Membership Building

You still have time

As we head towards the end of the Toastmasters year, we have one key message for our clubs. You still have time to bring your clubs back to a strong membership position.

We are currently in the middle of a membership drive called Beat The Clock for clubs to increase your membership by 5 and we are encouraging everybody to engage with these efforts. The mantra 30 is the new 20, still stands.

Ensuring your club hits the 20 member mark, will enable some clubs to achieve DCP level.  For members requiring the opportunity to complete educational awards, there’s still time to organise megameetings and events to assist them to achieve their educational goals. Plus, this provides you with an opportunity to invite non-renewed members and guests to attend.

Here’s how you can help. 

1. Members and renewals – during March and April, some of our members did not renew, but are now starting to come back. If you have members that decided not to renew earlier, now is the time to contact them to invite them to renew. 

2. Increase your membership – clubs can host their own Open House Meetings to invite guests and non-renewed members too. To support this, there’s £100 available from the District for marketing the event, e.g. Facebook ads, Meet Up registration etc.. Keep the receipts to claim the expenses back. To benefit in this Toastmasters year, the event must take place between now and the 30 June 2020.

3. Club Finances – review the club’s budget for the year ahead. The slower than usual renewal payments have affected some clubs more than others.  When we come out of the lockdown, clubs may struggle to hire the same venues, for a variety of reasons. An option is to switch to annual renewals from September (rather than 6 monthly) as this will greatly assist with budgeting. Discuss with your members now as this change impacts them.

We acknowledge that these have been challenging times over the last couple of months. Throughout this time, for members facing uncertainly, their Toastmaster meetings have been a constant. Many clubs have stood up to support their members. We are not alone. It is particularly heartening to look at the clubs in Italy, with the testing situation there, to witness their members continuing to be actively engaged, providing invaluable support for each other and in turn, have helped their clubs to grow. The measure of this success, clubs achieving distinguished and having a strong membership based. We can learn from this, if you have established and experienced members that haven’t yet renewed, it is time to bring them back into the fold. As well as welcoming guests to join meetings and continuing to attract new members. Ensuring new members are registered with Toastmasters International by the end of June.

Some clubs are excelling, they have increased their member base. If that is your club, are you sharing your good practices with other clubs? Can you help a neighbouring club that is struggling? We have pre-charter clubs that are close to chartering and looking for support, can you get involved? This is your opportunity to support all clubs to bring them back to a strong membership position. While we are at it, let’s Beat The Clock!

It has been an absolute delight and pleasure to serve as your Club Growth Director this year. I look forward to continuing to serve you, next year as, your Program Quality Director.

Helena Boden-Brewer, DTM

The lockdown hasn’t slowed us down!

With four clubs chartering during this time and new members streaming in, it’s been busier than ever. It’s great to find our members now coming back to rejoin their clubs. After the initial panic, let’s face it, we all did in one way or another, after weeks of being at home, our online windows on the world have provided opportunities for us to stay connected and let’s be honest, sane. At the beginning when the switch to meeting online was mooted, many members were not happy. Now in May, we reflect on our club, contests and conference sessions; they were all able to perform well and adapt seamlessly to the online format. This is itself a success. 

“United We Speak” is the Region wide initiative to run Open House meetings, which you can invite friends, colleagues and family to join. There’s a Facebook page – United We Speak – as well as details appearing on LinkedIN. District 91 is hosting an event on 21 May.

The mantra “30 is the new 20” for club membership has been embraced. By increasing their base membership, some clubs are weathering this storm. What has been great to hear from you is that even if members didn’t renew, that clubs are still involving them to encourage them to join and experience an online meeting. Others are now actively seeking guests to join their meetings and to engage in the “+3 Challenge” to recruit three members (1st April to 31 May) to be gifted £30 from the District. As we are in May, running through to 30 June, it is of course Beat the Clock – time to increase your membership by 5.

During these challenging times members have stepped forward to offer support to members of their clubs in so many ways. I have heard stories of bread and milk drop offs; writing letters and posting them; and a tutorial on mastering online shopping. The latter was needed to avoid the 10 carrots, being 10 bags of carrots.

The continued support our Toastmasters community is providing is shining through right now. Let us pause for a moment, to thank all that have worked hard to support members, phoned those living alone or self-isolating, provided an escape for health care workers to do something ‘normal’ by joining their club meetings and to see familiar smiling faces at online club meetings. It may seem small, but right now, it is priceless.

Quoting Past Toastmasters International President, Mike Storkey remember the member. You are the most important part of this organisation. We are here to serve and support you.

Our new windows to the world

The online events and club meeting experiences are proving to be a winner. In the last few weeks, all seven of our Division Contests events were held. All had over 100 attendees at some point during the event, with one reaching the 200-attendee mark. Absolutely fantastic showcases for what Toastmasters offers.

The small thumbnails on a screen are now our windows to the world. Visiting clubs has never been easier. We are a global organisation and from the comfort of our own homes, we are travelling the world. Our members have shared their experiences of joining meetings around the world, from Vancouver to Lisbon, Lille to Qatar. Each member is hearing new stories, picking up tips on how other clubs run meetings and strengthening the Toastmasters community bond. And in turn, we have been joined at our events by guests from at least four other continents!

Back in September when I mooted the “30 is the new 20” about club membership, some clubs embraced the challenge. One of our newly chartered clubs, Didcot Speakers, which chartered during this period, has reached that target. At the time of writing, Burnham Speakers, with 23 members has just voted to charter, at this rate they will have 30 members by the end of this Toastmasters year.

Toastmasters International, I have heard it said, is the best kept secret for learning. Let’s share this secret and shout it from the roof tops. Now is the time to step up and seize the opportunity to embrace online webinars, demonstration meetings and open house meetings. As a District we have held a pilot demonstration meeting to test the format – it works! More of these events will be set up through May and June. If you are struggling for guests, hold an online open house meeting and invite all those people you know would benefit from the Toastmasters learning experience. It’s great when I hear the success stories from clubs, particularly during this difficult time, when they have guests becoming members.

To support membership growth, the +3 Challenge running from 1 April to 31 May, is simple. Sign up three new members and ensure they are registered, and the District will gift you £30. As we head into May and June the Toastmasters International membership campaign, Beat the Clock commences. Make sure you update your websites, social media and Easyspeak (if your club uses it), to let everyone know you’re meeting online.

Buddy up members to regularly contact each other and help each other out. If you haven’t heard from one of your members for a while during this period, pick up the phone, check in with them. A note of thanks for all those that joined and engaged so openly in the Survival to Online Interviews webinar, good luck with your interviews.

We are a community and we are supporting each other right now.

Area 52: Don’t be spooked

By Paweł Uścisławski, Area52 Director, Division B

You may have heard of the famous Area 51 in Nevada. It’s a highly classified US Air Force Facility. It is not publicly known what Area 51 is really used for however many UFO sightings and conspiracy theories are abundant. Most of us will never get the opportunity to visit Roswell, Nevada, however you can easily visit an equally interesting Area 52; it may be one number off however it is just a tube or train away!

Area 52 is part of Division B and has clubs located in Victoria area as well as the surroundings of Hyde Park. Its five clubs could arguably make Area 52 one the most diverse areas of District 91. Many members ask about how to vary up their meetings, make the agenda more interesting and do things a little differently. Visiting other clubs is one way to achieve this. You meet new people, clubs and learn how they run their meetings and inspire their members. These are just a few good reason to visit one of the Area 52 clubs:


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20 To 20 Membership renewals challenge

Membership renewals season is starting earlier than usual this year and we are inviting you to take part in it as early as you can. In order to create a bit of competitive spirit, District 91 has created the 20 to 20 challenge for membership renewals.

The first 20 clubs to renew a minimum of 20 members by September 15th will be able to claim back £50 from District 91 coffers to organise a pizza party celebration for their members and guests. Just imagine your usual vibrant club meetings with high calibre speakers, analytical evaluators, fun table topics and FREE pizza and refreshments on the top. Amazing eh?

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