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Darling Downs Soaring Club Getting and Retaining Members.

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Presentation on theme: "Darling Downs Soaring Club Getting and Retaining Members."— Presentation transcript:

1 Darling Downs Soaring Club Getting and Retaining Members

2 Gliding Queensland 8 clubs in the south east –Gympie –Caboolture –Kingaroy –Southern Downs (Warwick) –Boonah –Darling Downs –Qld Motor Glider Club –Pacific Motor Glider Club 3 other ‘active’ clubs –Nth Qld Soaring Centre –Central Qld –Bundaberg 2 Northern NSW Clubs –Byron Gliding Club –Byron Soaring Centre and Aeroclub

3 Gliding Qld Today 7 years ago almost defunct with $30000 in the bank Only function was collection of funds from comps Resurrected around 5 years ago Currently represented by most of the Qld clubs All Qld pilots fly at club rates at any club Democratic election process from 2007

4 Who is DDSC? 200 km west of Brisbane Large club of 110 flying members, 45 social Fly all year round Large fleet –two tugs, –three two seaters, –four club owned single seaters, –two cross hired single seaters –Access to private Duo Discus for cross country training –Fifteen private gliders Clubhouse, hangars, bunkhouse etc Own our airstrip.

5 History Toowoomba Gliding Club/Oakey Gliding Club around 47 years ago (folded) 43 years Darling Downs Soaring Club Six Years ago – –Racked with politics –Run by a minority –Closed and unwelcoming –Stagnant

6 First steps 5-6 Years Ago Finances modernised New committee – all active pilots Club Identity improved (T shirts, hats, wine, etc) Established website and email ‘chat’ Weather Station Duty pilots system Relationships with other clubs Chucked out the politics

7 Recent Initiatives Club survey Aircraft booking online Change in instructing approach New member “welcome packs” Marketing survey Revamped the piecart for a better image Increased social activities Mini comps Focus on member retention More young people and more women GFA Club Accreditation Investment in GPS technology and equipment Revamped website Briefing room Info email response

8 Our Management Team Ten committee members Paid accounts person, aircraft maintenance, cleaner At least one position is allocated to a new member or a young member Roles specified and shared Strategic Plan - Removal of “the Committee should…..” Meetings are negligible All current competition pilots; all busy full time jobs Club communication is everything

9 Club Communication Newsletter monthly Electronic chat for members Instructors chat Tuggies chat Website news Openness (no secrets) General Meetings

10 The Survey Anonymous Web survey cost nothing –How did they find us? –How long have they been members? –Why did they choose us? –What makes them stay? –What are the club priorities? –Suggestions

11 Why did they choose us and what makes them stay? Friendly reputation Willingness to help new members Cross country opportunities Aircraft Booking Training booking Women and Young people role models Well kept club aircraft

12 Inter club relationships Caboolture Gliding Club Reciprocal Agreement –Join only one club –450 AEFs a year, (DDSC 40 AEFs a year) –Caboolture Week 1-2 times a year –DDSC Instructors help Caboolture Boonah Club week Tauranga Club visit Omarama Club reciprocal agreement Overseas visitors every month

13 Visitors Off the street; booked AEF; 3 flight intro pack Optimise every visitor From friends or website Assign a person to look after their first visit if they pre-book AEF instructors are trained (5+ flights) Our AEF instructors typically get a rating at around 100-200 hrs. Post flight pack – cap, DVD, certificate, smile. First impressions are everything – be proactive

14 New Members 6 weekend day course, 3 month club membership, full membership New member welcome pack: –Log book –Key contacts –Progress chart –Basic Gliding Knowledge –Letter from the President –How to find out about the club activities –Duty Pilot Manual –DDSC Radio procedures –DDSC SOPs Fulltime students under 26 yrs fly for ½ price and ½ subs

15 Progress Path

16 Instructing Change of focus to issues rather than pilots All instructors are current cross country pilots Morning briefings for all pilots 9am Panel notes are distributed to all the club (de- identified) Pilot development, rather than training Training booking and minimum number of flights for students each day Learning to fly shouldn’t be an initiation test. Pilot Development

17 Safety 3 years of improving our systems Younger members think it is an important part of their flying Developed systems to a higher standard than GFA in many cases No blame incident reporting and trends Nearly 100% OzFLARM coverage High safety standards give the best first impression

18 Saturday Mini Comps Introduced 18 months ago Saturday tasks set twice a month in summer (less frequently in winter) Handicapped to club class AAT to allow participation Evening BBQ and prize awarded Online competition encouragement Participation from Pre solo to 8000 hrs

19 Sunday Morning Training Daily Inspections Radio and airspace Fitness, fatigue, dehydration Remote flying safety Weather Forecast and Interpretation (NOAA) Mini Coaching (eg thermalling, cross country) How to be a duty pilot Official Observer training Pre-competition training Parachute awareness How to use Colibri 3 monthly working bees

20 First flight to C certificate Emphasis off first solo Progress chart Make them part of the club from day one Involve in the duty pilot role a.s.a.p. with an experienced member If the day’s good, go soaring Plan the training On Solo, C progress book “Qualified Glider pilot” at C certificate

21 Beyond C Certificate Aircraft conversions Online competition Cross country coaching Mini comps Easter Comps Saturday rostered cross country coaches

22 Documents Standard Operating Procedures Radio Procedures Using FLARM ABC Certificate Progress BookABC Certificate Progress Book Conversion Guides –Jeans –Using Flaps

23 Participation 110 flying members 75 of these are on rosters, or working bees, or donate time in some other way. 90 active pilots 8% women 13% under 30 8% are retired (ie 92% work or study fulltime) 70% live in Brisbane Very little “churn”

24 What is important to them? 1.Personal development and progress 2.Feeling good about their flying whatever the stage 3.Aircraft availability & quality of aircraft 4.Quality of training 5.Being in a friendly welcoming environment Not Towing costs Not Glider costs

25 The New Member X and Y Generation –Do not respond to the traditional command-and-control type of management –Have an opinion –Technically savvy –Expect more from training Baby boomer generation –Have money –Kids are grown up –Looking for things to spend their money on –Looking for challenges Women –Role models can be important –Change the dynamics of the club

26 Our Focus Is it good for gliding? (Not is it good for DDSC?) We are here to go flying Politics are out The Committee represents the members The instructors are leaders and training facilitators Provide opportunities - within or outside the club Everyone should leave the field feeling they have achieved something Collective will to make this continue.

27 Effective Marketing? We tried: –Yellow pages –Local advertising –City expensive advertising –Website –Flyaways –Marketing Study –Advertising in NZ –RACQ Travel –Brochures in local establishments –GFA Accreditation (

28 Marketing Study Three undergraduate marketing students Cost – almost nil Results: –People viewed gliding as Unsafe Too hard to learn to fly Didn’t know much about it Maybe too expensive

29 Our Marketing Strategy Now Website Visitor word and mouth Member word and mouth

30 Your Focus Do a SWOT on your club Improve what you do best Change what you do worst Get younger people involved at any cost Build relationships for sustaining gliding Get a website, or update your website Communicate Our role should be to –look after the history and effort that has gone before, –look after our members today, and –provide a future for gliding


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