© 2018 V
Start a Courtesy Committee
The lives of your members can be impacted with joyous occasions, promotions,
graduations, surgeries, retirement and even personal loss. Why not institute a
courtesy committee to acknowledge these milestones while creating a sense of
community within your nonprofit and strengthening your membership?
To implement a courtesy committee:
• Ask for volunteers to serve on the courtesy committee.
• Record each milestone to be acknowledged and assign monetary value to each
(e.g., $30 flower arrangement to a member who has a death in the family, $20
gift certificate to a member who has adopted or had a baby). Some milestones
will only require a card.
• Determine amount of money each person will pay into the fund to cover expenses.
Ask each participating member to pay the determined amount — for example, $20
a year. Alternatively, ask your member-based organization to fund the program.
• Assign two unrelated committee members to track income and expenses.
• Promote your courtesy committee to members and encourage their
participation, as it will create a family connectivity within your organization.
Program Allows Volunteers to Advance
By Erin Sandage
Highly engaged members are essential for an organization to meet its goals. Further,
if a member chooses not to take advantage of the opportunities available, he or she
is not going to see the value in his or her membership.
The Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce (DACC; Dothan, AL) created an
ambassador and diplomat volunteer program in the 1980s in order to build an en-
gaged team of members that is essential to the chamber’s recruitment and retention
efforts for its 1,000-plus members.
“The mission of the ambassadors and diplomat programs is to serve as goodwill am-
bassadors and diplomats for the DACC while promoting retention and helping to increase
membership,” says Hayden Camp, director of membership. “These dedicated individuals
not only serve as the eyes and ears for the chamber, but they also assist in promoting the
organization and all of its activities and events, and this is a huge task within itself.”
Ambassadors and diplomats are required to attend all membership events, includ-
ing ribbon cuttings, groundbreakings, general membership events, business connec-
tions events and trade shows. They also assist Camp in coordinating these same events
throughout the year. Ambassadors and diplomats are also responsible for attending
monthly meetings, assisting in new member recruitment and contacting members to
make sure they are satisfied with services provided by the DACC.
The commitment required — to attend every event — is big, but it ultimately
serves the members. These volunteers receive increased networking opportunities,
enhanced visibility of their business and numerous opportunities for them to market
and promote their products and services.
The program also allows the members to advance into a higher position within the
organization. Any chamber member can apply to be an ambassador. Applications are
available online and can be submitted during July, August and September; the ambassa-
dors are then chosen each October. Once an ambassador has served three years, he or she
can apply to become a diplomat, which is a more prestigious volunteer position.
“Diplomats are more knowledgeable of the benefits and resources the DACC
offers to members. They serve as the big brothers and sisters to all the new ambas-
sadors just starting the program,” adds Camp. “They help to familiarize and guide
them in their duties.”
Source: Hayden Camp, Director of Membership, Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce, Dothan,
AL. Phone (334) 792-5138. E-mail: email@example.com. Website: www.dothan.com
With a Book Club
No matter what type of member
organization you represent, if your
members like to read,
a book club geared to the particular
interests of those who want to join.
If your members live near each
other, the group could meet monthly or
quarterly. If they do not live close, they
can regularly connect through
interactive online means.
Survey your membership to identify
persons interested in a book club. Offer
some options regarding the type of books
they prefer, then proceed from there.
Conference Planning Tip
Does your organization hold a
yearly conference that includes
exhibitors? Why not set up a booth
at your own conference to help tell
your story and market products and
services to those in attendance?
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