Net Impact chapter leaders from around the country kicked off the 2009 Net Impact Conference today to share best practices on how to successfully manage a social impact club that adds value to people’s lives and their communities. Many words of wisdom were imparted, especially about finding new ways to inspire member action and participation. If your city or school does not have a Net Impact chapter, keep reading because much of that advice can also be applied to various types of clubs and organizations.
How can we better engage our members?
For part of the day, I sat in a room with about 20 chapter leaders, just a small segment of the chapter leaders in attendance today, all of whom have struggled with the same question: how can I get members to become more involved in the club? As the co-President of the Net Impact chapter at the Presidio Graduate School, I’ve asked myself that same question several times this semester. During our session, we came up with the following list of action items that student and professional chapters can adopt to inspire their members to act:
- Organize a “Social Impact Week”: Chapters leaders from Georgetown University organized an action-packed week of guest speakers, panels, and member orientation sessions following their first week of classes at the start of this school year. Though summer-time preparation was required to plan events for that week, the week jump-started their chapter’s year with a bang and gave their members a reason to want to become more involved with their club.
- Plan Ahead: A chapter leader from the USC Marshall School of Business made a good point in reminding everyone to work with school faculty and staff to work around the academic calendar. Plan around midterms, finals, and project deadlines to know what time during the year students will have the most time to participate in events.
- Know Your Audience: Take the pulse of your member base and learn what your members are interested in (Sustainability, Clean Tech, Social Entrepreneurship, Microfinance, etc.). The Monterey Institute of International Studies chapter, for instance, sends out frequent surveys to its members to keep in touch with member interests.
- Adoption: Knowing what tactics and events have been the most successful among other clubs and groups in your school is an asset to your club. This information has helped the UCLA Anderson School of Management chapter determine which types of events to plan during the year.
Other ideas to boost your member base include staying in contact with your members (the Presidio Graduate School sends out its own newsletter to inform members of interesting events, for example), collaborating with other school groups on events, and encouraging first-year students to take on leadership roles from the get-go. Use these tips to revitalize your Net Impact chapter, or any other group that strives to create change in the business world and society.