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How much would you pay for a Voyageurs memership cost?

How much would you pay for a Voyageurs memership?  

64 members have voted

  1. 1. How much would you pay for a Voyageurs memership?

    • $20/yr
    • $10/yr
    • $5/yr
    • I wouldn't pay anything, but I don't mind having a two tiered membership system
    • I'm opposed to any sort of fee structure!


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Rudi, what's the difference between a $20 donation or a $20 membership? This shouldn't be about what the Voyageurs can do for you, it's about helping the V's grow.

Your first sentence and your second sentence don't agree. It's basic economics that if you start charging people $20 for a service that they used to get for free, then less people are apt to buy what you're selling.

And this is the crux of the problem I have with membership fees: we're going to alienate a portion of our current membership and charging money for new memberships is not going to bring new people to the table.

I think this discussion needs to focus on what the membership fees are supposed to accomplish:

1) Money Generation. If we are charging membership fees in order to fill the Voyageurs' coffers, then you'll find that you'd make more money through donations than you would through membership fees. As Rudi mentioned above, he's more apt to make a $20 donation than to pay a $20 membership fee. I think some people might feel this way because when a request for donations is made, there is an explicit goal (new banners, server maintenance etc.) however when a membership fee is charged there is no explicitly stated use for that money other than "future projects". I'm more likely to give money if I know what it's for. With membership fees, you run the risk of alienating important members who would normally donate much more than $20 a year for projects. You also don't take in as much money. If, for example, we held a funding drive to create posters for the next trade show, I'd probably throw in $50. However, if I knew that I had already paid $20 in membership fees, I'd reconsider how much I'd be willing to donate on top of that. I'm pretty sure the net would be less than $50.

2) Securing Seating. If it's to work to secure a block of seats, I think there are better ways of doing this than membership fees. Again, I believe that if this is the intended goal of the membership fees, we run the risk of alienating people. We have members that are currently based all over the world. Why would Beachesl, for example, want to pay a membership fee if he's based in Buenos Aires? There are some games that I just cannot get to, be it for financial or personal reasons, so why would I pay to secure seats at those games for others? I realize it's selfish to say that, but sometimes, when money is tight, that's what has to be considered. I believe that we first need to improve our relationship with the CSA so that we can work with them on a game-by-game basis. If we can develop a working relationship with them so that we can pre-order tickets well in advance, we'll be in good position. We would then have to securely disseminate (ie. via personal email) that information to all of our membership and to supporters groups and other groups that would work to create a Canada-friendly environment. However, as I said, we would first have to improve our working relationship with the CSA so that we get the pre-order information more than a week before tickets go on sale. That is just one possible idea, I'm sure there are others (work to get group rates for all games in Canada could be another).

3) Organize. If it's to gauge the interest in organization, I think that might be another discussion altogether. However I believe that going from the loose collective we are to an organization like what some are proposing is like going from crawling to sprinting. There are a number of steps that we could do in between. I do not share Duane's pessimism about the relevance of the Voyageurs starting to wane. In fact, with the onset of TFC, our membership has grown has it not (particularly in Toronto)? While supporters groups are popping up all over the country, we provide a service unlike any others. No supporters group focuses on Canadian soccer like we do. Often it is there in some form, but not to the extent that we have. Plus, we also serve as a meeting place for the three major Canadian teams (soon to be four!) to meet and sling mud at each other. For good (around V-cup games) and bad (every other day), we are the only place for this, as far as I can tell.

From personal experience, when I was working the trade show, one of the biggest selling points of our group was that it was free to join. People were on board with that. If I had mentioned some sort of membership fee then the reception I got would've been much colder. However, what I've realized since then is that there is no method to draw those people in after they've signed up. The breadth of knowledge on Canadian soccer here can be pretty intimidating for new people. What we really need right now is some way to constantly be in people's conciousness. For the next trade show, I would propose having people write down their email as a method of signing up and then we'd send out weekly or bi-weekly newsletters to keep people engaged with what is going on in Canadian soccer.

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I don't think anybody wants to put a price tag on "being a Voyageur". Guys like Ed or Beachesl, for example, who might have no reason or desire to put in $20 a year - don't! They shouldn't have to! There shouldn't be any sort of social pressure. I wouldn't even want a little "Paid Member" blurb on the forum! Anybody who says,that, say, Rudi isn't a Voyageur because he didn't want to buy a membership needs his damned head examined.

Part of the reason I'm enthusiastic to do this sooner rather than later is so we can have the kinks worked out and some money in the bank by World Cup Qualifying. Right now, we rely on, essentially, the kindness of strangers: on a Dino Rossi type who'll put himself on the line in the name of helping the national team. I don't think it's fair to say "oh, that worked last time, let's keep doing that". Plus, having some money in the bank increases our flexibility. Maybe we get a booth at a soccer show we're not specifically invited to (the Toronto one worked out pretty well). Maybe in the weeks running up to that World Cup qualifying match in Edmonton we expect to be full of Mexicans we can get the word out in the newspaper or on the radio that hey, there's international soccer coming, Canada fans. Maybe instead of relying on the Stade Saputo ticket office to put us all in a "Traveller's Section" without a password or anything on it that'll be chock full of Hondurans looking for trouble, we can take matters into our own hands.

Would a paid membership really drive off Voyageurs? A guy comes to the forum, registers, reads the great conversations that goes on here, chats, sees a post that it's $20 a year for the full Voyageurs perks, and he's off? Really?

It's all well and good to say "wait until we're as big as Sam's Army", but Sam's Army wasn't always that big. What drove a lot of their growth was that they could do something beyond providing a community and a place to hear about which philanthropist had been willing to take a big loss on a ticket buy this time around.

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^ so, if members don't have to buy a membership, then basically all you are doing is soliciting for donations, correct?

I may be reading you wrong though.

Edit: I do think we could be more proactive in our solicitation of donations, just so long as we make it clear where that money will be going.

Edit #2: And yes, a membership fee will drive off potential members as well as existing ones. Currently new member Moldy09 has received some moderately harsh treatment in his first few days on the board. If you now go to him and say, "By the way, you owe us $20." do you think he's going to stick around? Who knows, maybe he'll get a better feel for the lay of the land and be an awesome V in the future (not that I'm saying he isn't now as all members are awesome, I'm just using this situation as jumping off point for an example).

Edited by El Hombre

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^ so, if members don't have to buy a membership, then basically all you are doing is soliciting for donations, correct?

I may be reading you wrong though.

The idea is that a membership would get you something and be more strongly encouraged than a donation would. For example, the hypothetical "join us!" page would say something like "full membership in the Voyageurs costs only $x a year and gets you..."

I think it would be lovely - ideal, even - if we could do what we wanted with donations alone, but I doubt that's possible. Frankly, people as a whole are bad at donating.

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From personal experience, when I was working the trade show, one of the biggest selling points of our group was that it was free to join. People were on board with that. If I had mentioned some sort of membership fee then the reception I got would've been much colder. However, what I've realized since then is that there is no method to draw those people in after they've signed up. The breadth of knowledge on Canadian soccer here can be pretty intimidating for new people. What we really need right now is some way to constantly be in people's conciousness. For the next trade show, I would propose having people write down their email as a method of signing up and then we'd send out weekly or bi-weekly newsletters to keep people engaged with what is going on in Canadian soccer.

This is an absolutely key piece of information. With growth as one of our prime concerns, we need to heed this message as I see it as a critical point of discernment to what consequences we could face by instituting a membership fee. After reading this, I think it would be a mistake.

A second point I've been thinking of is how our efforts in the past have caught the CSA's attention. They have released the information that we will have two home friendlies in September, which is massive forewarning on their part. I think we need to press them at the moment to find out where the venues will be so that we can start planning for those friendlies now. I've already made a mental note for myself to set aside funds to make sure I can make at least 1 of the two games, hopefully the majority of others on this board have done the same.

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The CSA can only forewarn us so much, though. Everything depends on when they can book a stadium, which stadium they can book, which opponent they can get into the stadium on the days they can get. They're going to leave things fairly late fairly often, and they're going to throw us the occasional curveball, and there's nothing the CSA could do about it. The better organized and, bluntly, financed we are, the better we can react to that.

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I'm with a two tier system of membership. I said I'd pay 15, but I would probably pay 20, so I voted for it. But I'm for a two tier system.

We should have a free membership, with the opportunity to become a full or elite member.

If people want ways to retain people with less soccer knowledge than normal, maybe we should be offering more of a soccer knowledge database on the website...sorta like a wikipedia for Canadian soccer knowledge. Except make it exclusive edits to people with membership or something. I dunno, just throwing it out there.

It's amazing how you can start on the Battle of Kursk and end up learning about how enzymes work if you're on wikipedia. :P

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Frankly, people as a whole are bad at donating.

People are only willing to donate if they think others are doing so. They've done studies with open donation jars. If the jars are closer to full than not, donations increase...it's bizarre.

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I believe that membership should be free, but if the membership decides that we need to charge to become a member I would pay whatever. Considering the costs of traveling to matches, membership costs are pretty negligible.

cheers,

matthew

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If we do create paid memberships, I think it should be vital for it to be an option, not a necessity. We should have an initial free membership (simply signing up to the website/forum, however we will discern it), and then an option to become a paying member that will receive specific benefits. The benefits should not remove a person with a free membership's ability to remain fully involved in the Vs (i.e. they should still be able to get tickets in the Vs sections, etc...), but should add value such as priority ticketing, perhaps a reduced price on tickets that ads up to more than the yearly membership cost, etc...

One thing that has become clear is that, like the CSA, I believe the Voyageurs need to create a strategic plan looking ahead to the next 1 - 3 years (time frames would need to be discussed). The loudest message right now is that many of us are looking to grow this organization, both through membership and through its functions and organization. This does not call for formalization, nor does it necessarily call for the creation of any type of paid membership system. What it does call for is creating a goal-oriented road map aiming at illustrating what we want to accomplish as well as how we will do so. I'm sure many of you on here just read through that thinking "I know what a blasted strategic plan is!" but I believe that we're at a point where we do need to react to what is happening in the soccer sphere around us. Edmonton will soon have a supporters group (which I'm sure already exists more or less if not advertised yet), many of who are probably part of this group already. TFC's supporters groups continue to grow, as does Vancouver's and Montreal's. Times are not like when this group was created back in the 90s, or even like in the early 2000s, nor do we live in a country where soccer is the primary and most mainstream sport; therefore, we are not afforded the luxury of organic growth such as European, Central American, or hell, even the blasted US (at least they can draw from population percentages).

I'm still not convinced hook, line, and sinker that we need to go as far as a tiered membership system, or a formalized structure, but I am convinced we need to create a road map for ourselves, so that we can at least identify our concerns and work together in order to come up with ways to take advantage of the situations. Why risk what Duane has said about the possibility of our waning relevance? That's not my only reason for suggesting the above, I've been feeling this way for quite some time, but it's still interesting to hear an opinion of that sort.

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How about people have the option of donating X dollars a year, and those who do get a little star next to their avatar as a badge of honour. A bit of peer pressure goes a long way and it wouldn't deter people unwilling to pay a fee from joining.

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Seems there is a strong voice for wanting to do more. Either casually through some sort of donation/subscription or by more active participation. Very encouraging.

Going to give this a think. I'm sure there is a way to keep the Vs membership wide open, such as it has been to this point, while allowing for those who're a little more ambitious (for want of a better term) to pool resources and step into the vanguard.

A two-tiered membership as has been mentioned isn't so offensive is it?

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Depends on how it is designed (exclusivity, how it's displayed, etc...).

It could be the start to the strategic plan concept I wrote out a few posts up.

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So far, we have a clear majority in favour of $10 or up. That says something.

We also have a small but significant number of people in favour of no fee structure. But even if we didn't have a clear majority already on one side, I'd hope we'd err on the side of growth.

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Guest Ed

Repeating this poll six months before WCQ gets underway would make more sense to me. We are in an extended off-season in regard to participation.

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I don't exactly know how to vote. on the one hand I'm not in a financial position for anything really, but I'm pretty sure I'll end up buying something or taking up a deal on group tickets when I'm earning more. that kinda talk amounts to jack in business terms usually but I think the basic setup in place inspires a decent amount of loyalty. I'm gonna vote for the last one instead of the second last one because I don't like the term 'two tier' (I don't even like the senior member tags, makes me sound more distinguished and mature then I actually am) but I probably wouldn't freak out if you went ahead with it, your just not gonna get a dime from me for a couple years at least. The more I think about it though, the less I like the idea of tiering membership, just doesn't seem very inclusive, if when I first came here I saw a bunch of $ signs and special membership I'd be a litte uncomfortable.

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Repeating this poll six months before WCQ gets underway would make more sense to me. We are in an extended off-season in regard to participation.

Although I'm against organization for the most part. If it is going to happen though I'd like to see it done properly than poorly and I think 6 months is too little a time. It would be ideal to have at least one home game under the "new structure" before we go ahead into World Cup Qualifying. Because of it backfires and we have poor organization during WCQ it would hurt the Voyageurs and the national team.

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to me, the V's are my supporters group i want to see it grow and thrive.

i'm prepared to pay $20 or $200 if necessary. I'm prepared to do it in the form of a membership or a donation.

I'm also prepared to continue to doing things like buying up large quantities of tickets to ensure V's and other people who want to support Canada at home games at BMO can be sure they will be sitting together and so we are sure that we are creating a fortress.

To me, the V's are the heart and soul of Canadian soccer support and must continue to do fill that role because we are the one place where club supporters of all stripes can gather to cheer on our NT heroes.

We have not scatched the surface of our potential. i'm not sure collecting funds is going to ensure that we start to achieve our full potential but it would make it possible to do certain things.

If i had to make a couple of suggestions re: membership benefits, i would suggest the following:

- 1 article of free swag per year (scarf, t-shirt, etc)

- guaranteed access to supporter section seats for home WCQ matches and friendlies

- a discount on NT mecrch through an online retailer or from manufacturer direct for paid members\

- other discounts or benefits from groups that may choose to sponsor the V's (i.e. airlines, VIA, hotel chains, )

- a magazine subscription (i.e. Inside Soccer, etc...)

*** i am aware that to organize such benefits, there is a requirement that the V's leadership is prepeared to put in the work to strike those kinds of arrangements. They are not particularly difficult to arrange but take time and effort.

I am glad that this kind of conversation is taking place. I can appreciate that not everyone feels as i do but its good that we are having this discussion because it shows a desire to keep moving the group forward, in one way, shape or form.

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I've always felt that if we could strike some kind of deal with a transportation company, be it an airline (hopefully) or rail line, or even greyhound bus if we have to, it would really add value to the group. Imagine a deal where you could get 10 or 15% off flight tickets by giving them a national team game ticket ID number. Wouldn't that encourage many of us to plan for games even if it meant flying from Vancouver to Montreal or vice versa?

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^ The above by VPjr and Tuscan are great ideas...however in order for a company or business to agree to offer us discounts, they are going to want us to prove to them that we have a substantial membership. Right now we have no idea what our membership is. Who is going to take us seriously until we take ourselves seriously?

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The opportunity for flight/other types of transportation discounts could really be a rallying point for us. If we were to get in preliminary contact with both WestJet and Air Canada and explain to them what type of partnership with them we'd like, and get a positive result from either or both, we could use the "Rally For Transportation Discounts" cause to not only find out exactly how many people consider themselves Voyageurs, but also convince people to join the group to bolster numbers and give us a better chance at being successful at creating the partnership. If we could get something set up before the two home friendlies in September, we could market the hell out of the project to see what effect it has on growing our numbers.

Bottom line is, we'll never know what we can accomplish without at least trying. I'm willing to invest as much time as is necessary to working on a project like this.

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