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TOPIC: Why is AFA membership so low?

RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 04 May 2007 13:27 #166

  • Gary_Miller
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Mike Ferrara wrote:
As a former memeber, I don't belong to the AFA because I believe it's focus is all wrong for a trade association.
Mike
You may have already stated this over time but to save some digging.

1. Where do you think the AFA as a trade association should most be focusing it efforts?

2. Where do you think the AFA as a trade association should least be focusing it efforts?


Anyone can answer not just Mike.
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 04 May 2007 16:11 #167

  • Mike Ferrara
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Gary_Miller wrote:
Mike
You may have already stated this over time but to save some digging.

1. Where do you think the AFA as a trade association should most be focusing it efforts?

2. Where do you think the AFA as a trade association should least be focusing it efforts?


Anyone can answer not just Mike.

First of all I think the AFA needs to decide what they want to be. They should market their certification for the sake of their certified members (the card should be good for something)...But wait! they probably have more members who are uncertified than are certified. Don't want to bite those hands do you? oops but then they are open to non farrier members?

If they wanted to be a trade association for farriers then they need to look at what farriers need...not at what horse owners need and not at "the good of the horse" except as it might pertain to providing marketing or other management information that may be of use to their member farriers. Right? The goal would be to help member farriers better manage their businesses. "better" being defined as more profitable. Hopefully that's good for owners and horses but the member farriers win all ties.

Off the top of my head, some things that I think are of importance to many farriers are

Education - I mean education rather than testing.

Benefits - like insurance and other products/services where group buying power might be important.

Information - Current events in the industry, market information, legeslation, risk management stratagies and so on.

Some business or trade associations conduct market research and provide the information to their members. Some provide information about legeslation that might effect it's members and even actively lobby. One organization that I belonged to for a while when I owned a retail store was the NFIB (National Federation of Independant Business. One of the services they provided was a news letter that addressed pending/existing legeslation (especially tax legeslation). They survey the membership to find out where they stand on issues and lobby accordingly.

I'm sure there a lot of other things that we could come up with by just looking at what small business owners in general might need and specifically what farrier business owners might need.
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 05 May 2007 04:44 #168

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Mike Ferrara wrote:
National Federation of Independant Business. One of the services they provided was a news letter that addressed pending/existing legeslation (especially tax legeslation). They survey the membership to find out where they stand on issues and lobby accordingly.
NFIB has half a million members paying $300/yr. If every farrier in the US joined the AFA it would still be less than 10% the size of the NFIB.

How much would the dues increase need to be to create a farrier lobby with the power the NFIB has? Nice idea, but the math sucks just a little. :)
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Here's the deal. I'm trying to keep it simple.
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 05 May 2007 05:15 #169

Dick Fanguy wrote:
Just a update on the membership numbers:

4-27-07 Total Reg. and Life time members 3,021

5-1-07 Total Reg. and Life time members 3,184

This gives us 163 new members and members that have come back to the AFA. I think we are doing something right. I hope this trend continues.

...just got back from a clinic/certification in KY, where about 14 or so people signed up as AFA members. I don't remember the exact breakdown, but there were at least 6 who purchased regular memberships and at least 5 who purchased student memberships... I suspect that the totals stayed in the 50/50 range.
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 05 May 2007 21:54 #170

  • Mike Ferrara
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tbloomer wrote:
NFIB has half a million members paying $300/yr. If every farrier in the US joined the AFA it would still be less than 10% the size of the NFIB.

How much would the dues increase need to be to create a farrier lobby with the power the NFIB has? Nice idea, but the math sucks just a little. :)

When I belonged to NFIB, I was only paying about $100. As I recall there was no set required amount at the time. They required a "donation" and for a business the size of ours, they recommended $100.

It was just an example of an organization whos focus is on the needs of the membership. Whatever the reason, if the AFA can't or doesn't want to, then I'll skip it.

There are hammer-ins and clinics all over the place so we don't need the AFA for education. If they can't offer the other benefits that would be of real value to a business, I just don't see any real value in having them around. Apparently plenty of others have a similar opinion. If a bunch of farriers want to get together and have a club or whatever, fine, whatever floats your boat. However, lets not make the mistake of thinking that the small percentage of farriers who belong to these organizations somehow represent the industry because they clearly don't. I get the impression that they want to but they don't. They're just clubs.
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 05 May 2007 22:49 #171

  • Rick Burten
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Mike Ferrara wrote:
There are hammer-ins and clinics all over the place so we don't need the AFA for education.
Funny thing is, most of the speakers and clinicians and event sponsors are AFA members who got good or better at what they know and do, precisely because of the AFA. Thirty+ years ago, the farrier information sharing age was basically non-existant. Even today, I'd be willing to wager that much of what many farriers know, can be traced back to someone who is/was an AFA member.

Everyone who comes to these boards and gets and gives help can probably trace a lot of what they know/practice/promote, to something learned from an AFA member.

Not too shabby for an organization that has a membership that hovers around 3,000 and according to best guesstimates, is ~10% of the farrier population of the US.

Next time you find you have learned something new or exchanged ideas that are, even in the most remote sense, farriery related, see if you can figure out how many degrees of separation there are between you and the AFA(as represented by the person(s) from whence came the information.). Bet you'll find it won't be more than four.
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 06 May 2007 02:39 #172

  • Mike Ferrara
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Rick Burten wrote:
Funny thing is, most of the speakers and clinicians and event sponsors are AFA members who got good or better at what they know and do, precisely because of the AFA. Thirty+ years ago, the farrier information sharing age was basically non-existant. Even today, I'd be willing to wager that much of what many farriers know, can be traced back to someone who is/was an AFA member.

Everyone who comes to these boards and gets and gives help can probably trace a lot of what they know/practice/promote, to something learned from an AFA member.

Not too shabby for an organization that has a membership that hovers around 3,000 and according to best guesstimates, is ~10% of the farrier population of the US.

Next time you find you have learned something new or exchanged ideas that are, even in the most remote sense, farriery related, see if you can figure out how many degrees of separation there are between you and the AFA(as represented by the person(s) from whence came the information.). Bet you'll find it won't be more than four.

Networking has obvious benefits.
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RE:Why is AFA membership so low? 06 May 2007 03:34 #173

  • Gary Hill
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Rick, you are so correct about the info farriers didn't share 30yrs ago. I learned more about shoeing in those early days from the real Trainers that were around back then. Even today if you recieve the correct information from a creditable Trainer, that will work with you and not dictate it is amazing how the "basics" sometimes are all we need? It always bothered me that older more experience Farriers didn't want to share info and that does include some AFA guys? There is a thread on this site I read earlier today about how the old books and theories are coming back? If we stick to the basics we stay out of alot of trouble? JMO, :D
"As I see it, winners get the money - while losers talk of "individual goals" and similar stuff." Tom Stovall
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