Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Is your association letting new members slip through the cracks


At dinner the other evening, two women shared stories about how the local organizations they had joined didn’t seem interested in having them volunteer.

And, that as a result of not being able to volunteer, they dropped out of the organizations.

What a shame!

In one case, the woman said she volunteered for two different parts of the organization. But, never heard from anyone in either leadership or staff. After a few months with no contact, someone from the organization called and asked her to get her photo taken for the membership directory. My friend responded, “You’ve got to be kidding me. I’ve tried to get involved and no one contacts me. Now, you want me to put a photo in the directory?” The caller responded, “I’m sorry, you must have slipped through the cracks.”

The other friend chipped in that she asked to be involved in a program that provided Christmas gifts to underprivileged kids in the area. One morning she received a call saying they were going shopping that morning. She said that wasn’t much notice. Later she found out the “committee of volunteers” would be wrapping and decorating the gifts. (No one invited her.) Feeling rejected, she dropped out of the organization.

Our friends concluded that the “old guard” didn’t want some new member joining their “pet project.”

3 Messages to Associations:

  • Overlooked members become nonmembers.
  • If a member asks to get involved, be sure someone follows up.
  • Be sure that “long standing volunteers” are not blocking new volunteers.

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