Not the charred, flavorless, 'menu says eight ounces, what's on my plate looks no more than three,' variety you get at your local flair-on-the wall family restaurant. We already have plenty of pledge programs and initiation weeks like that. Like a bad steak, more often than not, our members spit them out. Pushed beyond their limits doing purposeless tasks, members leave, complain, or burn out.
And their members keep coming back, and back, and back, for more.
Think back to kindergarten or preschool. You know - when you began building the developmental foundation for the rest of your life. You learned to do more than count and spell; you learned to share, to investigate, to love. Teachers engaged you with one-on-one attention. If you fell, they helped you up. Better yet, they cared if you failed, struggled, or needed help. You learned social skills through interacting with the strange kid who always tried to put gum in your hair or the one who insisted you be the dog catcher when playing House while they got to be part of the family.
So what does this have to do with steak? A great steak, or any well-prepared, well-served meal for that matter evokes the same reactions. We laugh, we savor, we store the experience in our database of "What I should do again." We build an association between physical fulfillment and happiness.
This is the same association our members should build with membership development. But it all starts with the product we serve.
You may be asking yourself, "How can I turn my chapter's member education program into a perfectly cooked, porterhouse of personal growth?" Here are a few guidelines on how to cook it up:
1. A good membership development program is prepared properly.
2. A good membership development program is fresh.
3. A good membership development program is the right size portion.
4. A good membership development program is served by those committed to good service.
blog post provides one of the best examples of customer service we've ever heard of. What would our members do if they received this level of attention from our officers, alumni and advisers?
Imagine if a student on your campus tweeted:
Hey, @yourcampusgreeklife, can you provide life skills, character development and friendship before I graduate? K, Thanks. :)
Would your organization be able to answer? How about deliver the actual product? Today? Tomorrow? We must have organizational structures and communication processes in place to evaluate and accommodate the needs of our students rapidly. Our future as a relevant campus community depends on it.
5. A good membership development program isn't consumed once.
We understand it's not a perfect analogy. Steak is a red meat. Too much steak, like anything, is bad for you. We respect and acknowledge our vegetarian and vegan friends who choose not to eat meat. But, there are plenty of people who don't like tomatoes, either. Don't get hung up on the analogy. Focus on the message.
If we don't do everything in our power to share memorable, values-based, thought-provoking and fun experiences with our members, there will be no one left in twenty five years to have bland, boring, or offensive meetings with.