Director/Sponsor's Message

Conducting Successful Membership Drives

By Jonathan W. Baker

Many chapters have membership drives in the fall. It is not a big deal; it is something we have always done. However, today membership drives can play an important role in sustaining the STC.

At the peak in 2000, STC had a membership approaching 25,000. Today that number is closer to 19,000. This represents a loss of 6,000 members, which translates into serious financial consequences for all of STCthe Society as a whole and individual chapters. If you are interested, you can view a quarterly spreadsheet of chapter membership numbers on the STC Web site at http://www.stc.org/general_info.html.

If your chapter does not have an active membership drive planned for this fall, then now is the time to get busy. Plan a fall membership drive, with a follow-up drive in the spring. Your chapter can do simple postcard mailings or telephone calling.

Sometimes a simple effortsuch as providing membership applications at sign-in tables at chapter programscan have big results. Putting hard copies of the membership application into the hands of potential new members has a much better chance of success than simply telling that potential member to go to the STC Web site for the application. Better yet, take responsibility. Have potential members complete their applications right there and give you the applications and checks. Remember to forward the application and check to the STC office. (New members can also provide a credit card number on the application.)

Many of you know past members who have not renewed for one reason or another. Take the time to remind them of the value of STC membership. To recruit new members, contact those who are in technical writing training programs or talk to the other nonmember writers at your place of employment. The STC needs every member to be an evangelist for STC. Think of this as an opportunity to tell your friends and co-workers about all the good things that STC is and does.

If your chapter has an organized membership drive, then share your successes with other chapters. Did you buy a mailing list that was successful? Did you find that calling in the evenings was really acceptable with nonmembers? Were you able to track your results to specific efforts?

Over the next year, the director/sponsors will be working to implement tools to make your efforts easier. The focus on membership is as important as everything else we do. Without members, there is no STC, no competitions, no conference, no Technical Communication, no Intercom, no Special Interest Groups, no chapter programs, and no chapter newsletters. STC is depending upon you and how you respond to this opportunity.

Note: New members who join on or after July 1 (but before October 1) pay full dues for the remainder of the year (ending December 31). However, they receive a credit of 50 percent toward the following year's dues. New members joining on or after October 1 receive full credit for the following year.

Jonathan W. Baker is director/sponsor of Region 1 and a manager of technical publications at EMC Corp. You can reach him at .