Ian Dobie for National BMW Club President

Interview with Ian Dobie, Club Presidential Candidate
by Dave Tomlinson

Ian, you recently advised our committee that you had decided to stand for the Presidency of the club this year at the AGM. Can you say why?
Yes, but can I first say that it wasn’t an easy decision as a number of my other interests will have to take second place if I’m elected in order I can give club business my full and undivided attention. I have been concerned about the club’s long term future and administration for some time. We are facing a steady decline in national membership whilst club administrative costs continue to increase, thus I feel some strategic changes need to be made.

Do you think you have the background to succeed?
If elected, only time and the membership will be able to truly answer that question. I have had a long term involvement in the club and been an integral part of the way it has changed and developed over the years in the past, but I also have a lot of professional experience in administration and organisation gained throughout my working life. More important perhaps I have the enthusiasm and passion to see the club succeed, so I would say that I have, yes. However, the real success would be in taking all the membership along with me.

Do you have any specific ideas or areas you want to tackle?
I have a lot of thoughts and there are the obvious questions of controlling national expenditure and improving recruitment and retention. In that respect there is work to be done in defining the most important issues to tackle first and then targeting them in a structured way. The ultimate goal for me is to try and improve the member experience and benefits. If we can achieve that to promote the benefits of membership in a more effective way then I believe we can halt the current trend.

There is another candidate standing and this must be the first time that the post has ever been contested. What made you decide to go down that road?
Well, I think that’s good, the members get a choice and it is up to both candidates to put forward their case for taking on the role. I think that is the best possible outcome for the club.

You’ve been a member for a long time: why do you think the membership is declining?
Interesting question, and one that I and many people have debated. Let me first say the BMW club is not alone here, the same thing is happening to many membership type organisations and all those that I currently belong to. All have analysed this problem and the general consensus is that all are failing to attract younger members which are the lifeblood of continuing succession. When you consider that BMW produce a greater range and style of motorcycles, which sell well, than when I first joined the club but our membership is declining there has to be reason we aren’t addressing or possibly cannot compete with. The answer I believe is that there is a far greater choice of leisure time activities out there and the younger generation want to try everything but avoid making long term commitments.

So, what’s the simple answer?
If I knew that then I could probably make a small fortune. The truth is that there is no simple solution, no one size fits all, but there may well be common ground and I intend to take the route of looking at what others are doing, what succeeds and seeing if any such can be moulded to work for us. Revolution isn’t the answer, but just like life or the weather, change is inevitable, the trick is to ensure that any variation not only benefits the members, but also lives up to the club founders original ideals. The membership can play an active part, ideas are always welcome and there is in my view no idea or suggestion not worth looking at. A key point is not to increase the workload of the national or section officer and try to simplify as much as possible so they can enjoy the benefits of their efforts as much as the members

Originally posted 2017-03-21 12:35:05.

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Author: Dave Tomlinson

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