NSS-CDS Board of Directors

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Manatee Diver

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Why would getting out of training kill the CDS? They have a very small number of instructors, and until they gave a free membership to new students, I bet the 1,000 members that the CDS has minus the lifetime memberships and minus the free memberships is a shockingly small number.
The argument that new diver training was what kept membership alive is what was used to keep the training side in the past, but I bet if you pulled all of their tax dox like we did when the NACD was dying, you'd see a steady decrease in the number of active members over the last 10 years.

You've basically made by point to be outside of instructors they have few members. So if you kill the training program, one where that requires the instructors to be members, and the students (through their instructors) pay cert fees you remove a lot of their non-donation income. All they would have left is their conferences, something that wasn't held for the last two years thanks to the CCP.

Alienating is admittedly a poor word choice for it, but your point that many of them don't even know it exists is part of the problem. If the instructors don't see a need to be a member of the CDS, then why would they tell their students about it? Instead, many of them talk about the NFSA and the awesome things they do, particularly at Peacock and Madison. If instead they were able to say "hey, you should give $15 to the NFSA because they support the state park sites, and you should also give $15 to the CDS because it holds these two awesome conference every year, they make sure that the caves have good lines and markers in them, good steps/benches at the surface, and whatever else they do, then I think you would actually get all of the instructors to push their students to join.

The old guys that actually talk history and who does all that work are a dying breed. Most students only hear about the NFSA after they do a repair project, and most don't know that all the gold line was paid for by the CDS. That is a marketing problem, send a videographer down whenever they are doing projects. Start marketing heavily, publishing blogs. Basically do everything that they aren't doing right now.

If the CDS instructor is primarily issuing certs for another agency, it is proof that they don't believe in the CDS...

In some cases it is like Jim points out, it takes a while for Adam to process the card. The other part is since students are paying for the card, most have never heard of the CDS but they have heard about the TDI. I personally get a TDI card in addition to my CDS card, for the reason Jim points out.
 

tbone1004

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@Manatee Diver the reason that the membership is a cluster is because they created CDS membership without the NSS. If that hadn't happened, then all membership would be processed through the NSS.
Sure revenue may dip for a year or two, but what is the potential for long term?
 

kensuf

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@Manatee Diver the reason that the membership is a cluster is because they created CDS membership without the NSS. If that hadn't happened, then all membership would be processed through the NSS.
Sure revenue may dip for a year or two, but what is the potential for long term?

That's pretty much incorrect. Let's clear up a few things about the CDS only membership:

The CDS was the only NSS IO that the NSS would process memberships for. That old system involved a single person with a printer, who used to handle these things manually (anyone remember filling out paper applications at Dive Outpost??). The NSS stopped doing that when they revamped their membership platform to a new system and the old person stopped handling them. The new system lacked the ability to process membership fees for the only IO that the NSS used to process them for.

The bottom line was the old process was going to change even if the CDS only membership had never been created.

I will also say that I was on a conference call with Geary Schindel (chairman of the NSS) as recently as mid-November and he told me they understood that the CDS membership has a place, especially for foreign visitors that would like to dive Cow, and that the NSS Board didn't see a problem with it. I did ask for that in writing, but I left the NSS-CDS board shortly after that call.

To be clear, I firmly believe the CDS is stronger by being an IO of the NSS and I firmly believe the best membership is an NSS-CDS membership that includes the NSS. However, the CDS only membership isn't the cause of the current problems with the membership platform.
 

tbone1004

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Wasn't there something earlier in this thread where the NSS said they would process memberships for the CDS again? May have been in the CDF thread about it, but I saw something I thought from you where the NSS said they were willing to handle the membership process again
 

kensuf

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If there was a statement that the NSS was going to process memberships for the CDS again, it was incorrect (at least through mid-November). Something may have changed since then.

I won't get into the reasons behind the problems with the membership database, either in public or in private. Others have already basically summarized the root cause of the problems in this thread.
 

Dominick Gheesling

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If there was a statement that the NSS was going to process memberships for the CDS again, it was incorrect (at least through mid-November). Something may have changed since then.

I won't get into the reasons behind the problems with the membership database, either in public or in private. Others have already basically summarized the root cause of the problems in this thread.

Me! It was ME!

I SUMMARIZED :bounce:
 

jlcnuke

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As all of you know, I'm new to the cave diving community. When I looked online, NSS-CDS, TDI, and GUE were the primary training agencies I could find that appeared well-respected and "popular" for their cave training programs and had a reasonable presence in places I planned to dive in the near-term future. It appeared from my reading that most programs were formed based on the training material from the NSS-CDS, though not as recently updated as the NSS-CDS curriculum which recently was overhauled. Those reasons made me gravitate towards training with NSS-CDS and/or TDI. During my training thus far, and time spent diving sites (granted, only ~11 days in total) I have heard tales about what NSS-CDS does or has done I think once, and I've never heard the term NFSA mentioned outside of Scubaboard. In fact, I still don't know who they are as I gave up after finding nothing related to diving, caves, or anything of the sort by the third page of a Google search. A search for "cave diving organizations" on Google gives me a number of agencies (top of the results NSS-CDS) and I don't see anything that would be abbreviated NFSA on that first page.

Now, I can say that in my short time I've seen some faults with the NSS-CDS. Technology wise and administratively primarily. Perhaps there are some bad cave instructors in the NSS-CDS as well, but I don't believe mine fit that bill.

The organization needs to have a mission statement that makes it clear what they are doing and want to accomplish, and they need to show progress towards those goals. I'm not seeing that now (my membership "packet" included a magazine from I don't recall how many years ago, but it wasn't recent). The primary thing I know about what they're doing now is a revamped and updated training program with a number of apparently well-respected instructors in their ranks (from my search for an instructor anyway). As such, it seems to me that their training section is the most visible and most obvious place to push new membership and new cave divers.

Beyond that, they seem to have stalled for the most part. Some of that is likely due to poor communication with the community as just in this thread a number of recent accomplishments have been stated that I had no idea about and apparently many others did not either. I'm assuming that both the NFSA and NSS-CDS are suffering from a lack of information propagation here, as I've only ever heard of the NFSA here and the NSS-CDS's accomplishments aren't apparently making their way to the community they are benefiting. I'd wager both organizations need to find a way to fix that particular issue.

I don't know the politics of the BoD, but it seems to be a contentious thing right now (and I'm guessing not just because of the current election going on) which is almost never good for an organization. That's something that has to be fixed as well, because it turns off potential or new members from wanting to get involved in the first place and new membership is the key to any organization's survival long-term.
 

Dominick Gheesling

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So, here's the link to the NFSA

Home

THEY ARE NOT A CAVE DIVING ORGANIZATION

But they've done lots of work that directly benefits Cave Divers and Cave Instructors, as well as the general public that visits the State Parks they serve.

If you've been to Peacock, they put in the decking and stairs.
If you've been to Madison, they put in the decking and stairs.
If you've been in through Martz, they put in the decking and stairs.
If you've been to Orange Grove, they just did a major repair on the decking and stairs.

Helping out on the Madison project was a fantastic introduction to the community.
 

jlcnuke

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So, here's the link to the NFSA

Home

THEY ARE NOT A CAVE DIVING ORGANIZATION

But they've done lots of work that directly benefits Cave Divers and Cave Instructors, as well as the general public that visits the State Parks they serve.

If you've been to Peacock, they put in the decking and stairs.
If you've been to Madison, they put in the decking and stairs.
If you've been in through Martz, they put in the decking and stairs.
If you've been to Orange Grove, they just did a major repair on the decking and stairs.

Helping out on the Madison project was a fantastic introduction to the community.

Thanks for the link. Seems like a decent organization, but the link you provided just furthers my opinion that they, like NSS-CDS have a public perception/marketing problem. Right there on the main page it's talking about stuff that happened years ago as if it's upcoming. They seem like a decent group though so I'll look into them more.
 
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