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Thread: USMS Planning Committee wants your help.

  1. #61
    Very Active Member breastroker's Avatar
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    SPMA has joined the Southern California Pool Operators Association, and either Julie Heather or myself attend their meetings.

    These people are in charge of hundreds of pools, and seem to appreciate the information we give on Masters swimming.

    These people are not glorified life guards, they manage dozens of people and must apply all the different laws governing pool operation. They have a lot on their agendas and we "Help" them learn about us.

    I would expect every state has organizations that certify pool managers and run the pools. Learning to work with them may give your association or team a leg up when you are trying for pool time and space.

    SPMA has also used the Marketing Committees brochure, sending copies to put out to the general adult public at pools with Masters teams. Some of the teams have even asked for more, so we feel they have been a good tool to help SPMA grow. We are not sure all the reasons, but we have grown over 10 % more than our best year ever.

    Wayne McCauley
    SPMA Chairman

  2. #62
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    More thoughts. I think that the new magazine must be used as a membership promotion tool. Newsletters & magazines from nonprofits can very easily make great profits through donations - that's why newsletters from charities have envelopes in them. It is very hard though to use them accurately. I fear that the new magazine will become either a glorified newsletter and get bogged down in reporting times & meets and not really explore what swimming is or so specialized that only elite swimmers will be intersted in htecontents. Look at Runner's World. When I first started to read it a very long time ago, it was so boring. Now it is truly a very good magazine because it covers all aspects of running in every issue.

    Increasing memberships to large organizations really does need great pushes from the top down. And I mean more than just a brochure. I know so many people who think that USMS is only for those who compete. In many ways this is because that is all that is discussed in the media regarless. More people, so I've read, swim daily for exercise than any other activity. Yet on many competive levels, swimming doesn't exist. The University of Illinois has no men's swim team. This is outrageous. There is so much emphasis on elite swimmers in our contry. Yet that is the area where there are declines in the numbers of swimmers and many entry standards have been lowered recently. And look what happened to the UK & Canada in the Olympics (both countries have very different masters programs and have tried to push competitive swimming through political means).

    Also, more people are swimming later into their lives than ever before. This is more true with women than men (many young guys I know say that swimming is a woman's sport). Fitness swimmers make up a (probably) the largest protion of our membership. Yet they are probably the most ignored. What is even worse is that many daily swimmers have never heard of USMS or any other swimming organizaiton besides what is associated with the Olympics. FINA got so much attention because if the SCM world championships in Indy. Now is a great time to go forward with national press. Those who wrote that Swim& other magazinesand books don't focus enough on the master swimmer who wants to compete are very possible totally wrong. Most popel who are not competitive swimmers see nothing within those sources that are applicable to them.

    Fitness swimmers can easily be linked to USMS through fitness and, I think, postal events. They're in the pool anyway. I swim both types of events. I've been told that USMS wants to develop more. This summer, I tried to start an IM fitness event. But I was the only one promoting it. It was to benefit my Y which is undergoing a major renovation. No one swam it. But if the national organization got behind postal events, and didn't rely totally on the promotion coming from the LMSC that is/was the awared sponsor, more people would participate. This would be true even if USMS only focused on the state that had been awared the event. Stories about these events in the new magazine have to be a very imortant priority. The first time I heard about the St.Croix swim was through an article about it form a participant point of view. The virtual swims would be far more interesting if they were accompanied by stories about the locations written by poele who had actually swam there!

    Another avenue that must be taken is cooperation with other organizations. I used to swim on a team that sat aside one day a month to raise money for a nonprofit health organization. The organization mentioned the event as part of their regular special event fundraisers in its newletter. Not only did it increase the over all money we made for the organization but it increased our size. My boss, who was not a swimmer, mentioned to me that she had read about the work & became a donor.

    Collaboration between organizations has been the buzz in nonprofits for about 5 years. Why aren't we going to Y's and being more cooperative with them. Many of us swim in Y's, already. Most Y's already have the organization or at least the tools that can be easily adated/adopted by us. It truly bothers me when people say that USMS doesn't want to give up any controll or that Y's are not willing to work with us. The YMCA oir the USA has an entire branch designed to reach out to other fitness organizations.

    Also, where are our national sponsors. In another thread, somone wrote that swimmers are some of the best educated and wealthiest peole in our society. That seems true to my experience. I know very few people who swim regularly who don't have at least a college degree. The magazine can be used to bring in sponsors & then the ads used to help nonmembers recognize their simularities with members.

    Only being concerned abouthow USMS is going to help the specific individual isn't goingto get us very far. But wondering how we are all going to get specific help from USMS is going to increase the organizations effectiveness and our participation.
    A national work out center would really not be of much benefit. It would take so much money. Pools are getting very expensive to build & maintain. Also, the staff would have be huge. Supposedly, right now raising funds for something that will benefit a very small portion of a rather elite group is gettng very hard. Isn't there some sort of collaboration already with something. Maybe this program could be expanded.

    I didn't mean for this to be so long. Oddly, I still have other ideas and some notion of how to make these plans more concrete. Membership is the trickiest segment of fundraising. It also provides the backbone of all successful nonprofits. Without it, you won'tget grants, sponsors, or collaborators.

  3. #63
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    Bob's comment about runners is truly brillant and exactly the point for getting swimmers who think that they aren't good enough.

  4. #64
    Moderator Rob Copeland's Avatar
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    Craig,

    Excellent posts! Thanks for sharing these creative ideas!

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