When I first started collecting knives one of the first things I did was to join the National Knife Collectors Association (NKCA). While I've yet to purchase an annual club knife, I have attended various NKCA sponsored shows and meetings, including board meetings, out of support for this organization.
The NKCA is a good thing. It is headed up by folks who have a genuine interest in promoting our hobby of knife collecting.
I understand many associations of all types are struggling today- maybe as a result of the economy, or because they are still trying to find their relevance in today's Internet society, but nevertheless, challenges face these groups.
And while there is an evolution of sorts among member habits and needs that cause these organizations to need to adapt and change, often times it is very difficult to see the path that needs taken. Some may argue they have served their purpose, and their time has come, I am not ready to see the NKCA close it's doors. I have to admit, as I write this now, I struggle to provide the benefits the NKCA provides, like it once did, because times have changed- knife collector info is very handy today via the Web, knife shows are hosted by local and regional clubs, who have no direct affiliation with this national organization, and its newsletter is primarily website content with an occasional email update.
To me the future of the organization is directly tied to its future plans, and, of course, its funding. I'd love to see the day the NKCA has a full time executive director, who oversees and is responsible for growing the club and serving the members. Someone who has a team of members out promoting the hobby among the youth groups/clubs, as well as speaking at adult organizations, like the Lion's Club, Jaycees, Rotary, etc. I know you might say- "well sure, money will fix most anything," but not without a plan.
I'd also love to see the NKCA host regular web-broadcast, or even recorded YouTube videos, on various knife and collector related topics, as well as conducting interviews with Old Timers, to build a library of history and cutlery information beneficial to us all, and for future collectors. This valuable information currently dies with each passing member.
Volunteer organizations, while they have their challenges, have been and continue to be highly effective and successful. Sure, our habits may have changed that necessitate the organization to adapt but much good can still be done to serve its members and promote our hobby.
While I can't speak to the past, and any missteps of the NKCA, I know overall it is still a good thing. Currently it is understaffed and short on operating revenue, and while I'm not sure of any membership drive initiative underway, my appeal is for you to 1) renew your membership, if you are a member, 2) join, if you haven't, 3) volunteer to help in their plans and programs, and 4) spread the word about the purpose and benefits of membership to other knife enthusiasts. Also, if you'd be willing to make a donation, it is set up to accept them here- online contributions via PayPal
For more information on the National Knife Collectors Association and ways you can help get involved please visit its website -www.NKCAknife.org