Sunday, September 20, 2015

Traditions Can Boost Member Loyalty

I went back to Columbus to an Ohio State football game last week.

It happened to be Alumni Band Day and it incorporated alumni cheerleaders and recognition of former championship football and baseball teams.

Here is a selection of Ohio State’s Game Day traditions:
  • Skull Session: This is the band’s rehearsal and open to the public. It draws about 14,000 people for the hour.
  • Team Walk: The football team stays in an on-campus hotel and walks to the band’s Skull Session. After a “pep rally,” the team then walks (through hundreds of fans) from the Arena to the Stadium.
  • Tailgating: What is a football game without tailgating. I’m always shocked at some of the setups. And surprised at how many people at tailgates don’t have football tickets. They come to “soak up” the atmosphere.
  • Block O: A special student group that cheers with cards and anchors the student section.
  • Hang On Sloopy: This popular 1960s song has become a tradition at Ohio State. In fact, this is the 50th anniversary of Ohio State’s playing Hang On Sloopy. So, to recognize the anniversary, the original members of the band, The McCoys, came to the stadium to open Hang On Sloopy’s celebration.
  • Script Ohio: First performed in 1936, Script Ohio has become a signature event for the band and for Ohio State. And, during this Alumni Band Day, the band and alumni simultaneously performed four Script Ohio’s. See for yourself ... it is awesome! 
Traditions help connect older members (alums) with the organization. And, they serve as a bridge between newer members (students) and older members (alums).

As associations move to assimilate millennial members, they need to be mindful of traditions and customs that link older members to the organization.
  • What are your traditions and customs?
  • How are you engaging younger members in existing customs?
  • Are you using your traditions and customs to bridge younger and older members?

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