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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Society of American Magicians! » » Building Membership (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

ScottLeavitt
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Folks

Would it be worthwhile to start a thread on "best practices" folks have found for gaining new members, and keeping current ones active and involved?

Thanks

Scott
Necromancer
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Quote:
On 2006-05-25 11:57, ScottLeavitt wrote:
Would it be worthwhile to start a thread on "best practices" folks have found for gaining new members, and keeping current ones active and involved?


Scott, I think you just did! Smile

National has a membership-building program available; any Regional Vice President can get it for you (find yours at http://www.magicsam.com).

My own Assembly has found value in:
1. Doing events that serve the public and get covered by the local media, so local magic hobbyists become aware of our presence.
2. Publicizing lectures and keeping a display of recruitment materials at the local magic shops, where magic enthusiasts will see them.
3. Encouraging current members to bring a friend to a meeting.

Those are all recruitment tactics. Retention tactics for current members include:

4. Bringing in lecturers they want to see (involve them in choosing prospective lecturers).
5. Programming activities they want to do (involve them in deciding events and possible themes for various meetings).
6. Promoting an atmosphere that is supportive, respectful, and lots of fun (snacks and drinks are a plus).

And one more that has both recruitment and retention aspects:
7. Building a website where prospective members can get pertinent info about your Assembly, and where current members can relive enjoyable past events and find out about future plans.

That's a start. I'm looking forward to seeing what others contribute.

Best,
Neil
Creator of The Xpert (20 PAGES of reviews!) and the Hands-Off Multiple ESP System ("Quality and design far exceed any ESP cards on the market"-Genii), both at Penguin.
ScottLeavitt
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Thanks Neil

We've actually taken many of the steps you mention:
1. Actively maintained web site at http://www.sam161.org (complete with calendar of upcoming lectures, photos of past lectures, etc.)
2. Relatively large group that gathers at the restaurant where we meet for dinner prior to each lecture -- visiting lecturer usually joins us for dinner
3. high quality calendar of lectures -- get quite a few guests depending upon the month (e.g., Rick Maue was with us this past month, Eugene Burger is with us in October...Zingg, Lovell and Pearlman have all been with us recently) We even hosted a seance with Tony R's gang!

Challenge is, how do we reach out the "hobbiest" or non-affiliated magician who we're currently not connecting with? Agree that we should push the "bring a friend" concept, and we also tend to advertise some of the bigger name lectures (sssshhhh don't tell anyone because I know we're not supposed to) on the Café and SAMTalk. While we annual public shows, that venue hasn't turned up many leads.

What might be useful is if SAM could provide Assemblies with 1) listings of past members with expired memberships within their geographic areas; 2) listings of unaffiliated members (who join SAM for MUM, but haven't joined a local Assembly)

Look forward to others' thoughts....

S
Craig Dickson
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If you need help starting an Assembly, or ideas to grow yours, a good guy to contact is Membership Development Chair - Lahsen Mahi - 20660 Ptarmigan Blvd, Eagle River, AK 99577, Phone 907-622-6244. He will be glad to help.
Merlina
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Maria Ibanez
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Greetings:

As of this year's convention, the S.A.M. has a new Membership Committee Chair, Rick Hinze from Atlanta, Georgia.

I still have a handful of the CDs which were produced while I Co-chaired that committee and will gladly send them out if you wish to have a copy. The CD contains approx. 100 pages of ideas, suggestions and tried and true methods of increasing membership. If you are interested just drop me a line to merlina17@aol.com and I will gladly send it out.

Respectfully
Maria Ibanez
National President Elect
Society of American Magicians
afuntimevent
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Hi, Scott -
The national administrator sends updated national membership lists quarterly to each RVP. It contains assembly, unaffiliated and youth members, which are identified as such. He also sends a separate list of lapsed members - also listed as former assembly or unaffiliated members. I forward the lists to the relevant assembly officers. Check with your RVP for the list.
Someone in one mof my assemblies said it's harder to get members back than it is to get new members. True? Not true? I don't know.
Marlene Clark
SAM RVP New England
National Mdembership Strategy Committee
ScottLeavitt
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Thank you Marlene
Bill Palmer
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One of the worst things an assembly can do is to get into constant bickering about what most members perceive as politics. These are the seemingly endless business meetings that cover every little niggling detail of the upcoming year.

To remedy this, in Houston, we have started having board meetings before each regular meeting. Any paid-up member is welcome to attend. They are also welcome to give feedback. The board meetings are fairly short. When the meeting starts, the typical business meeting is about 10 - 15 minutes. The information from the board meeting is relayed to the members, and votes are taken if needed. Our members are much happier now than before, and they are staying in.

I hope we can get some of the old members that we lost back. I was one of them. And I finally came back to see if the rumors I had heard were true.

I'm glad to say that they are.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
ScottLeavitt
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Thanks Bill

We tend to keep our "business meetings" brief -- review upcoming lectures in the area and assembly activities, "health and wellness" to review who's sick and ask that folks reach out to them, etc.
afuntimevent
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Hi,
More thoughts on recruiting & keeping members.
Leadership is an important component. An enthusiastic, knowledgable, responsible and supportive president and/or executive board does much to enhance your club's reputation and interest in it.
People join the S.A.M. because of the magic, but leadership training should be part of who we are. A few years ago, the S.A.M. published an assembly handbook. It's a great resource. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee it got passed on from one president/secretary to the next (that should be leadership responsibility).
The existing membership also can be a challenge. It's a daunting task to overcome resistance to change - hats off to those willing to take on that challenge. Bickering - political or otherwise - is often about control. A good leader is a listener, motivator and arbitrator; he/she tries to turn things into a win/win situation. It most likely will take more than one year. Give those who stick with it the support they deserve.
Many members say they don't like the business part of the meetings - they go to the meetings for the magic. That's like going to religious services for the coffee and danish afterward. It may be true, but a well-run meeting helps members feel as if they have a stake in the assembly, that they belong. If you're there just to do or watch magic - why do you need to join an assembly? There *has* to be more to it, but it's not the nitty-gritty business of running an assembly: refreshments, who's performing, setting lecture/performance schedule, changing dues/meeting night/location, complaints about members. These issues need to be discussed and decided, but spending too much time on these items stagnates a club. Members lose interest. (Read Bill Palmer's post.)
Members need to feel they have a stake in the success of their assembly and the S.A.M. That makes them feel important, & rightly so, because what happens at the assembly and national levels affects them and their outlook on magic.
This is philosophical. If you're here, I'm probably preaching to the choir (sorry, no coffee & danish). Putting it into practice involves many of the ideas you have mentioned and are doing.
I'd love to talk with you about this because it *is* important to the future of the S.A.M. You can email me privately, or continue the discussion here.
Marlene Clark
S.A.M. RVP New England
S.A.M. Membership Strategy Committee
AndyC
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One idea is to designate members to go up to prospective members at functions - introduce themselves - make the prospect feel welcomed - and then have them meet other members. I also think a follow up email to the prospect after the meeting will keep the momentum going.
tpax
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I may be the perfect example of a potential member. I've been interested in magic and doing "tricks" for over 12 years, had a office in the same building as Al's magic shop (spent a lot of time there!), bought a ton of tricks off the Internet, and never saw any information about ANY organization for magicians. I stumbled onto the S.A.M. web site and, to my amazement, there was a assembly that meets 5 minutes from my house. It never occurred to me there was a organization for magicians.
So you have to wonder, how many more like me are out there? I did join and wish I'd known about this ten years ago. I look at my experiences and think that membership development could be enhanced by getting some of the Internet magic stores geared towards entry level magicians to promote/mention the S.A.M. on their sites. It would reach a lot of people new to magic.
Being new to the S.A.M. I wonder what type of outreach is done to the schools? Would this be done on a national level or by local assemblies? The average age of my assembly has to be 50, that seemed to be the average for the MAES convention as well. That's scary to us marketing guys! Increasing membership in the S.Y.M. should be a priority.
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