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OPEG Affiliate Week: Sheri Chaney Jones on Steps to Strengthen Affiliate Membership

I am Sheri Chaney Jones, president of Measurement Resources Company and a Member at Large for the Ohio Program Evaluators’ Group (OPEG).

As an independent evaluator with a passion for data-driven decision making, I desire to network with other evaluators and those that could benefit from evaluation.  One way I do this is by staying active in my local AEA affiliate, OPEG.  In order for the group to be a benefit its members the organization must be strong and active providing relevant and necessary programming of interest.

OPEG recently took steps to regenerate interest and strengthen its membership. The results from these strategies helped our OPEG chapter grow.

  1. Conducted an electronic survey of its current and past members to find out their perceptions and desires for OPEG.
  2. Called individuals who were once actively involved, but had not participated in the past year. Individuals of the membership committee made the calls and asked questions to understand why these inactive members stopped attending events and their current interest in OPEG.
  3. Personally invited the inactive members to reengage in the organization and attend the next event.

Lessons Learned: Don’t let communication lapse! We learned that many inactive members were unaware of their OPEG membership status and upcoming events due to lack of communication. Others felt like conferences were too academic or the sessions did not apply to them.  In some cases people changed employers, so this approach allowed us to inform their replacement of OPEG and its benefits.

Hot Tip:  Use what they tell you. The survey results helped our program and membership committees improve our programming and outreach activities.  We are developing a membership management system that will allow us to better communicate with members regarding events and membership.

Rad Resource:  Find new ways to connect. We also started a LinkedIn group (http://www.linkedin.com/groups?about=&gid=2957762&trk=anet_ug_grppro ) that helps members stay engaged and increase communication with each other.

The success of an affiliate chapter is no different from the success of the clients evaluators serve. It is important to stay in touch with our members and evaluate if we as an organization are still relevant to their needs.  These three activities have appeared to pay off as our last conference was very well attended with many individuals coming to an OPEG event for the first time!

Hot Tip: Registration for OPEG’s interactive and experiential October 13th Fall Workshop, Embracing Change through Evaluation, is now open at www.OPEG.org.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating the Ohio Program Evaluators’ Group (OPEG) Affiliate Week with our colleagues in the OPEG AEA Affiliate. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our OPEG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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