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How Many NANFA Members


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#1 Chasmodes

Chasmodes
  • NANFA Member
  • Central Maryland

Posted 02 April 2019 - 05:10 PM

Hi everyone.  

 

I know that we come from all walks of life and careers.  But, I'm just curious.  How many official members do we have in NANFA now (approximate, round number)?  I was trying to explain our organization to a couple of friends of mine, and the question arose to me, and I had no idea.

 

Thanks.


Kevin Wilson


#2 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
  • Forum Staff
  • Ohio

Posted 02 April 2019 - 05:20 PM

Michael will give you an exact number I'm sure. The number fluctuates, but I think there are typically about 400 actual members.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#3 Fleendar the Magnificent

Fleendar the Magnificent
  • NANFA Member
  • Ohio

Posted 02 April 2019 - 06:22 PM

I know and talk to a lot of people who like fish, aquariums and have expressed interests in keeping native fish, but have always told me that they never followed through because of how hard it would be to keep natives. I have told them the hardest part(for me) was getting them converted to flake and frozen foods with the hardest part of that being the waiting 2-3 days until they get hungry enough to eat. Aside from that, I don't think that keeping natives is that much different than keeping tropicals. So I tell them that if they want to know more and get interested, to visit this site and I direct them here. Hopefully word of mouth will help numbers grow!



#4 Michael Wolfe

Michael Wolfe
  • Board of Directors
  • North Georgia, Oconee River Drainage

Posted 02 April 2019 - 07:59 PM

Yes, our membership as of the first week of March was 455.

 

However, we only have 60-80 people that show up for most conventions and even fewer that are active here or on other social media.


Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

#5 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
  • Forum Staff
  • Ohio

Posted 02 April 2019 - 08:11 PM

Wonder how many of the Facebook members would tell you that they are NANFA members simply because they don't know differently. A thousand out of the 5000 there? More?


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#6 Casper

Casper
  • NANFA Fellow
  • Chattanooga, TN alongside South Chickamauga Creek, just upstream of the mighty Tennessee River.

Posted 03 April 2019 - 03:58 PM

?

Wonder how many of the NANFA Facebook members would tell you that they are NANFA members... near ALL of them.

Free Milk.

Somehow they need to become Dues Paying NANFA Members and thus Supporters of NANFA's Good Works.

American Currents Quarterly is a huge advantage to being a True NANFA Member.

 

This should be a major conversion effort.


Casper Cox
Chattanooga, near the TN Divide on BlueFishRidge overlooking South Chickamauga Creek.

#7 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
  • Forum Staff
  • Ohio

Posted 03 April 2019 - 07:53 PM

?

Wonder how many of the NANFA Facebook members would tell you that they are NANFA members... near ALL of them.

Free Milk.

Somehow they need to become Dues Paying NANFA Members and thus Supporters of NANFA's Good Works.

American Currents Quarterly is a huge advantage to being a True NANFA Member.

 

This should be a major conversion effort.

Drives me nuts. I honestly bet only one out of ten know that there is an actual organization. I have ran into two people in the GSMNP in the last 4-5 years on separate occasions that were NANFA members. Only upon further discussion did it become apparent that they thought the Facebook page was the organization. Someone is offering bowfin up for sale on there. That is not necessarily a problem, but I highly doubt that he has even remotely looked into the legality. Unfortunately this free for all has become the public face of NANFA, whether we like it or not. Luckily it tends to be mostly fish and wildlife enthusiasts there, not just monster fish keepers.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#8 olaf

olaf
  • NANFA Member

Posted 06 April 2019 - 11:32 AM

One easy step in the right direction would be weekly posts on the facebook group that say: NANFA is an organization dedicated to... and about grants... and that members receive AC 4x/year. Then a link to the join page (which should be made as easy as possible to use and pay quickly). 

 

But in terms of enticing people to pay to join, aside from AC and (for a very few people) the ability to apply for the grants, what are benefits to membership that people would consider worth paying for? Most states have no activities or gatherings, few members go to the annual convention, and NANFA as a whole doesn't have any projects or goals that people can take part in. I'm a member because I like fish, but that's not going to be enough for most people. They can like fish for free. 


Redhorse ID downloads and more: http://moxostoma.com

#9 Casper

Casper
  • NANFA Fellow
  • Chattanooga, TN alongside South Chickamauga Creek, just upstream of the mighty Tennessee River.

Posted 06 April 2019 - 02:49 PM

I would like to see this as a big motivational concern for our leaders and membership.  Even when Chris Sharpf was lending his time to make American Currents great and timely our membership was always around 500... and still is today... which baffles me.

 

We have so much fun as NANFA members and American Currents just continues to get better and better.

 

Having the two NANFA FaceBook site continues to confuse me even though it has been explained a few times.  I'm sure it confuses most.  I'm not sure how to correct this.

 

I have to support what Olaf says here...

 

One easy step in the right direction would be weekly posts on the facebook group that say: NANFA is an organization dedicated to... and about grants... and that members receive AC 4x/year. Then a link to the join page (which should be made as easy as possible to use and pay quickly). 

 

This would be a good direction to start a membership D R I V E.


Casper Cox
Chattanooga, near the TN Divide on BlueFishRidge overlooking South Chickamauga Creek.

#10 olaf

olaf
  • NANFA Member

Posted 07 April 2019 - 11:20 AM

I have a lot of thoughts on this issue, but I'm not sure how the entire organization could best have a productive discussion. I believe that if there was a way to get every member who's actually interested in NANFA (not just renewing out of habit, charity, or as a subscription to AC) involved, then good, NEW ideas would emerge. 

Obviously not the forum, as that would exclude most members. 

The BOD could discuss it, but that eliminates the chance of ideas coming from the membership.

There could be editorials in AC--I've got a long list of ideas and thoughts that I could write up, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. That would also be a chance to call for input and ideas, to try to get some members fired up. I didn't realize it until just now, but there's very little in AC that's about NANFA as a whole. I'm not a member of any other organization that publishes something, but it seems a little odd now that I think about it.

 

Last time I looked over the mailing list there were members in 46 states (and DC), and 32 of those states had 10 or fewer members. (5 states and DC had 1 member, 8 states had 2, 3 states had 3, 3 states had 4, 3 states had 5, 9 states had 6-10. The bigger states: 8 states had 11-19 members, 6 states had 20-29, and 1 state was over 30.)
 
A membership drive would be a great idea, but only if we can provide people with reasons to join and renew. Otherwise it's just asking for one-time donations. 
Growing NANFA will require a lot of sustained work. That's difficult to make happen in an all-volunteer organization, especially when there isn't a specific, vital cause at the heart of it driving people. If we were saving whales or fighting a corporation bent on exterminating some ecosystem, it'd be easier to get and keep people fired up. I'm not suggesting that we look for a crusade to embrace. As a person who spends a huge amount of time working for NANFA every year, I'm worried. My work on AC gives me that feeling of having a mission within the organization. I am driven to do it because I want NANFA to be putting something important and of high quality into the world. If I don't know what we, as a whole, are really doing, then how must the lone member in some state far from other members feel?

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#11 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
  • Forum Staff
  • Ohio

Posted 07 April 2019 - 07:28 PM

You make a lot of sense there Olaf. Actually more than I would wish.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#12 olaf

olaf
  • NANFA Member

Posted 09 April 2019 - 07:38 AM

You make a lot of sense there Olaf. Actually more than I would wish.

 

The other big question we have to ask is what NANFA wants to happen.

Do we want to grow, or is the aim to remain a limited club?

 

On a practical level, getting big enough (over 1000 members? more?) would make individual copies of AC cheaper to print. Don't know exactly how much, but could be substantial. It would make it more likely that states or regions would be able to have more events for members and that there would be enough people with the drive and energy to take on issues and projects. It would also make it possible for us to give more grants and have more impact in terms of conservation and promotion of native fishes and habitats. All of which would make it easier to recruit and retain members. 

Staying small makes it easier to manage and keeps it fun and relaxed, but natural attrition may mean it slowly shrinks.


Redhorse ID downloads and more: http://moxostoma.com

#13 Michael Wolfe

Michael Wolfe
  • Board of Directors
  • North Georgia, Oconee River Drainage

Posted 11 May 2019 - 08:01 PM

Iv'e been mulling this over for a month.  I wanted to respond right away, but was not sure how to phrase my thoughts (I still might get it wrong, but I don't want to wait any longer and I don't want to ignore the thread because I agree that it is an important issue).

 

I actually don't think that anyone on Facebook thinks that they are a part of anything... social media does not mean that much... and people do not care so much about being a member of anything unless they get something out of it.  As such, I think that American Currents is the best thing we have to draw people in.  It is why I originally joined... to get more info about native fish that I could not get anywhere else.

 

And I do think that we have a cause; "appreciation, study and conservation of the continent's native fishes".  And we have some of the best fishes in the world and some of the highest biodiversity.  There are no darters anywhere else in the world!

 

But it is a big continent and as an all volunteer group its up to us to make NANFA what we want it to be.  And we are mostly so spread out that we don't always get to do it together.  And we might not even want the same things.  I mean "appreciation, study and conservation" are really different.  I wanted NANFA Georgia to be more about public education to raise the "appreciation" part.  And that's what I do to try to advance NANFA (I can't star in movies like some people).  And even though I feel like I do good work, and I am proud of what NANFA Georgia does, I do not feel like it creates new members in large numbers.  

 

And I agree with you that we need more members doing more things.  And our things can all be different. Olaf, I think you are making a huge contribution with American Currents and I hate to think where we would be without your efforts.  But there are so many other ways each person can contribute.  Did you know that if you use Amazon Smile that NANFA will get 0.5% as a donation... and a few people have been doing this and we have received over $1000 in the past couple of years.  Spread that word, and you could help NANFA grow.  Or do whatever you do, but do it in support of NANFA.  We have great members that donate their time from their small business, or offer up their talents to review grant applications, or whatever.  Focus on your vision for NANFA and turn it into a reality in your local area.


Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

#14 Dustin

Dustin
  • Forum Staff

Posted 15 May 2019 - 11:36 AM

Like so many have already stated, NANFA is what NANFAns make it.  This has always been the case and always will be.  There have, at all times since the inception of the organization, been a small core group of people that are propping up the organization and everyone else is just flitting around.  These core groups have changed over time as new, active members come aboard and old tired members do other things.  Things that people take for granted now, like AC or the forum, were either very close to collapse or didn't exist not too long ago.  This is the way of all all volunteer groups.  People see that the primary functions are being accomplished by someone else so they don't volunteer their own time. 

 

In this age of instant communication, there is a lack of communication as a whole between the core group and the vast numbers of largely inactive members.  This is not a knock on the core group but an observation.  E-mail lists used to accomplish this.  You signed up and got dozens of emails daily detailing the goings on of the regions and the BOD.  Other than Michael's excellent GA group, there is little activity in the regions either due to poor regional reps (myself included) or poor communication of activities.  There is no open BOD discussion any more so people don't know what is being considered or how to make suggestions as to better the organization.

 

Facebook is the new medium of choice for most.  It is a largely untapped resource of potential membership, open discussions and conservation opportunities.  There are some members that post there and some that attempt to moderate the NANFA related pages (I also don't understand the Facebook dynamic) but they don't have the time or the content to make much of an impression.  There should be daily, if not multiple per day, posts by NANFA to direct the discussion there. Without this, it will continue to be a free for all.

 

This brings us back to a question Olaf asked about what we want to be?  Do we want to be an organization of 5000 members or are we satisfied with the 300-500 members that we consistently have?  Do we want to acknowledge the additional responsibility of having that many members.  Do we want to deal with the disparity of opinions and personalities in this large of a group.  Are we willing to accept that there will likely be splinter groups after some period of time due to the rather stringent mission statement of NANFA.  It has happened before and it would certainly happen again with that many members. 

 

I am a tired one.  I spent my time in the core group when I was worried that NANFA may not make it to the next year when AC was in the process of disappearing and the forum, and potentially the website, were possibly going to be kicked off of a server and eliminated.  I can honestly answer the above question that I am happy with the size.  We do good work with the funds that we generate and could potentially do much more with the funds we have sitting.  The current core group is active and the addition of Olaf and many others recently has added a jolt of enthusiasm.  That being said, we still rely on a very small group of core people and those people have to be getting tired as well.  


Dustin Smith
At the convergence of the Broad, Saluda and Congaree
Lexington, SC




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