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Thread: Question 2 - GAGB awareness

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    Default Question 2 - GAGB awareness

    Last year only 397 ballot papers were returned yet according to the source Project-GC we had over 100,000 active cachers. Meaning less than 0.5% of the community voted or even know the GAGBs existence. So ....

    How does each candidate propose to improve the awareness of the GAGB through out the country, Wales, Scotland etc and getting cachers onboard with the GAGB and what they do?

  2. #2

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    Nov 2012
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    I would like to see more visibility of Gagb at events and a better presence on social media.

    I think working to get recognition from places like the sports trust will help raise profile and awareness.

  3. #3

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    I think increasing awareness through social media is good, it reaches large numbers.

    Attending events so you can meet cachers face to face is excellent too, you can answer questions directly.

  4. #4

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    The number that Project GC gives is pretty scary but their use of the term active is open to interpretation, the reality is 8728 users logged 100 or more caches on geocaching.com in 2014. I think that is a better measure of what an active cacher is, though that is a debate for a different day.

    There is also a huge difference between awareness and engagement. We have a good number of people in our Facebook group (I think I am right in saying it's the second largest UK Caching group) and page and the ballot was sent to (I think and I am sure Jen will correct me if I'm wrong) around 4,000 registered members.

    The reality is getting people of any association to care enough to do something that isn't mandatory is very difficult. Getting people motivated to participate in an election for a hobby, even more so.

    We have means of raising awareness. The two previous answers have suggested our awareness can be improved by attending events. We have our CITO weekend every year, a fabulous way of filling the map with our name and what we are about. But in 2015, only 3 of the committee held one. So let's put our money where our mouth is guys. Where were your CITOs? What involvement did you have in the camping event? At the moment they look like empty statements, will you commit to hosting a CITO this year? Will you state, as part of this process that come hell and high water, you will make that happen?

    Will all the candidates say they are willing to give time to our stall at the North Wales mega? Around 2.5k people attended Essex, hopefully that will double in 2016, will you make the effort to be there and to engage with people?

    We have just short of 2k members of the facebook group but Pete Mason has posted on there more than some of our current committee (sorry Pete, you were the first name I thought of!)

    Yes, events and social media are great ways of reaching out to people. But only if people get involved.

  5. #5

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    Sep 2012
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    I too would like to see more visibility of gagb at events and I really believe we need to become more visible to cachers. I don't actually recall seeing the gagb at the Essex Mega!

    I'm very happy to organise a CITO and also assist at the 2016 Mega as well as attending other events.

    I've only ever seen the profile of the gagb on Facebook. Perhaps business cards dropped in caches and regular competitions are the way to attract awareness?

  6. #6

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    This can be done by more use of social media and I personally am willing to promote the GAGB at any events I attend, especially the monthly events that our area hold but have no problem manning a GAGB stall wherever it may be and would definitely give up some time a the Mega in Wales to man the stall. It definitely has to be promoted more as I have heard a lot of times from cachers asking what does the GAGB do and the more events that can be attented the better or if no one can attend in person maybe contacting the event organiser asking them to hand out GAGB business cards as in reality there are a lot of events and unrealistic to expect someone to be able to attend each one but not to difficult to contact event organiser, this I would be willing to do.
    Thanks

    Jackie (JnK Fox)

  7. #7

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    While it is important to do the various things that others mention here - and I would help out with them too, following their lead - I think Jackie F makes the important point here. "What does the GAGB do?" is the critical thing. Once we start doing something that cachers value, I think we will naturally attract more interest and members, which will help us to do more of whatever it is we do well...

    I think GAGB can play a valuable role in helping, supporting and guiding - helping new cachers and wannabe cache owners with advice and inspirational stories, supporting those who want to host events (incl CITOs) in their communities, and guiding the interactions with non-cachers such as irate (or simply worried or confused) landowners, countryside trusts, councils and the media. We can lead, if we know where we're going. Only then will people follow.

  8. #8

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    No one needs to join an association to go geocaching and for some they are content to pursue their hobby as an individual. Some have formed local groups as a focus for geocaching in a particular area. I have spoken to several cachers who have told me that they don’t know what GAGB ‘do’ and some who do know have told me “I don’t need that sort of thing”. So we will never get everyone on board.

    That said, increasing awareness of our association can be achieved in all the ways mentioned in previous replies and in particular we could tune the Social Media posts to gain a bigger audience. But we still have to convince folks that what GAGB stands for is both worthwhile and of use to its members.

    GAGB is essentially an interface between cachers, caching groups, local authorities, landowners, media and others, all with an interest geocaching. Its committee is made up of keen geocachers willing to give their time to improve the hobby for others. It should also be a respected association so that we can gain the support from external authorities. The forum is regulated, unlike most of the Facebook groups, and should be a safe place for members to seek help and guidance.

    So the new committee should be looking to advertise the benefits of what GAGB ‘do’. People who are aware of these benefits to our hobby should be happy to join if they wish, after all it’s free!

    To answer Richard’s questions: I will be organising 2 CITOs in 2016 and already have my name down to assist at the North Wales Mega and will happily do a ‘stint’ on the GAGB stall.

  9. #9

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    We are certainly getting new members joining the GAGB (over 1100 in past 12mths), but many of those haven't re-logged into the forums after joining so we don't know if they are actively using our website or even accessing the forums that don't require logging in (i.e. this thread).

    But as others have said, what do we currently have for them that they can't get anywhere else?

    A few years ago, I would say that the GAGB forums were a place for cachers to come and get advice and help (e.g. Help & Advice forum) but I think these days Facebook tends to be the first port of call for so many people and then the reference sites that people are referred to are either Follow-the-Arrow or Project GC (which are both very good sites).

    When Seeker magazine was first launched in Feb 2011 as the first geocaching magazine in the UK (which followed on from the one or two page GAGB newsletters that had occassionally been created in the past) I always wanted it to contain some advice/help features and be a useful resource and we did have a few. (I still refer people to some of the early editions which are all available free to download from the website.

    However, over the last year - with both Terry (countrymatters) as editor and Cass (who provided alot of technical input/reviews/how to guides) no longer being on the committee we have struggled for input and despite asking regularly, we don't receive that many submissions from either committtee or members. I would love to get it back to being a 'useful' rather than just 'interesting' magazine. We need someone on the committee that can act as editor and have time to do this. (We can always appoint someone outwith the committee to then put the design together, as we have done for the last couple of issues).

    I agree with the others that events are a good way to get our name out and as Rich, I was also very disappointed that Sharon, Rich and I were the only committee members that held events for the GAGB CITO weekend this year (despite the date being set a year in advance) - I am grateful to Flookfinders who was the only non-committee member that held a GAGB event (for the second year). I have also worked with local Societys and Nature Reserves to promote geocaching (and the GAGB)

    So going back to the original question - we just need to make sure that we are offering cachers something that makes them want to be GAGB members and to care enough to take an interest who is on the committee and use their vote next week.
    GAGB member since 2005
    GAGB Committee member 2010 to 2016 (Chair 2012 to 2015)
    UK Mega Event Chairman 2009 (Weston-super-Mare)


  10. #10

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    I think one key way we can raise awareness is through the implementation of regular, roving events. These could be bimonthly, or even monthly, and would be organised in the first instance by the committee, and then, hopefully, other cachers. Getting the community to feel like they're involved with the GAGB would, I believe, lead to further growth. Of course, this would be difficult to implement (who organises what event?) but we could have an area of the forum for people to request to organise one. Each organiser could even place a GAGB cache to coincide with each event, so that a national GAGB series of caches is established, and people could become competitive in trying to find them all, as has happened with Church Micros.

    Obviously, this will take time, but it would certainly raise the awareness and presence of the GAGB, making the community feel like they're involved.

    Also, social media could be used to interact with people new to caching. On Twitter, for example, people sometimes tweet about finding their first cache. The GAGB could be the first ones to say congrats, and offer them any help through directing them to the GAGB website. This would introduce new cachers in this instance to the GAGB sooner. I have done this in the past with the CacheWalker Twitter account, and it has increased the number of people following us in addition to our memberbase on the forum.
    GAGB Committee Member
    2015-20

    Author of my Geocaching Blog ~ SUBSCRIBE.

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