Keeping Members Engaged and Retained in the Auxiliary (29 May 2018)
Best Practices Retention Ideas:
Train and recognize mentors and new members with certificates, challenge coins, poker chips, etc. Recognize members monthly at meetings and in your newsletters. Awards, Awards, Awards!!!
Mandate training and engagement requirements for the new member within the first 90 days to promote camaraderie and fellowship opportunities with flotilla members. (Study lunches, study groups, etc.) Use the AUX Member Passport, which was developed by Michelle Thornton DCOS, 5SR (http://www.uscga-district-7.org/hr_corner.html) to help new members plan and track their path in the Auxiliary. This will get them involved and keep them going so they will participate and remain active in the future.
Division 7 holds a "New Member College" for new members as well as current members. It is held on a Saturday from 0900 to approximately 1500 and covers all aspects of the Auxiliary including the chain of leadership, protocol, uniforms, mentoring, computer forms, training, certifications, and fellowship. With many veteran members volunteering to lead the program they stress the importance of completing mandatory training as well as specialty training. Participants have all agreed that this was a "home run" for them.
As a follow up to the New Member College, a certification day for the students scheduled with the intent of keeping them engaged with Auxiliary activities. Plans are in place to hold certification classes and testing before taking members out to do VE's, PV's and ATON's as well as helping them with mandatory training and ICS courses. Leadership feels that helping these members become certified will cut down on disenrollment and will help build a strong group of members to carry on the USCG Auxiliary mission.
Visit homes of inactive members and invite them back into the fold. Find out what they are interested in and assign them a mentor to help bring them up to date.
Monthly fellowship opportunities such as a movie, picnic, bowling, lunch, dinner, working with outreach organizations, etc. For those Flotillas near Coast Guard Stations, include them in the fellowship or host an activity at the station. Get to know your members, their interests, hobbies, and families.
Leadership and management should share all news with members. Consistent communication with members about due dates, training opportunities, and activities are shared, and participation is always requested.
Use of Social Media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter to promote your flotillas. Please see below for examples. Social Media Examples
Work with community organizations such as Scouts, YMCA, Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis, Boys and Girls Clubs, and government organizations such as ACOE, DNR, EMA or local military units. These are also good places to offer boating safety classes as well as in schools.
Division 7 has been working since Oct 2014 with the C.W. "Bill" Young VA Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida, making monthly visits to the patients. They have been "welcoming them home" and thanking them for their service to our country. On occasion Girl Scouts and Brownies are involved in the visits, singing carols and giving the veterans “thank you” cards, Christmas cards and Valentine Day cards. This is extremely rewarding not only the Auxiliary members but for the patients as well. This has resulted in an extremely good partnership with the hospital staff and the community.
Leadership training for FCs, VFCs, FSOs, SOs. Need to encourage new areas of certifications. Assign each leadership position an unofficial assistant. This helps promote leadership and trains more members to fulfill positions so no one person is overloaded.
Monthly meetings should be meaningful. Invite guest speakers that include topics of interest to your members. Every meeting should include meaningful training; there is a great database of training available on the Training Directorate Website. http://wow.uscgaux.info/content.php?unit=T-DEPT
Meet weekly or at least monthly with CG personnel or local agencies to learn more about how we can assist them.