Open letter: Membership Renewal & Where does it go?

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Re: Open letter: Membership Renewal & Where does it go?

Post by jeff » 08/01/19 14:14

oddshoes wrote:
03/01/19 20:36
I thought that I would let the post run for a few days before I responded;

I have a lot of time for the owners club as it has been a major part of my life for the last 12 years. I have had some great experiences and met some really nice people through it - some of them I can call my closest friends. I met Laura through MR2's, and as of nearly 2 years ago she became my wife and life partner. I know that the membership does only equate to £1 per month which is nothing really, I probably drop more than the yearly amount in tobacco when I roll my own fags each month!
with 30g @ over £10 a packet i would say unless you roll one a week you spend much more than that a week
oddshoes wrote:
03/01/19 20:36
I know that the site needs to be kept running for us all to be able to socialize, arrange meets and events.

I understand that Jeff has been doing this for some time and the site is generally always running and doesn't seem to have any downtime which is nice and appreciated. But when other car forums are cheaper or free (and you have access to the whole site) you might wonder where does the extra cost in subs go and what does it achieve?

My query is, could the wealth of knowledge and experience held by the members help reduce the club and site expenditure? We don't know unless we (regularly) have the conversation. If there were ways in which I could help the club minimize costs by helping, I would!

Regarding the club shop - could that be moved to somewhere like redbubble.com, where the payment/stocking/manufacturing/posting is taken care of by a third party?
club shop is run by tallboy @ no expense to the club
oddshoes wrote:
03/01/19 20:36
If the club was to then become slightly more affluent it might be able to supply some merchandise like the membership cards and key fobs that used to be shipped out to new paid members. I feel that this is one example that gave members a greater value for money as well as a physical item that people enjoy having. And if there was a member with a printing company the items could be sourced from them (if it was cheaper than alternatives).
great idea, where do i send the machine that does the cards to ? as i said all the work i have done is unpaid and im not getting back into sending membership packs out again
oddshoes wrote:
03/01/19 20:36
This club has become like a family to most long term members and this is felt at the car shows that we go to, but with the major meets so far apart this feeling is rarely felt. I know social media has contributed to the downturn of traffic to club forums and when you are battling free and easy posting and photo hosting sites this will be an issue. I worry about the club and its long-term success and I want to help.

I propose that a thread is created, to be updated annually (or bi-annually), to document a cost breakdown of running the site and club. Maybe also to list the added value points such as no random adverts. Members can then provide (constructive/positive) comments and suggestions. This can also be (read-only) accessible for unpaid members to show the importance of paid membership.
sure create a thread and we will see if anyone replies


im unsure whether your aim is to bring down membership costs or increase the perceived value of current membership

discounts from suppliers/traders/garages etc for paid members would be a great asset, but over the years people have volunteered and then done "censored" all to move it forward and this also goes for members who have volunteered to refresh the content of the homepage to keep it current and fresh
i recently added some members to the facebook page so they could add events linked to the site and to date not one has used it

sorry if all of this sounds less than positive, but most folk cba to actually get involved


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Re: Open letter: Membership Renewal & Where does it go?

Post by shinny » 08/01/19 16:56

jeff wrote:
08/01/19 14:14
oddshoes wrote:
03/01/19 20:36
If the club was to then become slightly more affluent it might be able to supply some merchandise like the membership cards and key fobs that used to be shipped out to new paid members. I feel that this is one example that gave members a greater value for money as well as a physical item that people enjoy having. And if there was a member with a printing company the items could be sourced from them (if it was cheaper than alternatives).
great idea, where do i send the machine that does the cards to ? as i said all the work i have done is unpaid and im not getting back into sending membership packs out again
We used to do membership cards and many people said they would rather have a discount on their membership. IIRC, for a time we had two subscriptions options - one with a card and a keyring and a cheaper one without. Given the option, I went for the "without" option and I guess most other people did, as the option was eventually removed.

jeff wrote:
08/01/19 14:14
im unsure whether your aim is to bring down membership costs or increase the perceived value of current membership
I think(?) Dave was initially looking for reassurances that a) the club is being inefficient in its operating costs and b) someone's not lining their pockets with club funds?
oddshoes wrote:
29/12/18 17:00
Am I and many others helping to fill someones pockets, or is money from the subs being whittled away on things that could be possible achieved with less finical impact from members or cheaper sources?
Would it be possible that as a paid full member we could also see the clubs books so we know what we are paying for or not?

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Re: Open letter: Membership Renewal & Where does it go?

Post by jimi » 08/01/19 19:16

a. Jeff and I are always trying to minimise running costs, where possible we use free options but as Tony has pointed out there's no such thing as a "free lunch" you end up paying for it somehow, reduced features, no support, limited space, bandwidth etc

b. No Admin/Mod has ever taken a penny from this club to line their own pockets! All the membership money goes into the club one way or another.
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Re: Open letter: Membership Renewal & Where does it go?

Post by oddshoes » 08/01/19 20:33

shinny wrote:
08/01/19 16:56

I think(?) Dave was initially looking for reassurances that a) the club is being inefficient in its operating costs and b) someone's not lining their pockets with club funds?
oddshoes wrote:
29/12/18 17:00
Am I and many others helping to fill someones pockets, or is money from the subs being whittled away on things that could be possible achieved with less finical impact from members or cheaper sources?
Would it be possible that as a paid full member we could also see the clubs books so we know what we are paying for or not?
I understand that you aren't taking anything to line your pockets! So where and how does the membership fees get used to pay for the club!
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Re: Open letter: Membership Renewal & Where does it go?

Post by oddshoes » 12/01/19 9:17

I take it you want this thread to die without been seen to locking it!

I know it is forum operated as a business but have been part of clubs such as golf clubs, cricket clubs etc when paying a membership there usually is a AGM letting people know what's happening and where membership fees are going!

As said I have alot of time for this club and the people in it but if I was to pay membership fees I would like to know where they are going and how they are helping.

It's great that it's all voluntary work that people do to help this site out when your a Admin, Mod or Regional Rep but surely on that basis wouldn't also want to know that the future of the club is secure?

The fact that I feel I have bought this to an open discussion in site related and no information still has come forth seems worrying!

Regards a concerned member since 2006

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Re: Open letter: Membership Renewal & Where does it go?

Post by jimi » 12/01/19 16:54

oddshoes wrote: I take it you want this thread to die without been seen to locking it!
Why so confrontational ? we all have lives/families/jobs in the real world, so no instant responses, if I wanted this thread gone I'd just suspend it ;)

oddshoes wrote: I know it is forum operated as a business but have been part of clubs such as golf clubs, cricket clubs etc when paying a membership there usually is a AGM letting people know what's happening and where membership fees are going!
Actually it's not, the Club is a registered limited company, this was done purely to protect the staff and members from being personally financially liable in the event of any claim being made against the club.
As TLF said
Neither MR2OC nor IMOC are a Club/Association (whereby all members have a vote at an AGM) but Private Limited Companies. It is entitrely up to the owners (i.e. the shareholders) whether or not to permit anyone else to see the nitty-gritty detail.

FWIW, you can look at their respective annual Balance Sheets* because that is a minimum requirement for a listed company. All you can usefully glean from those though is whether the company is solvent.

* You can find these on the Companies House web site.

The company number is at the bottom of every forum page

oddshoes wrote:It's great that it's all voluntary work that people do to help this site out when your a Admin, Mod or Regional Rep but surely on that basis wouldn't also want to know that the future of the club is secure?
Indeed, I'm that concerned that I've supported the club with my time, money and effort since 2004, as have many many others who are not Admin, Mods or RR's. :cool1:
oddshoes wrote:but if I was to pay membership fees I would like to know where they are going and how they are helping.
Without going into details an average year looks like this
At present we have around 350 Paid members the actual figure varies daily but on average has been around the same for the last 2 or 3 years.
From those subscriptions deduct
The payment gateway's percentage from every subscription
Hosting costs (including support)
Accountants fee's
Software licences/upgrades/domain name
Contribution to the Highland Drive
Cost of JAE pitch, electric hookup, furniture etc
Any other show pitches that need paid for
Any expenses incurred by RR's in organising shows (not everyone asks to be refunded)
Any marquees, gazebo's, banners etc (or replacements) bought for club show stands as and when needed
Any money left is banked and used when needed as all the costs are not spread evenly throughout the year or are not annual.

As for other clubs being perceived as cheaper/better value than the OC, well that's up to the individual to decide, I and and 349 others think we are getting value and choose to subscribe, many others don't and choose not to, that's life, people make choices. No criticism implied or intended either way :cool1:
Members who choose not to subscribe are very important to the Club as well, which is one reason there's no major difference between the two.
The extras for Paid membership include access to
  • Full Members Lounge
  • Show & Shine
  • Project Cars
  • Classifieds/For Sale/Wanted
  • DIY Mods
  • Photography
Your PM inbox increases from 5 messages to 200
You also get a personal Photo gallery with storage for 500+ images (more can be made available if needed)


For comparison I did a quick straw poll of some other owners clubs, totally random other than the MR2 related ones
  • MR2OC £12 the first year then £10
  • MR2 Drivers Club £20 (runs from a fixed date so if you join half way through a year you only get 6 months)
  • TwoBrutal (no longer have a paid membership, they now take donations)
  • MR2MK1Club £10 (recurring)
  • imoc £7.50 (recurring)
  • mr2oc.com $10 (recurring)
  • MX-5 Owners club £39.50
  • Pistonheads, no paid membership but £11.99 to place a 30 day advert
  • MG Owners Club £47
  • Toyota Owners Club £16.95
  • Supra Owners club £10
  • Celica-Club £8
  • Subaru Owners Club £16.95
  • Ford Owners Club £16.95
Out of interest while I was reviewing the Paid members subscriptions (I do it every month) I've noticed one interesting fact.
Of the current 350 Paid members over 230 have NEVER posted on the forums and only visit once a year to join/renew, many of them are long term members and a few are overseas.
In fact we had a member contact us the other day because he hadn't logged in for around a year and had forgotten his username & password, once we had reset it for him he chose to renew his membership.
Since we have never had a recurring membership, then these members obviously CHOOSE to renew, which begs the question why? they obviously think they are getting value for money or they wouldn't make the effort to join/renew.

Hopefully this info will help you to decide whether to subscribe or not, the choice is yours, either way your past and hopefully future support is appreciated.
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Re: Open letter: Membership Renewal & Where does it go?

Post by jeff » 12/01/19 17:50

run as a business? i wish it was such

lets say i put in just 1 hour a week over 15 years or so and got paid £8 an hour, i would be nearly £7000 better off

i put in the time because i want to and like to give back a little to society in my own small way

Jimi mentioned Highland drive, just to illustrate were are prudent with members money they pay in, a few years ago it was noticed that half the members going weren't paid members, so we decided only to fund the paid members miniatures

I have just received back the end of year accounts from the accountant and we will decide in due course whether to make it public, did i mention the free time i put in sorting out the accounts that need to be forwarded to the accountant?
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Re: Open letter: Membership Renewal & Where does it go?

Post by S81933 » 12/01/19 18:10

Oh, dear, this all seems to be getting a bit heavy duty! I admit I'm not a great socialite and seldom attend club events, but I'm perfectly happy to pay my membership. Let me give you two reasons why:
KY2 entry about sealing leaking T-Bar tops - used by me to (thus far) excellent results. :th:
The advice on fixing power steering relay problems - used a few times now (and one of those was in the depths of North Norfolk :shocked: ). Thankfully the old girl doesn't do it all the time - I dread when she does!

So, if those two alone aren't worth the membership fee, then what is.

BTW, note how I refer to her as "the old girl" - that's how I feel about her - not chauvinism. :laughing

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Re: Open letter: Membership Renewal & Where does it go?

Post by TonyleFrog » 12/01/19 22:49

The nub of the original post asked a perfectly legitimate question.
i.e. On what is the annual subscription money spent?

We now have some answers.

If any paid member wants to know the ££ attached to those headings then I suggest they put the question directly to the Directors by PM. Imo only those people have any proper foundation for asking.

I can't see any reason why such a request would be declined but it is entirely in the gift of the Directors.
Nobody has a right to disclosure of the account books of a Private Limited Company.

The MR2OC is entitled to Total exemption which means that the summary P&L account doesn't have to be on the public record at Companies House. Even if it was, it probably wouldn't give the fine detail that oddshoes
may be looking for.
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Re: Open letter: Membership Renewal & Where does it go?

Post by Woody928 » 14/01/19 9:55

For what it's worth I just wanted to say I fully appreciate the work goes in behind the scenes from all those involved, thank you for all of your time and effort.

While those people are willing to keep ithe club going, I'm happy to keep renewing my membership to keep this great resource alive. Interesting to hear where some of the money goes, now I know where my HD Minatures have been sponsored from for last couple of years! :th:
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Re: Open letter: Membership Renewal & Where does it go?

Post by MRHAPPY62 » 14/01/19 20:03

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Re: Open letter: Membership Renewal & Where does it go?

Post by oddshoes » 15/01/19 21:06

I just wanted to say sorry for this statement
oddshoes wrote:
12/01/19 9:17
I take it you want this thread to die without been seen to locking it!
I was a little harsh as I was impatient to continue the previously fast-moving thread about something I feel passionate about.

I truly hope that the Directors decide to release further details of the club's expenditure, and I agree that this should only be for paid members.

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Re: Open letter: Membership Renewal & Where does it go?

Post by jeff » 17/01/19 11:26

oddshoes wrote:
15/01/19 21:06


I truly hope that the Directors decide to release further details of the club's expenditure, and I agree that this should only be for paid members.

Dave
Jimi has given a breakdown of where the monies are spent above, are you looking for an exact expenditure on each item and if so to what ends would that serve ?
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Re: Open letter: Membership Renewal & Where does it go?

Post by Protok » 17/01/19 18:37

jeff wrote:
17/01/19 11:26
oddshoes wrote:
15/01/19 21:06


I truly hope that the Directors decide to release further details of the club's expenditure, and I agree that this should only be for paid members.

Dave
Jimi has given a breakdown of where the monies are spent above, are you looking for an exact expenditure on each item and if so to what ends would that serve ?
I would say how about this part?
jimi wrote:
12/01/19 16:54
Any money left is banked and used when needed as all the costs are not spread evenly throughout the year or are not annual.
Not too sure I want to bother further with this, clearly I stopped buying membership when the steering committee was removed without an explanation but I'm sure as a long term member, Dave deserves a decent answer; maybe private message him.
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