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TOPIC: Why is AFA membership so low?

RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 26 Apr 2007 11:21 #16

Dick Fanguy wrote:
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.

Maybe your not chargeing enough? :D Only kidding!
Word of mouth has worked very well for me.
Dick Fanguy wrote:
If you like the AFA, go out and sell it. If you are unhappy with it, do something about it.

If I did not like the AFA I would not renew my membership and continue to hit my head against the wall trying to figure out how to communicate with leadership.

I like the AFA and have educated all of my clients on what it is all about, the certification, continueing education, the benefits to horse owners and farriers. By doing this I quickly learned how many people did not know about the AFA. My family and I have attended Equine Affair for several years in Mass. I have visited the AFA booth and lectures. As I listened to speakers and looked around at the spectators I could see a disconnect and lack of interest. Kind of like that feeling of sitting in church as a kid every Sunday morning. Until you understand this and figure out the problem and find a solution it will not improve.

Dick Fanguy wrote:
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.

As I said I like the AFA. I like the idea of what it can become or has the potential to become. I can't say I am excited about the AFA. I will do what I can to help out. The process has already started, I hope to be more involved with SNEFA.

Just some friendly advice Dick, leave out the "don't whine" remarks when talking to members when they bring up things with the AFA. Big turn off and a very good way to kill communications. Just something to think about.
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 11:27 #17

$150 seems a little steep to me. To be a member of an association? Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to bash, but if Bruce is right (he said over 3000 members) that is over $450,000 bucks..... That is pretty nice scratch for a "non-profit" association......

Where does all that money go?

Something to think about.

Troy
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 26 Apr 2007 12:43 #18

  • vthorseshoe
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Rick, can you expand on you concept of the change "for profit" concept.
I am perceiving from your post that this might put the AFA in a position to carry some weight in the making or swaying of laws and policies ?

If so, the weight that the officers of the AFA would be carrying would become very awesome indeed.

Up until now the concept that the AFA is run by its members has been a bunch of hogwash, considering the number of members who have actually taken part in any of the proceedings of the everyday ruinning of the AFA.

One point in fact. It was an issue when deciding to down size the board, that a number of reps came to the convention and were ill informed or uninformed as to idea's/concepts/everday proceedings for one reason or another, and had to be brought up to date before any voting/discussions could proceed.

So, unless this new smaller board of reps change the above and are on the ball as we all hope, it isn't unreasonable to believe that business will be as usual and the officers will still be making decisions and moves with little input or objections from the general; populace.

That is a lot more power and can the AFA, with its past history, handle such latitude correctly, or will we hear down the road of more confusion or desention or whatever.

It is well known how the lobbyists in washington, funded by parties who have a lot to gain from votes placed in certain directions, have swayed many many politicians.

Wouldn't your suggestion make the "powers to be" politicians of a sort or the equivelent of in the eyes of the money mongers in the horse industry and others ?

I do like the idea and think it is a good proposal, but my confidence level in past leadership is still lacking for obvious reasons.

Perhaps the new policy of "president elect" will be one of the "plus's" in changing and correcting the past. I will wait and see.

I MEAN NO DISRESPECT TO ANY OF THE OFFICERS, PAST OR PRESENT ! but an just asking some hard questions.

As far as my membership on hold. I must agree with your reasoniong concerning cost of the insurance and the magazine and the chance to have something useable presented thru the magazine venue and other programs.

I still think $150. for dues is unreasonablly high with the number of members in the AFA and will continue to push for it being lowered, but alas I will send in my due's in todays mail.

just my thoughts
"you may not like what I say" !
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I thought my life had come to a close with Cindy's passing, but there is life after death Thankyou Sharon !

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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 26 Apr 2007 12:59 #19

  • Dick Fanguy
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Rick,

Your idea returning the AFA to a for profit associationa and placing the non profit part in a foundation is being studied at this time by our accountants. I think we will have this to present to the BoD at the mid-year meeting.

This would free us up and allow us to be more active in legeslative areas.

Please tell your BoD reps. how you feel and urge them to support your ideas.
Dick Fanguy, CJF
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 26 Apr 2007 13:17 #20

  • Gary_Miller
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vthorseshoe wrote:
One point in fact. It was an issue when deciding to down size the board, that a number of reps came to the convention and were ill informed or uninformed as to idea's/concepts/everday proceedings for one reason or another, and had to be brought up to date before any voting/discussions could proceed.

So, unless this new smaller board of reps change the above and are on the ball as we all hope, it isn't unreasonable to believe that business will be as usual and the officers will still be making decisions and moves with little input or objections from the general; populace.
As of yet no information on the restructuring of the board and the nomination process has been sent to the general membeship. There is some information on the AFA web site and the No Foot No Horse had some information also. However it was all very vague no details about the change at all. Nominations close on July 1st and the general membership still have no idea whats going on.

By now we should have had some detailed minutes of the BOD meeting and the EC meeting recently. Still nothing. Still sitting in the dark.
Gary Miller, PF

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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 26 Apr 2007 14:34 #21

IS the AFA membership really so low?

When I was in the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English), our membership numbers ran just over 50,000. Yet the supply and demand numbers put out by the Department of Education indicated there were more than 500,000 English teachers.

The Knights of Columbus in any given parish will usually have fewer than 3% of the eligible men in the church who choose to participate. The membership roster of the Indiana Trail Riders Association probably represents about 1% of the actual number of "trail riders" in the state. Etc., etc., etc.

As long as membership in an organization is voluntary rather than mandatory, I think it's pretty rare to see people making the choice to participate in huge numbers.

...not intending to indicate that the AFA shouldn't work to increase membership. I think that the AFA needs to do everything possible to encourage participation.
~~Danvers

Danvers Child, CJF

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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 26 Apr 2007 16:30 #22

  • calshoer
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Here are my prsonal answers, just from my own past experiences with the AFA
Does the membership perceive value for dollars invested?
NO.
Do the non-member working farriers see any value in membership?
NO.
Do lont term members see any value in retaining their membership? If not, why not?
NO, and the reason is thet I got nothing valuable to me for my dollar. No personal insurance, no *substantial* discounts in business insirance, no continuing education on any subject that was of any value to me, (forging contests are not of any use to me) And no benefit in gaining clients, because I'm too busy already.
As well *my* clients come to me specifically for my NB training and experience,so it is not the AFA membership or certification they may want me to have.
Fact is that for the cost of membership($150.00), you get a $50,000 AD&D Policy. Try getting that privately.
I personally dont need that. What I need as a member of any group is affordable group HEALTH insurance, which fell through. The possibility of more affordable health insurance at was the only reason I remained with the AFA until I did,especially given the c r a p I took off of Craig about my choice of shoeing protocols , (and before him, some outright slander from Emil. )
The PF magazine is worth how much to any of us? I say, a lot.
To me ,it is worth little . The articles that the AFA choose to run have (at least the early issues I saw) been more concentrated on contests, forging and a few on busines.*Very few* on the science of the equine foot or how to actually understand or treat lameness, which is my priority. If the current memebrs of the AFAgo to that direction, actualy dollowing up on the goal of REAL continuing edication, not just the blacksmithing aspect, then maybe I would change my mind.
For now, I get more useful, less biased to tradition, well rounded information out of the AFJ and the lecture venues I attend.
If I get just one useful idea/issue, I am money ahead.
For me personally, those very same ideas I generally get from other sources. Why should I spend money on a redundant source of information ?
The other member benefits , if one is able to use them, will more than save the cost of membership.
Since I've been a non member for a couple of years, tell me what other member benefits might be of use to me?
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.
Yep. Hit the nail on the head. I got sick of the AFA's apparent goal beign to promote the AFA and their forging team.
I want a professional association to do something of direct benefit for ME, a long time farrier who doesn't need AFA membership or certification to build clientelle. I need other things from an association to which I give my hard earned dollars.
Patty
Patty Stiller CNBF,CLS
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 26 Apr 2007 17:05 #23

To me the idea of the AFA as a For Profit Corporation is a non-starter. The only thing that keeps this group as focused as it is, which isn't much in my mind, on its true mission is its non-profit status and the mission specific restriction that are required by that status.

Instead of continuing to keep things changing, thus un-measurable and the officers being able to avoid taking responsibility for the disheveled state of affairs, I'd kind of like to see this group of officers do their job and make what we have work as well as it can before proposing yet another major change to the structure. Once they have proven that it is working as well as it can and that there are significant advantages to any proposed change then let us have a good conversation about it.

Before this kind of thing should even be considered I'd also like to know the status of the audit and when an audited financial statement will be available. After all an accurate financial statement was supposed to have been report to the membership at our annual convention and it wasn’t.

I'd like to know that a corporate attorney has reviewed this proposal and prepared a white paper on the potential impacts and liabilities to the membership, the directors and the officers so everyone can make a truly informed choice instead of a smoke and mirrors choice based upon the opinions of people not completely qualified to give them. What would be the memberships status, would we become shareholders and thus have open to us all of the potential legal remedies that any other corporate shareholder would have? Or would we be further disenfranchised from actually having the ability to hold the officers accountable for their incompetence, as if we can now?

There is no reason that the AFA, as it is structured today, can not make a profit by the way. It is just restricted on how it can spend its money. Perhaps when this gets clearly through to everyone we will stop this kind of thrashing about and get down to the business of the membership as the bylaws anticipated it would be done and stop trying to find ways to wiggle out of the restrictions.

Guys, stop trying to change it and start making it work. That is what you promised and what you were elected to do!
Ronald E. Kramedjian, RJF

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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 26 Apr 2007 20:48 #24

  • Dick Fanguy
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Ron,

We have made no changes in the way the association is set up. We had a CPA come in and give us advice on what we can and cannot do as a 501:c3 corp. Her advice was for us to look into the benefits of having a 501:c6 also.
This would free us up if we were ever in a situation to lobby for legislation. Case in point, What is going on in Colorado with the Vet. Practice Act. We are limited as to what we can do to help the farriers in Colorado.

We have been intouch with leagle councis and he will advise us as to what would be the advantage to the membership of such a move. All this will be reported to the membership after we know the facts and can make an educated decission.

Much has been done and is being done to make the membership more aware of what is going on.

As far as your question about the finances, I suggest you contact John Bloombach. He can answer any question you have. He has been trying to clean up all the book keeping errors made by the many different staff members that have gone through the office. We have a good staff at the moment and hope they will stay with us.

Keep working for the good of the AFA.
Dick Fanguy, CJF
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 26 Apr 2007 21:45 #25

Dick Fanguy wrote:
We have made no changes in the way the association is set up.
Dick, I never suggested that you had. I hope you didn't think I had made such a foolish suggestion. I simply stated my desire that things be cleaned up and allowed to settle down before any more changes are suggested.

Besides the EC couldn’t make and structural changes without the BOD’s approval and everyone knows it. Heck, the EC can’t even spend 1 red cent with the approval or ratification of the BOD, and everyone knows this as well.
Dick Fanguy wrote:
We had a CPA come in and give us advice on what we can and cannot do as a 501:c3 corp. Her advice was for us to look into the benefits of having a 501:c6 also.
This is good. But isn't the CPA's ability to advise limited to the way things must be accounted for under the generally accepted rules of accounting and not the legal restrictions on the corporation in how it conducts its business based upon those legal restrictions? I’d always kind of thought that ways in the purview of the lawyers.
Dick Fanguy wrote:
This would free us up if we were ever in a situation to lobby for legislation. Case in point, What is going on in Colorado with the Vet. Practice Act. We are limited as to what we can do to help the farriers in Colorado.
I would hope that the AFA be prepared to present information that would be educational and enlightening for the legislators of that state at any hearing they might hold. Further I would hope that it provide such assistance and resources as are requested by its members and the AFA’s Local Chapter in their efforts to adequately represent themselves in this matter. It seems to me that all of that is well within the restrictions of the 501c3 and provides significant leeway to weigh in on behalf of the AFA's membership in general if not those in Colorado specifically.
Dick Fanguy wrote:
We have been intouch with leagle councis and he will advise us as to what would be the advantage to the membership of such a move. All this will be reported to the membership after we know the facts and can make an educated decission.
Well I am very happy to hear this as well, but don't you mean that you will inform the membership before a decision is made and listen to the memberships input before asking the BOD to make the decision, or is this a Freudian slip? :eek: :rolleyes:
Dick Fanguy wrote:
As far as your question about the finances, I suggest you contact John Bloombach. He can answer any question you have. He has been trying to clean up all the book keeping errors made by the many different staff members that have gone through the office. We have a good staff at the moment and hope they will stay with us.
John reads this board regularly, perhaps he will respond to the question with a straight answer. What is the status of the audit that the BOD authorized or could we say required, at the last BOD meeting? It has been several months now and wasn’t the audit to be conducted immediately?
Dick Fanguy wrote:
Keep working for the good of the AFA.
I intend to, as I know you intend to. Good chatting with you. I look forward to seeing you again at the mid year.

Oh by the way, a little birdie told me that the EC has hired Jon Bonci as the AFA's ED without any further search for qualified ED canidates as was authorized by the BOD, is this true?
Ronald E. Kramedjian, RJF

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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 27 Apr 2007 01:13 #26

  • Dick Fanguy
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Ron,

I thought this was about why the AFA membership is so low. If you want to discuss the interworkings of the AFA, contact me and I will be glad to discuss them with you. I would take too long and I don't like to type that much. Minutes of all EC meetings can be obtained from the office.

One of the reasons I think that our membership is lower than we want it is because of all the negative comments made on this web sight and others about the AFA. I think that we would have to hire a full time spokesman to address all the negative press we get. Some may be deserved, but most of it is just sour g****s from people that can't handle being happy.

These are my thoughs and do not reflect the other members of the EC or the BoD.
Dick Fanguy, CJF
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 27 Apr 2007 01:50 #27

  • Tom Stovall CJF
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Dick Fanguy in gray, deletia

One of the reasons I think that our membership is lower than we want it is because of all the negative comments made on this web sight and others about the AFA. I think that we would have to hire a full time spokesman to address all the negative press we get. Some may be deserved, but most of it is just sour g****s from people that can't handle being happy.

As an interested observer and newly minted AFA member, it appears to me that most of the whining about how "bad" the AFA is comes from folks who either tried and failed the AFA's certification tests or whose skills are/were not sufficient to advance in the certification process. One grows weary of the painfully transparant silliness emanating from the nattering of proselytes in the various camps - ain't nothing quite like a convert for zeal, but if one is going to dis a test, one's credibility takes a major hit unless one has demonstrated the abilty to pass that test.

Sound like any contributors to this fourm?

Personally, I don't know if I can be instrumental in effecting any change in the AFA, but I'm damn sure going to try. I think that letting the public know about the AFA's certification program is of paramount importance, that there's got to be a way to offer health/hospitalization to the rank and file, and that if you can't work the fire a little bit, you ain't much punkin as a farrier. :)
Tom Stovall, CJF
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 27 Apr 2007 02:35 #28

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If I remember right, the AFA did offer health, but no enough took it. I care what happens to the farrier business in the States (Idahoan), so I will continue to support the AFA. I think Dick is right, we need to stop and access if our glass is half full or half empty. Will keep mine half full.
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 27 Apr 2007 03:55 #29

  • Gary_Miller
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Dick Fanguy wrote:
I thought this was about why the AFA membership is so low.
It is and I believe alot of what Ron brought up is one of the reasons.Dick Fanguy wrote:
If you want to discuss the interworkings of the AFA, contact me and I will be glad to discuss them with you. I would take too long and I don't like to type that much.
This is also part of the problem. Information is being given by voice mail to individuals. Instead of E-mail or postings on the AFA web page that provides the information. I don't want to call and talk to you I want answers posted where all can see them. Member and Non-member alike.Dick Fanguy wrote:
Minutes of all EC meetings can be obtained from the office.
I don't want to bother the office for information. Them poor folks have enough to do without 3000+ farriers requesting information that could be posted on the web page once so all could read it.Dick Fanguy wrote:
One of the reasons I think that our membership is lower than we want it is because of all the negative comments made on this web sight and others about the AFA.
For the most part what you consider negitive comments are actually individuals voicing their conserns about what they precive to be a problem. If the EC, committees, and BOD would listen and respond with information most of the complaints would fade away.Dick Fanguy wrote:
I think that we would have to hire a full time spokesman to address all the negative press we get.
There would be no negative press if the leadership would listen to the membership.Dick Fanguy wrote:
Some may be deserved, but most of it is just sour g****s from people that can't handle being happy.
I don't think so. Most of it is from the membership who see nothing benifical happening, due to the lack of information.Dick Fanguy wrote:
These are my thoughs and do not reflect the other members of the EC or the BoD.
I thank your for your response.
Dick, I have to hand it to you as I have gotten more information from you than any other person in the leadership.
Gary Miller, PF

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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 27 Apr 2007 04:40 #30

  • Rick Burten
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Tom Stovall, CJF wrote:
As an interested observer and newly minted AFA member,
Stop the presses!

When did this most fortuitous cir***stance happen? Why was I kept in the dark?:eek" :p

What caused this radical change in direction? Regardless, welcome to the AFA Tom! Glad you are here.
Personally, I don't know if I can be instrumental in effecting any change in the AFA, but I'm damn sure going to try.
I for one am glad to have you with us. I hope the leadership is wise enough to tap your multi-faceted talents and lend open ear to your suggestions/input.
I think that letting the public know about the AFA's certification program is of paramount importance, that there's got to be a way to offer health/hospitalization to the rank and file, and that if you can't work the fire a little bit, you ain't much punkin as a farrier. :)
Perhaps you can become our "Poster Boy(Man)" and spokesman. The AFA could do a helluvalot worse, and IMNTBCHO, no better.

Rick
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."
."


Je pense donc je suis
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