Step 10 to uniting the diving industry is to volunteer your time and talents to non-profit organizations that unite and grow the industry, like Dive Industry Foundation. Dive Industry Foundation is a non-profit, tax-exempt, 501(c)(3), charitable organization dedicated to promoting economic development in the worldwide diving community. The Foundation maintains a full time office in Melbourne, Florida. It sponsors DIVE LOCAL, conducts industry surveys, exhibits at diving trade and consumer shows, and conducts business improvement seminars and workshops for dive business owners and their employees. It is establishing a Business Reference Library with books and magazines from the diving community. Many of the projects the Dive Industry Foundation undertakes are time consuming, labor intensive and expensive. The short-term economic return to the Foundation, or any one dive business for that matter may be negligible but the long-term economic return to the diving industry as a whole could be substantial. That is the main reason it is so important for each member of the diving community to consider volunteering a small amount of their time, money and manpower to the Foundation.
In the previous step (#9) we talked about the need to make a monetary donation to the Foundation in order to pay for things that cost the organization money. However, the Foundation has many needs that can only be met with volunteer labor and participation. We need Dive Retailers to fill out our Retail Center profile and update it yearly. We need them to collect Business Cards of all their Manufactures, Sales Reps, Training Consultants and Travel Vendors and mail them to us on a monthly basis. We need Manufacturing and Training Sales Reps to fill out their Sales Rep Profile and update it annually and to collect Business Cards of all their Employers, Retail Stores and Instructors. We need booth space at dive and adventure travel shows and we need media coverage in the dive industry media.
One of the most important needs of the Foundation is for volunteers to staff our booths at trade and consumer dive and travel shows. We have new guidelines as to what is required for our booth volunteers based on discussions we have had with Show Producers. Show producers want to sell booth space but the high price of the space is prohibitive to many of the small business owners that need to exhibit at their local consumer dive show. The travel industry understands this very well. A number of Tourism Boards will pay for booth space and may send one delegate to supervise a number of their local resorts or dive operators who supply the labor for booth staffing. As long as the booth design reflects the Tourism Board’s identity, this concept becomes a WIN – WIN – WIN situation for the show producer, tourism board and the local dive operator. Our goal for the Foundation is to continue to exhibit at local dive, surf, adventurer travel, boat and outdoor shows to promote the diving industry. We are looking for volunteers to staff the booth along with other local dive business owners. In this way, we are showing support for the local show, working with the local business community and promoting the industry to the local dive community.
Needles to say, the Dive Industry Foundation has 14 years experience in exhibiting at local dive, surf and travel shows. Our strength has always been the extensive pre-show, at-show and post-show marketing we have done for the show producers but our Achilles’s heal has been the cost of attending these shows and the commitment in manpower that is required. The one thing I have learned about successful dive shows is that you not only need the support of the local diving community to have a successful show, you need to support the local diving community in return. Exhibitors will purchase booth space, Sponsors will pay for exposure, Speakers will give their presentations for free and Volunteers will donate their labor but if you are not spending money on advertising the show and on the local diving community you’ll get very few attendees and no support from the local community. It’s all a matter of Good Stewardship, which is defined as the responsible management of resources entrusted to one’s care.
There are many non-profit organizations in the international diving community. We’ve listed a number of them on https://divelocal.wordpress.com/directory/non-profits/ Six of the non-profits have stepped up to help us promote the DIVE LOCAL concept. Our goal is to promote the non-profits that are doing good work with the environment, marine animals, diver safety and numerous other good causes that are entrusted to us as ocean ambassadors. As Good Stewards of the environment, we need to educate ourselves on what makes a non-profit organization good. With the help of Nonprofit Search Companies like GuideStar we can view non-profit reports and tax returns of these non-profits and get in contact with donors and grantmakers to help us. With the help and guidance of 21st Century Software and Media companies we can bring better and more sophisticated marketing tools to our industry businesses. There is so much to do to reach our goals, and yet it only takes a little time, money, manpower and a plan.
The Harvest in our industry is indeed plentiful. Consider this a recruitment for Laborers.