Welcome to The FJMC Advantage, a monthly newsletter to help YOU build YOUR Clubs and Regions.
This month's theme is: MARKETING/PR
A SPECIAL EDITION - THE NEW FJMC MEMBERSHIP INFORMATION SYSTEM
MARKETING YOUR CLUB
I realize each club will vary in how it markets itself and gets the word out to its members and congregants depending on a variety of factors such as its size, area, and membership. A club in a small synagogue where all of the men are in the club will have different needs than a large club where only a small number of congregants are in the club. Therefore, I have tried to provide some tips and ideas that I hope you will find useful, regardless of the size of your clubs and synagogues. As always, if you have anything you'd like to share with me, send me an email. Creighton
MAKE YOUR OWN GROUP
One easy and inexpensive way to keep in touch with your members (and even your "hopefully going to be members soon") is to set up an internet group. While I don't advocate for any provider, Yahoo groups and Google groups are a few of the sites I have found. These groups will allow you to send out large group emails for free and to post information such as flyers, newsletters and photos in a centralized location. However, you should be forewarned that such mass emails should be used very judiciously and the power to send them out should be limited to a only a few people. Otherwise, you risk your messages getting diluted, ignored, and ultimately ending up in the dreaded spam folder.
One of the most important things to remember to get a message out is to make it personal. I know I just mentioned setting up an email group, but those messages are really best for just getting the word out - a reminder to the guys that are already active. Let's face it, guys that aren't active probably won't even look at them or have already relegated them to the spam folder. What I recommend is a novel return to the old days - a phone call and/or an in-person invite. I realize that it may be considered archaic to actually call someone, but often that is the best way to get a new member to a club event. Likewise, when you see them at a service, kiddush, or oneg, it is a perfect time to sell someone on your club and an upcoming event in a 2-way conversation. You have the chance to find out what the person wants and needs and find ways to show him that your club has just that. It will also show that person that you actually care about him being a part of your club far more than an email or text will. Give it a try!
YOU OUGHTA BE IN PICTURES
As the saying goes, a picture is worth a 1000 words. I'm always amazed when I'm told about a great event at a club and I ask if there are any pictures and find out there aren't. Obviously there shouldn't be pictures of a Men's Club Shabbat, but what about your Scotch in the Sukkah or campout? Good pictures will almost always improve flyers and make bulletin articles more interesting. Of course, it always helps if they are well-taken and everyone looks like they are having fun - but at a Men's Club event, who isn't?
WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?
Does your club have a person in charge of marketing and PR? If not, you really should. Among the many benefits of having someone in that role is that when you need to get the word about something, he will know how to get it done. He will also make sure that your club's messages are consistently branded, doing simple things like making sure the logo is always in the same spot, that you use the same font and the same color which will all enhance your club. He should also be responsible for making sure that bulletin reminders are given for upcoming events, that the rabbi is given information for bimah announcements, that your website is updated and even more mundane things like making sure that posters and signs are taken down after an event. With the right person in this job, you will be far more likely to have successful events and programs and also improve your "standing" within your kehila.
Speaking of successful events and programs, have you seen the Sample Calendar that Ed Margolis, FJMC Vice-President, put together? It gives an Excel template that you can use to help plan your events for the entire year, including the all-important marketing and publicizing. It is easily customizable to your club or region. This is a great resource to help make sure that you are not only getting the word out in a timely manner, but also in making sure your events and programs are the best they can be, with a minimum of last minute panic.
HELPING MEN AT THE CROSSROADS
As the stereotype goes, most men will not ask for directions when lost. I suggest this applies not only when we are literally lost, but also when we are figuratively lost. At those times when we really need it, many of us just won't seek assistance or guidance. To address this issue, the FJMC created Jewish Men at the Crossroads. This outstanding book offers ways for all of us to find a way forward when we are lost or at a crossroads (if you have not yet purchased a copy, I recommend that you do). This book also provides an excellent framework for many different Hearing Men's Voices programs. To help you and your club do so, the FJMC has also created an Implementation Guide which has great ideas and suggestions. When used together, the book and implementation guide are a tremendous resource to help you create some great new programs for your club.
ASK THE ADVANTAGE
For those new to the FJMC Advantage, 'Ask the Advantage' is a place you can ask for advice on an issue you or your club are facing, whether it be programmatic in nature, club member interaction, transition related, or something as specific as dealing with a difficult member.
Dear Creighton, how can we get any new guys to come to our programs and activities. We have a lot of fun, but it is always the same guys. Do you have any ideas to get some new guys involved? Signed, Stuck in a Rut
Dear Mr. Rut,
Let me start out by saying that pretty much this entire issue is devoted to getting the word out about your events and programs, so take a look at what else I've provided here. I also want to add a technique I learned from a fellow club president a few conventions ago - offer to pick up the new guy yourself, or, have one of your top officers do it. Not only will it insure that he actually comes, but it will also put him at ease knowing he won't show up to something where he doesn't know anyone. Instead, he is automatically with the "in" group. A little trick I have added is to try to get the person that is setting up the event pick up the new recruit. Then they both typically work together to help get the event ready. Not only have you added a new attendee to the event, but also made him a volunteer and a part of it's leadership team. I have found this to be a great way to add new members and volunteers and identify new leaders to develop. Creighton
TORCH AWARD SPOTLIGHT
Each month I spotlight a Program that was submitted for a Torch Award that you can adopt for your club:
In keeping with this month's theme and my suggestion about getting pictures taken, I want to highlight the Photobooth for New Members* done by Temple Israel of Natick. This club set up a photobooth at their synagogue's Purim carnival. It gave them an opportunity to interact with prospective members in a fun way. It might also be something fun to have at your Chanukkah Dinner, Scotch in the Sukkah, or similar event.
Due to space constraints I only highlight one submission a month. However, while you are looking at Temple Israel's submission, I strongly suggest you take a look at some of the other submissions on that site*. You will find quite a wealth of information on a wide variety of subjects, including Club Administration which covers marketing and PR.
*Note: You will need to sign in to your account on the FJMC site to see the Torch Award submissions. If you don't have an account, they are simple to create and the wonderfully delightful webmaster will make sure you have access to the right information.
...JUST ONE MORE THING
A bit of humor you can use at your next Board Meeting, Presentation, or just to add some amusement to your day. Send me your submissions but please, keep them clean(ish).
Michael and Alex were walking down Main Street with their boss and spied an oil lamp. Alex rubbed it and a genie popped out.
"You each get one wish," said the genie.
Alex shouted. "I want to be on a yacht in Bermuda!"
Poof. He disappeared.
Michael exclaimed: "Make mine Hawaii - with beauty queens!"
Poof. He disappeared.
The boss, looked around and calmly said, "for my wish...I want those two schnooks back in my office right now!"
MAKE SURE YOU'VE MARKED YOUR CALENDARS!