This last week has been challenging for a number of reasons, both personal and professional. Its been the kind of week when we must be reminded that progress is not easy, not always a straight line and requires at time a setback or two. Progress is a dance of three steps forward, two steps back and repeat. This week requires me to pick myself up, buckle down and get her done, but I am weary and feel like procrastinating.
One source of my malaise is a bit of discouraging news. I have been keeping a Membership Roster for the last few months. This last May I modified the Roaster so that it would automatically flag memberships that were due for renewal. It worked very well. In June, members whose memberships where about to expire where contacted, first by email, and than our office assistant contacted everybody by telephone. Some declined to renew their membership, some did renew, but a number simply ignored our request.
At the beginning of July a new list of expiring memberships was generated. Then, I noticed that the ones that had ignored our request, where no longer flagged. Their membership had expired, but they remained on our list. Something was wrong with the formula I used to flag expirations. When I fixed the error, I received some heart breaking news. Sixty-four people have, since the beginning of the year, declined to renew their memberships. And those whose membership had lapsed before June had not been notified at all.
This means the targets that I had set for increasing membership will likely not be met. To be sure, our membership has increased, but not at a rate I had hoped for.
A growing membership is important to us. It is validating. It means all the hard work of our staff, myself and the other volunteers is appreciated. It reinforces our appeals for grants and donations. A growing membership suggests that our programs are relevant; we provide meaningful services to our community. We can do a lot more for our community and our members if our membership is growing; our programs can be expanded, promoting art relative news, events and exhibits can be more effective, and our role as advocates for the creative sector is more credible.
I know, at times, it seems we serve the whole community, before we serve our membership. You might think that your membership does not directly benefit you or that you would benefit the same whether or not you are a member. To a large extent this is true: the events we help produce are almost all open to everyone, the productions we promote are for the benefit of everyone who might attend, and the advocacy we participate in is for the benefit of the whole community. However, your membership means that you support our efforts on behalf of the greater community, that you stand with us as we advocate for an urban environment where creative endeavours are appreciated and encouraged.
If you believe art and creativity are an important part of a community’s health and well being, then you are one of us. You belong with us, and your support is critical.
Please renew your membership. If you do not want to renew I would really appreciate it if you let me know... email@example.com
If you have yet to join, please do. We need you.