The CTC had the opportunity a few years back to become a knowledge based organisation, but Council and the former Chief Exec couldn't work out how to do it - they simply didn't see the expertise of the membership as an asset that could propel the organisation to key knowledge pinch points, and they completely passed on the idea the knowledge could be spread between local groups. Put simply, the majority of Councillors and the Chief Exec clung to a hierarchical concept of knowledge in which snippets were 'cascaded' downward - which is a pity because most of them were clueless when it came to running a cycling club or a local campaign.
So - the CTC became what it is now - a moribund campaigning organisation with a low-level contracting arm, competing on price for mundane jobs in the gift of one customer. It has no incentive to become more efficient, or to adopt more efficient means of communication or, indeed, to do anything other than to make itself cheaper.
The link between the membership organisation and the 'charity' is financial - the members (or those paying the full whack) subsidise the charity. It can be argued that the active members (those who are active in local groups which are cycling clubs in all but name) give the 'charity' a form of respectability in that they do actually, visibly, ride bikes. The 'charity' affords the active members no additional benefits, but, given that Councillors had, in times gone by, come from local groups, those groups have, hitherto, thought of themselves as the 'grass roots' of the CTC - they have enjoyed a sense of ownership.
Let's presume the AGM resolution gets the required 75% majority. The bulk of the members will decide, each in their own way, whether the insurance, the affinity, the magazine is worth the forty one quid. I'd have thought that most will stick with it, although the campaigning side of the CTC will have to be completely overhauled. On the other hand the local groups might reasonably wonder 'what the CTC did for them', and not a few will resent the passing of the illusion of 'ownership'.
The CTC is going to face competition on two fronts - individual members will be wooed by BC, and local groups will be enticed by BC, affiliate status or some new organisation from which they purchase organisers insurance for themselves and third party insurance for their members. The key to this is the structure of this choice - a small group of local group officials, who are considerably more clued up than the individual members, and who will be in contact with one another, could walk off with a substantial slice of the local groups. The irony is that melding the two parts of the CTC in to the one organisation will put at risk the connection between local groups and the national organisation.
The new Chief Exec takes the view that local groups are vital to the CTC, is fully aware of the risk to the connection between local groups and the CTC, and is going to strive to make the offer to local groups a better one. That offer won't be exclusively financial, and my guess is that, not before time, there will be an attempt to build knowledge in to local groups to help them do the things they do better. If it comes off then I think the CTC will hold on to the local groups. If it doesn't, and there is a better offer the local groups may take that better offer. What effect that will have on the membership as a whole I've no idea, but my guess is that will depend on the use that rival organisations make of their own local organisations as a marketing tool.
This https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid= ... DFmOGIzNGY
makes fascinating reading. A former DA dissolves, but does so in a way that is deliberately designed to stop the national organisation getting its hands on two thousand quid. You can't help but wonder what connection those members, some of them very distinguished members, thought of the national organisations direction of travel.
horizon wrote:Without going down the charity route I think CTC would have a long, slow and painful decline. At least with charity status it lives to fight another day although the way it relates to its members is almost bound to change as time goes on. Now whether that is a good thing or a bad thing I don't know, but I think it will have to work very hard at keeping member relationships on side.
so, actually, this is wrong. The CTC's growth or decline has little to do with whether it's a charity or not. It's about the offer to individual members and local groups, and only time will tell if the two things are connected. My guess, and it's only a guess, will be that in ten years time the best that can be hoped for is something rather like we have now - on the one hand there will be an organisation of local groups which are, essentially, cycling clubs and, on the other a 'charity' that fulfills government contracts. Less optimistically it might be that the local groups will have been subsumed by BC and the former charity has simply gone bust because it couldn't win the work when competing against lighter, less bureaucratic organisations. My money's on something between the two - local groups purchase what they need from competing suppliers (which would not necessarily be cycling organisations) and the CTC breaks up in to its constituent parts with the contracting arm buying out bits of the organisation and the campaigning side disappearing.