As the world continues to shrink, and people continue to migrate away from local organizations and clubs, here are ten things you can do in the coming year to pump some new life into your club.
1. We will nurture all new members!
-- Make certain that once you have a new member, that you continue to nurture and stay in contact. New members should be asked to participate and become active with committee work as soon as they join so that they will have a feeling of belonging.
2. We will conduct awards and recognitions
-- find reasons either in the community or in the group to give awards and/or recognitions. If you look, you'll find many! Contact the media whenever one of your group's members is presented an award or achieves recognition. Even if a member has distinguished himself in another arena, his affiliation with the group should always be mentioned.
3. We will create a directory of members
-- A colorful, user-friendly directory should also contain a list of past officers, interesting tidbits of information and association trivia. But don't put it on the web or PDF -- make it special: print it. The directory can be funded by solicitation of ads or donations from special 'sponsors'.
4. We will launch a new "Member Packet"
-- or renovate your old one. This packet should include the TOP TEN LIST OF BENEFITS for joining, as well as membership applications, the group's mission statement, state and national information, a list of projects that the group may be working on, and names and phone numbers of officers and chairpersons.
5. We will find out what our members want
-- Updated member information should be requested at least once a year. Also ask for volunteers in specific areas, such as public relations, community service, etc. Personal follow up after the surveys are returned will generate dialogue that will reveal how existing members really feel about your group!
6. We will invite a local celebrity
-- To increase membership, have officers and board members personally contact a visible member of the community (center of influence) and ask them to join. You may want to hold a special membership luncheon or reception to get better acquainted with prospective members. If your association is part of a national association, include representatives from these organizations on your guest list.
7. We will hold a community fund raiser
-- Every community needs something. No matter how large or how small, there's a fund raiser your club can get involved in. The media should be contacted including the local paper and radio stations. If they're not available to cover the event, find your group's best PR/marketing expert to help, take pictures yourself and submit to local papers with press release.
8. We will Partner with others
-- Partner with a non-profit organization that's already established. Community service work earns favorable recognition. Jointly working on a project and thereby linking yourself to a successful, established group is powerful.
9. We will make our meetings great
-- Often, user groups allow standards to drop when they are having membership or financial problems. Achieve the highest degrees of excellence and don't allow individual, personal agendas to compromise what your club is all about.
10. We will make it fun
-- Develop camaraderie and a congenial atmosphere at meetings. Members should not only be proud of their organization and feel honored to belong -- but should always have a good time as well.
Local organizations still can play an important role in the well being of your community. But it does take a little work and a little vision. If you want help with any of the above just contact me.
thanks for reading
PS: Interesting to note, I first published this in the one-hundred sixty-fifth (#165) edition of 60-Second Windows, on December 25, 2003 -- specifically for the user group community. But it all still holds true today!