New cavers to grottos can get an incentive for grottos

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New cavers to grottos can get an incentive for grottos

Postby Ernie Coffman » Apr 3, 2008 10:27 pm

Know a new caver coming into your grotto? Well here's an incentive for the grotto. As a member of the NSS Membership Committee, I'd like to share with you some news that our Chairman Dawn Ryan has been trying to get some incentive to grottos, for getting new cavers to show what grotto they're going to be in; and, this has been quite a chore, believe you me. I won't go into the particulars, but it's a head-shaker! Anyway, on a trial run for six months beginning now, your grotto will be able to get 10% off a book, ordered through our NSS Book Store, for each new member from your grotto. One member, the grotto gets 10% off a book; two members, the grotto gets 10% off of two books, and so forth. The amount doesn't accumulate, sorry to say.

So...in the new few weeks, your grotto will be getting a flyer or an information sheet describing what it's all about. If you want to beat the rush and begin adding new members to your grotto, so be it! In fact, that's a big :banana_yay:

Promote membership in the NSS and add to your grotto library. An an example: Does your grotto library have Dr. Art Palmer's new book, Cave Geology? Or how about the newest edition of On Rope or On Station?Here's a chance to update your grotto library and promote caver membership in the National Speleological Society. For every new member each grotto sends in, the grotto receives a 10% discount towards the purchase of a book at the NSS bookstore. We all know how important it is to promote
membership in the NSS. The NSS does more than any other organization to study, explore and
conserve cave and karst resources.

Grottos; to receive your discount just put the name of your grotto and the words "10% PROMOTION DISCOUNT" on the membership application when mailing it in to the NSS office. But don't wait too long, this offer is only good for the next six months. Please contact membership@caves.org if you have any questions.
So now while you're sending in a new membership application, take advantage of the discount offered too.
:kewl:
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Re: New cavers to grottos can get an incentive for grottos

Postby Teresa » Apr 4, 2008 8:27 am

Ernie Coffman wrote: Well here's an incentive for the grotto. As a member of the NSS Membership Committee, I'd like to share with you some news that our Chairman Dawn Ryan has been trying to get some incentive to grottos, for getting new cavers to show what grotto they're going to be in; and, this has been quite a chore, believe you me. I won't go into the particulars, but it's a head-shaker!


Why is it a headshaker? Not all cavers are in grottos. Some who are in multiple grottos prefer not to alienate one or the other. What is a headshaker is, Ernie, what difference does an 'official' grotto affiliation make? None at all to the caver. Cavers are strange alien creatures, often not very socially adept at all. You don't have to be officially affiliated with a grotto (only an NSS member) to be an officer.

Maybe if you all made a good case for why this is important...other than just book incentives, since I know many grottos without libraries, and many cavers hostile to reading...people might be more inclined to show this. The only thing I've ever seen grotto members used for is COG votes-- and that's rather a joke, anyway.

It's funny. When I was a new caver, it was very important to be part of the local group, and be accepted, have a place to belong, etc. Now, it's not so important -- it's more what I do, and who I am than who I hang out with. Maybe people are skipping that step entirely.
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Re: New cavers to grottos can get an incentive for grottos

Postby NZcaver » Apr 4, 2008 10:51 am

Teresa wrote:Why is it a headshaker? Not all cavers are in grottos. Some who are in multiple grottos prefer not to alienate one or the other. What is a headshaker is, Ernie, what difference does an 'official' grotto affiliation make? None at all to the caver. Cavers are strange alien creatures, often not very socially adept at all. You don't have to be officially affiliated with a grotto (only an NSS member) to be an officer.

Maybe if you all made a good case for why this is important...other than just book incentives, since I know many grottos without libraries, and many cavers hostile to reading...people might be more inclined to show this. The only thing I've ever seen grotto members used for is COG votes-- and that's rather a joke, anyway.

It's funny. When I was a new caver, it was very important to be part of the local group, and be accepted, have a place to belong, etc. Now, it's not so important -- it's more what I do, and who I am than who I hang out with. Maybe people are skipping that step entirely.

With all due respect Teresa, there is a Yang to your Yin.

I don't have the figures, but I'll wager the vast majority of NSS members DO happily have a primary grotto affiliation - even ones like me who belong to multiple grottos. For those who choose to be independent NSS members for whatever reason (location, finances, speleopolitics etc), or are otherwise unaffiliated, more power to you.

For the rest of us, being a part of a local grotto might just provide a center for our caving existence. The caving trips, the meetings and social events, the camaraderie, etc. "Ask not what your grotto can do for you" and all that. So if one has a primary grotto which one belongs to, it seems logical to me to designate a primary grotto affiliation. As far as I can tell this isn't rocket science, nor some big NSS conspiracy. Just my opinion, of course.

Thanks for posting the information, Ernie. Incentives are good.

And PS "many cavers hostile to reading"..? What's that about?? :question:
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New cavers to grottos can get an incentive for grottos

Postby Ernie Coffman » Apr 4, 2008 11:59 am

Teresa, maybe I shouldn't have used the term "headshaker," for it was meant about the problems of getting it O.K.d by those in the NSS, that's all. Nothing pertaining to individuals who aren't joining grottos, etc. But, I'll go along with NZcaver, that the majority of NSS members probably are grotto members for the various reasons that he wrote. I'm not trying to put down individual cavers, if that's your gribe, although I surely hope that when you do go caving, that it's with several others for safety. I, too, belong to several grottos and enjoy the various publications, the camaraderie, and the education level that is shared by the various grotto members, especially when they have presentations, etc., etc. :cave softly:

And, thanks NZcaver for your candid thoughts. :clap:
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Re: New cavers to grottos can get an incentive for grottos

Postby ek » Apr 4, 2008 12:08 pm

So, is this reward given to grottos for members in the grotto, or to grottos for NSS members who list that grotto as their primary affiliation? I didn't quite catch that from the original post. I know someone who is in three different grottos...

NZcaver wrote:Incentives are good.

I'm not so sure about that. Incentives tend to de-emphasize what is actually important about something, in some cases decreasing people's overall motivation to achieve the incentivized result. Incentives also tend to be manipulative, and to effectively carry a subtext that the goal is not worth achieving on its own. Incentives tend to place focus on the quantitatively evaluable aspects of performance, to the denigration of other worthwhile aspects.
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Re: New cavers to grottos can get an incentive for grottos

Postby Phil Winkler » Apr 4, 2008 12:55 pm

Jansen is correct and I do have the figures.

70.4% of NSS members list an IO as their primary affiliation
29.6% have no affiliation in their record (3,530 of 11,920 total)

I think some wording is difficult with the ad, but I think this is an incentive for grottos to get their members to join the NSS. Some grottos have NSS membership as a requirement to join, but certainly not all of them do.
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Re: New cavers to grottos can get an incentive for grottos

Postby ek » Apr 4, 2008 1:25 pm

Indeed--SUOC is a "student grotto" (though by no means are we open only to students), and the vast majority of our members are not members of the NSS. On the other hand, we aren't just a caving organization, but an Outing Club that includes caving as one of the most prominent activities, so many SUOC members who are more involved in other activities cave infrequently or never.
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Re: New cavers to grottos can get an incentive for grottos

Postby NZcaver » Apr 4, 2008 1:34 pm

ek wrote:
NZcaver wrote:Incentives are good.

I'm not so sure about that. Incentives tend to de-emphasize what is actually important about something, in some cases decreasing people's overall motivation to achieve the incentivized result. Incentives also tend to be manipulative, and to effectively carry a subtext that the goal is not worth achieving on its own. Incentives tend to place focus on the quantitatively evaluable aspects of performance, to the denigration of other worthwhile aspects.

In case you missed this, we're talking about a discount from the NSS bookstore - not airline miles or time share points. Incentives need not be mutually exclusive from a person's own motivation for joining, nor are they always a bad thing.

And we all know student grottos aren't real grottos anyway... :tonguecheek: :kidding:

(Lest somebody flame me for saying that, I'm friends with members of many student grottos - and they're good people. Even though they are students. :wink: I think outing clubs make a great introduction to what may become a life-long interest in caving for a few lucky people. OK, enough said.)
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Re: New cavers to grottos can get an incentive for grottos

Postby Scott McCrea » Apr 4, 2008 2:21 pm

ek wrote:Incentives tend to de-emphasize what is actually important about something, in some cases decreasing people's overall motivation to achieve the incentivized result. Incentives also tend to be manipulative, and to effectively carry a subtext that the goal is not worth achieving on its own. Incentives tend to place focus on the quantitatively evaluable aspects of performance, to the denigration of other worthwhile aspects.

Welcome to America. :patriotic2:
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Re: New cavers to grottos can get an incentive for grottos

Postby ek » Apr 4, 2008 3:56 pm

NZcaver wrote:In case you missed this, we're talking about a discount from the NSS bookstore - not airline miles or time share points. Incentives need not be mutually exclusive from a person's own motivation for joining, nor are they always a bad thing.

I have indeed read the thread from the beginning. I agree that incentives are not always bad. I think that my criticism of incentives, however, does pertain to this situation--are we going to get more members, or more members who are truly interested in caving? Are we going to get a more diverse or active membership as a result of this?

Anyway, what I think is good about this is not that it is an incetive, but that it is what I hope will be an effective promotion for the NSS bookstore.

Of course, SUOC has a long-standing relationship with the (relatively nearby) bookstore, Speleobooks, which, by the way, I would like to shamelessly recommend to you all, and I believe we shall continue ordering (and picking up books) from them.

NZcaver wrote:And we all know student grottos aren't real grottos anyway... :tonguecheek: :kidding:

(Lest somebody flame me for saying that, I'm friends with members of many student grottos - and they're good people. Even though they are students. :wink: I think outing clubs make a great introduction to what may become a life-long interest in caving for a few lucky people. OK, enough said.)

Folks, I have good reason to believe that NZcaver really is joking. He has always been kind to me and, in my experience, to other SUOCers. Please do not flame him (over this). :-)
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Re: New cavers to grottos can get an incentive for grottos

Postby Dawn M Ryan » Apr 4, 2008 5:00 pm

First, I'd like to thank Ernie for posting this "incentive" as I'm not much of a poster, although I am usually reading the posts.

Let me give you a little reasoning behind the promotion. We (NSS Membership Committee) try to contact every new member every month when the monthly status report comes out. We ask the new member if there is anything we can do for them and how they heard of the NSS? Ernie, for instance, contacts the new members in his area, West Coast. This helps with any problems that may arise with not receiving publications (just as an example) and helps the caver get connected. Often the question we get is; what happens now? Ernie would then be able to direct the new member to the nearest grotto, event, scholarships etc. From our polling we have also found that most new NSS members are referred to the NSS via their grotto. This promotion is a small way of showing our appreciation to the grottos for their support plus it also, well hopefully, will attract cavers who are not yet NSS members to finally join. We want those folks who are already cavers and those who show a real interest in caving to be members. Those folks, you guys, are the ones that benefit the society the most. They can help out their grotto as well as the NSS by joining.

As far as the ad itself, well I've apologized three, maybe four times already this week for my lack of artistic and creative abilities. It was suggested and I quote "that highlighting the benefits of membership instead of telling about the society would be more effective." And certainly there are some personal benefits to reap by being a NSS member; access to caves, fellowship, discounts to the convention, bookstore etc. But on an earlier reply to this post Jansen said "ask not what a grotto can do for me.." Well I feel that way about the NSS as well. I joined and volunteer because I want to help promote the goals of the NSS, particularly the preservation and study of caves. So that is why I didn't really focus on the "what's in it for me" point of view.

If your grotto doesn't have a library, well I'm sorry about that, but maybe now you might want to try to build even a small one via this promotion. Just a thought. I belong to 4 grottos and one of those hasn't added a new book in some time and there are some good new publications out.

But anyway, someone is working over the ad before it goes in the NSS News, making it more creative or whatever it needs, and hopefully more understandable. I understood it clearly, but then again, none of you can read my mind..:-)


Please help promote the NSS and its' goals. If you or if you know other cavers in your grotto that were thinking about joining the NSS, this might be the right time. your grotto would benefit and so would the NSS.

Be positive, be nice to each other....and thanks!
Dawn Ryan

P.S. Feel free to contact me anytime about this or other questions
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Re: New cavers to grottos can get an incentive for grottos

Postby Teresa » Apr 6, 2008 3:05 pm

Once again, very good folks are missing my point.

It's not about whether or not a caver joins a grotto. (There are joiners and non-joiners and we're never going to resolve that non-issue)

It's about a caver identifying "a particular grotto" as their primary grotto that I don't understand. What advantage is it to the NSS that a caver identify X grotto as their primary grotto over Y grotto? That is what I was asking, because that is what the incentive is being given for-- both new cavers declaring allegiance to a small group, and existing cavers designating that alliance.

As I said, COG votes are the only thing I've ever noticed were allocated by primary grotto affiliation. I've read Dawn's and Ernie's explanations, and though both make good points about the NSS doing some followup so that it is not just a pit into which one throws money and you get a magazine, member's manual and cheap convention prices back from. Since nothing like this happened back in the dark ages when I joined, and in fact, I did not join the NSS for a year after starting caving, nor did I go to a convention for another 7 years, I understand the national wanting to get people involved faster than that. But what difference does it make to the national NSS whether I am in grotto A or grotto B? They do not need to go through the grotto to contact me.

As a result of this discussion, I have changed my member preferences to no primary grotto (though I pay dues to three of them). I wonder if others are likely to do so?
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Re: New cavers to grottos can get an incentive for grottos

Postby NZcaver » Apr 6, 2008 4:20 pm

Teresa wrote:As a result of this discussion, I have changed my member preferences to no primary grotto (though I pay dues to three of them). I wonder if others are likely to do so?

Why? :shrug:

I'm not being facetious. Aside from trying to make a point countering the advertised incentive from the NSS, is there another real reason to do this? You ask what is the advantage in designating a primary grotto, but I ask is there some disadvantage to doing this? Am I missing something?

I stand by my earlier comment. If one has a primary NSS grotto which one belongs to, it seems logical to me to designate a primary grotto affiliation with the NSS. But if you don't belong to a grotto, or you don't wish to choose a favorite grotto out of several to be your primary, then fine. Otherwise - why not?
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New cavers to grottos can get an incentive for grottos

Postby Ernie Coffman » Apr 6, 2008 4:23 pm

Geeeezzzz! I didn't know this was going to be an on-going battle of explanations and trying to get an understanding of the latest NSS incentive for grottos to "think about." But, seeing how some folks really like to play around with the King's language, etc., etc., I guess I should have known. On top of that, I'll try and "smooth"--Hmmm?--out the very first explanation, as to what this was all about, in the first place. Double hmmmm?

It's about a caver identifying "a particular grotto" as their primary grotto that I don't understand. What advantage is it to the NSS that a caver identify X grotto as their primary grotto over Y grotto? That is what I was asking, because that is what the incentive is being given for-- both new cavers declaring allegiance to a small group, and existing cavers designating that alliance.
Teresa has brought out a wholly different concept on what I was putting out to the list, so...let's see if I can try to explain, for it probably has been kicked around and around...and around for a number of years. But, let me first say, that wasn't in the information that I was first writing about. Whewee!

As for trying to get one to understand what Teresa is wondering about, I'll use the analogy of moms and dads (?) joining the PTA for their kiddies. First, there's the local group, which one kicks in five or six bucks or whatever the price; and, the first thing the treasurer has to do is to send a large portion of that money to the state and national PTA organization, for they're larger and have to represent all of the kids, parents, and schools in the nation. Still with me? Therefore, the local school didn't have as much money as they thought they would, for their own small projects. Then, it came around to voting for various positions at the state and national level. Almost no one from the local school knew anyone at those levels, but they sent folks to represent them, for it was for the betterment of the schools, right? Right! Thus, School A had their votes cast for their nominee or whatever they were voting for. One rep...one vote! It's as simple as that.Thus, the same thing in the NSS...for the most part, although there are some folks trying to screw up the system, so I've heard. No one on CaveChat, though, right? Right! Hmm? If one attends a national convention and represents a grotto, at the COG mtg., then that representative is similar to the PTA rep., so they sign-in and indicate what grotto they're representing and they get a paper indicating how many votes they represent, and I won't go into the number of votes, for that's easily found. Sometimes I've even seen votes split in half, because the representatives are split on a particular subject. SFBC is always good for this type of voting, it seems. (My first grotto by the way.)

Soooo...let's get down to the business of the cavers who belong to more than one grotto, like Teresa indicated being involved in at least three of them. Many of us belong to two, three, or more grottos. Some NSS members belong to way more than that...for their own personal reasons. Maybe to confuse people, I don't have a clue. Anyway, to the point Ernie. Taking me as an example, I had to designate who represents me at the COG mtg. at the nationals; and, since I am a Life Member of the grotto that I started...way back when--had to chuckle when Teresa wrote that about when she joined the NSS--I thought I'd better pledge my allegiance to that grotto, although at times, I've had my druthers in some of their grotto business, and one or more of my other grottos might really have represented me more so. It's all politics, right? Thus, all of my grottos think alike, for the most part, but...there are times when I have my druthers. What should I do, drop my allegiance to that grotto and let the NSS know that I'm changing my primary grotto? Well, believe it or not, I could do that, but...why play silly games, unless it was for something really off base. Hopefully, that will never happen. :boxing:

As for smoothing things out, like I mentioned in my first paragraph, it goes back to the a simple 'ole concept of trying to give an incentive to a grotto, if they represented a new caver into joining their grotto and the NSS, that's all. Nothing else! Nothing more! Dawn has fought and fought about this, but seemed to have hurdles to hop over at each turn of the track. And, that's why I mentioned in my first article about it being a headshaker. It was a headshaker because it was such a simple concept to provide the grottos and the new cavers, but the NSS honchos put up stiff opposition for everything that was suggested, sorry to say. We even had a committee member "cave-in"--pun intended--to all of the BS that was thrown out to Dawn on this very simple issue. So be it! When an organization of nearly twelve thousand is dealing with many, many volunteers from all over the U.S., there's bound to be questions, thoughts, answers, etc. and like they say, "You can't please all the people, all the time... ."
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Re: New cavers to grottos can get an incentive for grottos

Postby Dawn M Ryan » Apr 8, 2008 11:57 am

Hello Cavers,

Some folks have already taken advantage of the promotion, I am told, and thanks so much! But this has brought up some unforseen questions. I need to clarify the rules of participation. The promotion offer isn't for 10% off NSS membership. In order to benefit from the promotion Grottos please have each new member fill out an application. Enclose the application and $36 check with the NSS Bookstore order(and appropriate check amount), and mail both to the NSS. Make sure to write 10% Discount Promotion and the grotto name on the application so there is no confusion. Your new book will be mailed to the official grotto address. The promotion ends October 31, 2008 and can't be used in conjunction with any other offer. I hope this clears up any confusion. Please help spread the word and promote membership in the NSS.

Thanks,
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