At the August Board Meeting, the Sertoma Board conducts a longer term strategic planning session. This was our first session with our new Executive Director, Aaron Ensminger, and we’re excited to tell you about what’s coming for Sertoma and Hearing Charities of America.
At this meeting, we identified three long-range strategic goals and also some initiatives in support of those goals. We’ll be adding to the initiatives over the course of the year, but we’ve got a few to share with you now.
Strategic Goal 1: Developing a Value Proposition for Membership and working on communication and programs to put in place to enhance membership.
Membership is a concern not just for us at the National level of Sertoma, but at the club level as well. Why do members join? It’s a question we’ll be looking at more in the coming months, but one place we believe we can improve immediately is in talking about the benefits of membership and also in developing new benefits for Sertoma members. Here are a few initiatives we’ve already begun work on:
- Recognition of our Volunteers– We’re committed to Vision 2020 and incorporating the process and positions permanently into the leadership structure of Sertoma. One thing we realize is that the extremely valuable and important Specialist positions have gone largely unnoticed. We’ll be looking for those opportunities throughout the year so that we can demonstrate our gratitude and appreciation and create more value for these positions.
- Membership Messaging– We don’t know about you, but we’re pretty tired of the phrase “best kept secret” when it’s used to talk about Sertoma. We want the world at large not only to know about the service we provide nationally and to our communities, but about the satisfaction, fellowship, leadership development and fun that they can get by joining us as a member. Our staff will be developing messaging to use at the National level that you can adapt to use in your club’s recruitment materials.
Strategic Goal 2: Developing a Value Proposition for Clubs and developing more programs to help them with the work that they do.
One of the big elements of planning is identifying gaps. We’ve identified two big gaps in the National level of Sertoma’s work with Sertoma clubs: first, there’s a gap between what we can do for clubs and what clubs are aware of. Second, we also know there’s a gap between what we do for Sertoma clubs and their expectations of us. We aim to start closing both of those gaps immediately, and while we have more intiatives coming soon, here are some we’ll be starting on right away:
- Add local service interests to your club’s online description. While the Sertoma website (sertoma.org) has a great online presence and a comprehensive tool to help prospective members find your club, there’s a lot we don’t know about you. By tracking the projects in which your clubs are involved locally, we’ll be able to facilitate networking between clubs with common interests and projects and refer new members to your clubs easier by matching interests. We want to be able to nationally publicize the work you’re doing locally, and the first step in that process is to ask you about it.
- Database cleanup: Have you ever tried to find contact information for a club and run into dead ends of missing phone numbers, incorrect email address, and dead links for websites? We feel your pain! We’ll be devoting staff resources to proactively contacting our clubs to get this information cleaned up and useable.
- New Staff: We know that without the staff support for your clubs, much of the work we’ve identified will be difficult. Beginning this year, we’re reallocating existing funds in our budget to hire a Member Services Manager to serve as a front line, high level contact for your club’s leadership. This position will also be supporting the training of our club leaders and working with the Training Specialists to ensure that clubs have the resources to do what they do at a second-to-none level. We’re excited to introduce you to the newest Sertoma staff member in early September, so keep watching!
Strategic Goal 3: Uniting clubs into a more cohesive Sertoma
This is the goal we’re most excited about. We value each and every one of the Sertoma clubs across the United States and Canada. You’re what make Sertoma who we are. Every club is an important part of the fabric of the organization. In the past years, we’ve used our national service mission and initiatives to unite clubs. However, we understand that creating a united Sertoma is not only dependent on our shared mission, but in valuing and highlighting the great work each of our clubs does locally. We want recognition and valuing of this local work to become second nature in Sertoma and in our communication. We’ve identified a few ways to start doing this work immediately, and we’ll be identifying more soon.
- Recognize local & community service of clubs: the work you do in your community is important to your club, your community and to us. We’ve tasked our staff with finding ways to recognize this service and publicize the work of each club.
- Develop a Club Recognition program: Our Annual Fund awards recognize those clubs that are participating in CELEBRATE SOUND and the Annual Fund at a high level. We have other awards for clubs who are recruiting at a high level. We want to recognize those clubs that are doing all these things, and create a way to recognize clubs for their own missions as well. A task force of staff and volunteers will be developing a comprehensive recognition program for clubs to use in marketing and also to recognize the good work we’re not rewarding elsewhere.
- Enhance Sertoma’s Branding: While our website, social media presence and print materials are attractive and useful, we also realize that we need a stronger brand identity. What is Sertoma? Do we communicate the answer to that question in everything we do? Does our brand show in our internal communication, external marketing, and in our messaging? We’ve asked staff to look for new ways to enhance our branding and also to revamp what we already do to reflect a cohesive Sertoma brand and message.
We don’t know about you, but after reading this, we’re energized about the future, and we want to get you energized as well—and we need your help! How can you ensure you’re a part of Sertoma’s bright future? Here are just a few ways:
- Join Sertoma’s Members Corner on Facebook! Visit this link to become an approved submitter on our private corner of Facebook. It’s a place to share successes and get some advice from those leaders who have been there on your club’s challenges.
- Come to your Regional Convention! We’ll have multiple Sertoma Board members at each convention, and Aaron Ensminger, our new Executive Director, will be at all the region meetings except Great Plains. We’ll be talking more about the new directions and new initiatives in store, and we want to hear what you think! It’s a great way to get some one on one time with us!
- Talk with your Communication Specialist! Every Sertoma Club has been assigned a Communication Specialist. If you haven’t heard from yours yet, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can get you connected! Over the next year, they’ll be making contact at least four times to hear about what’s going on with your club. That’s the feedback we’ll be using to develop more initiatives to advance our strategic goals.
- Drop us a line! If you’ve got questions, thoughts or suggestions, contact Sertoma Headquarters. Our HQ staff is here for you…and we’ll be introducing you to them in the coming months so you know exactly who to talk to for the answers you need.
We’re excited to see what the coming year brings. We’ve got fantastic members, solid clubs, and a leadership team in volunteers and staff to make some great thing happen. Most of all, we want to be sure that each and every one of us is Proud to be a Sertoman!