BEST PRACTICES FOR A COUNTY NEW MEMBER EVENT

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BEST PRACTICES FOR A COUNTY NEW MEMBER EVENT

Postby conorato » March 12th, 2013, 12:33 pm

Hi everyone. Let's make this a working document, so if you have any suggestions or additions to it, feel free to post them below. In this way our list of best practices can keep growing!

Great meeting last night everyone! Now let's use this to plan more county new member events!

Christine :D
conorato
 
Posts: 6
Joined: March 11th, 2013, 2:11 pm

Re: BEST PRACTICES FOR A COUNTY NEW MEMBER EVENT

Postby conorato » March 12th, 2013, 12:43 pm

BEST PRACTICES FOR A COUNTY NEW MEMBER EVENT

Make this a team effort; don’t do it all alone! Work with your county exec. board to make your event happen.

Host a planning meeting. At the meeting:

Identify the goals of your new member event. Common goals include:

• Creating a fun atmosphere and a memorable event.

• Introducing new members to the county association: its officers, office, services, etc.
• Will county committees have a presence at their own tables? How about promoting your county newsletters and website?
• Have an officer present a giveaway, etc.

• Providing members with the opportunity to interact with their colleagues from across the county.
• A DJ would create a festive atmosphere.
• Provide a way for members to mix and mingle to get their meals.

• Will it be exclusive to new members?

Will there be a theme at your event (i.e. Mardi Gras, Luau, clam bake, etc.)?

o This is optional.
o Some locals report success with a scavenger hunt. At these events, members are given a “passport” that is stamped each time they visit a certain area or table. Sometimes the scavenger hunts have different questions about certain committees and services that NJEA provides. When complete, members turn in their passports, and they are pulled out for raffles.

Is there a way to infuse tips and advice for new members into the event? Consider:

• Time management tips.
• Advice for dealing with difficult parents.
• What kinds of things they need to plan for at what times in the year.
• Could your county create a “playbook” or survival guide for new members?

Is there a way to give new members a chance to participate?

• Members like to share. You could bring members together (or break them into small groups with a county officer in each) and ask them some fun icebreakers, including do you have any tattoos? Find members who have the same cell phone as you. Find members who drive the same car as you. Find members who live in the same town as you, etc.
o Consider using some conversation starter games, including the Table Topics series (available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com).
• Make it fun first, and then infuse the serious stuff.
• How do you include your ESPs in the discussion?

• Also consider more *serious* questions as the event moves forward. Share the best thing that happened to you thus far this school year. Who was your favorite school employee growing up? What inspired you go to into education? Etc.
o You could bring members together several times throughout the event and give them opportunities to share. It would be fun to give each member who shares a giveaway or promotional item, etc.

Consider appropriate locations. Consider music, decorations, etc.

• Consider locations that are easy to get to and find.
• Counties are reporting success with new locations such as river cruises, trips to wineries, sporting events, etc.

Discuss the menu that you will offer.

Consider inviting NJEA staff members to your event as well as others.

• Invite your UniServ field reps and your NJEA government relations contact.
• Consider your seating arrangement. Will staff sit together or with members?
• Phil Lomonico can coordinate NJEA’s member benefit partners to have a present at the event (think Member Benefit Fair). Contact Phil early with dates.
• Invite NJEA staff who run programs, such as PRIDE, HIPP, Classroom Close-Up, professional development, etc.
• Invite other Membership Committee members! Email Kathy Byrne at kbyrne@njea.org to forward your invites to members. Also consider using the NJEA Member to Member Message Board (http://www.njea.org/messageboard).

Construct your agenda for the event.

• Who will speak (keep it short) and on what topics?
• Who will take pictures / video? Where will the pictures and video be posted (consider using new outlets such as Instagram and Vine along with traditional outlets [association website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.])? Keep in mind that there are members who appreciate the hard copy of a newsletter.
• Will you ask members to rate the event via an *feedback form* or survey? Will you ask members what they would like to see in future events? Members like to give feedback, so don’t be shy about asking for improvement ideas.

Marketing your event:

Brainstorm strategies to market the event. You might consider:

• Postcards to new members in your county.
• Your UniServ office can help you to obtain the contact information for your 0—5 year new members.
• Emails to new members in your county.
• Text messages to new members in your county. There are cell phone plans available that will allow you to easily send text messages to your members.
• Email the membership chairs in local associations. County officers can access MARS to find this info.
• Creating a flier that local presidents can distribute to new members.
• CONTACTING EVERY LOCAL PRESIDENT IN YOUR COUNTY IS A MUST!
• Posting the event on your county association Facebook page. Encourage members to share the post on their own pages.
• Some counties have public TV networks. Consider using this source.
• Encourage verteran members to bring a new member.
• Ask the mentors in your county to bring their mentees.
• How do you encourage ESP members to attend? Are your marketing techniques different?

Finalize the RSVP procedure and make sure to incorporate it into your flier.

Consider what your marketing materials will say.

• Remember that members’ time is precious. Strive to make your event relevant to them. Emphasize fun, and remember that new members like to network.
• “If you feed them, they will come.” 
• It would be prudent to share your materials with a small group of new members (think market research) prior to sending them out. Ask for feedback and improvement ideas.

At the event:

Greet new members at the door and welcome them when they arrive.

• Not everyone is a “greeter.” Find a member who is good at this.
• Introduce yourself.

Give each new member a name tag and maybe a *goodie bag* at the sign in. Goodie bag contents count include:

• Membership in NJEA is a Great Value brochure.
• NJEA social media fliers and information.
• Member benefits fliers and information.

A welcome gift, such as:

• A county association flash drive.
• iPhone case.
• USB car charger.
o Contact NJEA’s PRIDE vendor, Renaissance Promotions, for assistance (1-877-692-2435).
• Supplies from Beckers, etc.
o See that everyone has a name tag.
• Consider color coding the name tags (all first year members could have the same color, all elementary teachers could have a special sticker, etc.).
o Introduce them to others.

If applicable:

o Show new members where to sit (if you are using assigned seating).
o Show them where the refreshments are.
o Introduce the new members to the group.
• Do it at the beginning of the program so everyone knows they’re new.
• Give folks some background on the new person – it gives others conversation starters with them.

Use clear language/ terminology:

o Speak in terms the newcomer understands.
o Be conscious of acronyms and abbreviated terms. Give members a glossary or list of acronyms.
o Give them an organization chart with names so they know who’s who and how the county organization fits together.
o Give them a list of committees or subgroups within the county organization and what each does.
o Share the agenda and a calendar of events.
• Give them the long-term picture so they know what’s coming so they can plan ahead too.

After the event:

o Follow up after the event. Consider emailing or mailing thank you’s to participants. In your message, direct them to association resources.
o After they’ve settled in, arrange another event. Invite new members to the next event or a key upcoming event. Ask them to bring a friend/friends.
• Future events could include ESP celebrations, tenure celebrations, workshops, etc.
o Offer coupons for local businesses.
• Does your county have a “partnership in education” with local businesses? Some counties offer businesses a sticker to put in their window that reads something to the effect of, “We support public schools,” etc.
conorato
 
Posts: 6
Joined: March 11th, 2013, 2:11 pm

Re: BEST PRACTICES FOR A COUNTY NEW MEMBER EVENT

Postby JimBoice » October 22nd, 2013, 7:56 pm

Consider opening up your new member events to all members. Your county could also encourage veteran members to bring new members to the event. This may help increase attendance.
Jim Boice
UniServ Field Representative ~ Membership & Organizational Development
New Jersey Education Association
180 West State Street
Post Office Box 1211
Trenton, NJ 08607-1211
609-599-4561 ext. 2236

http://www.facebook.com/NJEAPRIDE
JimBoice
 
Posts: 546
Joined: November 20th, 2012, 11:27 am

Re: BEST PRACTICES FOR A COUNTY NEW MEMBER EVENT

Postby JimBoice » October 22nd, 2013, 7:57 pm

Also, we've learned that counties are collecting RSVPs for their new member events. It would be prudent to email and text a reminder the week before the event and then again the day before. This may help increase attendance and ensure that members don't forget and miss out!
Jim Boice
UniServ Field Representative ~ Membership & Organizational Development
New Jersey Education Association
180 West State Street
Post Office Box 1211
Trenton, NJ 08607-1211
609-599-4561 ext. 2236

http://www.facebook.com/NJEAPRIDE
JimBoice
 
Posts: 546
Joined: November 20th, 2012, 11:27 am

Re: BEST PRACTICES FOR A COUNTY NEW MEMBER EVENT

Postby JimBoice » October 22nd, 2013, 7:58 pm

Last night at the Membership Committee meeting, one member stated that her county offers over $500 in school supplies to members at its events. This ensures that each members leaves with something nice. :mrgreen:
Jim Boice
UniServ Field Representative ~ Membership & Organizational Development
New Jersey Education Association
180 West State Street
Post Office Box 1211
Trenton, NJ 08607-1211
609-599-4561 ext. 2236

http://www.facebook.com/NJEAPRIDE
JimBoice
 
Posts: 546
Joined: November 20th, 2012, 11:27 am

Re: BEST PRACTICES FOR A COUNTY NEW MEMBER EVENT

Postby JimBoice » October 22nd, 2013, 8:04 pm

It should be noted that fairs hosted by NJEA Member Benefits have their place, but new members are also interested (and maybe even more interested) in networking and hanging out, too. Consider holding your events at fun venues in your area. For example, Atlantic County is hosting its new member event at a Chickie and Pete's restaurant. Sometimes Country Clubs or Hotels can sound "stuffy" to new members.
Jim Boice
UniServ Field Representative ~ Membership & Organizational Development
New Jersey Education Association
180 West State Street
Post Office Box 1211
Trenton, NJ 08607-1211
609-599-4561 ext. 2236

http://www.facebook.com/NJEAPRIDE
JimBoice
 
Posts: 546
Joined: November 20th, 2012, 11:27 am

Re: BEST PRACTICES FOR A COUNTY NEW MEMBER EVENT

Postby JimBoice » October 22nd, 2013, 8:06 pm

Sussex County has a practice of, following the NJEA Convention, surveying its members on which workshops and presenters they liked best. Then, county leaders will reach out to the best presenters and book them for workshops and presentations at county events. For example, an upcoming Sussex County workshop will boast an "edutainer" who puts on an entertaining and informative show for members in an attempt to improve their classroom practice.
Jim Boice
UniServ Field Representative ~ Membership & Organizational Development
New Jersey Education Association
180 West State Street
Post Office Box 1211
Trenton, NJ 08607-1211
609-599-4561 ext. 2236

http://www.facebook.com/NJEAPRIDE
JimBoice
 
Posts: 546
Joined: November 20th, 2012, 11:27 am

Re: BEST PRACTICES FOR A COUNTY NEW MEMBER EVENT

Postby JimBoice » January 14th, 2014, 10:52 pm

Cape May County representatives report success in working with a local winery and brewery in its "first friday" events. During the first friday of September, a local winery offers specials to educators--including a cheese and crackers spread and an offer to buy a membership for the entire year at 13% off (for 2013) and 14% off (for 2014). Cape May representatives report that a local brewery heard about this and now holds a "third friday" event. The county is now partnering with these businesses in order to draw participants and network with members in the relaxed and casual atmospheres that these events provide.

These types of events could be reciprocated in your county by contacting local businesses to gauge their interest and potential participation. :mrgreen:
Jim Boice
UniServ Field Representative ~ Membership & Organizational Development
New Jersey Education Association
180 West State Street
Post Office Box 1211
Trenton, NJ 08607-1211
609-599-4561 ext. 2236

http://www.facebook.com/NJEAPRIDE
JimBoice
 
Posts: 546
Joined: November 20th, 2012, 11:27 am


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