StarChapter of March: AFP St. Louis

Updated: 03/04/2019  |  Category: StarChapter Successes

Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) St. Louis is committed to promoting philanthropy in their region and strengthening local nonprofits. Together with AFP International, they promote high ethical standards in the fundraising profession in St. Louis and throughout the world. AFP St. Louis is one of the largest, most active in the nation. They seek to foster the development and growth of fundraising professionals at every stage of their careers.

  1. What was AFP St. Louis’ strategy for engaging new members in the past year?

AFP St. Louis makes a concerted effort to welcome our new members and stay in touch regularly to keep members engaged.  Upon joining our chapter, a member of the Membership committee reaches out to welcome the new member, share upcoming events, and let them know how they can plug in to AFP St. Louis.  Additional calls are made at 6 months to get feedback about services offered by the chapter and membership value and at 11 months to ask if the new member will be renewing their membership.  Our membership chair also invites new members to sit with them at events to help them connect to other new, and existing, members to help build a connection to the Chapter. A representative from the Membership Committee or the Board of Directors greets guests at events to welcome new members and promote the benefits of membership to non-members.  Given that budget issues are a concern with many individuals, we also heavily market the new member discounts offered twice a year from IHQ (usually in Mar-Apr around the International Conference and Oct-Nov for National Philanthropy Day)

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

Last year, our Chapter listened to member feedback and offered a series of new events to respond to concerns about the cost of events and time constraints.  Our Programming Committee offered Coffee or Cocktail conversations throughout the year to reach new audiences within our region.  These more informal get-togethers gave members a chance to network, hear from seasoned professionals and ask questions in a smaller, more cost-effective setting.  Coffee and Cocktail events were offered in between our larger programming events and topics included Donor Stewardship on a Budget, Donations of Complex Gifts, Advocacy and Lobbying, and the Do’s and Don’ts of Digital Fundraising.  The cost to attend these sessions was minimal and the informal environment allowed for deeper conversation specific to the needs of the attendees.  It is our hope that the value and information obtained from these events inspire attendees to attend other AFP St. Louis events and join the Chapter if they aren’t already a member. 

  1. The AFP St. Louis network is extensive. Does the board get ideas on how to improve membership value from other chapters?

Absolutely!  We recognize and appreciate that other AFP chapters are doing amazing work and our Board is very open to new ideas.  We are fortunate to have many of our members attend the International Conference as well as the Leadership Academy and other professional development events and conferences who connect with peers and share ideas. Information gleaned at these events is shared at our local Board meetings to determine if it would be beneficial for us.  Certainly, every Chapter is unique so even if ideas can’t be completely replicated, new perspectives always inspire great conversation and reflection about what we could do differently as a Chapter to improve our membership value.    

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

Just as we do with the donors we work with every day, it is important to get to know your board members and find out what inspires them to help find a role that is meaningful for them and for your Chapter.  At the same time, it is also important to recognize that this is a volunteer position and each person brings a different perspective, experience, and ideas to the table.  Serving on a Board can sometimes involve difficult conversations and decisions but respect for differing ideas and perspectives from your members and gratitude is key. 

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

We are thrilled to continue offering our Coffee and Cocktail Conversations this year along with our fantastic AFP St. Louis Gateway Conference on Philanthropy.  Due to popular demand, we are excited to offer additional sessions of our Advanced Professionals Round Table in December and Fundraising 101 and 102 seminars to make these informative sessions available twice per year.  We also are proud to continue a successful partnership with our local Planned Giving Council to offer our members the opportunity to attend several planned giving seminars. 

  1. How have been able to utilize StarChapter to run AFP St. Louis and reach its goals?

Since we adopted StarChapter in late 2017/early 2018, we have appreciated the opportunity to house our events and registration process in an easy-to-use platform that is linked to our membership database.  Migrating to a new platform also allowed our Board and Marketing Committee the opportunity to evaluate the content on our previous website to freshen up the content and more closely align it with our Chapter strategic goals. In the near future, we hope to renew a Chapter blog on our website to inspire conversation, engage members by allowing them the opportunity to write guest posts, and offer another way to connect as a resource to our chapter and region.  We also hope to migrate our email platform to StarChapter and look forward to having so many of our Chapter resources in one place.  We have just scratched the surface of the benefits StarChapter can offer AFP St. Louis and look forward to continuing to learn more about the platform and how it can benefit our Chapter!

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.


StarChapter of February: Michiana SHRM

Updated: 02/28/2019  |  Category: StarChapter Successes

Michiana SHRM is an affiliate of the Society for Human Resource Management. SHRM serves the needs of the human resource management professional by providing the most essential and comprehensive set of resources available. In addition, the Society is committed to advancing the human resource profession and the capabilities of all human resource professionals to ensure that HR is an essential and effective partner in developing and executing organizational strategy. We were able to connect with Becky Ragsdale, co-president of the chapter to learn more about how they were able to achieve a tremendous amount of success in the past few years.

  1. What was Michiana SHRM’s strategy for engaging new members in the past year? Our chapter is one of the oldest SHRM chapters in the country.  We became affiliated in November 1957.  We have always had a strong SHRM affiliation within our membership so decided we wanted to become a 100% affiliated membership chapter.  This means that all our chapter members are also SHRM National members.  We began this journey in 2014 and became a 100% SHRM chapter in December 2017.  From the start we were transparent with our members about our strategy and believe that is why we have been so successful.   
  2. Tell us about a successful event/meeting you organized last year. Last year Michiana SHRM held its first even Leadership Summit.  This Summit was geared towards community leaders, managers, and supervisors who wanted to learn how to attract talent in a tough market for talent.  Keynote Speakers from Cy Wakeman camp as well as local leaders sharing inspirational stories on what they are doing to attract and retain good talent. 
  3. The Michiana SHRM network is extensive. Does the board get ideas on how to improve membership value from other chapters? Absolutely.  Michiana SHRM is one of 15 affiliated chapters in the state of Indiana.  We are supported by HR Indiana, which is the State Council for SHRM, who encourages collaboration and sharing of ideas.  HR Indiana holds an annual Volunteer Leader Summit for all chapter board members for just this.  We have the opportunity to train new board members, share ideas on events and speakers, and build our HR networks!
  4. Do you have any tips/advice to share with other board volunteers? I think the biggest thing that we have learned as a board is to focus on the value that your organization is providing to your members.  If your providing a great value, the members will come organically.  Also diversifying your programs is key!  If you keep doing the same stuff over and over, you’re never going to attract new members.
  5. What is in store for your members this year? 2019 brings a lot of changes to members with how we will handle programs.  In the past we offered 9 monthly luncheon meetings, all at the same time of month…boring!!!  This year we are diversifying our programs by offering a variety of events.  We will host 5 monthly luncheon programs, two webinar events, as well as our first ever Diversity, Inclusion, and Belongings Summit.  We will also host the Leadership Summit in the fall. 
  6. How have you been able to utilize StarChapter to run Michiana SHRM and reach its goals?Oh my goodness, since our move to StarChapter we have seen an increase in membership of 25+; we have been able to manage our event finances much better; we are utilizing the coupons/voucher programs for pre-paid items.  Moving to StarChapter has had nothing but positive effects on our chapter operations.  In fact, I am working with some other Indiana Chapters to see if StarChapter could help them as well!  

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.