Calling all members…

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My career has been in the B2B space.  As such, I have a fond relationship with various associations related to the industries we work with.  I look to them as the best sources of secondary market data, utilize their broad membership to stretch my marketing budget on related trade exhibitions/conferences, use their knowledge base for insightful details/resources, and look to their membership as ideal candidates to partner with on various quality related projects.

In fact, my very entry into the quality industry and associations in general started with ASQ. It’s how I got acclimated into the industry as I started my career out of college.  Sixteen years later, I’m ASQ certified, blog, have a Fellow application pending and am active in the local section as Education Chair.  Bill Troy hit home in his latest View from the Q post: “Think leadership experience, practice and application of skills, and personal achievement.”

Levelling up with recruitment & volunteering…

Now, having seen a local perspective of ASQ serving as Education Chair, I do see the challenges of recruiting members and getting people engaged as volunteers to further the message and advocate what we do.  For example, I was successful with the national Adding New Voices referral program last year, but was discouraged to find out many of our local members had not heard about it.  In fact, I’m discouraged to find out more and more members I speak with only attend our local meetings for recertification units.

We went to social media for increased engagement and have seen little gains there.  In fact, a small percent of our members would be considered active. So, how do associations call people to action at a local level?

You see it at WCQI each year, but as sections we need to bring that feeling and momentum home and spread the word to our coworkers and friends.  ASQ reaches so many areas now that it’s challenging not to find someone within a company that wouldn’t benefit from the networking and knowledge that the association provides.

Here are a few ideas I’ve considered for our local section:

  • We have organized a World Quality Month BBQ picnic at Veteran’s Park where we are encouraging members to bring friends and family.   We have also partnered with another association, APICS, on this event.
  • I would like to see us promote and offer more coupons to individuals who bring in new people to monthly dinners. Incentivize sharing the love.
  • We could offer brief introduction/presentations to local businesses.  Bring bagels… they’ll come.
  • We could host networking events and encourage members to bring a co-worker or friend. Cooperating with other local and related associations broadens the possibilities here.
  • We could have a presence at local trade events, such as job fairs. Many people I speak with don’t even realize there’s an association out there related to quality!
  • We could reach out to the Tampa Business Journal or others. They always need content, and we need exposure… win-win.
  • We could consider placing a classified ad or other announcement in a local business journal.  Many times, just posting an event is free.
  • We could reach out to local trade schools or community colleges with quality related courses and get students involved as they start their careers.
  • We could also offer students or people new to the industry local member mentors to guide them and answer any questions they may have.

I’ve got more, but quickly learned during our first strategy meeting that our objective was mostly in retention of existing members. And, the challenge really exists in our ability to get people to volunteer their time.  Life is busy… I certainly understand and respect that.  But, we’re even having difficulty filling Board positions and the people already volunteering are maxed out.

I will say that ASQ is unlike any other association I’ve been involved with over the years and the only one that has remained consistent.  The passion in the people you do meet at WCQI suck you into a world where you feel like you can really make a difference.  And, the association is there to back you up in your efforts.  We just need to get that feeling to our local sections and spread the love to the community.

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