StarChapter of April: IREM Austin

If you think an effective welcome campaign to new members that sparks engagement from the very beginning is beyond your scope, think again.  We spoke with Institute of Real Estate Management, Austin chapter who explained their multi-faceted campaign.  Learn how they have targeted unengaged new & existing members with personal invitations using data collected within StarChapter.

1. What was IREM Austin’s strategy for engaging new members in the past year?

We have a multi-tiered, multi-person system for welcoming via e-mail, phone calls and at events.  Each year we have 2 luncheons and seat all the new members with past presidents and the welcoming committee to make sure we have fully engaged them.  The officers contact new members to personally invite them to volunteer for committees that are especially active.  

We have utilized StarChapter for 6 months, which has enabled us to collect good data with regards to join date and attendance/participation, then we’ll form a committee to make calls and try to give unengaged new members (and existing members) a personal invitation to a networking event.

2. Tell us about a successful event/meeting you organized last year

IREM Austin’s signature event is our Economic Forecast Forum and we typically have between 300 and 350 attendees.    The attendees are part of the general Austin real estate community and this is a great opportunity for our members and our focus on education to be highlighted.    The keynote speaker for this year’s event was a very forward thinking architect and he utilized a Virtual Reality presentation to show attendees what real estate of the future will need to offer and how this can be communicate to tenants and residents without leaving the comfort of their offices.    This event is our largest fundraiser of the year and was a success in that regard as well.

3. The IREM network is extensive. Does the board get ideas on how to improve membership value from other chapters?

IREM hosts two national conferences per year and at these conferences they facilitate meeting/networking and interaction between boards and officers around the country and on a more targeted regional level as well.  Our board typically forms more personal networking relationships with the other 6 IREM chapters in our region and on an informal basis they share information, challenges, best practices, etc. 

The staff for all of the IREM Chapters around the country have a half day education and brainstorming meeting at both conferences.     This allows us all to benefit from the successes and challenges of IREM chapters – in general and then drilled down into like sized chapter.

4. Do you have any tips/advice to share with other board volunteers?

IREM Austin is utilizing Poll Everywhere at our board meetings and luncheons to benchmark member’s opinions.  Utilizing a more interactive and high tech feature has been fun and enlightening.   We craft questions to tie into the board agenda, the luncheon topic, or the holiday – so a combination of business and pleasure.  It’s been very well received.

5. What is in store for your members this year?

We are re-vamping our Economic Forecast Forum this year to better target property management rather than real estate in general.    This undertaking is giving our seasoned members and our newer volunteers a great opportunity to collaborate.

6. How have been able to utilize StarChapter to run IREM Austin and reach its goals

Now that we have about 6 months with the website, we are able to better utilize it for communications and registrations.  Our next big undertaking will be to determine how best to make use of the reporting it provides on participation, open rates, etc.    Stay tuned!

IREM Austin


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