Or did they stop in Colorado on the way to Billings and get some bad weed or not so magic brownies?

I’ve talked with a good portion of MOA’s board in the last few months, and despite our disagreements, we’ve been civil and respect each others’ viewpoints. But last weekend BMWMOA escalated the dispute, with a couple major MOA leaders accusing me of chasing away volunteers… Huh? Here I was trying to enjoy my meal and suddenly I’m personally responsible for the shortness of BMWMOA’s volunteer list?

Then again, maybe BMWMOA’s leaders are stone cold sober and just don’t understand blogs and the “internets”. So I’ll volunteer two bits worth of social media consulting herewith.` BMWMOA, this here thing you’re reading is called a blog. and they’ve been around since over a decade or so ago when HTML was made easier to move around so idiots like me could produce a fresh waste of a web page as often as we cared. There being lots of us idiots on the internet, there are thusly millions of blogs, which means we have to split up the few million more bored folks reading our blogs a few million ways, so most blogs aren’t all that widely read. In fact, a hundred reads is a good day on this blog, with a few articles getting views in the thousands. Those popular articles tend to be on subjects like locomotives and 17 axle South Dakota road trains, which means that not a whole lot of BMWMOA’s disappearing volunteer base is reading this blog and potentially dissuaded from volunteering. Let me put it this way: GearheadGrrrl.com is like a small town paper that occasionally gets passed around.

BMWMOA has some much bigger media guns, a glossy 32,000 or more circulation monthly mag for a start. Me, I gotta “home office” quality printer that’s down to one functional black ink cartridge. Besides these formidable “dead tree media” assets, BMWMOA’s website, while dwarfed by advrider.com, gets thousands of hits a day. So BMWMOA, how is it that I’m spoiling your volunteer recruiting?

Methinks there are deeper problems within BMWMOA when little old lady bloggers are blamed for the corporation’s major problems. People volunteer for groups when they belong… At BMWMOA you partake in a contract and become a “member”, and in return you’re supposed to get access to the forum, be able to read the meeting minutes, and receive a copy of that slick magazine every month. I paid for a membership, am still banned from the forum, and who knows if I’ll ever receive that magazine and it’s page or three of content that pertains to my motorcycles? And you want me to volunteer my services to your corporation?

As a retiree who has the privilege of arriving early at rallies, I’ve always been happy to pitch in and help put the rally together. Whatever task needs doing, an army of happy volunteers shows up and gets ‘er done. Saw it last weekend at the very same rally I got lectured by the BMWMOA bigwigs at, as a bunch of early arrivers pitched a big ‘ol tent before I could even walk across the campground to join in the effort.

But that ain’t the way it is at BMWMOA, where there’s an obvious caste chasm between the “we” who pay the bills and do the work and the isolated “they” that run the corporation. Wanna volunteer at the national rally? Find the obscure list of committee chairs that have been chairs of their own little dynasty forever- you know, the folks you see ridin’ around in the golf carts looking important. Then try to get hold of them, not knowing if they need help and when and if you even have the skills they need. There are internet aps that can let volunteers click on a committee, read a short description of what they do and what skills are needed, and can even include a short intro to the committee chairs. If it looks like a good fit for the volunteer, another click brings up an hour by hour calendar showing open shifts. Click on an open shift and it’s yours! But that’s 2004 internet tech, and BMWMOA will take a while to get there.

But volunteering flows from belonging, and “belonging” to BMWMOA is more a legal contract than a social relationship. I belong with the airheads and the Guzzi riders, even though I mostly ride a Yamaha nowdays. Heck, I can get lax in renewing my airheads membership and I’ve yet to join any Guzzi club, but I still am welcomed and belong. But pay for a BMWMOA membership  and unless you’re a member of the golf cart riding caste you won’t belong. BMWMOA: Make us belong instead of treating us like suckers who pay for your bureaucracy, and your membership and volunteer ranks will start growing again.

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