During Fall 2007, the Association Professional Membership Committee sponsored a unique promotion. Chapters wishing to conduct their own local campaigns could receive $250 from the committee to assist them in their efforts. Twenty-nine chapters took advantage of the offer and submitted brief proposals describing how they intended to use the awards. The program ran for the first quarter of 2008. During that time, the committee announced that it would award a $500 prize to the chapter that did the best job of proposal and implementation.
Twenty-five chapters provided a summary of their results. From those summaries, the committee chair narrowed the list to six finalists: Charleston, Johnstown, Long Island, Northwest Arkansas, Omaha, and Polk County. Committee members reviewed the documentation from these six and decided that multiple awards were appropriate.
Charleston, Long Island, and Northwest Arkansas were declared winners, and each will receive $250. Johnstown, Omaha, and Polk County were runners up.
All six show what can be done in large chapters and in smaller ones. Charleston and Long Island, two large chapters, submitted comprehensive proposals based on their 2008 business plan. The four smaller chapters submitted proposals built around narrower objectives.
The Winners Charleston's plan was the most comprehensive. The committee was particularly impressed with two innovations, a membership log sheet, based on the concept that each new member would be assigned a mentor, and a new member orientation. The chapter also spotlights one member each month. To learn more about Charleston's results, contact Robin Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Long Island's plan was simple and direct, with four clear goals, both for the year and for the promotion period within that. The most impressive result was the increase in membership. Long Island's membership rose from 165 to 184. To learn more about Long Island's results, contact Blaine Atkins at email@example.com.
Northwest Arkansas, as a very small chapter, took a single focus. It used the promotion award to place an advertisement in the local Sunday newspaper. The newspaper had its own promotion and the chapter was able to get a 1/3 page ad and an article about the chapter. With the ad and well-planned meetings, the chapter grew from 10 to 18 during the promotion period. To learn more about the Northwest Arkansas results, contact Cindy Ragan at firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Runners Up Johnstown (PA) joined the local chamber of commerce and conducted three months of ads and postcards. Meeting attendance grew by 50%.
Omaha conducted a prize contest to bring in guests. Over the period, 32 guests attended, about twice normal, and the chapter got six new members.
Polk County developed a program around contacting businesses and using e-mails and newspaper ads to invite them to educational seminars at a community college. One hundred eighty-five people from 78 companies attended.
The Membership Committee thanks these chapters and the others that showed that the "I" in "aitp" also stands for "Innovation." Congratulations.
Craig Kennedy Chair, Professional Member Recruitment