2018-03 From the President: Attracting new members

At its February meeting the Board focused on significant developments in three areas of work as follow-up to the October Town Hall luncheon meeting:

Attracting new members

The Board reviewed a graph of membership trends. Following several years of slow but steady growth, numbers have dropped in each of the past two years, including a seven percent decline from February 2017 to February 2018. Nonetheless, the tenor of the Board discussion was optimistic, for reasons described in John Anderson’s article (see p. 3). Restoring our access to new retirees, coupled with a free first-year membership offer, and the invitation to make a five-minute pitch at each OHR pre-retirement seminar, should permit us to quickly reverse the dip in our membership numbers.

Luncheon venue

Related to the anticipated growth in membership, as well as the increasing pressure on the space in Campus Club ABC, the Board has explored several alternative locations for the monthly luncheons. Although, in the past, the Campus Club has been reluctant to make the larger West Wing space available for our luncheons, an UMRA delegation will meet with Campus Club leadership in March to review the situation one more time before closing on an alternative site. Stay tuned.

Communications and Outreach Committee

At its January meeting the Board endorsed the report, a year in the making, of the Communications Task Force. The report’s key recommendations included: “Appoint a permanent Communications and Outreach Committee with a clear definition of its charge as distinct from the Membership committee. The most important job of the Communications and Outreach committee will be to raise UMRA’s visibility, to put our name in print wherever possible in the U of M and to make UMRA a recognizable and respected organization within the University community.” I am pleased to say that the new committee, chaired by Board member Claudia Parliament, is now up and running. Other members are Becky Anderson, Will Craig, Cathy Lee Gierke, Ginny Hanson, Jean Kinsey, Jeanne Markell, Kris Mortensen, and Terry Roe.

— Chip Peterson, President 2017–18