A Little Help From Our Membership Peers

Lori Halley 22 September 2014 0 comments

Last week we held our 12th conference call session with members of our Small Membership Advisory Community. The topic was “How to Manage Your Board”. We’ll offer up some of the terrific insight provided on that topic at a later date. But what really struck me about the call was the candid sharing and spirited conversation. Everyone was excited at the opportunity to be able to talk about their experiences, challenges and solutions.

We started this Advisory Community and began hosting these conference calls after hearing from our Small Membership Survey participants and customers that they often work in isolation and want to be able to connect with their peers.

After the most recent session, I started thinking about the tremendous value we gain from interacting with our peers. And it reminded me of the Beatles' song – A Little Help From My Friends. These lyrics seem particularly apt:

...How do I feel by the end of the day?
(Are you sad because you're on your own?)
No I get by with a little help from my friends
...Mm going to try with a little help from my friends

Many of us are involved as board members or volunteer in other capacities at associations, clubs or non-profits. We’re committed and happy to help out, but sometimes it can feel like we’re working in a vacuum, not sure who to turn to and maybe even a little overwhelmed about our role. We may be able to do a “meet and greet” with our peers at an annual conference, but there are few opportunities to really be able to share challenges, ask questions, get feedback on ideas or even vent about our frustrations.

That’s why we’ve kept the format of our Small Membership Advisory calls pretty basic. We simply connect people in similar roles, facing similar obstacles. And then we facilitate discussion so they can share best practices, mistakes to avoid and key lessons learned. We keep the numbers down so everyone has an opportunity to share a problem or offer a success story.

Sharing with peers from across the U.S. and even Australia

Last week we had participants calling in from all over the U.S. (California, Texas, Connecticut, Oregon) and even from Sydney, Australia. All of these folks, regardless of their location or the type of organization (ski club, to orchid club, association or non-profit), had experienced similar situations with their boards. For some, the call came just as there was a crisis with the board for which an elected president wanted ideas and reassurance. For others, it was an opportunity to share and discuss best practices for raising ideas and promoting change at the board level.

I can tell you that I’m personally learning so much from these Membership Advisory calls and we’ll be sharing the insight and ideas in future posts on this blog. We’ve also started conducting 1-On-1 interviews with individual members of our Advisory Community. If you missed it, we just published the final installment in a 3-part blog series with Greg Damron, president of ATD St. Louis. You can check it out here.

Interested in connecting with your membership peers?

If you are a volunteer or staff member of a small association, club or non-profit and want to connect with your small membership peers, consider joining our Small Membership Advisory Community. To join, you simply fill out this form.

Stay tuned for blog posts on the topics covered in our Advisory Community calls and more 1-On-1 interviews in the coming weeks.


Image source:  Teamwork-people – courtesy of BigStockPhoto.com

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Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Monday, 22 September 2014 at 8:30 AM

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