Division A - Public Relations Programs
Category 6 - Internal
FPRA Southwest Florida Chapter Membership Satisfaction Campaign
Nancy McCarthy, APR; 2005-2006 Southwest Florida Chapter Board of Director

Judges' Award

Research/Situation Analysis: The Southwest Florida Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) was chartered in 1985. After a year of low attendance at monthly luncheon meetings and the cancellation of the chapter’s annual professional development seminar, member satisfaction and chapter finances were on the decline. According to a survey conducted at the end of the year, only 58 % of members were very or completely satisfied with their membership and only 32% were very or completely satisfied with monthly luncheon topics. In addition, the chapter’s total cash assets had decreased by 14%. To ensure the continued success of the chapter, a membership satisfaction campaign was developed. The target audience was FPRA members, guests, and chapter leaders.

Objectives: 1. Increase members’ overall level of satisfaction by 10 % by the end of the fiscal year.
2. Increase members’ satisfaction with monthly luncheons by 10% by the end of the fiscal year.
3. Achieve a 75 % member retention rate by the December 31, 2006.
4. Increase the chapter’s total cash assets by 10 % by the end of the fiscal year.

Implementation: At the board retreat, board members brainstormed tactics that they could implement to help achieve these goals. The team determined that strengthening our programs, enhancing consistent and timely communications, and offering fun networking opportunities would be key to increasing member satisfaction, as well as attracting new members. To improve our monthly programs, an excellent line-up of speakers was secured well in advance and a save-the-date was distributed to promote lunch meetings (including speaker and topic). The chapter also moved the monthly luncheons to a location that offered a wider array of food options. Luncheon coupons were developed as a simple way for members to prepay for luncheons and leveraged the benefit as a way to encourage repeat attendance. To foster communication with members the chapter improved its Web site by implementing content management software that allowed each board member to post information on programs, events, newsletters, photos and other information as soon as it’s ready. Monthly newsletters were also distributed consistently two weeks prior to the luncheon date to keep chapter events top-of-mind. An event-packed summer was planned and coined the “Summer of FPRA!” The “summer” began at the Fort Myers Relay for Life on May 1. More than 10 members and their families participated in the American Cancer Society’s signature event. It was a great way for members to get involved and show FPRA’s presence in the community. On the heels of Relay for Life, chapter held a very successful Image Awards program. The highly coveted membership awards, Rising Star, Member of the Year and Public Relations Professional of the year, were also presented at the event. Next on the roster was PR University, our annual professional development seminar. An impressive lineup of speakers was secured, including the community affairs liaison for the Miami Heat. A media breakfast was held on July 11 and was also an outstanding success. Ten representatives from the media attended, and event attracted more than 100 members and guests. An additional “fun” membership appreciation event was held in conjunction with new member orientation which attracted several chapter leaders, new and seasoned members. The chapter also added a new professional development opportunity– PRU Book Club. The book club met monthly to discuss books about PR, advertising, leadership, business, time management and other related topics. It was an attractive addition to our professional development suite that appealed to all professionals. We also invigorated the chapter’s bottom line with a sponsorship brochure that standardized sponsorship levels for all events, in addition to a new luncheon sponsorship option and a comprehensive sponsorship that included benefits at all FPRA events. The chapter’s media directory was also enhanced and sold to members and guests which proved to be an effective fund-raising tool. To show appreciation to board members throughout the year, the President awarded a “golden gavel” at each board meeting to a board member who was doing an outstanding job. In addition, fun “snap cups” were given to board members and they were encouraged to place words of inspiration and kudos in each others “snap cups.”

Evaluation: All of the tactics that were implemented during the year paid off! At year-end, more than 80 percent of members were completely or very satisfied with their membership—a 22 % increase and 12 % more than our goal.
2. Relocating the monthly luncheons, securing phenomenal speakers and promoting the events not helped to increase attendance dramatically, members’ satisfaction with the luncheons increased by 42%! In addition, we increased satisfaction of the location and food by 44% and 59% respectively.
3. Luncheon attendance, sponsorships, professional development seminar, media breakfast and media directory all helped to increase the chapter’s total cash assets by 66%! These funds will go a long way towards ensuring the chapter’s continued success.
4. The plan allowed us to achieve 80 % retention, 5% above goal and a 5% increase in membership.

Budget: Expenses: $15,928.33 Income:$26,108.00 Detailed breakdown in notebook.