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Membership Director’s Message May 2022

It’s Membership Month and for the first time in two years many clubs are finally getting back to “normal” with face-to-face meetings, physical AGM’s and many of the other elements which we all would have missed during the time of the pandemic. In many instances, we may be meeting new members for the first time as they would have been inducted virtually, and I would imagine for the clubs which were chartered virtually, it must be quite exciting to finally meet the persons who you would have worked closely with for the last year.

As an organization we would have adapted a lot to the changes which were brought on by the pandemic, especially relating to the acceptance and incorporation of technology as all clubs essentially met virtually over the last two years. While some of these elements are certainly here to stay as we’ve seen their ability to improve and enhance efficiency, we must also remember the important elements of Soroptimism and be prepared to strengthen our bonds as we move forward.

We have focused for quite some time on our declining membership and how we can increase our numbers. This continues to be a major issue for us as an organization, however, we must also think about the simple things that we can also do within our clubs to retain our members and reconnect as many of us may have lost that sense of connection through our virtual interaction.  This can be done in a number of ways:

  1. Host quarterly social club events. This can be as simple as meeting up for coffee, dinner or a drink but it creates an opportunity for members to simply spend time with each other in a relaxed environment.
  2. Host a “Day of Reflection”. This can be as formal or informal as the club desires but should be a day focused on truly reflecting on your club and highlighting both the positives and negatives. A good way this can be managed is to have an external person facilitate this day as this allows for all members to be truly engaged and participate. The idea is to give members an opportunity to share their views on the club and any issues they may have with a perspective to rebuilding a positive and functional way of working.
  3. Aim to maintain hybrid meetings where possible. The reality is that there are many of our members who may be quite vulnerable to the Covid-19 virus which is still quite prevalent. As such, hybrid meetings allow for members to engage at their own level of comfort so that safety can be maintained, while also allowing for physical interaction.

The reality is that many clubs may feel like they are starting all over again as truthfully not every single club adapted as well as the others. However, starting over presents an exciting opportunity to create something new and incorporate different ways of working as we Build Back Better!

Chevonne Agana
SIGBI Director of Membership