This guidance is provided to you by the Membership and Leadership Development (MLD) program. Through the MLD program, the League is becoming more effective and more powerful in communities throughout the nation. The MLD program is funded by the Fund for Local League Growth.
Community organizers will tell you that one of the secrets to success is to be intentional about each action taken – and to plan them all out in advance. With new local and state boards settling in to their roles, now is the perfect time to get intentional about planning for the year ahead!
Each board should take the time to have a board retreat/orientation. This gives the board a chance to prepare and discuss the upcoming year. The board should take the time to discuss their goals, their expectations, and their roles to help them plan and organize their work. This helps the board build their relationship as a team. An outline for a board orientation is available online.
We encourage every local and state board to plan a calendar for the entire upcoming year. The board retreat/orientation or the first board meeting would be a great time to start planning out the events to come and making sure that the League will be visible in the community year-round. Be sure to incorporate membership outreach to potential and current members as well as opportunities to develop emerging leaders with each activity. A Calendaring Power Point presentation is available online.
How to Calendar Effectively:
Ask the following questions as the calendar is being planned --
- How can your League include one event, visibility opportunity, or activity for each month? How can you be creative? In what easy ways can we be visible each month that don’t require a lot of work (such as media releases, letter to editor, posting to a blog)? Consider an event focused on a local issue that excites your community. It might be a new issue for your League.
- How can you incorporate state and national issues and studies into your calendar? How can you show the power and scope of the different levels of League working together to create impact?
- What other community-based opportunities exist? What opportunities already exist in the community? What allied organizations could your League partner with this year? Are there groups who represent a different constituency (or set of customers) than the League who could bring a more diverse and varied perspective?
- Where are the opportunities for more FUN in the League calendar? Schedule a purely social activity or combine social elements with some of your events in order to give members and potential members time to get to know each other in an informal manner.
- When are you providing opportunities for learning, growth or training for League members and leaders?
- How will the activities welcome or engage new members?
So you’ve created a yearlong calendar? Great! Now, to keep up the momentum throughout the year. . .
- Get others involved! Remember that membership and leadership development is a TEAM effort. Keep involving your current and new members in all events. For example, give members small, discrete tasks for each event and learn about your members’ interest so you can get them involved by asking each member to complete a short survey on what they’d like to do in the League. Connect them with an experienced leader who can mentor them as they begin to become more involved in leadership. You’ll create a welcoming vibe in your League, develop new leaders, and create an atmosphere of fun and friendship.
- Be flexible and learn from your setbacks. Be open to new opportunities that might not yet be on your calendar. If a new and important issue pops up in your community or an allied organization asks your League to cosponsor a not-yet planned event, don’t be afraid to switch up your calendar and pursue something else. Also remember that growing your membership and leadership is a PROCESS and is rarely linear. Setbacks are just moments from which you can learn.