Membership Report

Presented by Former Governor, Cindy Lindley

Please follow this script as you go through the presentation.

Slide 1: Welcome

Hello everyone! My name is Cindy Lindley, and I am your South Central Membership Chair. As you know, membership and leadership development is a central part of our organization’s strategy for success. In strengthening our leadership, we prepare together for the future of our organization as we look to the next 100 years of Soroptimist.

Slide 2: Activity – Leadership Inventory

Before we get started, I’d love to take a quick inventory of the incredible leadership resources we would have with us in the room (if we were together). I’m going to read a few statements; see if it applies to you.

  • I am or have been a club president
  • I am or have been another club officer
  • I have mentored a new member
  • I have served on the region board
  • I have helped to charter a new club
  • I have helped to mediate a civility issue in my club
  • I have given a new member orientation
  • I feel comfortable public speaking
  • I would like to serve as a club officer someday

Thank you all for participating. That’s one of the things that makes Soroptimist so remarkable. Isn’t it amazing how our clubs offer empowering leadership development opportunities to our own club members, in the process of our working together toward our mission in support of other women and girls? This is part of an engaging member experience.

Slide 3: Engagement

Membership and leadership development is at the core of the strategic outcome of Engagement in SIA’s strategic plan.

In alignment with SIA’s strategic plan, our region has a strategic plan as well. One of the objectives on our region’s strategic plan states our region will increase the capacity of members to be effective leaders.

Slide 4: Agenda

In today’s presentation we’ll discuss in more detail why this leadership development objective is key to both SIA’s strategic plan and our regions. We will understand why strong club leaders grow our ability to carry out the mission. We’ll learn which skills our club leaders identified as key to their success in their roles. And we’ll take a look at SIA resources that have been developed to support our current club leaders as well as those who may be considering a leadership role in the future.

Slide 5: Why Strengthen Club Leadership?

So why does SIA need to strengthen our club leadership?

You probably know that membership in Soroptimist has been declining for many years, as more members leave than we recruit annually.

After being dropped from their club roster, former Soroptimists are surveyed and asked why they left SIA. Most frequently, they have told us that they left due to club functioning reasons such as: my club was locked in tradition and unwilling to change, I never received adequate orientation about what I was expected to do in the club, or I was pressured to accept a leadership role. Next most frequently, former members cited club personality reasons such as: personality conflicts, or not feeling welcomed or included.

In training and strengthening our club leadership we can equip our clubs to manage and minimize those issues that drive members to leave Soroptimist. This creates an enhanced member experience in each club. By listening to our former members and improving that member experience, we can improve our member retention. And with improved retention, we will have more members in our clubs and around the world to work side-by-side as we pursue our mission. This prepares us to achieve our next Big Goal.

Slide 6: Role Delineation Study

In 2019, SIA staff conducted an organization-wide survey to help develop club leader role descriptions and inform future leadership development efforts. Over 2000 club leaders responded to the survey! Thank you for participating in this valuable research. We learned a lot, particularly about the key roles of club presidents, vice presidents/presidents-elect, secretaries, and treasurers.

Slide 7: Key Skills

In the survey, our Soroptimist club leaders were asked what skills were essential to their role. In all of the leadership positions I just mentioned, the club officers told us they needed these skills: accountability, dependability, flexibility, listening, civility, and verbal/written communications.

Surely we can all agree that these skills are core to our success as Soroptimists! As we seek to develop ourselves personally and as leaders within this organization, these areas will be an important focus. Before we finish this presentation today, I’ll point you to an area on SIA’s website where you can find resources and tips related to many of these topics.

In addition to these attributes that were universal across club leaders, each role description includes certain attributes that are specific to that role. For example, the club secretary role includes skills related to note taking and email communications, and the club treasurer role includes some technical accounting skills.

Slide 8: Position Descriptions

Each of the four position descriptions at the center of this study are designed to instill confidence and inform current and potential leaders of their responsibilities, the time commitment, as well as the necessary skills and experience to be successful. Each description includes details about the areas shown on the screen –

  • A role description,
  • Detailed roles and responsibilities,
  • Volunteer hours per month,
  • And Skills/Personal attributes that support leadership in that role.

Slide 9: Leadership Resources

Please write down the link shown on the screen. This is a shortcut link to bring you directly to SIA’s Developing Your Leadership Skills Webpage in your language.

During this presentation we don’t have time for a deep dive into the Role Delineation Study or each of the position descriptions. But I want to be sure that you know where to find a copy of this study, as well as a number of leadership development resources that you and your club members may find useful.

To find the Role Delineation Study and all of the role descriptions, visit the Developing Your Leadership Skills area of the SIA website using the link shown here.

This area of the website contains a number of articles, blog posts, and resources related to leadership development topics and skill areas we know are important to Soroptimist club leaders. I encourage you to visit this resource page often and please share this shortcut link with your club members.

Slide 10: Leadership Resources (2)

When you visit the page you’ll see the first heading shows the Role Delineation Study including all of the content and role descriptions we discussed briefly today. Please do download this resource and share it in your club!

Further down the page you’ll find a wealth of information about general leadership topics, as well as resources in subject areas like conflict resolution, meetings, and creating a healthy club atmosphere. All of these will prove valuable to your members and club leaders as we work to strengthen our clubs in pursuit of an exceptional member experience!

Slide 11: Thank You!

Thank you for your time today!

If you have any questions, my contact info is on the screen. You can also reach out to SIA staff at membership@soroptimist.org or by calling the headquarters office at 215-893-9000.

Remember, when we have strong leaders, our clubs and members are strong too! Thank you!

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