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Geoff Hart wrote a lot of his usual good sense, concluding with:
> It would be interesting to speculate about what membership numbers
> might be like if STC evangelized better among groups who currently
> don't even know it exists and put some serious muscle (mental and
> financial) into proving the worth of what we do. But that would just
> be speculation, and worth not much more than the electrons it
> consumes. It would be far more productive for each chapter to
> actually find out why people don't go to their meetings rather than
> extrapolating from a single data point to a broad criticism of the
> effectiveness of ca. 200 chapters spread around the world.
My wife just joined the executive of a local organization, of which we
are members as a couple (OK, it's a real estate investors group). That
group has meetings every month that last two hours, plus schmooze time
at either end. The formal meetings consist of:
- Positive Action and Success Stories (members stand up and tell what
actions they've taken like putting in offers, closing on properties,
selling properties, securing financing for a deal, etc.)
- Major Presentation (by an acknowledged expert in the field -
successful investors, lawyers, accountants, mortgage brokers,
inspectors, contractors, fire marshal, etc. Includes presentation and
- Minor Presentation - usually by a member, on a single focus/topic
- Other business
- Tips, tricks and "learn from my mistake" open mike time - usually
- Door prizes, etc.
- Upcoming events and meeting close
- after-meeting schmooze-fest at nearby restaurant
There is, of course, a website with both public and members-only
sections, yahoo groups, etc.
There's a constant stream of discounts and freebies, and the executive
is actively seeking more and better.
Every member that we talk to figures that they recoup the value of their
membership fee in about two meetings.
Membership is a couple of hundred bodies, having risen steadily over the
past few years.
The executive is now looking for ways to increase membership while
adding more value to retain members. We (my wife and I) are proposing
what has worked for other organizations, namely a two-tier or multi-tier
membership scheme, and higher dues. Right now, it's a bargain. It'll
seem more valuable and exclusive when the price goes up. But, in order
to keep the funnel filled with new members, there will be an entry-level
membership for the basic benefits and to try us out. The higher tier
will pay more and get more - just what is still under discussion. There
might also be a separate member category for "adjunct" members - people
who are not necessarily investors, but who supply basic services of
constant interest to investors (the afore-mentioned legal, accounting,
financing, building-inspection, contractor, and other service
As I say, that's similar to what has worked in other organizations of
which we've been a part, in the past.
Might be worth considering. Might not.
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