model train set on track

Serving the TCA Membership by Listening and Innovating

e*Train Issue: Oct 2016   |   Posted in:

A Scavenger Hunt at National Toy Train Museum

By Amy Fry, TCA Membership Coordinator                             Fall 2016

As a member of TCA’s National Business Office team, Amy Fry works with members and staff to bring improved services and increased membership rolls to TCA.

Promoting TCA, adding members, and making the public aware of the joy of toy trains is a major commitment of all of TCA!

August marked my first year as an employee at the National Business Office. It seems like a good time to look back and see what progress we have made in this very busy time at TCA! Feedback from members is very important to our progress, and many suggestions have already been put into place! Here are just a few….

For members, I have created a new, easy-to-read dues invoice. This now includes a tear-off receipt for you to keep for your records. We hope you will find this helpful! Also in an effort to make things more convenient for members, we now include a return envelope with invoices. This has the added benefit of making processing go quicker, too!

A longtime problem we had was member cards. Regular member cards sometimes smudged and rubbed off. So we ordered new plastic cards for non-expiring Honorary and Life members. For regular cards, we changed the printing process and with the new design they are easier to read and they no longer smear! Such simple changes often involve TCA’s small staff pitching in, and the collaborative spirit in the office is a real plus!

The grace period the BOD offered was a big success! Hundreds of members took advantage of this amnesty from back dues to rejoin and retain their original TCA numbers. It was appreciated by members so much that the Board now offers original numbers back to members who previously lapsed. This is a great program that is bringing many folks back into the TCA!

The development of the Junior Membership has been well received. About a dozen youth have taken us up on the opportunity to join at half price membership up to age 24. This could very well be the future of the TCA, so we encourage you to all help recruit those youngsters!

I was recently appointed to the Kids Club Committee. In an effort to assist the committee to breathe new life into Kids Club, I designed a new activity book and stickers to send to the kids in their new member packets with their certificate.

As seen above, I also developed a Scavenger Hunt for the museum as a way to encourage more kids to join the Kids Club. I’m pretty excited for the kids to have an activity to do while they are here! They really enjoy it and the museum staff gets engaged as well. This makes for a better experience for all involved!

The back of the scavenger hunt form encourages the youngsters to provide their name and address to be entered in a monthly drawing, and to become a member of the Kids Club. In the first 10 days, we gained 65 new kids in the Club!

Let’s not forget the biggest Train Meet around: York! I came up with a temporary member card to assign numbers on the spot! And a modified application for use there that requires less of the fluff information, as new members can enter this themselves later online. This all gets the members through the line quicker. And there is less processing on the back end.

Our new membership database presented some challenges for members AND employees! Putting our noses to the grindstone, over the past year we have learned the ins and outs of the new system and updated lots of member information that was never possible before with the old system. I can supply the Board and Divisions with detailed reports that have never before been possible! This leads to better communication between the division representatives and the members.

Members can log onto the website and update their information or pay dues, or even print a temporary card when needed! Technology never stops, and we are trying to keep up with the convenience that the Internet offers our members. However, we can still do things the “old fashioned way” when members call or mail in payments or requests.

Sometimes you just need to talk to a live person, and that’s where I come in! I thank you for the opportunity to serve you and I look forward to hearing from you! Your feedback at work starts with you!