2011 ACB Membership Seminar

The membership committee will present its annual seminar on Thursday, July 14, from 2:45-4 p.m. The title of the seminar is "Exploring How Affiliates Can Reach New Members." Panel discussion topics will be "How Affiliates Use Social Networking" and "How Affiliates Can Support Students to Attend National Conventions." We will introduce the two affiliates that won the ACB Affiliate Growth Awards, and give door prizes. We encourage each affiliate to send at least one representative to attend the seminar. Hand-outs will be available.

** Tips to Retain Members

At our April ACB membership focus call, we had many participants. Several themes were developed: helping members to feel needed and wanted, communicating with members, and finding ways to attract and retain members of all ages.

Most thought that members stay active if they are involved in the chapter or affiliate. It was suggested that members be requested to assist the chapter in some way, a small task at first. Some possibilities were:

- Handling the birthday list

- Monthly telephone calls to members

- Writing regular newsletter

- Plan social events

- Social fundraising

- Circulating profile of members

- Participating on committees

- Establish mentoring or buddy system

Another theme was the importance of communicating with members. Each chapter should have an updated membership roster that can be shared with members so they can keep in touch outside of meetings. Rosters should include each member's address, phone number, and e-mail address. Each member could decide what information to share.

Many chapters have an e-mail list to share information. It can either be an announcement list or one that allows members to e-mail all on the list when they choose. A phone tree company can be used for leaving automatic phone messages to remind members of meetings or special events. A couple of systems that could be used are www.onecallnow.com or www.callingpost.com. Fees are based on the number of calls made and/or whether you pay for an unlimited plan for calls. Another system, www.simplevoicebox.com, allows you to have a voice mail box that members can call to receive updated information and leave a message as well. A chapter could also choose to have communication partners that send a written notice to members before each meeting. After a member has missed one or two meetings, someone could be assigned to call those missing.

Another suggestion was to create an annual calendar listing monthly meetings, Christmas parties, and fundraising events. If events are arranged during the year, you might have to circulate new ones. Another idea was to record meetings for those unable to attend a regular meeting. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are social networks that chapters and affiliates could use to keep people in touch with one another, as well as a way to reach younger members.

It is often hard to find ways to attract and retain members of all ages. A mentoring program for new members might keep members from leaving your chapter. Initially, a member could be assigned to act as a buddy to a new member. Often, it is the relationship-building that keeps people coming. One chapter has developed a friendship network that helps members get to know each other. Each member is asked to submit a profile that can be used to introduce people of like interests to one another.

Some activities that might retain or draw members are: having a monthly 50/50 raffle, audio-described theater gatherings, casino night, anniversary picnic, sporting events, leadership training, how-to sessions, or an entrepreneurship round table. One chapter has a member who creates cute names to be used for the 50/50 raffle rather than numbered tickets: spring plants, holiday themes, or other like names (birds or trees).

Our quarterly membership focus calls allow all of us to share our ideas with one another. Please urge your affiliate to have someone participate in our next focus call. If your affiliate has any membership related issue, please contact someone on the ACB membership committee.