By Jule Ann Lieberman, Chair
The New Year brings along the opportunity to take a fresh look at how our membership can grow. Many of our chapters began this year with new leadership. Chapter executives may direct initiatives for membership growth; however, it takes each member’s support to produce the change we need that will stem the tide of declining membership. How do other consumer organizations grow their membership? The answer is marketing! Here’s how you, as a member and PCB chapter leader, may develop a marketing strategy.
- The power of word of mouth works. Tell a friend, church/temple member, or fellow passenger on transit that you are a proud member of PCB. Let them know the benefits for not just yourself, but how our support and advocacy efforts bring about full inclusion in the community for all with vision loss.
- Get out in the community. Local government and civic and service organizations often have health fairs, senior events, and other opportunities to address monthly meetings. Our Public Awareness and Relations Committee is ready to assist you in preparing speaker notes, publications and other handouts. Contact the PCB office for more information on PARC material. You will quickly discover that many in the community know a family member or friend who has vision loss and may benefit from a PCB membership.
- Make a name for PCB in the community. Consider giving back to the community by organizing an activity to help the community. Food drives, clothing drives, or even starting a “buddy call” for homebound members of your community can get the word out that PCB members care and are very capable of assisting others. A reputation of giving invites others to join you in your work.
- Create your own special event. Invite the community to learn about living well with vision loss. Provide demonstrations of sports and recreation, tools and technology, as well as daily life through adaptation. Contact local centers for sports such as bowling leagues and dart clubs and ask to show off a little! Contact local religious communities to present to their congregations on such topics as cooking through adapted skills or reading through listening.
- The personal touch means so much. Chapter leaders (or appointees) can make a difference by a simple phone call wishing the member a happy birthday or listing best wishes for birthdays or special concerns/milestones on list serve emails. Being remembered expresses a member’s value to the organization and leads to that renewal year after year. One simple act of kindness blossoms into a lifelong loyalty.
These marketing strategies can be put into place throughout the year. Gather the names of those whom you have reached over the year and give them a reminder, especially when fall recruitment and renewal efforts are greatest.
I hope these ideas have sparked a fresh creative flame for you as a member of PCB. Add some more ideas and share them with the Membership Committee. We are open and ready to hear how you can help us grow.