While the weather outside my window this afternoon was cold and snowy – my heart was full of pride as we participated in the organization’s very first training webinar! Shari Pash, our Membership Strategist and consultant, provided a great training session for us all.
Shari shared with us that she is working with local, state, national, and international organizations on the topic of membership. She started the webinar by saying that she’s so impressed by Sigma Phi Gamma that she is going to start her own local Chapter! WOWSER!
My notes from the webinar follow. I hope you’ll take a moment to review and think about your role in membership growth for SPG!
Recruitment and Retention: A great resource is author and public speaker Simon Sinek and his work with WHY. What is ‘the why’ that women seek by being a member of SPG.
The ABCs of Members: A members might be a daughter of a current member – which is often a sustainable member, someone who joins and stays! The B member is a person who stays with SPG because of relationships or active service. The C member comes for a short time and then leaves. Knowing your members is important. We need to think about membership in a more intentional way – a way to recruit with purpose.
Relational, Friendly, and Strategic: Think about the things you need to know about your Sisters and potential Sisters – What are their current cause involvement; how do they spend their extra-curricular time; how do they socialize – is it in groups, one-on-one, or via technology; what does family mean to these women. The idea is to learn more about women we approach so that we know how to talk with them from their center of interest aligning it to specific aspects of SPG.
What are the benefits of SPG:
- Lifelong friendships – We are united through friendships and dedication to community service. We are just as busy as the busiest person you know, but we each believe that we can make a positive difference and united … we do!
- Sisterhood – We are women of all ages and circumstances – single, married, widowed, and divorced. Some have children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, aging parents, and fur babies!
Reaching Goals: Setting and reaching goals – short and long term (for example, an increased number of members and Chapters). What are the activities and outcomes – what are the intentional activities that we’re planning and doing to reach those short and long-term goals. Make sure there are strategic activities to help us reach our outcomes/goals.
Relationships: Is what we’re doing transactional or relational? It’s about the personal relational things we do in our communications and interactions that will make the biggest positive difference. Providing the high-touch with care in our relationships around membership will yield the biggest and best results.
Relevance: What is the value proposition in being an SPG member? Members aren’t buying a membership, they are really seeking connections/friendships and opportunities to serve. What’s an example of a value proposition: Our meetings are in the evening? Do all members have availability to attend meetings in the evening? Are we meeting our members’ needs?
SWOT – Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats exercise to help you learn more about what’s happening, what can be improved, and how to go about making improvements comes from doing this exercise. Use the tool in Shari’s PPT (PowerPoint presentation) to walk through membership goals and activities, or anything your Chapter does. If you want to know more about this exercise let me know and I’ll send you a copy of the PPT where you can learn more about SWOT.
Research: We need to target the best membership prospects, this is a strategy for membership growth. When we use Membee, SPG’s new database, we can collect information on members AND potential members (leads from the SPG website, for example). Knowing more about members and potential members can help Organizers know more about the connections that can be made. For example, Sue is a nurse at the local Children’s Hospital and has an interest in a skating club for exercise and fun – how can we help Sue know how to talk about SPG to her skating friends to consider membership in SPG.
Results: Measurement and accountability. What do we need to be doing? What are our recruitment activities and our goal for membership growth? Intentional membership growth takes planning and execution of strategic activities.
Written goals often result in a higher success rate (40%). Written goals and weekly accountability to those goals results in a higher success rate (80%).
Resources: Think about the use of interns, even at the Chapter level, to help with meeting planning at the Chapter or Province levels; technology assistance; marketing and social media; etc. and remember this is an opportunity to allow a young professional to get some experience in planning and working with our service sorority. Imagine inviting a young woman into the fold as an intern – she is likely to become a member because she is so impressed with our friendship and service to community.
Remember you don’t have to reinvent the wheel – there are resources already available with SPG (website; database/Membee; handbooks and guidebooks, seasoned leaders, etc.). Using existing SPG tools and new strategies and tools we have with Shari is a win-win.
Recognition: By recognizing what motivates our members is the path to knowing what will be the most meaningful ways to recognize their service and commitment to SPG. Much like our new awards represent. Recognition, however, should be consistent and intentional. Who in your Chapter is your Recognition Cheerleader? Make it a priority. Consider a written plan for recognition or at least a few guiding ‘rules.’ We have the new Hidden Champion and New-Found Treasure Awards. I hope you will honor Sisters in your Chapter. My Chapter, Xi Xi, has already submitted our honorees to Sandy Morris, International Vice President. You can’t believe how honored our Sisters were to be recognized.
New membership tools are being developed by Shari and the Advisory Committee and will be introduced in the coming months for use by all members at the Chapter, Province, and International levels.
Shari is open to hearing from SPG members with questions and ideas: 517-285-7127 firstname.lastname@example.org
So, our first webinar was pretty great. This was another milestone in our history! There were 50 members who registered for the webinar, and 39 participated. Not bad for our first webinar. Watch your email for information about two more webinars in the coming weeks – you won’t want to miss a thing!
I’m just loving that we are working on the strategies outlined in our Strategic Plan, we are making progress and moving ahead! Hooray for all of us!
Hugs to all,
Past International President