The chapter doesn’t have an annual plan in place, and doesn’t know what the members want, so it’s hard for them to know how to move forward and bring members back. The president and treasurer decided to contact the chapter advisor for advice, which included conducting a needs assessment of the current and former members.
Then they did some reflecting on what they had done well in the past, what had changed, what things have gotten in the way of moving forward and what things they can’t change. From those results they were able to pinpoint that many of the members wanted help preparing for the certification exam.
The president and treasurer then put together a plan that focused on providing regular certification study groups. Having little money in their chapter account, the president and treasurer asked several cohorts they worked with that already had their certifications if they would be willing, together, to lead a study group.
The certified nurses agreed and they, along with the president and treasurer, planned out a series of study groups by topics at various locations and times. Flyers were emailed to all members and posted in all of the area hospitals.
Over the span of three months, the study groups grew from seven people to over 40. As word of mouth traveled, more certified nurses stepped up to also help with the study groups.
Two years later, the chapter has 125 members, a full board (president-elect, treasurer-elect, secretary, education co-chairs, membership chair and community service chair); ongoing study groups, as well as journal clubs and regular education events — all from listening to their members and developing that initial plan.
From this experience they say they learned two very important things: (1) you must ask your members what they want and need from their chapter membership and (2) review and modify your annual work plan based on that feedback — and regularly review it to make sure you’re on track.