Upon my arrival to USA Field Hockey on January 4, 2010, I went on-line to purchase a membership to the organization. The system worked great. I provided all of the required fields of information, paid my fee, and downloaded a card. And, waited. I waited for my new plastic membership card to arrive in the mail. It never did. Then I found out we don't issue them. I guess I missed that piece of information. Most of the national governing bodies, of which I am familiar, issue cards. In addition to USA Field Hockey, I am a member of USA Triathlon, USA Judo, USA Water Ski, USA Water Polo, USA Equestrian, USA Lacrosse, USA Taekwondo, USA Cycling, and USA Volleyball (No, I didn't join them through the usual manner. I was given promo memberships gratis from their executive directors to get their cards, magazines, e-blasts, et cetera. It is always nice to keep a pulse on what other governing bodies are doing). They all issue plastic membership cards that are similar in size of a traditional credit card.
But, I am new and USA Field Hockey has its own culture so I don't know if cards are important or not. To the NGBs issuing cards, it is important for quite a range of reasons. Here are some of those reasons:
- Many people like to "wear" their memberships as a sort of painting of who they are. To be a card carrying member (to be able whip out a card to show you are a field hockey athlete, coach, umpire or supporter), is important. In the case of many NGB cards, there is also an associated key chain fob, which is readily apparent to anyone who sees a member's set of keys. Good stuff. It is a great identifier of who you are.
- In many cases, NGB cards are used to provide discounts to members. For instance, if a USA Triathlon member goes to a triathlon expo before a race many of the vendors provide significant discounts on purchases made as a benefit of membership. Saving money is always good, and the vendors find it attractive as more customers are driven to their booths.
- Identifying a person as the person they say they are is an issue in many sports (so not to run in a ringer using a member's name). To discourage "ringerism", many NGBs require a membership card and photo ID (like a driver's license, school ID or any other ID with a photo). Checking IDs at check-in or periodically at the beginning of games helps stem cheating, and potential insurance issues can be averted (e.g. if a player is injured who has represented her or himself as somebody else, and who may not be a member of USA Field Hockey puts the organization's overall insurance program at risk when the inevitable claim arises).
- The branding of any organization is a major reason for developing cards. Marketing parlance says that a brand logo must be seen at least twenty times before a typical person starts to remember it. In USA Field Hockey's case, our logo, some call it Trevor (I don't know why), is one of the most distinctive looks within the Olympic community. It is clean, contemporary, and pops in most uses. Some of the uses include embroidery, on printed materials, uniforms, and so on. Whoever designed it did magnificent work. The more we can get Trevor out in the mainstream, the better the mainstream understands what USA Field Hockey is. Membership cards contribute to branding.
Those are some of the positives, but there are some potential cons, too. Here is a sample of some potential negatives:
- Some people may think that they already have too many cards to carry around and do not want any more. Is that true?
- Cards may be easily lost..what then?
- The incremental cost of providing cards for our current 20,000 members would be around $20,000. That cost will include the costs of the cards, the printing of data, envelopes, labor of "stuffing" envelopes, and postage. An outside vendor will complete this task so the provision will not be completed in the national office. Will it be worth it?
- Should we pursue a sponsor or two to underwrite the cost of the cards, have a $1.00 surcharge for card provision, or just absorb the cost (remember this is your organization)?
We came up with several sample renditions as to what a potential card would look like (we did not design the key chain fob, but the fob would follow along with the theme of the card).
The following are two samples designed as potential membership cards. They are just examples for your examination.
Now it is your turn to express your opinion. Do we need cards as an organization? Do you see value? How do we pay the incremental cost? Do you like the potential positive elements such as discounts, identification, branding and showing others via your cards of your sport interest? I would enjoy hearing from you. My email address is:
USA Field Hockey has added another member to its high performance staff in San Diego at the Olympic Training Center. Terry Walsh, USA Field Hockey's Technical Director of High Performance made the announcement last Monday. In the announcement, Terry said:
"On behalf of USA Field Hockey, we would like to formally welcome Jaime Young into our organization as the High Performance Sports Trainer. We, in Chula Vista, are delighted to have Jaime on board as a full-time member of our team. Our staff and players are very excited about the recent agreement reached which will have Jaime working in a full-time capacity within our programs.
"Jaime comes with significant qualifications. She has earned a master's degree in kinesiology, is a certified athletic trainer and certified strength and conditioning specialist, and a licensed massage therapist. In addition, she has a very fine work ethic and an extremely amicable and approachable manner. Jaime has been with us for quite some period already as her background has brought her through the Olympic Training Center here in San Diego. We are thrilled to have Jaime with us as she has already made significant impact within our group.
"My thanks to Kate Reisinger for working tirelessly with Jaime to bring this situation to fruition.
"Please welcome Jaime to our team. We wish her a long, productive and enjoyable time with our team."
From The Tonight Show with Jay Leno:"Bernard Madoff was assaulted back in November in a prison dispute over money. The authorities are investigating the attack and have narrowed the suspects down to "everybody."