[ American Advertising Federation District 7 ]
Club Updates September 2021
Atlanta Ad Club
Our membership committee has implemented several exciting new initiatives to help drive and sustain membership for Atlanta Ad Club. We have recently added a new Job Listings section to our website. Atlanta Ad Club members can post open jobs at no cost as a new member benefit. We are also starting a recurring open jobs round-up email that goes to our members and email recipients. Our membership committee has additionally started working on an engaging new digital goodie bag for new members, an exciting new member benefit during a time of social distancing. We are also in the process of implementing a new welcome email journey for new members.
AAF Baton Rouge
AAF-Baton Rouge held its kick-off social in August. The club hosted a booth at the Baton Rouge MidCity Makers Market. This monthly community event hosts local artisans, creators, food and drink vendors at a free-to-attend marketplace. AAF-BR members were able to visit the booth to chat with board members, sign up for a drawing to win prizes, shop, drink, and eat. Interested public could sign up to learn more about the club and hear about club activities from the attending members. September 8, the club is kicking off the annual speaker series with a presentation by Chief Nut Officer Jady Regard of Cane River Pecan. Upcoming member events include the annual I Scream Social for Halloween in October.
AAF Birmingham is seeing some positive engagement in terms of membership. We hosted a Membership Mixer a few months ago to kick off the new board year and had a good turnout. We have been working to increase membership and had some success, but we are hearing that some businesses are hesitant to commit to membership due to fears of COVID ramping up and everything going virtual again. It really highlights how important it is to our members to be able to meet in person, but also to feel safe doing it. We’re hopeful that we can continue to attract businesses in the face of rising numbers while creating a safe environment for them to meet.
After coming out of 2020-2021, which held an abundance of changes, challenges, awakenings, and anxieties, we saw that even though our membership went down almost 9% (from 123 to 112), our ability and drive to meet our members where they are – to deliver benefits that are valuable and relevant – had been redefined at an all-new level. There was an opportunity to “pivot” if you will, and that is something our Board has embraced to the core.
So it may seem odd that our membership goal for the 2021-2022 year is to simply maintain a steady number at 112, as opposed to growing our numbers after several years of decline. However, our pivot is focusing on what and how we are providing value to our members both professionally and personally. After assessing costs and benefits, we came to the conclusion that this new normal actually allows us the ability to bring more to our membership, despite dropping revenue. For example, after proving the virtual luncheon concept, we now have the confidence to keep some events virtual, and to save some of the in-person expense dollars like food, venue, and travel costs to be reinvested in a higher speaker budget, thereby bringing even bigger and more captivating speakers to our membership at large. We are also looking into new ways to engage in person through a renewed happy hour program, and smaller quarterly skill-based workshops.
Aside from the dollars and cents of it all, we also came out of 2020-2021 with a renewed sense of urgency around how to improve upon how we show up in our community by being a more diverse and inclusive club, from our board makeup to the vendors and entrepreneurs we support at our events, to the topics our speakers cover.
It is through these two significant adjustments in our operations that we aim to grow our membership in the long run. So while we are focused on the core elements of retention and re-engagement this year, our 3-year+ plan is to build back our membership by providing value and relevance to the community at large.
AAF Mobile Bay
AAF Mobile Bay is working on wrapping up membership renewals. Later this month, we will host an in-person luncheon while partnering with PRCA Mobile – this will be our first since April 2020! We are inviting guests to the luncheon as an opportunity to experience AAF Mobile and see if they would like to become a new member! We also plan to do a series of posts on social media reminding members of discounts you receive as an AAF member.
AAF MS Gulf Coast
We are kicking off the new year with much excitement here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Jeff Harrison, Cece Shabazz and Alex Weems are preparing for attendance at the upcoming Leadership Conference in Atlanta. Our board is excited for them to represent us during this event.
We are already preparing for the upcoming Spring Convention. We are looking forward to seeing everyone in April.
The board is also working to get our Programs back on track to engage our members and add value to their membership.
AAF North Alabama
Our website chairperson is one of the owners of Rocket City Digital, and his team is spearheading the development of our new website. One of the main goals was to address membership. The new functionality allows people to join from the website using a form that connects to our Quickbooks for invoicing. Members then are able to create a profile on our website that talks about their services, upload profile photos, link to their website and social media, and post to our job board. We are testing the functionality now and expect to launch later this month. We will then make a push for membership renewals. It’s later than normal for renewals, but we wanted to get the new site updated first.
Membership Renewals & Acquisition
Even with a reduced membership fee, our 2020-21 membership numbers dipped significantly. So, to see our 2021-22 membership drive only halfway over, but our numbers have already surpassed last year’s total. Five percent of our membership is new acquisitions.
We had hoped to resume in-person meetings, but with the Delta variant, decided it prudent to continue virtual and re-evaluate for the October/November meetings. Members are experiencing virtual fatigue and our first meeting encountered low numbers. However, there has been a heavy campaign for our September meeting, and we are moving forward with our annual fundraiser, the Joel A. Mask (JAM) Golf Tournament. This fundraiser is an opportunity for the membership to volunteer in a safer, outdoor environment. Additionally, our membership chair has been tasked with surveying the membership to evaluate their interest in various engagement opportunities so that we can better serve them moving forward.