AFA Membership Recruitment Strategy April 2012


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  • We have spoken of the need to make membership a top priority for a number of years I recently asked a Task Group of members to help me develop a strategy to move membership to the top of our priority list I’d like to present it to you today and ask for you to do two things: Endorse the strategy as a logical approach to grow our membership – I’m not asking permission – I’m asking for your support Commit to getting involved in some way in making this strategy more than just a power point presentation
  • In order for our Association to grow - we have to create a culture within AFA that makes membership recruitment a top priority I went back to my days as a G-P employee, then Domtar when we decided to make safety our number one priority And we also need a culture that allows for current AFA members to become involved
  • Although there are many groups we could reach out too – we determined that there are some priority targets These are folks that we are already working with but haven’t capitalized on or – They are folks – like the young landowners, are people we need to reach in order to ensure the next generation of AFA leadership We discussed the characteristics of each of these groups One I think we can and will add to this plan already is Loggers
  • Developed a strategy and identified tools for each of our target groups. The strategy is how you are going to reach the group. The tools are the specific actions we plan to take. The most important place to start is within our own membership – to create this culture of priority and to better understand our member’s needs
  • So much of membership recruitment is in the relationships that exist. We have to identify them, understand their importance and use them This is where you can help – you have relationships with hundreds, if not thousands of potential members We are asking you to add AFA membership to your thought process when you do business with these folks These could be the bigger hitters – there may not be many, but these are potential members who could pay larger dues amounts They will most likely need a personal contact from someone of influence
  • This is a group that is large – but historically hard to identify and convince that AFA membership is important We have to demonstrate the value of membership by carrying out our vision and by building a track record of performance We need to acquire some good databases – it will be time consuming and many will be small – but we need these numbers, especially during times of crisis We have given some thought on the feasibility of creating some new membership options - similar to the timber deed program
  • This is a group that is also large – and really falls into the individual landowner category We do however, already have a database in place and they group can be distinctively identified through the Tree Farm Program The program is also undergoing a lot of changes though so it may be some time before we know how best to proceed with this group Requiring Tree Farm members to be AFA members has been discussed, debated – only Louisiana requires this to my knowledge
  • This is an area where we have not taken advantage of the relationships we have We just to take the time to make a focused effort on reaching out and expanding our membership base to the businesses that are related to us Similar to our approach on the large member group – you can really help here by thinking of people you do business with Frank Wilson has done so – Ken Bragg is reaching out to his hunt clubs We’ve done this to a degree in building our sponsorship and exhibitor support for the annual meeting
  • Again – another group we work with regularly and where a database exits. We have just not taken the initiative to encourage them to be AFA members We’d like to consider creating a special membership category to reach out to these educators
  • The area that may take the most creativity in some ways, but also an area where we’ve already done a lot of work though the efforts of our Strategic Evaluation and Review committee and through the work that Anna is doing in the social media arena. And – another area where you can help by encouraging, allowing, paying for your young leaders to get involved in AFA Allen tells me that it used to almost be expected that young foresters would get their start in AFA We’re also looking at a young member category and a leadership program that will take some thought and development – perhaps a great program for the SE&RC
  • These are not road blocks – they are not excuses – they are just the challenges we face as an association – and there is more than just 10! They are not unique to AFA – but the better we understand them the more we can” Work to make these challenges - Opportunities
  • AFA Membership Recruitment Strategy April 2012

    1. 1. Arkansas ForestryMembership Recruitment Strategy AFA Spring Board Meeting May 11, 2012
    2. 2. The GoalThe Arkansas Forestry Association will create a culturethat incorporates membership recruitment into all possibleassociation meetings, communication vehicles, associationactivities and public outreach efforts. The culture will allowAFA members to take an active role in growing themembership on an ongoing basis.
    3. 3. Priority Membership Targets• Current AFA Members• Large landowner, manufacturing and corporate members• Individual Private Landowners• Related Industries• Tree Farm members• Young landowners, foresters, member employees• Environmental Educators
    4. 4. Tools and Strategies Current MembershipStrategy – Utilize frequent, consistent communication to educate, encourage andequip current members to make membership recruitment part of their commitmentto AFA•Incorporate membership into all AFA meetings and activities•Reform an active AFA Membership Committee•Utilize targeted – heavy communication, followed by on-going communications efforts toshare the plan with current members•Create a Tag Line for membership focus/recruitment•Conduct a membership survey to understand needs, interests and services•Conduct 2-3 regional membership meetings annually – members bring non-member
    5. 5. Tools and Strategies Large Landowner, Manufacturing, Corporate MembersStrategy - Capitalize on relationships to identify high prioritymembership targets•Ask member companies to identify and/or contact key vendors, suppliers andcustomers•Acquire and utilize landowner lists from private vendors, tax records, federal costshare programs, stewardship programs•Consider using a dedicated membership recruiter to identify and contact potentialmembers (needs further discussion)
    6. 6. Tools and Strategies Individual LandownersStrategy – Demonstrate the value of membership and use landowner databasesto identify potential members•Acquire and utilize various landowner databases/lists to identify potential members•Grow the landowner public outreach and education program with emphasis on addingquality workshops – incorporate membership into all AFA-sponsored workshops•Use regional meetings as a venue to attract non-member landowners•Consider new membership options and continue current timber deed discount•Develop a landowner recognition program to reward a high level of involvement in AFA orrelated natural resource organizations (NFD)•Consider the formation of county or regional landowner organizations (NFD)
    7. 7. Tools and Strategies Tree Farm MembersStrategy - Utilize the spring audit to reach out to TF members using a variety oftools. Work directly with AFF to understand their future direction for the program.•Use the Tree Farm participant list and audit to target members•Request AFA membership for all Tree Farm Inspectors/Committee members•Provide incentives where appropriate for inspectors to sign up AFA members•Explore requiring AFA membership in order to complete Tree Farm inspections (Needsfurther discussion and clarification from AFF)•Sponsor annual Tree Farm meeting or activity to draw both members and non-members toa venue (NFD)
    8. 8. Tools and Strategies Related BusinessesStrategy – Identify and capitalize on relationships that exist within our communityto target related businesses and organizations that would benefit from AFAmembership•Ask members to utilize tools such as bill stuffers or make direct contacts with their relatedbusiness partners•Use AFA committees (Membership) to create a contact list of as many related businessesas possible•Utilize AFA staff, member company representatives, and CEO contacts to reach relatedbusinesses•Utilize the Manufacturers Directory to identify potential members
    9. 9. Tools and Strategies Environmental EducatorsStrategy – Capitalize on the relationships and database already established toencourage educators to join AFA. Continue to develop tools that they can use inthe classroom to provide value.•Create/Offer a discounted Environmental Educator membership•Use the Environmental Educator database to make contacts•Provide membership opportunities at all PLT workshops•Capture the specific tools available to educators and continue to develop additionalresources for them
    10. 10. Tools and Strategies Young landowners, foresters & member company employeesStrategy – Create new tools, programs, activities and strategies that appeal to ayounger demographic•Develop a young member leadership program•Create a young member category at a reduced or introductory dues rate•Encourage corporate landowner & manufacturing members to promote (target and pay)AFA membership for its young leaders•Develop more web-based resources for young members•Continue to enhance AFA’s social media tools•Create special events that target the blogging community
    11. 11. Challenges to membership growth• Not everyone believes AFA membership is important• Members have other business priorities that take precedence over AFA• No broad marketing plan exists to promote the association• Landowners hard to contact/entice – not all landowners have e-mail or are willing to provide• Young people not as involved in the association• The timber and forest products community is large, diverse and difficult to mobilize (unless there is a crisis)• Companies are less inclined to pay memberships and “encourage” joining• Tool Kit – difficult to identify and implement tools that will really work• No one person is specifically focused on membership recruitment within AFA• Need to survey members and those attending meetings/workshops to determine their value drivers
    12. 12. Questions Twitter @arkforests