Communicating with Members and Managing Membership

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COMMUNICATING WITH MEMBERS AND MANAGING MEMBERSHIP

MANAGING A MEMBERSHIP ROSTER

You will need to maintain your membership roster on the MQG member management site. This is how the MQG communicates with your membership and assesses how many active members you have, which impacts the dues you pay to the MQG.

It is useful to maintain a separate local roster for internal communications with guild members. There are websites that assist with maintaining and organizing a roster, however, many guilds find it easiest to maintain a Google spreadsheet containing pertinent information for your active members. This can include name, address, email, social media handles, and other information on their status in the organization. There may be privacy laws in your country or municipality that restrict how you store and share membership information. If there are such laws, be sure your officers and others who have access to the membership roster understand what those requirements are.

Once your guild is registered on the MQG website, you should start a Circle for your guild. While any member is able to set up a Circle, we recommend an officer start and therefore “own” the Circle. You can choose to make your Circle open so anyone can join or private where you circle is visible to everyone, but requires approval to join. Circles are a great way to connect within your guild.

BEST PRACTICES FOR RENEWALS

Renewing with the MQG

Guild renewals are a two-step process. First, a guild must do internal renewals where its members pay dues to the guild for the coming year. Then, the guild renews with the MQG by paying guild dues.

For guilds who run their membership year on a calendar year cycle, the best practice is to begin renewals in October/November. Start mentioning renewal dues around that time. Make sure to outline HOW members can renew with you at your meetings and in your newsletters, and start taking dues. We also recommend sending personal emails (or a BCC email), to your members who have not renewed.

By December, you should have a rough idea of your numbers for the following year. However, with the MQG renewal period for guilds running January 1 to March 31, you have plenty of time to solidify your numbers, so take the time you need to get the most accurate member number.

After your internal renewals are complete and you are ready to renew with the MQG, you need to update your member roster. First, add any new members. Then, unlink any members who haven't renewed. Anyone who is renewing can stay on the list. If these changes move your guild into a different membership tier, you'll need to let the Member Manager know. Renewal emails from the MQG will have all the info you need to complete the process.

Getting members to renew

Start promoting renewals about three months before your guild's expiration. It is worth mentioning at the beginning of each meeting and in your monthly newsletter. We also recommend sending a personal email, it could be a BCC email, to your members who have not renewed. Emails direct to members have higher open rates. Once your expiration date has passed, it is worth sending one last email to people who didn't renew their membership.
 
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Increasing Guild Membership

Managing Your Guild Online, A Tour of the MQG Website Video

Leader Help Page

 

OFFICER EMAIL ADDRESSES

Some guilds have found it useful to use Google’s G-Suite for nonprofit organizations. They set up email addresses such as president@anytownmodernquiltguild.com or treasurer@anytownmodernquiltguild.com. Those email addresses stay with the position and transition from leader to leader.

 

Other guilds have found it useful to have one shared inbox that everyone on the guild board shares access to, such as anytownmodernquiltguild@gmail.com. This can serve to keep all communication and documentation in one central location.

 

It doesn’t matter what route you go, but it is important to keep this communication in a central location outside of an individual member’s email accounts so as leadership teams change, the contact information for the guild remains the same.

 

You can find Google’s instructions for setting up G-Suite here.

GUILD WEB PRESENCE

There are a number of options available for setting up your website. You will need a domain name, which can be purchased from vendors such as GoDaddy or Google. Then you will need to choose a website hosting platform.

 

There are many hosting options out there. Free options include Wix or Blogger, or others such as WordPress or SquareSpace that charge a hosting feel.

 

Make sure that whatever platform you choose is easy for your website manager (usually a volunteer member) to maintain. Also consider how your website management can be transitioned to another member down the road.

 

A website should include: Guild name, meeting location, an email or contact form so people can get in touch, and links to social media. Advanced options would include online membership sign-up (with payments), listings of all events, and online workshop registration.

Maintaining your overall web presence:

Maintaining social media accounts can be pivotal for getting the word out about what is going on, keeping your membership up to date, and recruiting new members.

 

Facebook and Instagram are the two main platforms used by the quilting community. Keeping your social media accounts current is one of the most important aspects of your guild’s web presence. Even if it’s just a friendly reminder about your usual monthly meetings, it will tell people who find you online that your guild is still active. Keep in mind that Facebook and Instagram have different audiences, so it is important to keep both up to date.

 

Pinterest can be a great resource for your membership. You can use it to post challenge or swap inspiration. It can house useful tips and tricks for members (like that link to homemade spray baste that everyone keeps asking about)! However, Pinterest likely won’t drive new membership.

 

It is best that one or two people manage your web presence. Too many people posting can get confusing. It is a good idea to establish an officer position to manage communications and social media for the guild. Also, make sure whoever does the social media posting logs out of the account after they post, to prevent accidentally posting personal photos or something controversial to your guild account.

ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION AMONG THE OFFICERS

It is a good idea to have a shared drive or other common electronic filing system that your officers can use to store documents. Google Drive is one common tool, although there are other platforms like DropBox and Box that can also be used. Encourage officers to put guild documents in that space so that they can be commonly accessed, and can be located when officer transitions occur. Documents to which multiple officers should have access include:

  • Guild membership rosters
  • Leases and rental agreements
  • Contracts with teachers, speakers, etc.
  • Insurance policies and certificates
  • Financial records

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