StarChapter of April: ARMA Detroit

For over 60 years the Detroit Chapter of ARMA International (ARMA) has been a local leader in records and information management. Their primary mission is to promote and advance the professional competency of its members to enable them to provide records and information management leadership and expertise within their organizations and communities, as well as to provide a networking opportunity to share and learn from others. We were able to connect with Glen Foldessy to get more insight into how their chapter engages with their members and non-members in order to succeed.  We are very appreciative of Glen & the ARMA Detroit chapter for championing StarChapter since 2012 and helping to improve the member experience for a lot of ARMA chapters because of it.


  1.      What was ARMA Detroit Chapter’s strategy for engaging new members in the past year?

We get engaged with new members initially when they join the parent organization and are notified when a new member joins our chapter. From this point we send a customized welcome letter from our President that details how to create their login credentials for the members section of our website. Additionally, we create a free meeting voucher that they can use to attend one of our monthly meetings. During the coming year we are planning to expand our new member welcome outreach through a combination of direct-mail and outreach.


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

The Detroit Chapter hosts a golf outing in September and in recent years it has become one of the Chapter’s premier social networking events. The event is primarily marketed to members and prospects, but it also has become a large marketing component of the Chapter’s annual sponsorship program.  Attendance is generally around 30-40 participants, so the sponsors who attend enjoy a casual and intimate networking opportunity. Costs for the event are all-inclusive and have virtually remained flat for the past 10 years because of generous sponsors. Net proceeds—approximately $1,000 each year—are split between the Chapter's charitable giving activities and the operating budget to help defray educational programming costs.


  1.      The ARMA Detroit Chapter network is extensive. Does the board get ideas on how to improve membership value from other chapters?

ARMA chapter leaders from around the world have numerous opportunities to get engaged to share best practices and ideas, such as “community forums,” regional leadership conferences and the annual conference and expo. At the regional level in particular we meet several times per year to brainstorm how we can improve member value. To be honest, the decision for the Detroit Chapter to adopt the StarChapter platform was driven mainly by our desire to improve the overall member experience in interacting with the chapter. Our switch to StarChapter back in 2012 has resulted in 19 other ARMA chapters to do the same. Imitation is after all one of the highest forms of flattery.


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

I’ve been volunteering for several professional organization boards most of my 25 year career and one of the biggest piece of advice I can offer to anyone that belongs to a board is to not get burned out. Don’t feel like you have to do all the work or carry the weight of organization on your shoulders alone.


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

We’ve had a great year so far with a wide variety of educational programs and interesting speakers. Our fiscal year ends in June, so we try to have fun at our last meeting and make it more of a social gathering as a way to thank our members for their involvement throughout the year. We discount the ticket prices by offsetting it with both chapter funds as well as sponsorships. We’ll kick-off the following year with our golf outing as mentioned earlier. While education is a tenet of our mission, the social networking and peer-to-peer opportunities we provide to our members is equally important.


  1.      How have been able to utilize StarChapter to run the ARMA Detroit Chapter and reach its goals?

I can’t say enough good things about StarChapter and how it helps us achieve our goals. From an overall user experience for how members transact business with us to all of the wonderful back-end features we utilize to make our operation more efficient, StarChapter has been the catalyst for reaching our potential as a professional organization. I am personally really excited for the new dashboard functionality coming later this year. We try and utilize as many of the available analytics tools to better understand how members and prospects interact with us, which in turn allows us to improve the overall member/guest experience with ARMA Detroit.

Would you like to share the success story of your chapter with other board volunteers? We'd love to feature you! Fill out this form to let us know.

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