Membership - What is YOUR Story?
Randy Lusk, Membership Chair
What a great summer - plenty of warm weather and sunny days, and it has been just all around awesome to be outside. Now I know some of you may think I am nuts, but I like the heat and have loved the whole summer.
On a more serious note, I want to thank all our members for keeping ISAWWA one of the strongest in AWWA. We are currently 7th overall. And I’d like to take this opportunity to go over a few other membership-related issues.
I am sure many of you know that we set up booths at certain shows throughout the year to promote ISAWWA. This year the volunteer numbers have been off the charts. We have had so many new folks helping out and learning through experience how to talk to members and potential new members. Don’t be shy, come out to the booth and learn and help educate people. When it gets closer, a doodle will go out asking for volunteers. I will list the shows here so you can mark your calendar.
IPWSOA – Sept 19-21st in Springfield
IRWA Northern – Oct 23-24 in Rockford
Joint Products Day – Oct 17th in Tinley Park
Science Teacher Conference – Nov 1-3
I know you have heard this before, but it’s so important to get everyone involved in retention and new memberships that I am repeating these statements one more time.
When talking to individuals about membership you, need to create a story. Here are a few things to keep in mind when talking to people.
- KISS – keep it short and simple.
- TARGET – Don’t send a wingtip message to a flip flop. I know most of you, right now, are thinking . . . what?!?! What that means is "target” your audience with your message about the advantages of AWWA membership. The benefits to someone new in the industry (a "young professional”) won’t necessarily be the same as the advantages of membership to someone who has been around for a while.
- VALUE message overload. Repeat it and how it has helped me and how can it help you.
- CASE – Copy and steal everything that can work for you. Use other people’s techniques and ideas to help in your recruitment efforts. Remember, one size doesn’t fit all! Try to find out the name of the person you want to recruit right away, and keep using it. People want to feel that they belong and are recognized.
And now I want to talk a little about retention and to give some insight of what I’ve learned that may help you.
- Orientation – Make them feel part of the club, people want to belong. I know I said this above but this is very true and important. Human nature is to belong to something.
- Participation Utilization – Get them involved early and often, new members will want to get involved. You will want to get in touch with them within 60-90 days of their initial recruitment and get them involved.
- Leadership – Show them how we learn leadership from AWWA and what we can do with it in our current jobs, and how it has helped you. The art of inspiring to achieve a common objective.
Keep the new going. It’s almost like having a new car - the longer the smell is there, the longer we take extra care of it. This is what we need to do with members; keep it going, don’t forget about them. Recognize those getting involved, make sure to show appreciation whenever you can. If you’re talking to someone who has stopped being involved or stopped being a member, let them know that they are wanted and missed. Again, people want to be involved or they most likely wouldn’t have joined in the first place. When talking to prospective and former members about the benefits of AWWA, we need to have passion, fire and also remember why we joined. Bring this to them -show them, excite them into retaining their membership; and, of course, use the same on potential new members.
Think like a prospect. Know your members; know the organization; customize how you approach people; try to be unique and always be honest. Like I said above, get their name and use it . . . a lot. People will often ask you, what am I getting out of this membership? My answer to them is whatever they want to get out of it, it’s up to them. We can show them the benefits and share our ideas and our experiences but be honest and let them know, it’s what they want, we will help them with the tools but we cannot give them their experience – that’s something they have to achieve on their own.
I would like to come up with a slogan for membership and would like ideas from you. Remember, if you have seen one you like, such as CASE (copy and steal everything), share it. I am still offering this challenge to anyone who would like to try and come up with one. I will pick the winner. The deadline will be December 31, 2012. You will receive a prize you won’t forget.
ISAWWA is also going to be participating in the 2012 Membership Matters Challenge. Our goal is as follows:
- YE Total Students: 41 (Currently at 44)
- New YP: 10 (Currently at 7)
- YE Total Membership Goal: 1878 (Currently at 1884)
- Retention Goal: 88%
I am asking all members to help ISAWWA reach this goal and show why we are one of the top sections in AWWA. One of the new key elements is our website. Everyone needs to learn how to use it and take advantage of it since you get it for being a member. It has everything from Webinars to Buyers Guide (for vendors). Learn it, love it and use it. Also, don’t forget free webinars for 2012, new and taped ones.
The new members should have been receiving calls from their trustees; this is something new we started this past year and has been going great. I want to thank all the trustees for stepping up and calling all the new members to welcome them to ISAWWA and to make them feel at home. It takes time and all of you have done a great job. Thanks again.
One last note, go Bears since my Cubbies are selling…