Lex Parker sent me a link to an article by Charles Cooper.
Re: Interesting summary on CARM = CARM at the crossroads - 2011
My response, which holds more questions than answers is as follows, but you really need to read the original article first in order for all of this to make sense:
Hi Lex and Charles,
As an outsider, I'd like to add my perspective to be taken with a grain of salt, since I do not foresee my joining CARM or NMRA - ever.
The CARM website and Forum is a catch-22: You need to be a CARM member to access most of the website, but there's not enough there to entice membership.
You need to open the Forum to the public in order to engage and recruit more members.
The nature of all forums and/or list-serves is that only a tiny [5%] percent actively participate on a regular basis and the remainder "lurk". Don't worry about how many people are "talking" on the forum. Take a look to see how many people are hanging around to "listen". Are the "lurkers" checking in on a regular basis to keep up to date? Or did they join and then let their forum membership languish?
I've always viewed CARM to be a splinter of the NMRA.
The impetus to form CARM was that the NMRA was not fulfilling the needs of Canadian Members and that the timing of SARS and the Maple Leaf 2003 was the final straw.
Would there be a CARM if SARS had not happened?
Many CARM Members are and/or continue to be NMRA Members.
Why not let bygones be bygones and merge back into the NMRA? Apply CRTC Can-Con rules.
Become the C-NMRA.
Form allegiances, not divisions.
Merge with Canadian Railway Modeller. I think that it would be mutually beneficial to both parties. I see the "forced bundling" may be a concern, but arrangements could be made to opt out of receiving the "new and improved" newsletter.
Is Canadian Railway Modeller offering a discounted subscription to CARM Members?
Who approached whom first?
Who's more likely to gain from this allegiance?
Lastly, but foremost in my mind: Merge with the Toronto Christmas Train Show. It is perceived to be in decline and needs to be refurbished. They've already got the Convention Center for the Public Show and there is a lot of space left in the hall for extra "Members Only" areas. For Clinics, Contests etc... It's on the airport strip with lots of available accommodations and Meeting / Clinic / Contest space.
I hope that you've found my ruminations useful.