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Publications > Dateline Houston > January 2003 > Director-Sponsor Report


Volume 42, Issue 5

January 2003

Letter from Linda

Awards Aplenty

by Linda Oestreich, Director-Sponsor, Region 5

Fellow STCers,

With the recent flurry around STC about membership, it seems that we often focus on getting members and forget about keeping members! I believe one of the best ways chapter leaders can keep members is to reward them. Let me share some ways STC can recognize members.

If you are pleased or helped or informed by another member, what do you do? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Send an e-mail that tells that person how pleased you are. That e-mail can turn an otherwise uneventful day into something special.
  • Write a note and put it in snail mail! Zounds! Some folks in STC still write real notes. I don't know why they seem more special than e-mails, but they do. Maybe it's that 37 cents spent to get the note to its destination.
  • Pick up the phone and call. Tell the person that you think what he or she did or said or wrote was good, and that you gained something from it. That personal contact remains a great way to make a connection and cement goodwill.
  • Prepare little "attaperson" certificates or cards. My daughter has printed business-card-sized notes that she hands out to folks who get her positive attention. She calls them "ego-boosts" and folks always receive them with pleasure.

Many chapters have various rewards that they give out monthly or annually. Here are a few ideas you can offer to your members:

  • How about a rookie of the year? Reward someone who's in their first year of membership and went that extra mile.
  • Reward a corporation or employer that has supported your chapter. Make this an annual event and give the reward a fancy name and a nice plaque. Then, when a representative from that company comes to accept the award, make a publicity event out of it!
  • How about a person of the year? Man and woman of the year? Volunteer of the month?
  • One chapter I know gives a "Continuing Service" award. The chapter has publicized and recorded its requirements and has made this award part of the chapter traditions.
  • Try rewards for folks who bring in the most guests, or collect the most business cards (hospitality Hal!), or anything else you might want to reward.

The final group includes the rewards given at the Society level, such as Associate Fellow, Distinguished Chapter Service Award, and the Jay R. Gould Award (for teachers of technical communication). Of course, each of these begins with a nomination by someone who knows of the person's good work. Paperwork must contain a list and description of the work that person did. To help yourselves with this, keep a database of jobs performed by your volunteers. You'll find it much easier to fill out the forms if you know what they've done for your chapter, for the profession, and for their fellow members.

Another suggestion is to add a volunteer coordinator to your administrative council. Have that person not only recruit volunteers, but recognize them (they can also be responsible for that database!).

Give rewards. Give LOTS of rewards. You'll be happier for it. That's another great thing about rewards...it feels just as nice to give them as to get them! And remember, people who receive a heartfelt phone call thanking them for a task well done will be more likely volunteer to do another.

Blessings to you all,


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