Where “Members Matter Most”

By Scott HollisterGCSAA 2014 Board and Staff Photos
TOCA Board Chair

Since its founding some 27 years ago, TOCA has accomplished some pretty special things. From the scholarships it has awarded and the professional development it has provided, to the relationships and connections it has fostered, this organization has contributed to the green industry in ways that should make all of us exceedingly proud.

But at our core, TOCA is a membership organization, and none of the important and lasting accomplishments that we have achieved over the years would be possible without you, TOCA’s members.

This is something that is rarely far from my mind as TOCA’s president. Maybe that’s because my “real job” is with another membership organization, GCSAA, where we’re reminded regularly about the importance of member growth, satisfaction and retention. The mantra “Members Matter Most” isn’t just a catch phrase at GCSAA; it’s something that drives our work on a daily basis.

I’m pleased to report that TOCA is taking a similar approach to its business, as evidenced by a pair of initiatives that you’ll be hearing about, not only in this issue of TOCA Talk, but also well into the future.

Many of us know and regularly connect with communicators in the green industry who, for one reason or another, are not current members of TOCA. They might not fully comprehend the benefits of membership, might be leery of a commitment to yet another cause or organization or they might simply have never been asked to join.

That’s where the first of these new initiatives comes in, one that aims to reward current members of TOCA with cold, hard cash for each new member they bring to the organization. Much more information about this effort will be forthcoming after its official launch at the upcoming GIE+EXPO conference in Louisville, Ky., in October, but the overall premise is simple — recruit five or more new members to TOCA and be eligible for a cash prize ranging from $25 all the way up to $300.

In recent years, TOCA’s membership rolls have swelled to their highest point in our organization’s history. But continued growth doesn’t happen on its own, which is why I’m pleased that Russ Warner, Andrew Gillman, Fuzz Martin and the rest of the membership committee have made this program and making sure that “Members Matter Most” such a priority.

Another area where TOCA is looking to spread that philosophy is overseas, among our international colleagues who work in the green industry. You’ve likely at least heard about our recent international efforts before now, but I can assure you that those efforts continue and we’re hopeful that 2017 will bring a new high-water mark to our work in the UK and Europe.

These efforts have experienced their fair share of fits and starts, to be sure, but I am IMG_1853 (3)confident that the foundation for this work remains solid. We have secured gracious financial support for our work internationally from our friends at Bayer and Jacobsen. We have a dedicated internal committee working to plot out the next logical steps in our efforts. And again in 2017, TOCA will take its message to the BIGGA (British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association) Turf Management Exposition in Harrogate, England, to further strengthen existing relationships, establish new ones and lay the groundwork for a possible stand-alone TOCA meeting in the UK later in 2017.

We have undertaken these overseas efforts not necessarily to grow our domestic membership as much as to create a sister organization that can serve our green industry colleagues in the UK and Europe the same way TOCA has served all of us here in the U.S., to create an organization dedicated to education, to scholarship and to giving those communicators a place where they know that members will most definitely matter most.

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