The following is a message that was recently posted on Facebook by Bruce McEwan, the president of the Friends of Falls of Clyde (FFOC):
“Friends of Falls of Clyde met with the Deputy Director of Harbors Division today. He wants a commitment as to when we will complete our fundraiser for the drydock cost of $1.5 million. We have asked for the year 2016 to complete our fundraiser and get the ship into drydock. He is taking our request ‘under advisement,’ but we will not know the exact timing until we hear from him. The message is clear, we MUST meet our goal as soon as possible. While we have grant applications pending and some to submit, we need to show that we have grassroot support from individual donors. Supporters need to donate now to show that this is an achievable and worthwhile goal. Go to Indiegogo or directly to our website ate [sic] http://www.friendsoffallsofclyde.org.”;
Those of you who follow my blog, know of my past involvement with the FFOC and understand how much I love the ship and want to see her restored to her former glory. It’s been about a year since I resigned from the FFOC board and it has been an interesting (and distressing/depressing) time as an outsider looking in.
Mr. McEwan says the “message is clear.” Indeed, it is. The FFOC board has not learned from past missteps and continues to tread the same path.
A project on the scale of preserving and ultimately restoring the Falls of Clyde takes time, commitment, and passion. Has the FFOC board been doing all it can?
Supporters are being called on to step up. What are the board members doing to step up their game? Where is their presence in the sailing ship/historic ship communities? What are they doing to network and to learn what it takes to dry dock a ship like Falls of Clyde, given the fact that NONE of them have the practical experience needed?* What is the board doing to gain more local waterfront support?
There appears to be no PR or marketing plan. What effort is there to really win grassroots support? How is the new Indiegogo campaign going to be different from the last one? What is the compelling message that will inspire people to reach into their pockets, AGAIN, to give hard earned money to the organization? How is the call for action being spread outside of Facebook and the organization website? Social media can be a powerful tool if used correctly.
The FFOC needs to do a better job of reaching out and informing people. Don’t assume that the general public knows what is happening. I run into people on the waterfront who ask me what is going on and get emails and other forms of e-messages from folks looking for more information.
Why is there no steady/weekly presence on the ship? People have commented to me that they never see anyone doing any work on board the ship. I have to agree. I am at the harbor on a weekly basis, and rarely see anyone. Basic maintenance is important. More effort should be made to do it. After I left the organization, a board member bragged to me that they had a number of volunteers lined up? Where are they? If the board members can’t be bothered to spare time for the ship, how can they ask others to do the same? Board members, how much of a priority is the ship in your lives?
There are technical issues that still haven’t been addressed. Also, it would be a good idea to learn how to do the basic technical stuff and not rely on others. Just saying.
There are two words that come to mind that describe the current board. I won’t say them at this point. However, I will say that it is painfully obvious that it is time for fresh blood, new ideas, and people who are willing and able to sacrifice time and put in the effort to save the ship.
Time is running out.
(I feel like a broken record.)
*They should be reaching out to the folks at South Street Seaport and scheduling a visit to observe the work being done on Wavertree.