Just this week I had the pleasure of participating in a meeting with our strategic planning committee. I asked the question: what do we want to be when we grow up?
The National Yacht Club will be 120 years old next year – are we going in the right direction? What kind of club are we today and how do we see ourselves proceeding into the future? Are we happy with who we are today and should we just keep going as we are?
Every yacht club in the area is experiencing a huge change in demographics – our membership is aging. In order to grow and remain viable we have to recruit younger members into our community or stop the aging process. We do have a committee working on the fountain of youth, however, until this committee is successful we will continue to recruit new members. Just so it’s clear, once we discover the fountain of youth, access will only be available to The NYC members; perhaps that should be our new recruiting slogan!
How do we market ourselves to the sailing community in order to recruit new members?
Should we have an incentive program to encourage the children of The NYC members to join, thus encouraging the tradition of legacy memberships?
We have developed a reputation as one of the more active racing clubs in the region. This is very healthy, and we see growth in our shark sailing fleet, match racing and our dry sail fleet.
Another area we should focus on for membership development is our cruising activities. Our cruising fleet is healthy but perhaps needs a little nudge to arrange for some more social cruises. Some of our new members, who are perhaps not as familiar with Lake Ontario cruising, might consider the adventure of sailing to Niagara pretty daunting. However, with fellow cruisers’ encouragement they may be more happy to participate.
You can be sure that our Membership Committee, under the guidance of Merilee Wright VC Marketing and Communication are making every effort and considering many different options to develop a marketing plan for the NYC. If you have any suggestions don’t hesitate to contact Merilee.
The Strategic Planning Committee presented a very fine document to our NYC Board of Directors in 2009, however to-date there has been no follow-up on this excellent document. Our board will now review the recommendations with the Chair of the committee. My initial inclination is to embrace these recommendations for our future. Smart folk with some creative ideas have applied a great deal of effort on our behalf. Thanks to this committee for your efforts!
See you on the water,
Kind Regards, Denys Jones
Commodore the National Yacht Club