16 September, 2013

Is Your Organization's Membership Getting Older and Grayer Because It's Boycotting Reality?

Do a quick reality check with me. Does this sound like an organization you belong to? 

1. Median member age is rising.
2. Total membership is falling.

If you're squirming in your seat, congratulations; the ability to face facts is the first step toward fixing what's broken in your organization. if you keep doing what you've been doing, you're going to keep getting the results you've been getting.

Yesterday I needed to get in touch with somebody in the leadership of the local chapter of an organization that used to appeal to young professional women but now has a declining membership, a rising median age and is totally striking out with the kind of young professional women who started this org in the last century. They made it way too hard for me to find them and revealed exactly why they aren't reaching young professional women. Here's what I mean:

1. The don't have a website. They aren't even on their national org's website. When you look up state chapters West Virginia isn't even on the list.
2. None of their officers come up in a Linkedin search. 
3. They don't blog.
4. They don't Tweet.
5. They do have a Facebook group but it only has 2 members. Two members. 

If young, career-oriented people can't find you via Google search, if they can't find your leadership on LInkedin, not only don't you exist but you have told them that they don't need to find you because you are boycotting reality.

Young professionals don't have the option of boycotting reality. Reality bites them every day. Their careers and their upward mobility depend upon them being firmly in touch with reality.

In what I call my first real job I wrote and bought advertising for a local company. In those days - nearly 35 years ago - people used the Yellow Pages to find everything. Advertising in the Yellow Pages was a no-brainer. I had to do it. If you weren't in the Yellow Pages you didn't exist.

Things have changed. Have you changed or are you still running your organization as if it's 1980? 

If you don't like the results you're getting - falling membership and rising median age - you have to change what you're doing.

Don't boycott reality and don't wait until you understand what Linkedin is and how people use it. Don't wait until you know how people use Twitter. Believe me now and understand me later, start blogging and Tweeting. Get on LInkedin. Start a Facebook group. Don't wait until you understand why.  


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