UFWDA Community Forum

UFWDA General Discussion => General UFWDA Topics => Topic started by: Carla Boucher on March 12, 2007, 12:41:39 pm

Title: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: Carla Boucher on March 12, 2007, 12:41:39 pm
As UFWDA prepares to face 4x4 access challenges for the next 5 years, its board of directors has undertaken a new business and marketing plan to steer the way. Our mission remains the same - promote, protect, and provide 4x4 access across the globe.   

While some of the changes won't be effective until approved by the delegates at the 2007 annual memeber meeting, here's a look at what's on tap.

*  Improved techniques for servicing our members, including on-line member account services, improved 4WD Awareness Clinic availability, more on-line programs, and a fresh new look to the UFWDA Voice.   

*  Better discounts from more merchants.

*  Better merchandise on cooler stuff.  Don't miss out on the Endangered Species shirts! 

*  An Organization Incentive Program where members can donate $3 of their membership dues to a UFWDA Organization of their choice.  If your club or association is a UFWDA member this program sends money back to your area to help keep 4x4 access in your area open! 

*  A dues increase to $25/year/member.

*  One vote for every member.  The current delegate structure  that limited voting to associations and/or clubs appointing delegates that was historically used to steer direction for UFWDA is being replaced with a "one vote for every member" voting structure.

*  New Business member structure to provide more benefits for each membership class, including special advertising discounts and special and exclusive promotional opportunities. 

To find out more, read the business plan and the proposed by-laws here!

edited 3/21/07 to post revised by-laws to correct Article III, Section 1(C) and renumber the remaining Sections.

edited 3/26/07 to post revised by-laws to correct Article III, Section 4 to clarify that membership classes with life-time benefits do not expire.

edited 6/20/07 to post revised by-laws to correct Article II, Section 1 to expressly indicate UFWDA is a non-profit corporation;  Article III, Section 1(c) to clarify that organizations will be entitled to one vote;  and Article V, Section 3 to clarify that directors must be members in good standing of UFWDA.
Title: Re: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: Carla Boucher on March 19, 2007, 12:53:18 pm
Take a look at an overview of what we have in store for a better UFWDA.

Give us your comments.  We'd love to hear from  you!

Title: Re: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: Todd Ockert on March 19, 2007, 03:57:06 pm
Carla

It looks good, and looks like it is very sustainable.

Like mentioned in the plan, there may be a loss of members initially, but I am sure they will come back once they see what United is doing to protect their land access.

I know from talking to some friends in Vegas this week, they have a lot of issues there with access to public lands. 

Todd
Title: Re: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: Carla Boucher on March 20, 2007, 10:31:30 am
Todd, thanks for taking the time to review the documents and presentations.  And thank you for your kind words on the sustainability long-term for the plan for UFWDA. 

UFWDA is committed to providing better benefits with a sustainable UFWDA, including protection of access!

Carla
Title: Re: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: Todd Ockert on March 20, 2007, 02:43:12 pm
Carla

I know it is getting harder and harder to get donation dollars. 
I know I cringe everytime I have to fill the gas tank, and with the doubling of the cost to fill my jeeps, it takes away from money I can donate.

If United could make something like the BlueRibbon, and a small donation every month of 5, 10 or what ever from their checking account, or credit card may help. 
I give $10.00 to Blue Ribbon every month, and would do the same here if that option was available.
Also in the military, we have the Combined Federal Campaign every year, and if United was listed there, I would donate that way if available.  Tread Lightly was there this year, and i made a donation to them. 

I know a bunch of groups are looking for our donations, and it is getting harder to pick who to donate too.  I would rather constantly donate to 1 or two donations along with my annual dues to my club and state association then pick a new association to donate to every year.  The reason for this, is the organization starts to depend on my donation, and if I take it away every other year, they may not be able to fight to keep lands open in my area.  Now my donations are small when compared to the big overall picture, but every dollar helps the association. 

Keep up the good work Carla.

Todd Ockert
Title: Re: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: Trish Dinsmore on March 25, 2007, 12:51:28 pm
Wow!

     What a major over haul- this really brings to the table a very serious discussion on how Associations will supoort United starting in 2008.
     Its very good to see that United is moving in a positive direction.  A business plan is an excellent idea and demonstrates United’s commitment to providing the best means of support to its members.  Successful management is the key.

Trish Dinsmore
Secretary, VA4WDA
Title: Re: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: Tom Sumner on March 25, 2007, 05:52:02 pm
Thanks Carla  ;D

I will read these over and make them available to our Club to read. I will do my very best to answer any questions they have. I enjoyed having the luxury of attending the meeting and being able to hear you first hand. That will make it much easier. Any questions I can't answer I will try and get an answer here or contact you or your agency directly.

Thanks

Tom
Title: Re: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: Carla Boucher on March 26, 2007, 08:52:55 am
Thank you Trish and Tom for your posts.  Tom, please don't hesitate to post any questions you or your club members have.  We are very committed to going through questions and ideas now so that when the July meeting arrives all of our associations and organizations are prepared to vote.

It was a pleasure meeting everyone from KMA Off-Road at the VA4WDA annual meeting.  You are a great bunch of folks and we're very happy to have you aboard.

Carla
Title: Re: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: Mark R Gregory on June 11, 2007, 11:26:45 am
Kudos to those responsible for the proposed new business plan and membership fee structure.

The proposed new fee structure should benefit everyone involved, UFWDA, its members, and the other organizations that support United.

When specifically (month), if the new fees are approved at the July meeting,  will they go into effect and be collected?

Thank you,
Mark
Title: Re: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: 9ersgirl on June 11, 2007, 11:30:54 am
The proposed dues change would take effect for 2008 Dues. 

Amanda Cottrell
UFWDA Administrative Officer
800-44-UFWDA
Title: Re: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: Alan Hatcher on June 12, 2007, 10:12:13 am
Take a look at an overview of what we have in store for a better UFWDA.

Give us your comments.  We'd love to hear from  you!


It looks like UFWDA is now going to be all about the almighty dollar, no longer operating as a not-for-profit corp. It will be about INDIVIDUAL members, not about member ORGANIZATIONS. It will no longer be UNITED ASSOCIATIONS, so how can you sleep at night keeping the name the same while radically moving the center of gravity of UFWDA?

The current BOD is 9 members and requires 2/3 present to conduct business and a 2/3 majority to take action. The new BOD will be 6 (or 7...more on that later) and quorum/voting is only simple majority. More power in fewer hands...not good.

Meeting notification will be as little as 10 days; it's currently 60 days. With 60 days notice I have a chance at making plans to attend a far-off convention; 10 days and it would be more costly (more difficult) to attend. There is mention of absentee voting, but no specifics on how this works. However many INDIVIDUAL members show up at a convention is a quorum. Very easy for a few folks living close to an annual convention to make changes that a vast majority of members wouldn't agree to. Control is moved to a smaller group...not good. Current voting/org is similar to representative government, much better than direct voting all the time.

Who is responsible for the books and records? Why is there no Secretary to record/file meeting minutes and other corporate documents? That's what a corp secretary does.

I have much more, but I have to go back to making a living. I'll be back.

Alan Hatcher
President
Southwest Four Wheel Drive Association
www.swfwda.org
Title: Re: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: Carla Boucher on June 12, 2007, 12:23:00 pm
Well.  Thank you for your candor. 

UFWDA is all about making your almighty dollar work hard for you and using it to protect 4x4 access globally to the best of our ability.  But we are not about the all mighty dollar in the disparaging way you indicate. 

UFWDA will continue to operate as a not-for-profit corporation, as we have since our inception some 30+ years ago.  This means that any excess money left at the end of year will NOT be spent to pay dividend or otherwise pay our members a profit.  Instead, it means that all the revenue we take in will be utilized for the mission of the organization - to protect, promote, and provide for 4x4 opportunities worldwide.  Our goal remains the same - keep roads and trails open for four wheel drive motor vehicle use.

I am unclear on the basis for your accusation that UFWDA will NOT be about member Organizations.  As indicated in the business plan posted at the beginning of this thread, Organizations are the only class of members that will be benefit from member referral and financial assistance from the Organization Incentive Program.  I invite you to review the business plan, particularly section 3.1.1(c) and 3.1.2(c).  Furthermore, Organizations shall continue to have voting rights to guide UFWDA policy and direction, see By-law Article IV, Section 2.  The change moves UFWDA from being controlled by 75% of our members (as is the case currently where only members represented through an organization have voting rights) to being controlled by the whole of our members or by 100% of them. 

Thank you for asking.  UFWDA, and it board of directors sleep very well indeed knowing that the proposed plan does more to enable UFWDA to save more trails and more access than it currently can while meeting the needs of 100% of the members yet retaining our focus on organizations. 

The meeting notification section of the proposed by-laws was drafted in conformance with IN state law which requires that no corporation may give notice of annual meeting less than 10 days before the meeting or more than 60 days before the meeting.  IN law in this regard is based upon model legislation adopted in the majority of states utilizing language adopted as matter of public policy to protect corporate members, contrary to the tone of your insinuation to the contrary.  The public policy behind the "no less than 10 days and no more than 60" is to give enough notice so people can make plans to attend but not so much notice that they forget to go. 
If Southwest Four Wheel Drive Association, whom you represent, would like to change the notice to require more than 10 days all you need do is bring your request before the board.  It matters not to UFWDA whether we give you 10 days, 25 days, 45 days, or 60 days.  However, we are legally bound to stay within the parameters set by IN state law that gives you no less than 10 days notice and no more than 60 days notice. 

The specifics on how absentee voting works is clearly spelled out in the by-laws, Article V, Section 4(d) and Article VIII.  Absentee voting is limited to two circumstances - voting of officers and by-law amendments. 

There is no secretary because the cost of travel solely to fulfill the purpose of taking meeting minutes is expense and redundant.  The obligation of the recording secretary is placed upon the Administrative Officer as part of the paid duties of that office.  In the past the office manager attended the meeting at the expense of the corporation and the secretary attended the meeting at the expense of the corporation.  UFWDA feels it is the best use of limited funds to only pay one person to record the minutes and attend the meeting rather than two. 

UFWDA has a special forum established for organization delegates and organization board members, to which you have full access.  Please go here for the in-depth discussions that have been taking place since January regarding the proposed changes for UFWDA.  I trust that your SWFWDA delegates provided you with a full report of these activities upon your acceptance of office, but in the unlikely event they did not please feel free to browse around and read the voluminous amount of information on this subject.  Please follow this link: http://www.ufwda.org/smf/index.php?board=16.0

 I appreciate your apparent passion in seeing that UFWDA remains the world's leading all-brand representative of four wheel drive enthusiasts.  Please feel free to direct any complaints or questions you have to our board of directors or to myself at attorney@ufwda.org.  Our goals are those of our members - making a strong UFWDA to protect, promote, and provide 4x4 opportunities worldwide.  I have been copied on your e-mail communication with the President that you sent yesterday.  Please understand that the board and myself strive to respond to matters quickly and efficiently, but even myself, working 12 hours + in a day can not always respond the same business day in which correspondence is sent to us.  Your patience is appreciated.   

Thank you,

Carla




Title: Re: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: Jim Mazzola on June 12, 2007, 12:27:05 pm
Meeting notification will be as little as 10 days; it's currently 60 days. With 60 days notice I have a chance at making plans to attend a far-off convention; 10 days and it would be more costly (more difficult) to attend. There is mention of absentee voting, but no specifics on how this works. However many INDIVIDUAL members show up at a convention is a quorum. Very easy for a few folks living close to an annual convention to make changes that a vast majority of members wouldn't agree to. Control is moved to a smaller group...not good. Current voting/org is similar to representative government, much better than direct voting all the time.

Alan Hatcher
President
Southwest Four Wheel Drive Association
www.swfwda.org

This is one of the issue I have with a pure INDIVIDUAL based membership organization. I agree we should let individuals have some say but as you pointed out, a meeeting in a strategic location could garner enough members to shift the focus of UFWDA. While I don't think it's 'dooms day' scenario, I do believe the Associations in the organization should still hold the majority power.
I hope you'll be in attendance at the Delegates Caucus prior to the AGM this year. There's lots' to talk about. And a Carla just pointed out while I was typing, there has been mucho discussion on this. Go read the post's she identifed and weigh in on the discussion more, please!
jim-kb8ymf
Title: Re: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: Alan Hatcher on June 12, 2007, 02:11:13 pm
We have elected delegates; I am not one and I have no plans to attend the convention. I trust our delegates to take care of business.

I don't see how UFWDA can still be about it's member orgs/assoc. when one grizzly old prospector in the Yukon Territory who sends in his dues has a vote equal to SWFWDA's one vote. Southwest can afford to send a couple delegates to represent/vote for us. Under the new plan, two of those prospectors can vote alike and trump SWFWDA's single vote (from 1000+ members). Oh wait, I guess we could send one delegate carrying 1000 absentee ballots. That sounds a whole lot better than the current system, you bet.

I prefer to keep my questions/concerns out here where ALL members can read/comment.

If UFWDA will still be non profit, then put the words in the bylaws.

Where in the new bylaws is it CLEARLY stated that ORGANIZATIONS get a vote? Article 3, A. clearly says private sector members get a vot, B. clearly states biz members get a vote, C. says nothing about Organizations getting a vote. Since two of three classes are clearly given voting rights and no mention is made for a third, one can only infer that ORGANIZATIONS GET NO VOTE. There is ambiguity between this article and article 4 regarding voting rights. One seems to trump the other.

The membership no longer votes on dues. The Board has total control to set dues. The board shrinks; it takes a smaller portion of this smaller number to make things happen. Fewer people have TOTAL control of the purse strings. This is scary to me. Very scary.

As I read the proposed bylaws, the APPOINTED operations person is a director and officer AND [maybe] will earn a salary. The wording needs work if this is not the intention. The bylaws suck if this is the intention. I have no problem with a paid professional Executive Director. I have big problems with some of the convoluted language in the new bylaws regarding officer/directors/appointments and executive committee. It's as if great care were taken to hide what's really going on.

As small as the borad of directors will be, why is there a need for an Executive Committee? Provisions are there to conduct business by phone, so it ain't like "it's too hard to meet often to conduct the day-to-day biz."

If the goal is to give individual members more power (apparently, greater power than member orgs), then UFWDA is no longer ASSOCIATIONS united for common goals, but rather INDIVIDUALS and BUSINESSES united for common goals. Will individual members need access to club insurance for trail rides/events? Who's more likely to work together for a common cause [like keeping BLM lnad/trails open]: Las Cruces Four Wheel Drive Club and Southwest Four Wheel Drive Association, or individual joined members of United living in New MExico and Texas? SWFWDA is an ASSOCIATION that UNITED with other ASSOCIATIONS within UFWDA to achieve common goals. The new UFWDA should be UFWDE or UFWDP (enthusiasts or people). It will no longer be united four wheel drive ASSOCIATIONS. This is a significant change to the core of UFWDA.

Back to work for me.
Title: Re: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: Alan Hatcher on June 12, 2007, 02:32:29 pm
Last comment then I really have to run.

Please don't reply, "Read the business plan" as a retort to my concerns. The BYLAWS establish the rules. If the bylaws don't say it's so, the business plan doesn't make it so. Will delegates vote on a BINDING business plan? Can the directors change the business plan whenever the wind changes?
Title: Re: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: Carla Boucher on June 12, 2007, 03:05:54 pm
Alan, I apologize that I did not post the most recent version of the proposed by-laws to this thread.  Some of the problems you identify have already been resolved with the 4th version, now posted here. 

I will address the rest of your questions but wanted to post the most current version, along with my apology, as quickly as I could.

Also, may I get some clear direction from you on what it is SWFWDA is asking to be changed?  Or will your delegates give me that information?

Carla
Title: Re: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: dds4x4 on June 12, 2007, 03:17:57 pm
If you meant to post the latest revision of the Bylaws ... it's not with your post???
Title: Re: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: Todd Ockert on June 12, 2007, 03:34:40 pm
Doug

They are posted with the very first post of this thread.

Todd
Title: Re: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: Alan Hatcher on June 12, 2007, 05:50:27 pm
Alan, I apologize that I did not post the most recent version of the proposed by-laws to this thread.  Some of the problems you identify have already been resolved with the 4th version, now posted here. 

I will address the rest of your questions but wanted to post the most current version, along with my apology, as quickly as I could.

Also, may I get some clear direction from you on what it is SWFWDA is asking to be changed?  Or will your delegates give me that information?

Carla
Looks like I have another round of reading ahead of me.

SWFWDA desires that NOTHING be changed in the bylaws. If you need more dues, prove your case and take it to the delegates/orgs. If individual members want/need a say in things, don't wipe out 99% of the voting rights of the ORGANIZATIONS THAT GOT UFWDA OFF THE GROUND in order to give individuals voting rights.

You are asking your current member organizations to swallow the elephant in one big bite. That's not how you eat an elephant; it's one small bite at a time.

Write a business plan that requires a few small changes to the bylaws, not a frame-up resto. We understand that change is sometimes needed. We understand that times are tough (it ain't just UFWDA that is/will suffer a drop in membership). The bylaws I read (and I doubt the latest version is radically different) creates a new organization entirely, not a modified association. Just about the only thing that stays the same is the name (which is a laugh).

Why does United feel it must compete with Blue Ribbon and Tread Lightly!? That's where individuals can go for individual activities. United was formed as an ASSOCIATION OF ASSOCIATIONS. I am unaware of any other world-wide organization that is tailored to help regional/local clubs in their/our quest for maintaining the open land still out there.

How many folks claim a political party? How many of them vote (it's free)? How many of them actually donate to their chosen political party? And you think you're going to eventually get a surge in membership because you RAISE the price of admission and in exchange let individual members vote to decide...what? The budget? The price of dues? What exactly will the newly bestowed voting members be able to vote on besides changes to the bylaws?

Time to go read.
Title: Re: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: Carla Boucher on June 13, 2007, 08:57:02 am
Alan, the prime motivating factor for changing the voting allocation and the by-laws is to correct the communication problem that UFWDA has been plaqued with for 30+ years.  To the present, UFWDA relies on associations to bring information to UFWDA and UFWDA relies on associations to take UFWDA information to its members. 

Historically, less than 1/2 of all associations attend the annual meeting, one of several venues for UFWDA and associations to communicate.  Likewise, there are 62 organizations currently in UFWDA.  Of those 62 with voting rights in UFWDA, only 36 of them have provided UFWDA with a club or association with an e-mail address and therefore only 26 organizations are on the UFWDA e-mail group, one of several venues for UFWDA and associations to communicate.  Of those 26, only 19 are registered for the forums.  Of the 19 organizations registered for the forums, only 7 are participating in any discussions - land use, UFWDA programs, the proposed by-laws, etc.  In contrast, the UFWDA Voice readership is over 10,000. 

UFWDA has been asked repeatedly by its members "what has UFWDA done for me lately?".  All we have done has been shared with our voting associations, via e-mail, via website, via forum, and via Voice.  Yet the delegates from those organizations are not, generally speaking, sharing the UFWDA information with the members they represent.  I ask every organization leader reading this post to ask themselves - Have the delegates from my association provided me with the information available at UFWDA?  Have I been kept informed about these proposed by-laws since they were posted to the delegates in January?  Have I been kept informed of the large strides UFWDA is making to get support from 4x4 businesses?  Have I been kept informed about the land use work UFWDA is doing at both the federal and state level?  If you can answer "yes" to these questions I am relieved.  If you answered "no" to these questions you are in the majority. 

UFWDA made the decision that it must be proactive in taking responsbility for communicating directly with each and every member and stop relying on a delegate system that is non-functioning. To do otherwise would continue to jeopardize the existence of UFWDA because people will not pay their dues to an organization like UFWDA if they think they are getting nothing for their money. 

This decision lead to the creation of a business plan and marketing plan to outline exactly how UFWDA would communicate with each individual member regardless of the method by which the member joined - through a club, through an association, on their own. 

Finally, the board of directors at UFWDA has been telling the delegates each year that the work load is more than a volunteer board can handle.  And each year about 1/2 of the delegates tell the board that their membership will not support a dues increase.  Without a dues increase we fold.  With a dues increase, hiring of additoinal staff, and better marketing, UFWDA will flourish.  If 1/2 the delegates are unable to persuade their membership of the necessity and prudence of a dues increase then UFWDA has no choice but to reach out directly to each person who pays dues to UFWDA and outline the problem and the solution. 

UFWDA board of directors, at the insistence of its delegates, has been trying for 5 years to develop a marketing plan and business plan to improve UFWDA.  The delegates have often found fault with the solutions developed by its board, but rarely have offered an alternative solution.  What you now have before you is a final attempt to save UFWDA.

If SW and the other organizations with voting control of UFWDA want the votes to remain solely vested with their organizations UFWDA will embrace their decision.  With the exception of your dialogue here, we are only hearing from 7 organizations on the subject.  We've posted the information here in the general forum here, we've posted in the delegates section of the forum, we've printed information in the last two editions of the Voice, we've held 3 different webinars on the subject.  Yet only 7 organizations are talking to us.  The organization/delegate structure we currently have at UFWDA is NOT working. 

In light of your response to my question I now believe SW wants no by-laws changes.  Will SW be sending delegates to the UFWDA meeting to share its concerns about the proposed changes? 

Carla

Title: Re: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: dds4x4 on June 13, 2007, 09:23:05 am
Oops .. in the beginning ... didn't look there.
Thanks, Todd!
Title: Re: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: Todd Ockert on June 13, 2007, 01:16:16 pm
I was going to stay out of this discussion, but, I just could not anymore.

Here is my opinion on this issue.

Any organiziation needs to change with the times to remain competitive for the consumers dollars.  United is no different.  This organization has to remain competitive with all the others out there selling the same product or service, and people expect something for their money:  For this orginazation, that means that it works to keep trails open, and accessable by all. 
Without digging to far into my basic college marketing class, United has to provide the following to their consumers/users:
Solution, Cost, Convience, and Communication.

Solution - They work to keep public lands open for our continued enjoyment.
Cost - What we pay for our yearly dues, I think I paid 30.00 this year via the main page web.
Convenience - how we access, or use the services provided by United.  For me, the public lands are still open here in Cali, and other places that I recreate.
Communication - United Voice is what I read, along with the enews, and this forum.  For me, electronic media is my preferred method of delivery.  But everyone is different. 

And these are different for everyone within United's membership base.  For someone to join United, it has to fit into their life at the present time. How many other people do we know that recreate on public lands, and are not members of ANY organization or association?  I know of at least 20 that I work with, and I talk to them all the time.  And, how many other groups out there recreate on public lands, with minimal organizations, or associations that do very little to promote their choosen sport?  Take a look at the mining community?  They talk about issues with access to land all the time, and I see very little organized solutions put before them, that are fighting to keep lands open for them!

So, back to us here:  the BOD's need to keep the membership informed of what is going on with land access issues within their respective areas.  I know that Cal4wheel is an association that is part of United, but I have not heard what Cal4Wheel is doing to support United in the fight to keep lands open, or other issues.  Granted, Cal4Wheel for the most part is only concerned with California, and they should be since 95 percent of their membership is from California.  The clubs within the Cal4Wheel organization are pretty good about passing out info from Cal4Wheel.  But we also have quarterly district meetings with the leadership/BOD, and I think it is easier to put the information out the the people in the weeds.  With United, this is a little harder, since this is a Global organization.  I am not a member of the BOD's, and I do not know if they have monthly, or quarterly meetings to pass info out to the people in the weeds, other then using e-news, United Voice, or the Forum here. 

With the current voting structure, I think it would be easy for a couple of organizations, or associations to steer United in a wrong direction, or make changes that the individuals to not agree with.  This is always a possiblilty, even with letting the membership individual vote.  Look at our whole election process in our country.   I think with the change that has been proposed, it will look more like the form of government we have, and allow for checks and balances within this organization.  With this being a global organization, it is hard to please everyone, and keep everyone informed or potential changes needed to keep the organization running smoothly and efficiently. 

Speaking of running smoothly and efficiently, from the little time I have been associated with United, I have seen somethings here that I like, and the way they go about working to keep access to public lands.  But this is done with volunteers, and after a while, if the volunteers get burned out, they will leave the organization, and possibly even the sport.  Look what happened with the Nevada state association!  Only a couple of people where doing anything there, and they got so burned out, they closed the doors on the association.  Now take a look at some of the land grabs that have taken place over there since they closed their doors.  They have no one with a unified voice there to speak up for them and work with the BLM and Forest Service to keep access to the public lands.
How many other states have no state association for the OHV users there to support, and work to keep access for them. 
This is a hard, and time consuming fight that is only going to get harder for the next couple of years since we had a big change in Congress with the Democrats. 

We all need to speak up, and voice our opinion on what United is trying to do, and about what the government is trying to do to our land access rights. 

Overall, I think United is headed in the right direction, and looking to the future.  If you do not look to the future, you will become part of the history, and the books will be closed on you.

Question about the current changes though?  No Director of Environmental Affairs postion within United.  In the current by-laws, there are three directors at Large? 

Todd
Title: Re: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: Alan Hatcher on June 13, 2007, 04:42:24 pm
In light of your response to my question I now believe SW wants no by-laws changes.  Will SW be sending delegates to the UFWDA meeting to share its concerns about the proposed changes? 

Carla
Yes, SWFWDA will have delegates attending the convention. Our delegates will convey the desires of SW, based on feedback from our member clubs. So far I have received verbal (hopefully soon to be electronic) feedback from one of the largest clubs in SWFWDA. They are contemplating not re-upping with SW if this UFWDA change happens. That is the only way they can pull out of United since SWFWDA's bylaws state we must be a member of United. Their biggest issue is the dues increase. I explained to them that I do not yet know specifically how United change in structure will effect their dues to SWFWDA. Note: it is written into our SOPs that SW dues are based on United dues and increase when United's increase.

Let me reiterate: my personal problem with the change is the RADICAL change. This new UFWDA bears little resemblance to the UFWDA that SW has been a member of for a long time. It will no longer be UNITED ASSOCIATIONS, but rather INDIVIDUALS with somewhat common goals. If an individual member under the current bylaws doesn't like having no vote, that should motivate this member to rally like-minded folks in his area, form a club, and join United. Now he/they have a vote. If you think s/he shouldn't be expected to do that, then what makes you think United will be able to get that same group of individuals to join as individual members? If you're not motivated at your local level, why would you be motivated at a national/international level?

As long as I've been involved in offroading, I have always preached the necessity and validity of SWFWDA and UFWDA, as well as local clubs, and the necessity of volunteers, and how it's too late if you wait until AFTER they've closed your favorite public piece of land. But in today's world people only want to know "What have you done for ME lately?"

Dues were increased by a dollar only a couple of years ago. Did membership drop? Dues increased by another 50%  ($5) just recently. Did membership drop? Is United doing more with it's dues increase? Could dues sort of be like taxes: cut taxes and tax revenues actually increase?
Title: Re: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: Chris Boucher on June 15, 2007, 10:57:44 am
     "I officially became SW prez on Feb 24, 2007. We had some issues with our association that were top priority. It took me a couple of months to get my head above water. I became peripherally aware of United changes coming down the pipeline [I think] in mid April. I heard "dues increasing to $25 per" and "there's a new business plan" but didn't pick up on radical bylaw changes until a member club's president recently (this past week) sent me an email asking some hard questions about how the proposed bylaw change at United would affect SWFWDA, namely the dues we collect from each club then pass on to United.

I am disappointed that I had to go on a major quest to track down details of the new proposed dues structure. Details are in neither the bylaws nor the business plan and there are no proposed changes to SOPs. I suppose if SWFWDA were to vote FOR the proposed changes we could always still decide not to re-up if the moving-target dues plan (the BOD can change it anytime they want and I still haven't found anything that concretely establishes all the dollar amounts) rises to much.

Oops...I'm off topic."


Alan and everyone,
I have copied Alan's "off topic" stuff back here where I believe it is THE topic.  The first paragraph above is a prime example of why change is needed in United…relying on volunteers, and information not getting to the members.  The "volunteer" system, while good in theory, is not working on the ground.  All organizations have volunteer delegates and/or representatives to United of some type, the list is here…

http://www.ufwda.org/smf/index.php?topic=680.0

Every volunteer tries to do his or her best, but wheeling, family, work, and life in general always get in the way.  It cannot be helped.  Information that the United board puts out, like the delegate webinar on Feb. 8, 2007, just doesn't trickle down as well as it should.

http://www.ufwda.org/smf/index.php?topic=397.0   (page 12)

This webinar and presentation pdf file explained where the board is coming from with these changes .  This presentation had details of the new and simple dues structure.  (Major quest completed.)

http://www.ufwda.org/smf/index.php?topic=397.0   (page 23)

It also explained that United needs to move up to a professional organization, with paid staff.  A volunteer board works great when you have dedicated people willing to help and willing to work (like the current board).  That is hard to guarantee.  I see it in our local club and in the VA4WDA all the time.  How many people do you have running for office at each election?  Those who get elected, how many can and do put in the time required to do the work?  At every general membership meeting I have attended, the members come up with a list of stuff they want someone else (the United BOD) to work on.  Every year, the board members that stick it out try their best to get the stuff done.  (See "life in general" note above).  This list of things members want done is basically the same list the Blue Ribbons and the Tread Lightlys get too.   Bottom line is folks want places to wheel on public and private land.  That is the answer to your question…"Why does United feel it must compete with Blue Ribbon and Tread Lightly!?"
United currently works to provide places to wheel on public and private land with volunteers and some paid staff and with an operating budget of less than half of these other pro-access entities.  (Less than 1% of the anti-access groups' budgets) United does a darn good job of it with what they have at their disposal.  Go United BOD!  What's wrong with wanting to better yourself?  In order to have a paid staff to do the things the membership wants, more money is needed.  More members are needed to get more money.  Equitable representation is needed among those members.  The simple solution the United BOD came up with is one man, one vote.  Personally, I do not see voting rights as a big perk for a lot of members.  Bottom line is folks want places to wheel on public and private land.  As long as United is fighting for that access, members will be happy.  As long as United tells it's members what it is doing to fight for that access, AKA "what United is doing for them", members will be happy.  United needs to get the information straight to the members, not through the trickle down system.  The "necessity and validity of SWFWDA and UFWDA" has not changed.  People either see the value of belonging to SWFWDA/United and join, or they don't.  United is just trying to cover their portion of getting information to its members by doing it directly.
The VA4WDA is set up exactly like SWFWDA, dues in VA4WDA reflect the cost of United dues.  The perk of SWFWDA and VA4WDA being members of United?  They get their money back in the "cash back program" from United…

http://www.ufwda.org/smf/index.php?topic=397.0   (page 23)

I believe VA4WDA is going to vote to accept these changes as presented, knowing full well that as time passes and things progress, bylaws and SOPs will be modified as needed.  United will still be the "world-wide organization that is tailored to help regional/local clubs in their/our quest for maintaining the open land still out there."  We all feel changes are necessary, we've tasked the United BOD to make changes, lets give their months of hard work a try.



***I see while I was typing this up that both Jim and Shawn can type faster and have posted similar responses in the original thread.

Thanks,
Chris (two finger typist) Boucher
Title: Re: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: Alan Hatcher on June 15, 2007, 12:26:35 pm
After recovering from the initial shock of learning how major the proposed United changes will be, and after tracking down more information beyond what is in the proposed bylaws and the published business plan, I am, in general, much less against this "new" United. I don't blame my delegates for my lack of knowledge on this subject; it's my fault for not seeking my own detailed information after receiving a "things are changing" overview.

I still have three or four specific, pointed, technical issues with the wording of the bylaws, all of which I have addressed in the delegates forum.
Title: Re: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: Steve Edmunds on June 28, 2007, 02:01:12 pm
Pardon my confusion...  but as a new delegate that is unable to attend this years AGM,  what provisions does our association have to vote "in absence". on these bylaw changes and other items up for vote?
Title: Re: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: dds4x4 on June 28, 2007, 08:45:46 pm
Steve,

Based upon the current Bylaws, see Article 9, Section 1,

http://www.ufwda.org/pdfs/UFWDA_Bylaws_July_2005.pdf

I believe the answer is NONE.
I'm sure one of the United BOD will post a confirmation.

Thanks for asking,   ---Doug
Title: Re: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: Todd Ockert on June 28, 2007, 09:22:20 pm
Also, from Article 7

Copied directly from the bylaws.

Article 7
DELEGATES
Section 1. Each Organization in good standing shall be entitled to two (2) votes at
meetings of the membership. Each Organization shall be entitled to additional votes
tabulated on a scale that relates to the number of Organization members paying dues to
United. Such additional votes shall be based on a sliding scale pursuant to Article 1 of the
membership provisions of the standard operating procedures as hereinafter set forth.
Such votes may be cast by a single delegate or cast by splitting the votes amongst 2
delegates of the Organization provided that the delegate(s) attends the meeting in person
and are properly credentialed and seated at the meeting. Credentials can be proceedings
from formal Organization meetings, written confirmation by the member Organization as to
authority to represent, or other credentials as may be approved by United’s Board of
Directors. For these purposes an Organization in good standing is one which has paid its
dues to date.

Also, here is Article 9

Article 9
VOTING
Section 1. Votes may only be cast if the delegate(s) attend the meeting in person.
Organizations are permitted to cast their votes by a single delegate representing such
Organization or by two (2) delegates representing such Organization, provided that said
Delegate(s) attend the meeting in person. No Organization may seat more than two (2)
delegates at any meeting of the membership.

Hope this helps explain things?

Todd
Interim Dir of Env Affairs
Title: Re: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: Steve Edmunds on June 29, 2007, 07:11:39 am
Thanks for the clarification...   

U4WDA had our BOD meeting last night... I proposed that we send an alternate delegate to the AGM - to vote on the new by-laws since I can not attend this year (ironically... I was in Grand Junction last week - and will be there the 12-16th)  We are working to have one of our board members that lives closer to GJ represent us - so they can drive in for the day's activities.
SE
Title: Re: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: Todd Ockert on June 29, 2007, 07:30:15 am
Steve

Thanks for working to get a delegate to the AGM. 
As has been discussed on here, and in the delegates forums, this is an important change for UFWDA.

Todd
Title: Re: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: Tammy Lynn Van Gemert on July 03, 2007, 08:52:00 pm
I just finished reading over the Business Plan and By-laws. I was unable to get to the links that were listed for the dues discussions (said they did not exist or I don't have proper access).

Other than quite a few grammatical edits (sorry-it is what I do for a living so I can't read something without catching them), I found everything to be reasonable. I do have a couple specific questions. Starting with the By-laws:
1. Section 1, D- I found this to be confusing and a bit vague. Pardon my ignorance but what does it mean that "any member can waive notice of an annual membership meeting"? And is "any member" defined as a BOD member or any one of the member classifications.

2. Also in Section 2, B- I am pretty good at reading and comprehension but I read that several times and have no idea what that means. Maybe someone could paraphrase that into a few easy-to-understand sentences.  :)

3. Section 5- Will members have access to the resumes that the nominees have submitted prior to voting, so that the members may make an educated vote on who they want to elect for office? And again, does members refer to all of the classifications of membership to UFWDA?

With regards to the Business Plan:
I found this to be impressive and informative. However, I have to say that many of the Northeast organizations have found support to be a bit lacking from the national organizations. We understand that this is also in part to our lack of communication with the national organizations but at times we have communicated our issues only to be told that we cannot be helped because various people that sit on the board of the national organizations do not have the proper training/license to advocate in the Northeast. I read time and again in this Business Plan that efforts are going to be concentrated on all regions and support and attention will be given to local events, etc. So does this mean we can expect a better response to issues we are facing in the Northeast? Does this also mean when we have events that UFWDA will make more of an effort to attend if given ample notice? I know of at least three major events we host in the Northeast and I know we have asked for representatives from some of the national organizations and we never have received any interest. I understand sometimes schedules conflict and all you can do is send material but organizations are better received and accepted if there are actual representatives present.

I also do not understand and did not see a response to the question regarding the whole "Competition" issue. Why would you be worried about other national groups as long as we are all working towards the same goal?  I wouldn't view it as a competition-I would view it as strength in numbers with each organization working on issues using their own styles and expertise. I can't confirm the competition you speak of but if they are the other organizations mentioned in a previous post, I think each of them work individually with separate initiatives but in the end they all have the same result in mind-increased land access as well as sustaining the rights of those who wish to use the land we have been blessed with.

Please do not take any of this as criticism. I simply am trying to understand the process better and I think it is good to see that you realize the need for change and growth and are taking steps to improve your system!

Thank you.

This is OT but I was also shocked to learn that the new format of the Voice is cheaper than the old format. I worked for a publishing company for approximately 3 years up until this past year when I left to be a SAH mom. Based on the quotes we used to receive it seemed to me the new format would've been more expensive.
Title: Re: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: Todd Ockert on July 05, 2007, 04:40:24 pm
I am not going to try to explain anything that has happened in the past with UFWDA, since I am a new member, and new BOD member. 
If I am elected as the Director of Env. Affairs, I hope to get to as many events as I possibly can.  I also know that we have BOD's near the east coast, and cost wise, it would be nice to have someone attend those events.  I do agree with you, in that if we have a person there, it is easier to answer questions, and show that we have people that care about the organizations in our organization.

Travel is costly these days no matter what form you take. 

As for the other part of your post in relation to marketing.

We need to know what our competition is doing, and how they are doing it.  They are competing for your dollar also right along with us.  Even though we may work with them on some issues, for that unified group aspect, it still comes down to dollars from the people that join our organizations.  Everyone only has so much money to donate, and pay for membership in this organization, and others!  Some of us are in more groups then other people, and others are not in any, when they have the financial means to join all of them.  In the end, if they join all groups, and we join forces on an issue, then they would actually be counted three times in the numbers game. 
I do think that most of our competition is working towards the same goal we are, but with a little different game plan then we are. 
I could list our competition for donations here, but I think we can all list them, and there are probably more then what I could list.
I was not involved with the marketing plan or business plan, but have looked at both, and think they are excellent.  I am sure someone will not like them, and have issues with them.  But if we take a look at them from a marketing perspective, and look at what we are trying to provide to our potential customer/user, and make sure we can fit into their lifestyle, we will succeed in the future. 

Todd
Title: Re: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: Carla Boucher on July 13, 2007, 12:19:19 pm
By-laws:
1. Section 1, D- I found this to be confusing and a bit vague. Pardon my ignorance but what does it mean that "any member can waive notice of an annual membership meeting"? And is "any member" defined as a BOD member or any one of the member classifications.

"Member" is defined by Article III.  The section you inquire about in Article IV means that a member can waive notice of the annual meeting.  State law requires all corporations to notify its membership of the yearly annual meeting which is also required by state statute.  This section of the by-laws articulates the fact that a member can waive their statutory right to notice of the annual meeting.  More importantly the section goes on to indicate that if a member shows up at the meeting, their waiver of notice occurs de facto.  Except when the only reason they show up at the meeting is to stop the meeting for unproper notice.  In short, this section covers UFWDA by saying that a member can't whine they didn't get notice if they in fact show up to the meeting, unless the ONLY reason they show up to the meeting is to complain about not getting notice.  If they accomplish any business at that meeting they can't later complain they didn't get "notice".  Clear as mud, huh?

2. Also in Section 2, B- I am pretty good at reading and comprehension but I read that several times and have no idea what that means. Maybe someone could paraphrase that into a few easy-to-understand sentences. :)

This section means that UFWDA isn't expected to notify all new members of the annual meeting who join after we've published the original notice.  For example, we publish notice of the annual meeting in the Voice and on our website on June 1, 2008.  We do not have to then notify all new members who join after June 1, 2008.

This section also speaks to another situation for when UFWDA can draw a line in the sand on when it has to calculate membership.  Absentee voting is provided for in these by-laws.  But absentee votes have to be received in the office at a certain time prior to the annual meeting.  This section organizes who UFWDA must allow to vote by absentee ballot by giving UFWDA the opportunity to set a drop-dead date for determining who is on our membership roster. 

3. Section 5- Will members have access to the resumes that the nominees have submitted prior to voting, so that the members may make an educated vote on who they want to elect for office? And again, does members refer to all of the classifications of membership to UFWDA?

Yes, members will have access to information about the nominess to aid them in making an informed decision.  Yes, members refers to all classification of members appearing in Article III.

With regards to the Business Plan:
I found this to be impressive and informative. However, I have to say that many of the Northeast organizations have found support to be a bit lacking from the national organizations. We understand that this is also in part to our lack of communication with the national organizations but at times we have communicated our issues only to be told that we cannot be helped because various people that sit on the board of the national organizations do not have the proper training/license to advocate in the Northeast. I read time and again in this Business Plan that efforts are going to be concentrated on all regions and support and attention will be given to local events, etc. So does this mean we can expect a better response to issues we are facing in the Northeast? Does this also mean when we have events that UFWDA will make more of an effort to attend if given ample notice? I know of at least three major events we host in the Northeast and I know we have asked for representatives from some of the national organizations and we never have received any interest. I understand sometimes schedules conflict and all you can do is send material but organizations are better received and accepted if there are actual representatives present.

I can only speak to this national organization - UFWDA.  When I have been asked for legal support or advise I have given it to the extent I am able to.  For example, my help was requested in drafting by-laws for a club in Massachusetts.  Although I am not licensed to practice law in MA, indicating such to the club I worked with, I was able to give them guidance on general issues pertaining to the by-laws and also give them pointers on specific issues that needed more attention.  I was able to give them the help they needed but also pointed out areas where I could not give them advise on what to do, only what to look for and how to use their own best judgment to resolve the issue or how to seek legal advise from an attorney licensed in MA. 

I have also been contacted many years ago about state law road access claims.  I offered my legal opinion and advise on handling the issue from a general standpoint. 

Recognizing the limitations UFWDA has with the states its attorney(s) is limited to practicing state law claims in does not detract from the overall legal benefits that UFWDA can offer state organizations.  UFWDA may not be able to send an attorney to court in your state of interest on a state law claim but that doesn't mean your organization can't get legal benefits for the amount of dues it pays. 

UFWDA makes every effort to attend the events at which our attendence is requested.  However, our financial situation dictates that decisions are made based on the money available to pay for travel, balanced against the revenue and goodwill potential of the event, the size of the event, the amount of advanced notice, the time of year, the length of the event, etc.  The business plan reflects an acknowledgment on the part of UFWDA that "face time" is important - as you point out.  The business plan is a general guide.  I can't speak directly to whether or not UFWDA will meet your organizations expectations because I don't know what you need or desire.  I can ensure that UFWDA is putting into place objective and fair criteria under which we can make decisions on which events to attend, which events to donate raffle prizes to, which events to send information to, which events to have a booth at, etc.  Please list the three major events in the Northeast and the details surrounding each event and whether or not you want UFWDA representation at each one.

I also do not understand and did not see a response to the question regarding the whole "Competition" issue. Why would you be worried about other national groups as long as we are all working towards the same goal? I wouldn't view it as a competition-I would view it as strength in numbers with each organization working on issues using their own styles and expertise. I can't confirm the competition you speak of but if they are the other organizations mentioned in a previous post, I think each of them work individually with separate initiatives but in the end they all have the same result in mind-increased land access as well as sustaining the rights of those who wish to use the land we have been blessed with.

We identify and worry about what other national groups are doing because our membership requires it of us.  UFWDA is asked very frequently "what have you done for me lately"?  What has UFWDA done in the NE?  What events has UFWDA supported in the NE?  What legal assistance has UFWDA rendered for clubs in the NE?  UFWDA only cares about public land, what has it ever done for those of us living in states without public land?  If we can not address these questions and address them in a manner that is better than BlueRibbon Coaltion or TreadLightly! or SEMA, or whoever, then you will spend your dues with them, not with us. 

When organizations believe they can purchase better benefits from the new "legal beagle" eco-law group they will divert their membership funds to the new entity with new promises in a New York minute.  We must stay competitive and responsive to our membership in order to maintain their membership.  We can only stay responsive if we do a better job of servicing them than our competitors. 

The same thing is occuring at a state level.  Over the past decade state-level multiple-use organizations have cropped up in many states.  They often refer to themselves as [state] Off Highway Vehicle Council (Coalition, Association, etc.).  Their purpose is to "give a larger voice to the motorized recreation community" by pooling numbers into a single organization that represents a large cross-section of modes of motorized recreation - ATV, OHM, 4x4.  4x4 clubs then see the new OHV council and start asking their state 4x4 association what they are doing to be the "voice" for motorized recreation.  While the overreaching goal of the two entities is the same - save access - they compete for money from the same set of individuals. 

My final comment in the "competition" question is to point out the intricate relationship between dues, benefits perceived, and the mind-set of some members.  It is incumbent upon UFWDA to provide benefits that square with the dollar amount of dues.  It matters not that many 4x4 enthusiasts spend thousands of dollars for a winch, a lift-kit, a CB, a couple tanks of gas and registration for some wheeling events, or whatever.  They will NOT see the value in spending $25 (or more) with UFWDA, AND joining BRC for $20.  If either one of those entities are not working on a specific project in their backyard, they do not see any "benefits" in belonging to them, let alone to both of them.  They believe $45 a year is too much to spend because they do not believe that the legal battles our groups spend at the national level ever has or will have any impact on their access at the local level. 

I'm very passionate about the competitive nature of getting and keeping dues.  I've re-read my post in the hopes that I've achieved a balance between being passionate about the issue without being defensive.  I hope you take my words based my passion for UFWDA and not as being a defensive answer to your harmless question. 

Thanks for posting your questions here and now while I have a chance to respond to them. 

Carla
Title: Re: A new UFWDA 2007-2011
Post by: Tammy Lynn Van Gemert on July 13, 2007, 08:47:42 pm
I appreciate the response and understand where you are coming from. I did not take offense and only hope that you read my post in the same manner as we share the same passions. I also was not calling you out personally with my NE references.

I understand the by-law questions I had-it is too bad you have to use all the jargon and can't just print in black and white what you explained.  :)

I will definitely post the details of our events. At a minimum it would be nice just to have United literature to distribute at these events. Anything provided in addition to that would be considered a bonus!  ;)

Thanks again.