Groups have a louder voice than an individual. It is easier to get work accomplished when there is a good team of people pulling in the right direction. We are all social animals and sometimes we need to participate in activities with others and sharing our passions can elevate our experiences. This is all true for nearly anything in which we engage. OHV recreation is no exception.
A troubling trend that has been bubbling to the surface recently is that OHV clubs are having difficulty finding and retaining new club members. At the end of this article are a couple best practice stories that NOHVCC has become aware of that resulted in increased engagement. But we are asking you – our dedicated group of State Partners, enthusiasts, agency friends and extended OHV family to provide any examples of clubs finding ways to attract new members so that we can share them with others (see below).
A common refrain from recreation (motorized or non-motorized) club leaders is that younger people seem less likely to join or participate in clubs. Perhaps they don’t understand the need to be engaged, maybe they want to engage, but aren’t sure how, or perhaps we need to find a way to make clubs more appealing. Most likely all the above (and more) reasons are true at the same time.
While clubs can be effective at advocating for our sport (see here, and here ), accomplishing astonishing trail maintenance (see here), supporting education (see here), working together (see here), a primary motivator for getting new people involved can be having fun. One way to recruit members can be to make sure there are plenty of fun activities in which to involve newbies. Group rides for varying skill levels, hare scrambles, getting together for lunch on the trail or any number of other activities can be attractive options for those who haven’t previously participated in club events.
Of course, to show up for events people first need to know about them. Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of approaching riders you don’t know at the trailhead and asking them if they know about your club or an upcoming club event. While this strategy isn’t likely to generate huge numbers of new members immediately, it can work. It is also important for clubs to maintain a quality website and social media presence that showcases safe and responsible use. Anyone today seeking information will turn to the internet – make sure your club is presenting itself in a way that will be attractive to new members (NOHVCC will host a webinar on effective OHV websites soon).
Finally, see here to learn about the importance of including activities for young kids to recruit and retain young families.
We Need Your Help
If you are aware of any proven methods to attract new club members, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. NOHVCC staff will share what we find out to help others replicate your successes.
Two Examples That Worked
Click here to read about a new Club Incentive Program implemented by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department in 2018. Essentially, registration rates for OHVs were raised by $30, but OHV owners who produce proof of membership to a club affiliated with the New Hampshire Off-Highway Vehicle Association (NHOHVA) receive a $30 discount on every OHRV registration purchased in their name. The results have been staggering with a 450% increase in club membership in the State over last year.
One of the standout presentations at the 2018 NOHVCC Annual Conference was by the Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs Youth Kids and Adults on Snowmobiles (KAOS) program. Click here to see the PowerPoint from their presentation. From the KAOS website: “The purpose of the AWSC KAOS Youth Program is two-fold. First it is to give the youth an in-depth understanding of how the total snowmobile program is organized, starting from the local clubs up to and including International. Secondly, KAOS is considered a leadership training program for young snowmobilers. As dedicated volunteers are getting older, our goal is to train the younger members to take over leadership roles in order to keep our organizations as strong as they currently are.” More information can be found here.