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TOPIC: Why is AFA membership so low?

Why is AFA membership so low? 25 Apr 2007 13:52 #1

  • Gary_Miller
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I pulled this from another thread thought it would make a great topic.
Phil Armitage wrote:
The AFA has been around for a long time. Even though most horse owners are not aware of their existance most farriers are. Why is membership so low? I have my own thoughts as to why and it is not because most farriers lack the skill or knowledge.
Ok Phil start it off. Lets here your thoughts.
Gary Miller, PF

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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 25 Apr 2007 15:44 #2

  • beslagsmed
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Maybe because farriers are a breed who are their own person. They take on the necessary and do away the all frilly things. Many don't see the AFA as a necessary part of their career. What has it done for them? Will it help them with their business? What do they get out of it? After shoeing horses they want to send time with their families or friends not some club. Has no impact.

Just a few things I can think of. For me, I never found out about the AFA until I moved to Europe. Go figure.

Mikel
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 25 Apr 2007 17:11 #3

  • THamilton
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I agree with Mikel.

I could join the local area group, but there is a difference of opinions and beliefs in how to shoe a horse. While I am an open minded person willing to learna discuss things; the ones in the AFA group are not. Therefore, it is not to my benefit to join this group. I would rather place my efforts, time and energy into something that is going to be productive. LIke family fishing and hunting! :D

Tony
"Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing" Ralph Waldo Emerson
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 25 Apr 2007 18:41 #4

  • vthorseshoe
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For one thing, their recent decision to make the due's $150.00

If they were a small organization perhaps I could see the need.
But with over 3000 plus members at any given time, I'd like to have that kind of an income each yr.

I still have my renewal form on my desk and am still trying to decide whether to send it in or not.

I have been a big advocate for the AFA for many yrs. but this last yr. has been an eye opener for me. I got pretty involved in the politics and became more aware of the inner workings and the programs of the AFA.
I saw and heard from many folks who do a lot of good and some who don't.

I have been a member for many yrs. (#1300) but I am really asking myself this yr. if it is worth a check for $150.00 to be a member. I just haven't decided.

Just my thoughts
"you may not like what I say" !
-but-
"you'll never have any doubts where I stand
quote Cindy Matthews 1948-2006


I thought my life had come to a close with Cindy's passing, but there is life after death Thankyou Sharon !

Bruce Matthews
Southeast...
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 25 Apr 2007 22:09 #5

  • Derin Foor
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I was in the same position as Bruce until today.. I had the renewal form on my desk for a while and decided to give the AFA another year to see how it goes. I'm glad the elections are over and I'm anxious to see how the AFA moves forward from this point leaving a lot of the BS behind them.

Derin
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 25 Apr 2007 22:52 #6

  • Dick Fanguy
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Go to the home page of the AFA and you will see that the new EC is going out to retain members and hunt up new members. Communications is the key to the health of this association. Let us know what you want and we will try to provide it.
Dick Fanguy, CJF
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For every problem there is always a solution that is simple, obvious, and wrong. Mark Twain

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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 25 Apr 2007 23:01 #7

Dick,

Do you think the AFA is liveing up to the mission statement?

Mission of the AFA

To further the professional development of farriers.

To provide leadership and resources for the benefit of the farrier industry.

To improve the welfare of the horse through continuing farrier education.
Phil Armitage, CF
AFA member 7480

"Anyone who proposes to do good must not expect people to roll stones out of his way, but must accept his lot calmly if they even roll a few more upon it." Albert Schweitzer
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 26 Apr 2007 00:53 #8

  • Dick Fanguy
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Phil,

Yes I do. That being said, there is a lot more that we can and need to do to live up to our mission statement. For this to happen, we need for the membership to take ownership of their association and see to it that it does what it said it would do.

Our committee system is the life blood of this association. Get involved. Ask to be placed on a committee. The EC and the BoD can only do so much. It is up to the members and chapters to help get the mission done. It is easy to carp and complain about what is going on. It is work to change it. You cannot belive how many hours I put in on any given day doing work for the AFA. Give us all a helping hand.

Too many people have a personal agenda that they want to push in this association. I, on the other hand, want what is best for the entire membership. Membership numbers were kicked around during the election, but one fact remains the same, less than 10% of the membership does 100% of the work.

If the membership wants this association to grow, it is up to all the members ot go out and sell the association. We have a lot to offer and with help, we can offer a lot more.
Dick Fanguy, CJF
225-315-1100
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For every problem there is always a solution that is simple, obvious, and wrong. Mark Twain

No man can cause more grief than that one clinging blindly to the vices of his ancestors. William Faulkner
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 26 Apr 2007 01:18 #9

Dick thanks for takeing the time to respond. Maybe others will read the mission statement and give it some thought. Their is a lot of great feedback and ideas on this forum we can use.
Phil Armitage, CF
AFA member 7480

"Anyone who proposes to do good must not expect people to roll stones out of his way, but must accept his lot calmly if they even roll a few more upon it." Albert Schweitzer
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 26 Apr 2007 01:21 #10

Dick Fanguy wrote:
If the membership wants this association to grow, it is up to all the members ot go out and sell the association. We have a lot to offer and with help, we can offer a lot more.

Not a good concept in my opinion. It should be if the Association wants to grow not if the membership wants it to grow. Even though this is a nonprofit orginization it needs to start thinking like a buisness.
Phil Armitage, CF
AFA member 7480

"Anyone who proposes to do good must not expect people to roll stones out of his way, but must accept his lot calmly if they even roll a few more upon it." Albert Schweitzer
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 26 Apr 2007 02:21 #11

  • Dick Fanguy
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Phil,

We are running the AFA like a business. Now think about what you said. How do you get new customers. If you are like me and so many other farriers, we get our new customers by referal by our old customers. I have not handed out a business card in the last 15 years to get a new customer, all my customers come from referals.

If you like the AFA, go out and sell it. If you are unhappy with it, do something about it.

There are many reasons that we cannot increase membership, but none are acceptable to me. I want to see this association grow. For this to happen, I need all the help that I can get. Lead, follow or get out of the way. The AFA is growing and will continue to grow if we put aside our differances and work together for the betterment of the industry.

I think that the dues are too high, but if we are to market certification like we want to, it takes money. If we can double our base, perhaps we can lower the dues at a later date. As of now, we can't.

As a member, I want you to get the most bang for your buck. If you are happy with the AFA, tell a friend. If you are unhappy with the AFA, tell me. I will listen to all you have to say, but if you just want to complain, I can't help you. Think positive.
Dick Fanguy, CJF
225-315-1100
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For every problem there is always a solution that is simple, obvious, and wrong. Mark Twain

No man can cause more grief than that one clinging blindly to the vices of his ancestors. William Faulkner
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 26 Apr 2007 02:47 #12

  • beslagsmed
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The truth of the matter is as stated - 10% of the membership do 100% of the work. This is true for a vast majority of any association, not just the AFA. I was a member about 10, 12 years ago, but dropped my membership because nothing happened. I renewed again a couple years ago. I believe this website was one of the main information factors for me. I check this site every day, but rarely go to the AFA site. I beleive it is because this site has more information and participitation than the AFA site. Maybe if the AFA boards were not member only it would help. Maybe more farriers would go to that site - hard to say. Problem is this webpage has developed a reputation of information, conversation and accessablility for so long, it is the one I refer customers to if they want to seek answers and such.

To get that 90% involved you got to bait the hook. With what, I don't know what with. Haven't fished this pond yet.

Mikel
Mikel Dawson, RJF

(Denmark)
What part of "NO" don't you understand!!

Caution: Watch for hoof in mouth disease!!!
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 26 Apr 2007 03:02 #13

  • Dick Fanguy
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Mikel,

I think you are right. Very few people go to the AFA web sight because it is not user friendly and is out of date. We are in the process of either up dating it or starting over with a new web sight that will be more appealing and easier to get around. Personaly, I don't think a simple face lift will help. I think it needs a complete make over.

Your suggestion is noted and I will keep it in mind during the discussions with the EC and the BoD.

We need to do more to keep our members and develop new members. It is my goal to double the membership in three years. Please contact me privately with any suggestions that would help us reach our goal. I don't spend too much time on the boards. Matter of fact, I have spent more time on it tonight than I ever have.

I try to check my e-mail 3 times a day. Contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. any time I can be of assisance to you or to answer any question you might have. Any and all suggestions are looked into.
Dick Fanguy, CJF
225-315-1100
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 26 Apr 2007 03:45 #14

  • Gary_Miller
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Dick Fanguy wrote:
If the membership wants this association to grow, it is up to all the members ot go out and sell the association. We have a lot to offer and with help, we can offer a lot more.
Dick
I agree with you the AFA is a member organization and it upto the members to help it grow. However, the members elect the leadership in hopes of them being able to keep the organization going in the right direction so the membership can have something positive to sell to others. Currently there is nothing to sell. Oh there is the benifits package but it does not seem to be a good enough sell with all the problems currently in the association.

I know the EC is working hard on somethings as you have e-mailed me about some of them. But the membership needs to know whats happening. They need to know what was discussed in the last EC meeting and the one before that and whats going to be discussed in the next one. They need to know what the committess are working on and where they could use some help. There is still to much happening behind closed doors and not enough transparancy.

Give the members something they can sell.
Gary Miller, PF

Ride hard, shoot straight, and always speak the truth.
Gunfighter Motto

"Our level of quality is how well our eye can see it." (Eric Russell, Oct 2008, Horseshoes.com)

"Discover what it is that makes you passionate then grab a firm...
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 26 Apr 2007 04:22 #15

  • Rick Burten
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Does the membership perceive value for dollars invested?

Do the non-member working farriers see any value in membership?

Do lont term members see any value in retaining their membership? If not, why not?

Fact is that for the cost of membership($150.00), you get a $50,000 AD&D Policy. Try getting that privately.

The PF magazine is worth how much to any of us? I say, a lot. If I get just one useful idea/issue, I am money ahead.

The other member benefits , if one is able to use them, will more than save the cost of membership.

So the question still remains, why do so many choose not to renew their membership? I think dissatisfaction with what has routinely been the norm for how the AFA has been managed is the number 1 reason. I think this can be changed, but it will take some time and the AFA can not afford any more PR pecadillos.

As of early this morning, the AFA member side of the website still had an "expired security certificate" warning.

Communication from the officers/office to the membership is still poor. The latest issue of the newsletter contains a Treasurer's report that would insult even a Fluff Bunny. That's not communication, its obfusication.

Unfortunately, one of the questions asked by members is "what's in it for me?". The answers that are forthcoming, don't seem to either whet the appetite of some or assuage the hunger of others.

I think the EC and the board have a Hurculean task infront of them. They have to win back the trust and faith of the membership, and also reach non-members with a message that will make them want to join and remain.

I think we need to take the existant 501;3c corporate entity and turn it into a "Foundation" that is part of a 'For Profit" corporation than can be involved in legislative matters and other areas denied to a 3c corporation.
Rick Burten PF

In the immortal words of Ron White: "But let me tell you something, folks: You can't fix S-tupid. There's not a pill you can take; there's not a class you can go to. S-tupid is forever."
."


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