This past week, Thursday, October 24 through Saturday the 26th, I attended the 2013 ASTD Annual Leadership Conference (ALC). Thanks to you, our Eastern PA ASTD members, I was able to network with other chapter leaders and participate in sessions that showcased ideas used by those leaders to deliver value to their members and build membership in their chapters.
One session, “Gain and Retain: Proven Techniques for Driving Member Value and Engagement”, offered by Lori Klepfer and Shannon Hunt of the Greater Cleveland Chapter asked and answered the question: How can we drive member value and engagement? I found this session to be the most stimulating of those I attended.
I came away with a number of ideas I am going to discuss with your Chapter Board members. I won’t go into any details here but will list those ideas and the value they can create for us.
The first idea is a special interest group (SIG) for subject matter experts (SMEs). SMEs are often asked to train but do not have the competencies of a trainer. The SIG could be a forum for our members to highlight their skills as trainers and facilitators while developing training competencies in others, a direction National ASTD is taking. We could also boost our membership numbers by providing valuable information to SMEs who frequently train but have no other support for those activities.
Our membership has been declining. The Board needs to provide more value to our members and create value that will give non-members a reason to join our Chapter I came away with a couple of other ideas that might help with both those needs.
One participant shared their chapter’s Memberfest idea, a networking event that allowed members to share ideas informally and bring new members to the chapter. Members thoroughly enjoyed the event, not just because it was held at a brewery, and found value in it.
New members bring new ideas that can benefit all our members. A “Bring a Buddy” event which would either discount the cost for a non-member you bring to the event or result in a discounted membership could help us build our membership in the coming year. The chapter presenting this idea found 50% of the guests signing up as members after the event.
Other ideas included joint programs with other Chapters, in our case the Philadelphia and Capital (Harrisburg) Area chapters, joint programs with SHRM chapters, a senior membership rate for retired members, among others. I already started a conversation with the Philadelphia chapter president-elect and the Capital chapter president about the possibilities of a joint conference in 2015 (it takes too long to plan such an event to kick it off in 2014).
The ALC resulted in a bunch of ideas that I will be talking with the Board about. I know the Board will be letting you, our members, know how those conversations go.
Thank you for your support and sending me to ALC!