GUMPTION

Membership Meeting Reformatting

Previously, one of the weakest parts of WBA's quarterly Member Meeting Days us was its Membership & Local Officers Group meeting.  Often held as an open forum meeting with about 30-40 attending, these sessions had a tendency to be dominated by just a couple of voices, and were prone to devolve into negativity more than productivity. 

Taking minutes during these meetings and witnessing the struggle, I decided to propose a new meeting format to the WBA Executive Committee that would allow members to tackle specific problems while opening up discussion to more than just a few voices.  This format was based off a common teaching tactic that I had both witnessed as a student and employed as a teaching assistant:  the jigsaw method.  Simply put, this method allowed the room to be broken up into small groups that would work on a series of questions stemming from a larger topic, then come back together to report their findings to the whole room with the chair acting as facilitator.

The first time this new meeting format was implemented, the results were dramatic.  The room buzzed with on-task conversations, and--when it was time to meet as a whole room---many more voices were heard than ever before.  There was also a palpable sense of accomplishment at the end of the meeting, as actionable take-aways had been formed through the process of working in small groups.  In this way, the WBA was able to recapture the small committee spirit without the overhead and time commitment required to maintain small committees, and give members that sense of responsibility and involvement they had been seeking.

Subsequent feedback from the membership has indicated that this new format has been a positive development, and this specific discussion method has started to occur in other meetings throughout the day. 

New Member Packets

Although far from ground-breaking, when I first came on-board at the WBA new member packet mailers had been suspended for several years, citing costs, time commitments, and the responsibility of the local associations to promote the WBA in their welcome materials.  

However, research completed during the WBA re-branding process had indicated that there was a definite lack of knowledge—even among WBA membership—about what the WBA did and how the local association fit into the 3-in-1 membership model of national, state, and local representation.  Additionally, information provided about the WBA by locals was often out-of-date or very minimal.  Having members be unaware of their membership was unacceptable.

Because the WBA deals with members across the state, many far from our office in Madison, I felt it was important to re-launch the new member packet program, as a way to introduce the association in a physical, tangible way.

Using my graphic design skills to cut costs significantly, I was able to put together a high quality folder including a welcome letter, flyers and brochures regarding their new membership, and a WBA logo window decal—all wrapped up in a branded WBA catalog envelope. (To view packet, see Graphic Design.) The cost, postage included, was minimal per member, and the folders were able to be put together quickly in-house.

 

The feedback regarding these folders has been positive, and it’s clear that this has been an effective tool to raise brand awareness and create connection with new members (as evidenced by the number of new members taking the next step to set up website login credentials or attend meetings). 

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© 2018 Sammy dennis

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