compiled by Ardis Bazyn
(Editor’s Note: Ardis Bazyn is the chair of ACB’s membership committee. You can reach her via email, [email protected].)
In October, the ACB Membership Committee held five focus calls on the topic of special-interest affiliates. The first night dealt with the fact that special-interest affiliates and state affiliates working together helps boost membership for both groups. The next four nights gave presidents or their designees an opportunity to tell everyone about their special-interest affiliate. These were to familiarize members about the purpose of each special-interest affiliate and understand how they could participate and join them.
Membership and involvement are two common topics in ACB. When members of state affiliates learn about the type of members these affiliates are recruiting, they can more easily recommend that their members check them out. Some of the ways to have both the special-interest affiliate members and the state affiliate members understand each other is to know how each might help the other in recruiting, in finding programming for both types of members, and in widening the base pool of possible members.
When your state affiliate holds its conventions, consider asking members of special-interest affiliates in your state to participate. You might ask them to plan a presentation relating to their affiliate or offer a time slot for a break-out session. In this way, both special-interest affiliates who wish to increase membership and state affiliates can benefit. The more people who attend your conventions, the more you are likely to earn in fundraising and participation fees.
Consider putting information about special-interest affiliates in your state affiliate newsletter. Special-interest affiliates offer support in specific areas. For example, Diabetics in Action holds community calls on topics to help diabetics. American Association of Blind Teachers supports students in the teaching field by sharing teaching techniques and educational opportunities. You could contact the president of one of the special-interest affiliates and ask for an article about their monthly calls and other support options.
State and special-interest affiliates can hold joint community calls to share information which might be relevant to both. Many affiliates work together to provide sessions at the national convention relevant to more than one affiliate’s members. Joint sessions get more convention participants to participate in the session and help members understand the relevance of joining together for the same purpose.
Good luck on your efforts in building relationships between affiliates. Don’t hesitate to contact the ACB Membership Committee for further assistance. Our February and March focus calls will highlight various state affiliate spring conventions. Focus calls generally fall on the fourth Sunday of the month at 9 p.m. Eastern.