I took over the duties of Membership Officer in mid-October. The duties are mainly functional taking offline subscriptions, updating details and helping with membership queries. I would like to thank Shane Lee, the previous Membership Officer, for walking me through the job.
This year I committed to be present at as many tournaments as possible and to take subscriptions in person. I managed to attend the Galway, Kilkenny, Leinster Junior Championship, Bunratty and Cork tournaments. I believe it was a successful exercise as this was our best year for membership numbers:
- 2011-2012: 890
- 2010-2011: 866
- 2009-2010: 804
- 2008-2009: 751
- 2007-2008: 799
A worrying trend is the decline in standard subscriptions and the directly proportional increase in unemployed subscriptions. This is clearly due to the economic issues facing the country not much the ICU can do there. However it is important to factor this fall into any budget projections.
A much more positive trend was the number of new U/18 subscriptions. We managed to sign up 63 brand new young players last year. Many parents signed kids up at the Leinster Junior Championships (a previously untapped source of membership) for example. This increase bodes well for the future of Irish chess if we can keep them.
Finally, it was good to see the numbers joining online increasing. Its a lot of work processing subscriptions offline (and I have found that I am a lot more prone to errors than a computer). Therefore I would like to encourage clubs to use this online facility for simplicity and efficiencys sake.