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Thread: An idea to increase SDC membership

  1. #1
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    An idea to increase SDC membership

    ....offer a free year membership to any ex member absent for more than 10 years. Offer a free year membership to Anyone buying their first Studebaker. I’m sure there won’t be a tidal wave here but this incentive might just work

  2. #2
    Golden Hawk Member DEEPNHOCK's Avatar
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    Lot of dead people vote this way, you know..

  3. #3
    President Member thunderations's Avatar
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    Some of our true CASO friends would only join every tenth year.............lol
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  4. #4
    President Member BobWaitz's Avatar
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    I carry a couple of business cards for our chapter with me whenever I go to a swap meet. If someone has a Studebaker for sale I give them a card and ask them to give it to whoever buys the car.

    I floated a similar idea idea a few years ago but it never got any traction: Someone at the national level could monitor Craigs List, Hemmings, eBay, etc. and offer a packet of contact information for the national and all the local chapters to sellers as something to pass along when a Studebaker is sold. The best time to get and keep a new member is right after they buy the vehicle and need advice on repairs and parts. I would want to see this done at the national level so people selling Studes aren't annoyed with all the people contacting them.

  5. #5
    President Member tsenecal's Avatar
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    It seems like it could work. The SDC would have to cover the cost of the Turning Wheels for the one year that they were "trial members", but could likely pick up quite a few, new, permanent members afterwards.

  6. #6
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    With the printing saving's of the new format of Turning Wheels , The Club may have enough to fund this idea. I think its a good one . We have to try something . Ed

  7. #7
    Speedster Member Henry Votel's Avatar
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    ??? So if someone hasn't been a member for 10 years they get 3 years free? That kind of policy would make many SDC members who paid for those same 10 years and would be directly subsidizing 3 years of TW's wonder what in the wide wide world of sports the world was coming too.

    ??? The first year free for new owners? They already can have a discount to $24 rather than $31 and they do not have to buy a Studebaker.

    It seems that in every club or professional group I have ever belonged there is a subset of creative thinkers that believe giving away the assets of the entity is a "real stroke of genius". If TW and SDC isn't worth the $2.50 a month membership fee to people then one should recognize that these people know there own minds and leave them alone.

    OTOH here's an idea. Put up a 'GoFundMe' page and throw in a thousand or so of your own money to kickoff this great idea and start taking names. Keep us posted after the 1st and 3rd year on how many continued on their own dime and how much it cost you.
    Henry Votel,
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  9. #9
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    I've always thought that a free 6 month membership would be a good idea. I have always believe that it may be a mistake requiring someone, who has a passing interest Studebaker, to join the National SDC, when all that they might be interested in are the local get togethers.

    Something really lacking in non-Studebaker circles is information. An informational brochure,could be beneficial. Maybe with title "Why Studebaker," that we could hand out at swap meets, cruises, cruise nights and other car events. No heavy handed selling, just strategically placed container for interested people. It could be as simple as a sheet of paper, copies of which, could be downloaded from a computer master. Some historical highlights, observations, as to why Studebaker was one of the last surviving, independent car makers. Maybe some anecdotal comparisons regarding, relative cost of owning, operating, parts availability, online sources and club activity information.

    I have little doubt that even many current owners could benefit from a well crafted information source. it could also help bridge the informational gap between the antique owners and the post war people.

  10. #10
    President Member Avantidon's Avatar
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    Within the past three years, your Board sent out Post Cards to former SDC members who had not renewed their memberships for at least three years and no more than 5 years. The message we placed on the card included an offer to renew their membership at the new member rate for the next year. I cannot remember the number of cards we mailed but it was 500 or so. Of that amount, our offer was accepted by less than 5% of those who received the card. Will we do it again? Probably, because 5% (25) returning members is better than -0-. Membership is an important topic to our Marketing Committee and is always on our minds. As we move through this year, you will here more on this topic.
    See you in the future as I write about our past

  11. #11
    Golden Hawk Member jclary's Avatar
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    If anything, I would suggest finding ways to enhance membership in a way that makes it "FUN!" A positive experience worth the price of membership! Perhaps, for new members, a "Mentor" program. Develop a network of capable experienced regional volunteer members willing to provide guidance and "hands on" support to new (especially young) members. Not to do the work for them, but offer friendly assistance guiding them toward resources available. Like all things in human activity, there could be conflicts as a result, but by establishing qualifications, procedures, and rules, such a program could enhance the SDC experience and value of maintaining membership.

    While the idea of "free" is a very tempting concept, there is an underlying implication that the cost of membership is not as necessary for "being a member." My personal opinion is that Turning Wheels has been mostly worth the money, but the meets, resources, friendships, and fellowship through the years has been well worth the cost of membership. Discounting the dues is psychologically diminishing "value." I'd rather we concentrate on elevating the experience in a way that makes members understand it is worth the money paid.
    John Clary
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  12. #12
    President Member E. Davis's Avatar
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    $31.00 a year for a membership and a magazine like TW has to be the best bargain out there for car enthusiasts. Kartrashian tabloid mags in the grocery store sell for $5.00 and fly off the shelves. We don't need to cut prices just advertise the bargain.

  13. #13
    Silver Hawk Member Mark57's Avatar
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    On a similar note I always reach out to new SDC members in our area and send them a free copy of our Chapter newsletter and invite them to join our local chapter. Over 80% of these folks don't even bother to write back and acknowledge I reached out to them - and as stated, they have already joined SDC. Go figure!
    Mark Hayden
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    http://studebaker.ca/ - BC Coastal Chapter
    www.bcsouthintsdc.ca - BC Southern Interior Chapter
    https://www.facebook.com/VI.STUDEBAKER/ - Vancouver Island Chapter

  14. #14
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    The main reason I joined SDC almost 40 years ago was to get information on parts and services through TW. The fellowship and other perks were frosting on the parts information cake.

    When I bought a Corvair a dozen years or so ago, I didn't even think about joining a Club. Just type Corvair into Google, and Clark's and the Underground quickly come up. I did everything I needed to do on those vendor's websites without a second thought about a club.

    I haven't watched most recently, so I don't know if SDC has worked with Advertisers/Vendors to get a mention in the Advertisers/Vendors catalogs and websites. That's where these new people are looking. Maybe a special promotional rate could be offered to those new members with an order?

    The Club is fighting the same issues as retail in general. Corvair Underground routinely promotes the Corvair Club in their ads. Sorry to say, I never joined from the promotion. But you couldn't ask for a better targeted method to reach owners.

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    Recently, I gave a one-year membership to a friend; at only $24 for first-time members, it makes a nice gift. This person is retired and in an assisted living home, but he has an interest in cars, having been the former owner of my local NAPA store. (In fact, his sister married the brother of author, Fred Fox--that's how I got to know him.) He did not know about SDC.

    If just 20% of our members would give such a gift to someone they believe may be interested, that would help our membership numbers considerably.

    George
    george krem

  16. #16
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    My take on some of the above;
    1) SDC already offers a discount to new members or those returning to SDC, after a period of time.
    2) When I have sold Studebakers, if the buyer is not a member of SDC, I buy them their first year's membership.
    3) SDC already has a small descriptive folder, including history, called "What's it all About" (IIRC). I believe that copies are available from the SDC VP.
    Gary L.
    Wappinger, NY

    SDC member since 1968
    Studebaker enthusiast much longer

  17. #17
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    I am very interested in these ideas. I plan on joining all the chapters in the PSW to get a feel for the local chapters as well as in April getting a list of those that have joined SDC as well as others that do not rejoin. As I only have two newsletters to see about the activities, getting a feel for what others are doing will give me a better outlook to try to encourage membership.

    Recently, I had heard that California two quarters ago had lost 40-50 members. Granted there are some that drop out because of moving, health, age but losing 40-50 it cannot be attributed to those factors alone. Last quarter, the loss was 20 but there was a gain of 13 members. I hope to after April when I start getting reports to contact the new members and find out why they joined. Knowing that reason I think it would be fruitful to capitalize on the reasons they joined. I may not get answers back but I won't get any if I don't reach out.

    Bob Miles
    Tucson AZ

  18. #18
    President Member Avantidon's Avatar
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    Bob,

    Patience is the name of the game here as the Board will be giving all Zone Coordinators and Regional Managers some new tools to assist them in our effort to retain and recruit new members. Thank you for your message and interest in increasing membership in the SDC.
    See you in the future as I write about our past

  19. #19
    President Member Corley's Avatar
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    Another stupid idea from a really old fart: How about some organized club events around the country; "Take a free ride in a Studebaker" The club sets up in a busy spot, with lot's of foot travel, and hoists a sign offering the free rides. A mile or three would be sufficient. Could also put out some literature about the Studebaker company, SDC, and some membership forms. Maybe run a clip of the Muppets movie featuring the Stude. They'd probably peruse those things while waiting for their turn at a ride, plus chat it up with some SDC members. Lot's of folks might like to have their kids take a free ride, but they might get interested as well. Call the news channel to promote it. I can just hear some of the questions, "How expensive is it to own an old car?", "Do you have to be a mechanic to own one of these?", "Who made these cars?", "How do you get into this hobby?", etc.

    A button or pin for kids to memorialize the event would be great, even a cheapy sticker on their shirt. And handouts are always good for adults. Any sort of displays are always a draw. A buggy that people could sit on would be great, for example. I suppose insurance would kill the whole idea, huh? But, if it was a club sanctioned event, perhaps the SDC insurance could cover it???

    This could be a fun event for a local chapter, and help fill out their calendar. But, Hey, I should shut up, I don't currently even belong to a local chapter, just the SDC...
    Corley

  20. #20
    President Member ddub's Avatar
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    Corley, check out these folks.

    http://www.sdc-nw.com/
    Don Wilson, Centralia, WA

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  21. #21
    President Member Scott's Avatar
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    I think putting a sprinkling of issues on newsstands and Barnes and Noble would help publicity if not membership.
    "Madness...is the exception in individuals, but the rule in groups" - Nietzsche.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6hk71400 View Post
    I am very interested in these ideas. I plan on joining all the chapters in the PSW to get a feel for the local chapters as well as in April getting a list of those that have joined SDC as well as others that do not rejoin. As I only have two newsletters to see about the activities, getting a feel for what others are doing will give me a better outlook to try to encourage membership.

    Recently, I had heard that California two quarters ago had lost 40-50 members. Granted there are some that drop out because of moving, health, age but losing 40-50 it cannot be attributed to those factors alone. Last quarter, the loss was 20 but there was a gain of 13 members. I hope to after April when I start getting reports to contact the new members and find out why they joined. Knowing that reason I think it would be fruitful to capitalize on the reasons they joined. I may not get answers back but I won't get any if I don't reach out.

    Bob Miles
    Tucson AZ
    Bob, your comments are a breath of fresh air. Reaching out to our members is a primary responsibility of all our Zone Coordinators and Regional Managers. Quite frankly it would really help if every chapter would copy their ZC and RM with their newsletters, preferably electronically.

    SDC VP Don Jones has also acknowledged your comments in his post #18 and I'm sure he won't mind me further commenting on this in my role of Elections Coordinator for SDC. It has become clear that not every ZC and RM adheres to their duties as prescribed. Perhaps each elected official should re-read their duties. Communication with our members is key to ensuring our ongoing success and growth.

    Stu Chapman

  23. #23
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    Years ago we did put an invitation to our local Northern Illinois region Studebaker club on grocery store bulletin boards with a picture of a 1953 Starliner and little tabs with info telephone numbers.
    We gained several new members that way.

  24. #24
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    That is a good idea! Our tourmaster has a 1950 Champion Starlight which is another iconic Studebaker.

    Bob Miles
    Tucson AZ

  25. #25
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    Since the club has an abundance of old back issues perhaps give a few out to new members

  26. #26
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    Membership drive

    At summer cruise nites I put past Turning Wheels issues in a box with notice

    WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT STUDEBAKERS
    TAKE A ISSUE OF CLUB MAGAZINE & FIND OUT

    A box of issues disappears fast,don't know if this sparks interest but figure It can't hurt !

  27. #27
    President Member swvalcon's Avatar
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    I'am guessing the major reason for members to drop out is they have tipped or sold their car and are no longer involved in the hobby. Giving a free membership is not going to get either back in the fold. The price isn't that high if you still have a interest in Studebakers.

  28. #28
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    The biggest factor that hurts all traditional social organizations is that people want to enjoy their time WITHOUT the hassles of interaction, that people now 50+ considered fun.

    They don't want to go to the Mall or Store. They'd rather click and have it delivered. They don't want to spend free time catering or putting up with others, and they aren't as interested in friendly competition between owners because they've been trained "Keeping Up With The Jones's" is a bad thing. If they become owners, they just want to do their own thing and be left alone.

    Until this changes, if it ever does, Clubs will suffer. Not only do I see it in the hobby, but also in Professional Organizations. I've seen several in my profession disband or shrink into oblivion the past decade. Employers have also stopped promoting professional organizations by refusing time off to participate in them and sponsor monies.

    This may be a foreign concept to many here, but it is the reality of the changes caused by turmoil the last decade. Only time will tell if it stays like this.

  29. #29
    President Member Scott's Avatar
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    We might get some more members by bringing some issues to, or putting up notices at nursing homes. I'm not kidding.
    "Madness...is the exception in individuals, but the rule in groups" - Nietzsche.

  30. #30
    President Member TWChamp's Avatar
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    The dentist office and VA Hospitals can certainly use better reading material.
    I often leave car magazines in the VA hospital waiting rooms.
    They usually don't last long, but at least someone likes them.

  31. #31
    Speedster Member bumpkinvilledano's Avatar
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    I think a lot of it comes down to a time issue; "I don't have the time to do that". Life is a lot more "busy" for many folks, due to economic conditions the last 10 years or so. Also many younger folks end up moving due to job changes, family requirements, etc.
    As for participation in events, same problems. SDC isn't the only organization I belong to and often events are happening at the same time and I have to choose. I also travel, a lot, for my work so thats another stumbling block for me.
    I did join my local chapter, but haven't met anyone from it for 2 reasons; It seems that the only info I can find about what is going on is in the "Whats Happening" section in TW, and on the monthly get together's they are having, I have something going on. I would like to see them at a local car show, but haven't heard about them going to one. Perhaps it's discussed at the monthly get together I'm not at, so I don't know. I know they have my email so if someone were to drop me a note now and then about something going on, I would be active in the chapter.

    Just my $.02
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  32. #32
    Golden Hawk Member jclary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bumpkinvilledano View Post
    I think a lot of it comes down to a time issue; "I don't have the time to do that".
    Sometimes, I just can't help myself...if you really want to toy with someone's mind, enjoy a little mischief, see a little angry smoke rise from someone's head...respond to that comment by..."You mean your days are shorter than anyone else!?"

    The truth behind that comment is, "I have more important things to do." Of course, most of us are too kind to be that honest. We use the "time" excuse. (guilty myself)
    John Clary
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by jclary View Post
    Sometimes, I just can't help myself...if you really want to toy with someone's mind, enjoy a little mischief, see a little angry smoke rise from someone's head...respond to that comment by..."You mean your days are shorter than anyone else!?"

    The truth behind that comment is, "I have more important things to do." Of course, most of us are too kind to be that honest. We use the "time" excuse. (guilty myself)
    What I think of when I see comments like "less time now" is that the people are too young to remember when people's time was taken up via more menial tasks, like shoveling snow, mowing the lawn by hand, carrying out the ashes from the furnace, drying clothes on a line, etc. (I used to do all of these and more). I worked 50 hours per week on a regular basis and thought that was good compared to the 60 to 72 that my father worked. I do remember how work travel used to cut into my personal time, but with all of today's electronic "tools", not so much.

    EDIT: Two quotes come to mind.
    1) People always seem to find time to do things that they want to do.
    2) If you want to get something done, ask a busy person.
    Gary L.
    Wappinger, NY

    SDC member since 1968
    Studebaker enthusiast much longer

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott View Post
    We might get some more members by bringing some issues to, or putting up notices at nursing homes. I'm not kidding.
    From a public service angle, this is a great idea. From an increased membership promotion, not so much. The Hamilton Chapter has participated locally in such efforts and the seniors really enjoy mixing with us but they certainly have never expressed an interest in joining.

    Stu Chapman

  35. #35
    President Member BobWaitz's Avatar
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    Again, this is why I suggest an effort to contact people selling Studebakers to pass along club information to the buyers. The best time to get a new member is when they are just getting started in the hobby and want to seek out advice and parts.

  36. #36
    Golden Hawk Member jclary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott View Post
    We might get some more members by bringing some issues to, or putting up notices at nursing homes. I'm not kidding.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stu Chapman View Post
    From a public service angle, this is a great idea. From an increased membership promotion, not so much. The Hamilton Chapter has participated locally in such efforts and the seniors really enjoy mixing with us but they certainly have never expressed an interest in joining.

    Stu Chapman
    Well, we are just a couple of weeks into this year and I have made over 8 visits to mother's nursing home. This place is a campus of twelve individual "Cottages," each with twelve private rooms, a large central dining and open community rooms centrally located. Most of the residents have difficulty with daily routine self care activities. I believe my mother is the only one with a phone, and she sometimes has trouble pushing the right buttons to use it. When you think of how compact their world becomes in such an environment, things like a card, picture of a loved one, a warm sweater, cookie, box of candy, a warm hug, and an attentive conversation, are the things that make their day. Few have good hearing, (at almost 97, Mom's hearing is better than my wife's.), most no longer have good enough vision to read. Some have televisions, but their mental capacity has difficulty keeping pace with the action, story lines, or news reports.

    I suppose that some of us "car nuts" might retain our enthusiasm for our hobby, but most of the nursing home residents, I see often, are satisfied with someone assisting with a bath, helping them eat, safely transfer from the wheel chair to a comfortable recliner, or get to the bathroom, with dignity, and not falling. I don't know a single one interested in engaging me in a protracted conversation about my old car. Occasionally, we have had car gatherings and assisted the residents out to get a closeup look. They smile, and seem to enjoy the brief experience, enjoy the memories, and share experiences. In reality, they have difficulty coming up with enough money to pay for hair care, certainly none for joining a car club. This morning, I went to the business office and paid for mother's hair care, and one other resident with very little family, and no support. Sharing your car interest with nursing home residents, properly done, is a good deed. Perhaps a lousy idea for getting members, but time well spent.
    John Clary
    Greer, SC
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    SDC member since 1975

  37. #37
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    Hooking up Studebaker owners today is like an Ivory Bill Woodpecker looking for a mate. I’d imagine less than 5% are owned/driven by non-car nuts. Get your car on the road and attend non stude specific cruises and “shows”. I’ve had LOTS of people ask me where they can get a sharp looking 66 Daytona like mine...when I tell them only about 25 are out there...they sort of lose interest.

  38. #38
    Speedster Member bumpkinvilledano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jclary View Post
    Sometimes, I just can't help myself...if you really want to toy with someone's mind, enjoy a little mischief, see a little angry smoke rise from someone's head...respond to that comment by..."You mean your days are shorter than anyone else!?"

    The truth behind that comment is, "I have more important things to do." Of course, most of us are too kind to be that honest. We use the "time" excuse. (guilty myself)
    Sometimes, not always but sometimes, it really is a time issue for those of us still working. Often times I work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Sometimes nights, most holidays and usually out of town( as I am currently). Since the day before Thanksgiving, I have been home for 16 days.
    It would be unfair to any organization I belong to, to take any office that I couldn't give the time needed to do it PROPERLY. If it was something I could do over the phone or computer from 800-2000 miles away I would.
    So, I display a SDC member sticker on my car, wear Studebaker shirts or hats, and point people towards the website. Best I can do in my current situation.
    Money may not buy happiness, but it's more comfortable to cry in a Mercedes than on a bicycle.

  39. #39
    President Member Scott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jclary View Post
    Well, we are just a couple of weeks into this year and I have made over 8 visits to mother's nursing home. This place is a campus of twelve individual "Cottages," each with twelve private rooms, a large central dining and open community rooms centrally located. Most of the residents have difficulty with daily routine self care activities. I believe my mother is the only one with a phone, and she sometimes has trouble pushing the right buttons to use it. When you think of how compact their world becomes in such an environment, things like a card, picture of a loved one, a warm sweater, cookie, box of candy, a warm hug, and an attentive conversation, are the things that make their day. Few have good hearing, (at almost 97, Mom's hearing is better than my wife's.), most no longer have good enough vision to read. Some have televisions, but their mental capacity has difficulty keeping pace with the action, story lines, or news reports.

    I suppose that some of us "car nuts" might retain our enthusiasm for our hobby, but most of the nursing home residents, I see often, are satisfied with someone assisting with a bath, helping them eat, safely transfer from the wheel chair to a comfortable recliner, or get to the bathroom, with dignity, and not falling. I don't know a single one interested in engaging me in a protracted conversation about my old car. Occasionally, we have had car gatherings and assisted the residents out to get a closeup look. They smile, and seem to enjoy the brief experience, enjoy the memories, and share experiences. In reality, they have difficulty coming up with enough money to pay for hair care, certainly none for joining a car club. This morning, I went to the business office and paid for mother's hair care, and one other resident with very little family, and no support. Sharing your car interest with nursing home residents, properly done, is a good deed. Perhaps a lousy idea for getting members, but time well spent.
    I didn't think it would bring a lot of members, but it would, as Stu pointed out, work as a public relations sort of idea. What I actually would like to do (and made a stab at it once) is visit nursing homes and the like with the object of collecting stories from the folks living there about their Studebaker experiences. Working with an activities director would help. Then we're doing oral history research, which is well worth while! You never know what we might learn and what friends we could make.
    "Madness...is the exception in individuals, but the rule in groups" - Nietzsche.

  40. #40
    Speedster Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Swindon, Wiltshire, United Kingdom.
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    In my world (auto consultancy), we spend an awful lot of time speaking with manufacturers and retailers about the customer and retail strategy, the customer experience and of course, 'retention' is at the heart of it all. However, I feel SDC is still too far behind the digital and social meda curve.
    I believe, SDC needs to up the game and really get in the mix, particularly where social media is such a 'game-changer' for consumer-based businesses. And let's face it, SDC is a consumer orientated organisation. Channels such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube are just some the immediate 'must do' channels that should and ought to be serviced on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
    Last year, the Studebaker Owners Club UK, set up a Facebook page and in the last two days we've had 7 new members join the group from around the world, Australia, UK and USA.
    Sure, there's an SDC Facebook presence, but I'd don't see SDC reaching out to connect with with the chapter around the world; this would seem to be some of the basics, so that SDC could begin to feed and share news, stories, event and a whole lot more... but, maybe its coming down the track.
    I know there are plenty of issues to contend, but ducking the digital and social media channels is not the way to reach out to a younger audience and grow the membership... in my humble opinion.
    Richard

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