Light a Fire: Add Glow to Your Meetings
By Nicole Simmons, Membership Director
A recent survey of former Soroptimists revealed that a large number of members did not enjoy their club meetings!
Coming together is an important part of being a Soroptimist. Why? Because our mission calls on members to work together in order to improve the lives of women and girls. There is power in numbers and when we unite on our common goals, we really make a collective impact!
Meetings can become monotonous and unpleasant for a number of reasons. Perhaps it’s because club leaders sometimes have their own ideas and are not interested in what other members have to say. Or the meetings aren’t productive, they are too long, too often, and too few members show up.
SI/Corona in the Golden West Region shared some ideas about their successful club meetings through their submission to Soroptimist Celebrating Success! In fact, the secret to their success—Meeting Mix-Up—captured the top recognition in the membership category in 2012!
Club members recognized their weekly lunchtime meetings limited some women from attending and becoming members. Leadership brainstormed and decided to maintain two of their lunchtime meetings a month and mix things up for the two other meetings.
For one of these “mix-up” meetings, the club instituted what it calls SI/Corona “Afterglow,” hosted in the evening at a member’s home. Each host is given a small budget to purchase food and drinks for the evening.
Though they follow Soroptimist protocol, these meetings are much more relaxed and social than the lunchtime meetings. As an incentive to attend these meetings, each attendee gets her name included in a drawing to have her Soroptimist dues covered by the club for the next club-year.
“I love that the meeting is not rushed and it is a great way to get to know the others in a more casual, relaxed setting. I also like that we can linger after the official meeting has ended to continue conversations,” said long-time club member Seema Lechner.
The other “mix-up” meeting turned the club’s monthly business meeting upside down by conducting it through a conference call. Members enjoy this because they can participate in the meeting from wherever they are located.
“The convenience of the conference call business meeting has allowed me to stay connected. Generally the conference call meeting is 20 minutes shorter than a regular meeting, plus the time-savings in not having to travel to a restaurant. I love it,” commented club member Michelle Volonte.
By instituting some changes, SI/Corona saw an increase in member participation at meetings, lowered the club’s monthly membership dues by eliminating meeting meal costs, and attracted younger professionals who particularly enjoy the atmosphere of the “Afterglow” meetings.
Soroptimist are very busy women and their volunteer time is limited. They have careers, families, and personal obligations. They make time for Soroptimist because they want to make a difference and work with other like-minded women to accomplish our mission, so it’s important that meetings are fulfilling.
If your club meetings have become dull and lackluster, take a step back and conduct an assessment. Consider thinking outside the box as SI/Corona has done.
By making a few modifications and mixing things up, you can engage current members and attract new ones by adding a bit of fun, laughter, convenience, and flexibility while still accomplishing the tasks at hand!
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