Communication, Connectivity, and Community: A Chapter's Experience With a Profile Updating Contest
MacKenna, Valorie A.
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Session presented on Sunday, September 18, 2016: Communication, Connectivity and Community: A Chapter's Experience with a Profile Updating Contest Background: Membership involvement is a common struggle for many chapters. In particular, at large chapters face additional struggles with extended geographic barriers. Utilizing online resources is one way to combat this challenge, however many members may be unaware of what is available to them through the Sigma Theta Tau organization. Methods: We visited the existing Circle website and identified activities that could be initiated, including personalizing the home page, posting news about chapter events, and publishing information in the discussions section to raise awareness within the membership. The board members responsible for this exercise learned the functions of various aspects of the Circle website and encouraged all board members to develop their own profiles. The next objective was to drive member traffic to the Circle website as a means to promote chapter communication, connectivity and community. Taking into consideration the motivation that a contest could generate, we came up with the idea to offer a nominal prize to incentivize the members into visiting the Circle site and personalizing their profiles. This would accomplish two goals: raising awareness of the chapter website itself and offering the members a potential for professional networking. A timeline of one month was established. A discussion post was initiated to advertise the contest. The board members decided on a $25 gift card as being the easiest gift to deliver to a member who might be remote. The rules of the contest were developed and posted. These rules established that in order to participate, a member would need to be current in chapter membership, and would need to attach a photo to the profile. The photo requirement allowed for easy verification of participation by the board leadership. Periodic reminders about the contest and drawing were posted to promote interest. The deadline for completing the profile personalization was announced, and as means of making the contest inclusive, we allowed members who had already personalized their profiles to be included. After the deadline, a list of those members eligible was generated, and one name was selected via a random drawing. The drawing was videotaped and posted on the chapter Facebook page and promoted on the chapter website. Due to the statistic information available through the social media sites we were able learn the reach of our efforts. On the day of the drawing 129 people had viewed our Facebook post regarding eligibility, and 267 people had viewed the video announcement. While the total number of members who participated in the contest was modest in relation to overall size of our chapter, we were encouraged by the outreach that this activity afforded. The blending of social media along with the STTI chapter website allows for a broader reach than a single website post. Members who are not close in proximity can still be involved and can experience a sense of connectedness when resources such as the chapter website and social media are implemented. Recognizing that our new membership's demographic has an affinity for these resources, this contest was an ideal method for promoting involvement. This was also a way for us to implement a new strategy and gauge the extent of participation. The investment in this project was minimal: $25 for a gift card, a nominal amount for mailing the card to the winner and a time investment of a couple of hours with creating content for Facebook and website postings. The use of photographs and video in the posts proved to increase viewership and ultimately participation. We recognize that this is just one of many ways to involve members and create the communication, connectivity and community.