Bob Clark wrote:
Adam Raoof wrote:
I agree. I think that we can really simplify the membership scheme both for players (less categories, one would do for me), and for organisers (integrated membership and grading database, we're working on it). We also need a specific scheme for Juniors, at a base level of about Â£5 perhaps, or Â£10 to cover any junior up to the age of 16, with a membership officer dedicated to getting more junior events graded, and more juniors to join up. We already have a magazine, but it really needs to refocus post-membership as the audience will probably widen enough to attract a sponsor or two.
Adam, if this is your view of how the membership scheme should work, will you be proposing changes in your new role as Membership and Marketing Director?
Correct me if I'm wrong, but haven't you previously posted that you believe there there should be a single membership category costing around Â£25 per adult.
Is that still your position?
Personally, probably yes. However I agree with Richard, we have what we have, and I would think the best thing to do is to see how it goes for at least a season - my feedback is that people don't actually mind having to join the ECF, and it doesn't put them off playing events - rather it actually, dare I say, excites them with the possibilities.
They do have real practical problems understanding what the scheme involves, what level they should join at and are happier to give their club secretary money to pass on to the ECF than using PayPal to do it online.
What we have to do is on the one hand help organisers create events, so that our members can participate. On the other hand we have to fund the ECF to provide the infrastructure to create that environment. My club, Hendon, used to have very quiet nights where no matches were taking place and when three or four people would turn up and play a few casual games. I made a point of organising events on those nights, FIDE rated blitz tournaments, ECF rapidplay rated events and simuls with our stronger players such as IM Lorin d'Costa. Now forty people (out of a membership of 70) come to a club evening, sometimes paying an extra fee on top of their usual annual membership fee, and we have problems fitting them all in! We used to have two teams, now we have five, and we still can't satisfy demand for rated games.
The ECF is not so very different from my chess club, or yours. If we require (and I do believe we should require) membership for playing graded chess, then we have to deliver something in return. I have hopefully contributed something to improving the grading system by bringing Mike Bennett into the grading team to revitalise the grading database. I would really like the ECF to put some money it raises from membership back into the national Grand Prix, at least Â£5,000, to kick start a new prix for events requiring membership and advertising the ECF on their websites and entry forms, with a proper award cermony to be held each year at the British Championships. We need to have more rewards / awards in general.
I think that Alex Holowczak is going to revitalise the ECF Club and County Championships with his ideas, and those ideas will need financial backing, though I actually think they will pay for themselves in the long run.
We have a lot of events that just don't run each year without some support, and some that run with no support at all. If I am going to be paying to join the ECF and asking others to do the same, that has to change. We need to get more young people involved in the organisation of the game, as arbiters. We need to get all organisers using tournament management software to run events, and delivering grading quicker as a result. The two things are linked. We have to encourage all junior events to be graded nationally so that we can monitor their development, probably by offering the grading and the right to qualify for junior teams and national titles in return for junior events enforcing membership.
I don't agree with what Roger has proposed, and I don't think it has made him more likely to be elected.