from some members of the FMCA Executive Board
If you get this letter and are no longer on the Governing Board or you are no longer a
chapter president, please pass this on to your chapter’s Governing Board representative
or chapter president.
This letter is being distributed because some of the FMCA Executive Board can no longer sit
back and let our FMCA members think that the Executive Board is not doing everything
possible to get a balanced budget while looking out for the best interest of our members.
Over the past couple of weeks, you have received broadcast emails to the Governing Board
stating the position of the President, Jon Walker, and not necessarily the position of all the
members of the Executive Board. Jon has advocated that the only way to achieve a
balanced budget is to eliminate FMCAssist and lower the dues. As a result, many members
have asked, “Why don’t we just do away with FMCAssist and drop the dues to $50?”
There has been a push to drop FMCAssist (administered by Seven Corners) eliminating the funding of approximately $900,000 from the proposed 2020 – 2021 budget. Although this move would provide a balanced budget for the fiscal year, it would not solve the long-term problem of overspending in the areas of the magazine, conventions, and administration. If we reduce our membership fees and give up FMCAssist, we don’t know how many members and chapters will leave FMCA, and if we lose a chapter, then we will probably never get that chapter to return. If we eliminate FMCAssist, we know that we will lose many members who joined because they saw the benefit of having this low-cost Emergency Medical Evacuation Repatriation insurance, and they will not want to renew without it. We pay Seven Corners less than $12 per year per family membership. When Seven Corners increased our costs last year, the budget already had approximately
$680,000 appropriated to pay Seven Corners. The Executive Board figured that we needed
another $300,000 each year to make FMCAssist work. Since the Governing Board increased
the dues by $25 to cover FMCAssist, an email on July 17, 2020 from Chris Smith, CEO of FMCA, stated 21,500 members have paid the $75 dues. With the additional $25 per member times 21,500 members, FMCA has already received an additional $537,500 to cover the increased costs for FMCAssist this year. The Governing Board’s increase in dues is working, but some people feel that the large drop in membership is due to the increase dues and not other factors such as the pandemic or members who have stopped traveling. Every month FMCA loses members due to aging out and selling their RV’s. That is the reason that we encourage everyone to recruit new members all year long.
FMCAssist provides coverage to all FMCA members to include international travel, to
include all family members and pet dogs and cats when traveling, and the policy has no age restrictions. Seven Corners offers a plan similar to FMCAssist to the public but won’t
extend the coverage beyond the age of 73, and they charge extra for each additional
member of the family, and that policy has no international coverage. The Risk Management Committee is looking into other companies to compare contracts for FMCAssist and possibly
get a lower rate. The committee is in the second phase sending out Requests for Proposal
(RFPs), and it will still be a couple of months before they have the completed proposals. If
we have large numbers of members with lower claims, then our FMCAssist rates should
drop and the cost of FMCAssist will likely be less. Some assumptions have been made that
the FMCAssist rates will increase each year, but if it does, then the continued $75 dues
should be enough to cover those increases or we can reevaluate the cost of the program
Some members are under the impression that the $25 increase in dues was set in a
separate account to be used strictly for FMCAssist. This is not the case. All membership
dues have been put into the “general fund.” Mixing the dues increase with the general
fund complicates the program because the increase gets lost in the daily expenses.
FMCA should not reduce the dues to $50 because we will have to repay the difference of
$25 to those who have paid the higher dues. Whether FMCA gives these 21,500 members
credit toward future membership or returns the difference, there will again be a negative
impact on the budget that isn’t being taken into account.
Some people think that getting an increase in the number of FMCA members is the only
answer. Comp memberships are given by dealers to those who buy new RVs. The buyer
receives an application for FMCA membership at no cost to the dealer but at full cost to
FMCA. Comp memberships do not add to the income but cost us about $40 each to have
them become a part of FMCA. Chris Smith listed about 2,400 comp memberships at a
cost of approximately $96,000 are given out each year, and this plan was not presented
to the Executive Board before it was started. According to Chris Smith we only retain
40% to 45% of the comps for renewal, then we still have 55% to 60% that we spent
money on that first year and because they didn’t join, we got nothing. Comp
memberships can be good, but we have to look at the expense and calculate the cost
against income and return. Comp members have not been tracked when it comes to
joining chapters and/or attending FMCA events. It is not surprising that many of the
comped members do not renew because they’ve not experienced the “family” aspect of
Lowering the dues to $50 would perhaps make FMCA more appealing to the potential
members who join from social media advertising. These members are not the backbone
of FMCA, and they tend to keep their membership for only two or three years unless
they become involved in a chapter They drop out and don’t become long-term members
supporting FMCA for years as many of us have.
Some people have said that FMCAssist is a burden and that the younger members don’t
think the younger members should have to pay. Younger people, they say, will not need
this insurance because they aren’t going to have the health problems. As we all know,
things happen when you least expect them. Medical emergencies can occur at any age.
Some have suggested that FMCAssist could be provided as a benefit for members to buy
as an option. If it were an option, then the premiums would be very costly because the
number insured would be a smaller, unpredictable pool size. Think of FMCAssist fees
as a school board tax which are assessed to everyone. You pay school tax even if you
don’t have children attending the schools. We haven’t seen a school tax that exempted
the older generation because they no longer have children living at home or any property
owners of any age who have no children. The cost of FMCAssist is only 98 cents per
month per family because of our large numbers of participants.
As the Governing Board, you have not seen the responses from those national directors
who have sent messages back to the Executive Board. The reports have only been
numbers of people for or against Jon’s position. This has been an opinion survey and not
a formal vote, but the numbers have been tallied like it is a vote. In Jon’s last letter, he
even reported responses by area. You were not directed to vote, but you were offered a
way to reply.
As we all know the world has changed because of the pandemic, and it has shown all of
us someshortcomings in the way we thought about things in our personal lives and in
business. This has brought to light that FMCA needs to change the way we process and
handle incoming revenues.
You may have heard that FMCA is having trouble paying its bills because of the pandemic.
FMCA has the money to pay all its bills; that’s not the problem. The problem is FMCA
has always operated on a cash basis which basically means when cash comes in and a bill is
due that bill gets paid with the cash that was just received. All bills are paid and, if there’s
any left-over money, it theoretically goes into a reserve account. That worked fine in
FMCA’s heyday when there was lots of money rolling into FMCA. Nowadays each penny
must be watched a lot more closely. Accounting procedures must be changed in the sense
that FMCA is going to have to set up accounts that are for prepaid items such as
membership dues and accounts for each item that your dues prepay for on yearly basis.
Such items would be FMCAssist program at $12 a year. FMCA needs to set aside a specific
amount of money for the magazine costs per year and any unallocated money would go into
the general fund for expenses. Revenues coming in for conventions and the magazine
must be set aside into pre-allocated expense accounts. Unallocated money needs to go into
the .general expense fund or an investment account. The question is “where did the
FMCAssist money go to” when you already prepaid it in your dues? The answer is it went
to pay for general expenses in the organization. It may be the magazine costs, convention
costs, administration costs, or personnel costs, etc. This year some of the money will have
to come out of the reserves because of cost overrun in other areas of the organization.
Please note, the FMCAssist program only charges FMCA on a monthly basis on the current
number of members FMCA has each month.
The cost of an FMCA membership at $75 per year is about what it costs for two people to
go to a nice restaurant for dinner with drinks. Rather than giving comp memberships, we
need to attract full-paying FMCA memberships from RV dealerships. We need to think
outside the box and recruit directly from the dealerships. We need to have videos about
FMCA that salesmen can play to their buyers while the paperwork is being processed for
purchasing their new RV. We could pay the sales representatives who can recruit full paying memberships rather than promoting memberships through comps that we may not reach
anyway except through emails. How many members consider most of FMCA emails as “
junk mail” that they trash? Members have mentioned more than once that there are so
many FMCA sponsored ads being sent to them that they feel FMCA is in it for the money.
We need active members who will remain with us for many years.
We have passed balanced budgets the last 15 years (except one deficit budget in 2011),
and all but one produced a shortfall of $200,000 to over $1,000,000 every time which
had to be taken out of investments. A balanced budget is good only if the revenue and
expenses projected are accurate and if all concerned follows the budget and takes
appropriate steps to curtail spending if the revenues don’t meet the projections. This
has not been done in the past. We have been told many times that if it is in the budget,
then it was OK to spend the money. Well, it is not OK to spend the money if the
revenue doesn’t come in to support those expenses. The reason we couldn’t pay back
our members their money for Tucson was because we start in the hole with a convention
because the revenue from sales is paying for the previous convention expenses that were
carried over. This should not occur in the future because the Executive Board has
requested FMCA CEO Chris Smith and Director of Events Department to keep the
convention money separate for future conventions and not mix the funds into the general
funds. We still need to monitor the costs of conventions to ensure that each convention is
Additionally, we have to look at the magazine. We have lost between $300,000 and
$3,000,000 each year since 2016 on the magazine. We need to look at reducing the number
of issues and expense forprinting and mailing. We need to know how many members will
accept a digital version vs printed version. If we can bring these costs in line with our
income, then we can approve a balance budget.Communications with our members is
important, but we need to develop better cost-effective methods of communications.
There are many moving parts to the expenses of FMCA which amount to almost $
8,000,000 each year. There are many avenues of producing income for FMCA, and we
need to explore these ideas. If we don’t look into all possibilities, then how do we know
what is feasible or not? We can’t make recommendations to the Governing Board if we
haven’t done our homework.
Coming up with long-term solutions is better than making decisions that put us back in this
same position next year. The Executive Board members are studying all areas to make the
proper decisions to keep FMCA financially strong. The Executive Board has directed the
Finance Committee to give us a balanced budget with FMCAssist included and keeping the
dues at $75. The Finance Committee responded saying that they can’t see any other
solution than dropping FMCAssist and lowering the dues. We think that there are several
solutions, and we need to select the path that will continue to give us a balance budget
for years ahead. That’s why we did not approve the proposed budget on June 5, 2020.
FMCA received the government PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loan for $545,623 that,
if spent properly, will not have to be repaid and will be entered on this FY (Fiscal Year)
books as miscellaneous income. We should be in good shape at the end of this FY and
going into the next year.
Please consider various versions of information about the budget. Please ask questions.
Pleasecontact your Executive Board members if you have questions. Please remember that
the tallied “votes” from Jon’s letters are being used to influence the Executive Board and
Governing Board members to supporting his recommendation. And finally, you can count
on the Executive Board to make the very best decisions for the members of FMCA.
Please trust in your Executive Board as we strive to work for the best out come during this
time of the pandemic and not being able to travel as we normally would.
Stay safe and healthy.
Rett Porter, National Senior Vice President
Kathie Balogh, National Secretary
Bill Mallory, Eastern Area National Vice
President firstname.lastname@example.org 859-338-1366
Les Naylor, Great Lakes Area National Vice President
George Schremp, International Area National Vice President
Gary Milner, Midwest Area National Vice President
John Traphagen, Northeast Area National Vice President
Don Schleuse, Northwest Area National Vice President
Jamie Erickson, Mountain Area National Vice President
Joe Wright, South Central Area National Vice President
Betty Duncan, Southeast Area National Vice President
Lon Cross, Western Area National Vice President
Note: The above letter is intended to offer Governing Board members information
they have not yet received from the FMCA President in his 3 recent emails. This
information should not be construed as an effort to influence or to campaign, but to
educate and provide additional information. While no P&P overtly speaks to this
type of message, P&P 2028 Campaign/Election Activities states: “It is the policy of
Family Motor Coach Association for candidates for an elected office to conduct
themselves in a manner that exhibits honesty, integrity, and fairness. The following
procedures are guidelines both for the individual seeking office as well as for
members who offer support for any candidate.” At the June 5, 2020 Executive Board
meeting, the P&P Committee moved for approval of an amendment to P&P
#2028 reading “Campaign/Election Activities, as presented, to restrict the use for
expressing opinion or lobbying on issues.” The Executive Board voted unanimously
to approve, but many of us realize now how restrictive this amendment is to getting
information distributed. If this amendment had been approved by the
Governing Board and the P&P changed, then this message could not have been
distributed as you have received it because the Governing board has not voted on
the amendment, this email is not in violation of the P&Ps.