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July 29-1030-Clare Lindahl

2019 SWCS International Annual Conference
July 28-31, 2019
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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July 29-1030-Clare Lindahl

  1. 1. Reimagining Your Chapter or Small Organization 74th Annual SWCS Conference 2019
  2. 2. WWW.SWCS.ORG Session Agenda • Touch on Chapters • Review of “Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community” • Tactics and Tools • Discussion about Future
  3. 3. WWW.SWCS.ORG Chapter Basics What is a chapter? • A chapter is a local branch of the International Soil and Water Conservation Society (parent Society) • Incredibly important, as our other locally led conservation organizations, Districts, Extensions, not-for-profits, etc. • Chapter Basics Document with chapter requirements, activities, benefits and other information online
  4. 4. WWW.SWCS.ORG Chapters - Past, Present, and Future Past Since the Society’s inception in 1945, a chapter model was used to provide education, training, and networking at a local level, where a diverse group of conservation-minded members meet to discuss and address the environmental challenges facing their particular landscapes and communities. Nine chapters formed in the first year of the Society’s inception. Chapters have continued to form during the Society’s history.
  5. 5. WWW.SWCS.ORG Chapters - Past, Present, and Future Present • Today, the Society has 55 chapters. • Chapters have different levels of activity and engagement. • Common activities include holding meetings, engaging in public outreach, giving scholarships and awards, etc. • There are shared struggles among chapters and other associations and service groups.
  6. 6. WWW.SWCS.ORG Chapters - Past, Present, and Future Future… It is up to us.
  7. 7. “Trying to resist change is like holding your breath. Even if you are successful, it doesn’t end well.” – Michael McQueen
  8. 8. “It’s ok to drop a tradition if it’s not working anymore.” - Rotary Club of Coral Gables
  9. 9. WWW.SWCS.ORG Chapters: A Labor of Love
  10. 10. WWW.SWCS.ORG Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community 2000 (pre social media)
  11. 11. WWW.SWCS.ORG Overview & Social Capital Defined • Social capital is defined as “connections among individuals – social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from them. • Core idea of social capital is that social networks have value • We benefit from having a network of connections, others benefit from having a network of connections • Improves mental and physical health, child welfare, creates safe and productive neighborhoods, economic prosperity, more functional democracy • We reciprocate good actions of others • Bridge social divides • Forge stronger bonds between members (not always good) • More likely to donate and volunteer (10x), even a correlation between entertaining friends at your home and volunteering
  12. 12. WWW.SWCS.ORG Declines since 1960’s Political participation Attendance at public meetings Membership or leadership within a club Civic engagement Religious participation Professional associations/unions Groups social activities (bridge clubs, dinners with friends) Social Capital Decline Measurement
  13. 13. WWW.SWCS.ORG
  14. 14. WWW.SWCS.ORG Guesstimated Explanation for Civic Disengagement, 1965 - 2000
  15. 15. WWW.SWCS.ORG Generational change Decline in trust Pressure of time, two people working full time in the household (particularly with educated and women, who contributed most in past) Sprawl Technology and Mass Media (TV, says phone could help) Other reasons specific to professional organizations (job satisfaction, changes to career area) Reasons for Decline
  16. 16. WWW.SWCS.ORG Spectator sports Museums (concerts?) Giving: giving more, giving less of their personal income Self help groups Voting on state ballot initiatives What is growing?
  17. 17. WWW.SWCS.ORG Number of groups have increased, but not the memberships What is growing?
  18. 18. WWW.SWCS.ORG “My message is we desperately need an era of civic inventiveness to create a renewed set of institutions and changes for a reinvigorated civic life that will fit the way we have come to live. Our challenge now is to reinvent the twenty-first-century equivalent of the Boy Scouts or the settlement house or the playground or Haddesseh or the united Mine Workers or the NAACP. What we create may well look nothing like the institutions Progressives invented a century ago, just as their inventions were not carbon copies of the earlier small town folkways whose passing they mourned. We need to be as ready to experiment as the Progressives were. Willingness to err – and then correct our aim – is the price of success of social reform.” Social Capital
  19. 19. WWW.SWCS.ORG Simplify Your Bylaws • Are your bylaws restricting you? • Fewer officers? • Larger geographic areas for officers? • Fewer meetings? • Should timelines be extended or realigned? • Should specific actions be removed? Report changes in chapter bylaws to the parent Society Board of Directors for approval. Modified bylaws may also require approval by members and submission in line with federal and state laws.
  20. 20. WWW.SWCS.ORG Streamline Your Operations • Rehashing operational information can take time away from mission work, can drive away new leadership • Consider using Google Shared Drive for operational items, ballots, election schedules, etc. • Creates efficiencies • Creates sustainability • Eases leadership transfer
  21. 21. WWW.SWCS.ORG Create an Action Plan • Set up a strategic calendar of yearly meaningful actions • Strategic but not cumbersome • Assign dates to actions • Fillable chapter action plan and calendar with example
  22. 22. WWW.SWCS.ORG Create an Action Plan • Pick four actions • Partner to host a technical or professional development event (meeting, tour, training) • Host a fun, social networking event (trivia night, bike ride, sports event, kayaking, service event, family event) • Hold quarterly membership recruitment activities (get a discount from a local company for members, offer swag, offer meeting registration costs to count towards membership) • Create a new partnership (next generation, organization for communities)
  23. 23. WWW.SWCS.ORG Communicate with SWCS Headquarters • • Send us your action plan • Send us details on upcoming actions, events, etc.
  24. 24. WWW.SWCS.ORG Create a Decision Diagram • Does it offer something new or different? • Is it thought-provoking or show thought leadership? • Does it meet a need of and provide value to our existing members? • Does it engage a new audience of conservation professionals? • Is there a fun component to it? • Fillable decision diagram and example
  25. 25. WWW.SWCS.ORG Ask Internally and Externally • Ask your members • Ask potential members • Ask the leaders in your state • Engage a facilitator
  26. 26. WWW.SWCS.ORG Get in a circle of success & celebration • Take time to reflect on accomplishments • Set small, interim goals • Share goals with others • Record progress • Repeat
  27. 27. WWW.SWCS.ORG • Webinar, chapter tools • Chapter Basics one pager • Bylaw review and revamp guidance • Fillable chapter action plan and calendar with example • Fillable decision diagram with example • A recording of this webinar and the PowerPoint presentation Support from Headquarters
  28. 28. WWW.SWCS.ORG • New membership forms and opportunities clearly define benefits • Individual Members • Community Partners • Corporate Partners • Chapter and Individual Gift Memberships • “Stick with Us” renewal campaign • In the works: • Value proposition • Automatic withdrawals from bank accounts • Headquarter Hacks Support from Headquarters
  29. 29. WWW.SWCS.ORG Leave a Legacy • Our responsibility to recruit those next leaders • We have to make the ask
  30. 30. Thank you!! Let’s discuss…

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2019 SWCS International Annual Conference July 28-31, 2019 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


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