Can web 2.0 tools reduce the workload on your Club Committee? Can using social media recruit and retain new members? Do existing Club hierarchies deter participation? Could a more democratic governance attract younger members? Do younger walkers expect different things from their Club than older "baby boomers"? Is your Club membership getting older?Many bushwalking Clubs are suffering from an ageing club membership and struggling to find sufficient Committee members to share the workload. This is the first of a series of articles which will look at some of the questions raised and future posts will attempt to suggest some solutions.
By nature web 2.0 tools are interactive and collaborative and usually involve many-many interactions and user-generated content. They provide many opportunities to include Club members who previously may not have participated in any of the organisational aspects of your Club and, in so doing, take some of the workload from your Committee members.
Social media, generated using web 2.0 tools, provide the opportunity for Club members to develop relationships with others they may not have even met, develop a sense of belonging and in so doing welcome new members into your Club. Potential new members browsing the web will be comparing walking Clubs to get a sense of how easy it will be to join in and become part of the membership. If they sense there is a "closed shop" attitude with "cliques" they will not join.
Often Club hierarchies may inadvertently discourage new members from contributing by "censoring" or "filtering" new ideas that don't conform with the status quo. Web 2.0 tools encourage e-participation and are inherently more democratic and here lies the danger for some Committee members who may see such processes as a threat to their power. Change is often resisted by those who fear the status quo will change.
Younger generations often do not have respect for figures of authority who sometimes reside on Club Committees. They expect their views to be considered on merit and will often either actively oppose authoritarian, rigid and outmoded ideas or if they feel a lack of openness, may withdraw their participation or even membership. They are used to interacting via the social media with a large number of people, where their contribution is valued and not filtered, according to their status in the organisation.
Does your Club have an ageing profile and if so why?
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