by Becca Lahr
Often a synonym for other words like recruitment, intake, COB.
A word that is often associated with the way that we recruit members. The way we add more people into our organization and grow our numbers. In other words, growth is associated with the idea that People Join People.
But, People Leave People too.
Growth is also retention. We cannot grow our organizations if we cannot retain the members we ask to join us. Acknowledging that retention is a part of a healthy and successful growth strategy is the first step to ensuring that our people stay.
Now, it’s easy to talk about retention but harder to create and implement a system that successfully retains our members.
We already have systems in place that help us grow our organizations through recruitment. Systems that prioritize planning, building/managing relationships, and dedicated leadership overseeing the process.
What if we took some of these systems and made them work for our retention?
What if we created a whole team of people to focus on retention in the chapter?
What if we created a Retention Committee?
Who can we build our Retention Committee with?
We can utilize officers and members of the chapter who are already focused on member engagement. Recruitment chairs, Membership officers, Sisterhood/Brotherhood/Siblinghood chairs, New Member education officers… the possibilities are endless! Many of these leaders begin interacting with members even before they become members of the chapter, and can be helpful in actively prioritizing retention in the chapter.
Think about some of your best relationship builders in the chapter. The members who built connections with their fellow chapter members on day 1. Members who are curious, authentic, generous, and vulnerable. The most Socially Excellent members in your chapter. We need connectors on our retention team. We need people who will be able to continue fostering and building relationships with all members, new and old.
Depending on your chapter size, the committee can be 2 members, 5 members, 10 members, or even more! Build your committee to meet the specific needs of your chapter.
What does the Retention Committee focus on?
The committee will focus on building a chapter environment that prioritizes retention. The 3 primary reasons people choose to leave their organizations are lack of connection, misaligned expectations, and discord/drama. The committee members will constantly evaluate the chapter and its members, discussing who’s connected and who we see become disconnected throughout the year.
The committee could focus on proactive initiatives when it comes to retention in the chapter. One example is creating a retention survey asking questions about how connected members feel to the chapter, what they enjoy about their chapter experience, what they feel could be improved, etc. A way to measure the member’s chapter experience.
The committee could focus on managing retention in real-time. Utilizing the chapter roster to create a red, yellow, green light system to drive engagement. Members assigned the red light are currently disengaged with the chapter, haven’t been attending events, and are not participating in the overall chapter experience. Members with the yellow light status are on their way to becoming disengaged; they are beginning to show signs of a lack of connected or misaligned expectations when it comes to the chapter experience. Members with the green light status are engaged and actively participating in the chapter experience.
What does management look like in the Retention Committee?
The retention committee would meet on a regular basis. Whether weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, the retention committee meets consistently to ensure members are engaged throughout their membership experience.
Creating an agenda or collaborative space for the retention committee to communicate what they see in the chapter, what they are focusing on, and what needs to be focused on in the future.
A dedicated retention plan. A plan that sets retention goals, both quantitative and qualitative, creates action items to be completed and allows for a repeatable, measurable system to be made. Without a plan, it is easy to get lost or overwhelmed while managing retention. A plan can help the entire committee ensure they are on the same page and establish expectations for their experience.
We put so much effort into recruiting new members and asking them to join us that I don’t want to go to waste once they join. By creating a retention committee, we can put as much dedicated effort into retaining our members as we put into recruiting them.
Remember, we can focus as much as we want on People Join People, but we also have to focus on People Staying With People in order to GROW!
Want to know more about how to build a recruitment strategy that works? Check out these resources below: