A year ago in January, in an effort to address several years of declining membership, SLA retained the services of James Kane, an expert on the science behind what makes people loyal, whether to another person, an organization or a cause. In May of 2011, all interested chapters were invited to submit presentations for a pilot project on loyalty directed by Mr. Kane with a focus on the relationships between members and SLA and how members perceived the value of SLA. Late in May, Mr. Kane announced that the Rocky Mountain, Minnesota, Southern California, DC/Maryland and Florida chapters had been selected for the pilot program. After personally visiting each of the five chapters in August, Mr. Kane assigned a specific area of loyalty for each chapter to work on. Our chapter is focusing on member relationships, Minnesota is exploring leadership relationships, Southern California has been looking at community relationships, the DC/Maryland chapter is assessing vendor relationships and the Florida chapter organized a workshop with James Kane called “Keep ‘Em Coming, Building Loyal Relationships With Those That Matter Most”.
This week at the SLA Leadership Conference, Past-President Julie Cavender will be sharing highlights from our chapter’s experience with the loyalty project and in particular what we learned about membership relationships. Late last year, RMSLA conducted a limited member phone survey to 1) initiate a personal contact with members and 2) gain a better understanding of what members valued about belonging to RMSLA. If you were contacted by an RMSLA volunteer for the survey you might have been asked questions like “What do you like about SLA and RMSLA?”, “What concerns do you have about your work?” “What do you need from SLA and RMSLA?” and “What are your career hopes and dreams?” Through these conversations we learned things that members liked and did not like about our chapter. We began to understand how connecting with one another on a personal level greatly increases the value we receive from belonging to RMSLA.
This year we are building on that knowledge by focusing on improving and enhancing RMSLA’s communication channels. Shawn Thomas continues her wonderful work as RMSLA’s webmaster, managing all content posted to the website, which underwent a total redesign last year. Kristin White, RMSLA’s newly appointed Social Media & Communications Chair, coordinates the RMSLA LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter accounts. Past-President Julie Cavender posted a poll on the LinkedIn group page asking “Should RMSLA have a Rockies baseball game fundraiser this year?” So far, 15 people have responded (13 “yes” and 2 “no”). We plan to continue posting occasional polls and will conduct mini-surveys throughout the year so that our members can communicate what they want and need from their membership. And finally, to help you get to know RMSLA leaders and members, we are posting profiles on the website; President-Elect Rachel Bates Wilfahrt’s profile is up now.
The loyalty project does not end here. We plan on continually reaching out to our membership until we have reached ALL of you!
~ Co-written by Julie Cavender and Recca Larson