to Get and Keep Members Involved in Your Group/Guild
Introduction: A recent thread on our Storytell
Discussion List concerned how to get people to become involved - to
volunteer for positions and attend meetings. For every group and organization
(storytelling and other) to which I belong has this same concern. Two
respondents to the thread had such great ideas, I asked if I could share
those ideas on this site. Both are active storytellers, and as you will
discover, incredibly creative and dedicated to storytelling and their
Storyteller Angela Davis from New Orleans suggests the following fun activities:
Hope these ideas help and open up a channel for your own creative ideas to flow.
Our group, San Antonio Storytellers Association is 12 years old, and I think that the part I may have contributed to its success is to always have the (secret) goal of training and recruiting not just members, but leadership - that is, the leadership among the membership. Never having wanted to be "president," I was nonetheless "president by default" for many of the early growing years, which meant that I did a lot of the tedious, everyday work of keeping a group going PLUS had to be the public face of it. I still do a lot of both, but I'm not doing it alone anymore. (The "training," of course, is on-the-job training.)
Another thing I/we have consciously done is to find venues for beginning tellers - especially those volunteer requests that seasoned tellers get tired of dealing with. When someone calls and asks for a storyteller for a certain event, we say "How about three storytellers?" then ask for three volunteers to tell one story each in a half-hour or hour venue. Maybe one will be fairly experienced and will emcee and coordinate, and the other two will be telling their "one" story. The overall program will be terrific, with the experienced teller and the newer ones all gaining experience and moving up the ladder in their skills.
Sometimes that works like a tree: Borders wants three "volunteer" tellers at four sites; we ask someone to coordinate it, and s/he asks for volunteers, then asks the most responsible to be emcee/coordinator and together (as needed) they fill out their program with other volunteers. We are also lucky to have some established tellers who often say "I'll come if you need me."
We have long passed around the emceeing job at our swaps. We have many very capable emcees.
Recently we added a 20-minute mini-workshop to our monthly meeting. We did this because we had a few newcomers who seemed a bit intimidated by seeing so many seasoned tellers. This does two things: it gives Storytelling 101 training (and courage) to beginners, and it gives mid-level tellers a place to learn how to do workshops.
So, I guess my "advice" is this: Focus on finding ways for every level of storyteller or storytelling interest to learn and grow so that members won't just "flow through"; they won't have to leave you to increase their storytelling skills, their exposure possibilities, and their leadership skills. They can stay right where they are and have plenty of opportunities and challenges to grow and develop personally as storytellers and plenty of reason to want the organization to flourish.
A huge thank you to both of these talented and creative storytellers for sharing their ideas!
A brand new FREE eclectic e-newsletter, Career Success Planning, is on the way. I will be contacting former sbscribers to Portfolio Potpourri and all who have taken the Portfolio Career Self Test to subscribe to the new FREE e-newsletter. Use the form below to sign up!
Email Marketing by TrafficWave.net
We never sell names and/or e-mail addresses, and if you ever wish to "opt-out" that's not a problem.
Contact Chris King