SPEAKERS, PUBLISHERS & AUTHORS ASSOCIATION
Prepare your Chapter for Growth
Do your members look forward to your next SPAA meeting? Are most of your guests joining your Chapter? If your answer to either question is "no," it's time to find out why. Every Chapter gains a new member now and then. But do those members stay? If not, why not? If new members generally don't stay with a Chapter, the Chapter is not meeting their needs. For sustained membership growth, make your Chapter worth belonging to! Start by evaluating your Chapter using the "It Is What It Is Moments" analysis on the following pages. After the inventory is compiled, you have a benchmark - a starting point for Chapter improvements in every factor needed to sustain growth. Let's begin....
"It Is What It Is Moments"
An "Is What It Is Moment" (IWII Moment) is a brief window of time in which a critical objective must be achieved. An example of the first IWII moment experienced by a prospective SPAA member is when he or she walks for the first time into the Chapter's meeting room. Is the prospective member greeted warmly and introduced to the members of the Chapter and made to feel at home? If the answer is yes, then your Chapter was successful during this particular moment!
The IWII Moments evaluation is an objective look at Chapter operations and programs to determine how these can be improved for obtaining and retaining members. Experience has shown that Chapters that maintain a high standard of excellence in their Chapter programming, operation, management, member participation and community activities, have a large membership. Watch for areas that need your immediate attention.
Improve activities you already are doing. Take prompt action on activities needing improvement. The Chapter president should assign responsibilities to the appropriate member or committee. It requires a coordinated effort of each officer and member to prepare your Chapter for growth.
It Is What It Is Moment Evaluation First Impressions: Yes or No
a. Are guests greeted warmly and introduced to officers and members?
b. Does your Chapter keep a guest book (list) and provide visitors with name tags?
c. Is the room arranged professionally?
d. Do the arrangements meet the presenters' needs?
e. Are guests invited to introduce themselves to the group?
f. Are guests invited to join?
New Member Orientation: Yes or No
1. Does your Chapter hold a formal induction, including presentation of a membership certificate and new member’s packet?
2. Does your Chapter assign a mentor for each new member?
3. Are SPAA programs and the recognition (Credentials) system discussed with the new member?
4. Are the new member's needs assessed?
5. Are presenting roles assigned?
6. Is the new member given the opportunity to get involved in all aspects of the Chapter's activities?
Fellowship, Variety and Communication: Yes or No
1. Are guests greeted warmly and made to feel welcome?
2. Are enjoyable and educational meetings planned?
3. Does your Chapter have regularly scheduled social events?
4. Do your members participate in Chapter, Regional, National, and international events?
5. Are inter-Chapter events encouraged and planned?
6. Is your Chapter's newsletter issued on a regular basis and your website kept updated?
Program Planning and Meeting Organization: Yes or No
1. Are the meeting program and agenda publicized in advance?
2. Do members know program responsibilities? Are they prepared to carry out all assignments?
3. Are all projects based on the SPAA national directives or manuals?
4. Do meetings begin and end on time?
5. Are SPAA training sessions educational, informative, creative, and entertaining?
6. Are evaluations given in a positive and helpful way?
7. Are members working toward their advanced, certification, and leadership awards/levels?
Membership Strength: Yes or No
1. Does your Chapter have 25 or more members?
2. Are current members retained?
3. Is your Chapter promoted in the community or within its organization?
4. Are Chapter meetings varied and exciting?
5. Are new members' sponsors recognized?
6. Does your Chapter hold a regular membership-building program?
Recognizing Accomplishments: Yes or No
1. Are award applications immediately submitted to National Headquarters?
2. Is a progress chart displayed and maintained?
3. Are member achievements formally recognized with ceremony?
4. Are Chapter, national, and international leaders recognized?
5. Are Chapter and member achievements publicized?
6. Is the Distinguished Chapter Program used for planning and recognition?
Analyze the results of your evaluation, and plan to improve any problem areas. You may also wish to conduct this analysis with your entire Chapter.
MARKETING - WHAT DO THEY NEED?
Now let's introduce the concept of marketing for your SPAA group. The IWII Moments evaluation you've just completed will help you to unite what may have been a fragmented assortment of programs and activities into a cohesive marketing system.
The Marketing Concept
When you sell, you take a ready-made product to your prospect and say "buy." When you market, you consider the customers' needs and then adjust your product to meet them. In SPAA, our marketing efforts are member oriented. We must always be alert to the needs of those we aim to serve. Your analysis will help determine whether your Chapter is meeting the needs of its present membership and may offer insights into meeting the needs of potential members.
Our Marketing Mix
The SPAA marketing mix consists of programming or services, the distribution system (the Chapter), price, and promotional programs.