David Marshall from Skerries Sailing Club ran an excellent interactive workshop which simulated a practice of empowering all members to take ownership and get involved in club initiatives that has proven very successful in their own club when setting out on new membership drives. This workshop can be applied to many aspects of a club and the following is a breakdown of what is involved.
THINKING BEHIND THIS WORKSHOP :
A world of ideas? This
workshop contains the seeds of many of ideas.
Some of them will emerge during the discussions, others only later. Which ones surface now or later, will depend
entirely on the experience the participants at the workshop …. on you. And on
how you perceive the relevance of those ideas to your club
Of course we could have created a list that just illustrated
all the ideas; but ideas only really blossom when we discover them for
ourselves. Workshops like this one are a
kind of discovery activity. They give us the opportunity, to work together
productively. The structured format allows us to share our experience and to
use that to explore ideas and suggestions, the opportunities and the challenges
that they are going to offer us.
Winning the “buy-in”: Once anyone, you, me, members in your club,
have participated in a decision made in this way, they tend to be committed to
it. To have “bought-in” to the idea is
the phrase often used today. And their motivation is all the stronger for it. I
hope you will discover that for most of your members, sharing in something they
help create is far more rewarding than blindly following a leader. And in the
process you will have created an advocate for your club and its activities.
The challenge for you
as club officers, and your committed activists, is how do you create the environment which
embraces members in that process and how do you manage it productively.
I hope the small group and plenary discussions, based on the
three attitude statements will have begun to give you some insight, or offered
you an opportunity to explore and re-evaluate your own similar experience. And that any brief chat about the aims of the
discussions on the attitude statements might have shed some light on how they
can be used to win a consensus among members, on almost any issue, by helping
members themselves re-evaluate their own thinking on any topic…. Including what
contribution they might be able to make to recruiting new members and winning
greater participation from other like themselves.
Sample Questions used in Groups at the 2014 Conference
RUNNING THIS WORKSHOP
AT YOUR OWN CLUB.
If the workshop has done its job, it should have given you a
glimpse of the possibilities for increasing membership participation. I’d like to suggest that this might be a
place for you to start in your won club. To run this workshop, with these attitude
statements, in your own club workshop.
suggestions: Get all your club
officers and activists together; as many as you can and any club members that
want to come;; and give yourselves 90 minutes to work in small groups, so that
everyone discusses each of the three statements, each group reports back and
all of you discuss in plenary; and you record your conclusions
Building on your
discussion: Build on your discussion.
Make sure that there is a note-taker reporter in every group, and a
couple of others for the plenary sessions. Record the conclusions of the
discussion, the opportunities, and the challenges. Get a consensus on which
ones to follow up. Circulate the workshop report among all members; and start
work on the opportunities you’ve chosen to pursue by shoving-off with the same
workshop process and working to involve as many members as you can get. Bon voyage!
©2014 David Marshall