Region Membership Officer Annual Report September 2023
The region now has 284 members, with 2 Associate Members. Sadly, we have lost 9 members between May and June, which is of concern.
Focus needs to be on recruitment and retention to ensure continuity of our clubs. We realise that this is an ongoing issue. Rural clubs inevitably find it more difficult to recruit new members due to the distances members need to travel to meetings. An ageing population also accounts for members leaving.
Concerns have also been raised that the region’s executive is not receiving information re clubs closing or having problems early enough to be able to help. With some cases of an individual disruptive member driving long standing members to resign. Issues can be addressed in confidence and dispute resolution options discussed.
On a positive note, we have reports of clubs reporting potential members in the pipeline, with plans for coffee mornings, open evenings, and charity events to encourage recruitment. A suggestion from one club was to set aside a small financial account to assist new and existing members with club fees, if necessary. Run in confidence and supplemented with a raffle. One club has found it useful to have an introductory letter for new members, giving a brief introduction to their club.
Clubs are also getting out and about not only during Membership Month but through the year, with one club running a Pop-up shop, another taking part in an Eco-event, featuring recycling, and having a stall focusing on the Region’s recycling projects and offering recycled goods for sale. Opportunities to take part in Craft Fairs, Farmers Markets and local events is a wonderful way to raise awareness and meet prospective members. By far the best form of recruitment is word of mouth, including invites to friends and associates.
The recent Regional Eisteddfod tent hopefully recruited a potential new member, ran an orange café, and had a visit from the Secretary of State for Wales, who was very interested in the region’s projects.
Penny Clarke and Jenny Wilson
Joint Regional Membership Officers
SI Cheshire, North Wales and Wirral