOT of real expertise...not to mention about the 
friendliest folks you'd ever want to meet.  we need to make it/them more 
accessible.  people won't join a society if they don't think it will 
help them.

4) We have a huge archive.  Some of it can be used for #2.  However, 
there SHOULD be benefits to membership.  That means a members only area. 
   Such an area could include the entirety of the archives, Pomona 
distribution, message board system, database of holdings, etc. 
etc....This side is limitless and useful as all getout.  This, among 
other things, can be a benefit of membership.

Don't get me wrong, NAFEX has fantastic people doing terrific work.  But 
an eye needs to be directed towards longevity, recruitment, marketing, 
and adding value to membership.  Once one is a member, it is clear that 
there is real intrinsic value in membership.  However, communicating 
something like that is difficult.

SALES:  The website, once we get things turned around, should have an 
aggressive branding program.  Each time someone wears a hat, T-shirt, 
etc. with a NAFEX logo, the name of the journal, and/or the website on 
it, you have an ambassador.

WRITERS: There are many among you who write fantastically.  Many of you 
have done so for Pomona selflessly.  May we call upon you still for 
website content, Pomona content, and even articles for other 
publications wherein you mention NAFEX, Pomona, etc?

Flyers - I'm working on a NAFEX flyer that will be available on the 
website.  If members would be willing to print them and distribute, it 
might help tremendously.  Possible locations for distribution are 
meetings, local extension offices, shows, fairs, etc.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that each of us can do a little 
something without making a huge time commitment and still have an impact 
on the health of NAFEX.  We don't all have the expertise of the 
long-time orchardists/members here, but we can all do a little bit.

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