Green Bar Society
The Chief Seattle Council was losing touch with Scouting alumni from the time they aged out of the program to the time they re-engaged with their own children in the program (if they ever did). Chief Seattle wanted to keep in touch with these alumni, continue to add value, and enable them to accomplish their own duty to self and others through professional growth and service. In this specific model the mentor piece of the program also offers a way to re-engage more experienced alumni at a low commitment level. This was a big opportunity to expand our reach among successful business people in the community.
The long term goals for the council are: to create a donor, board member, and volunteer pipeline of both members who will grow in their careers over time and mentors who already have capacity but are currently disconnected; to enable members to tap into an alumni network similar to that of a university or fraternity; to promote alumni network access creating even more value in becoming a youth member in Scouting.
We charge $50 annually for a young professional membership so that members ‘have some skin in the game.’ We would rather have a smaller number of more committed individuals than a very large number of disengaged individuals. The latter is a trend among many young professional groups in Seattle.
We modeled some of the program after the YPS group in Philadelphia. They were an asset in getting started. We are still in the early stages, the society has been formalized for 4 months and currently has 12 paid members and another 12 or so who have been to at least one event. Like Scouting, they can try before they sign up. Events are focused on either business training/networking, community service, or social opportunities. We ask them to join with a paid membership after 2 events if they have not already done so. The original goal was to get 15-20 paid members by the end of 2016.
Marketing and promotion so far has been low key; almost exclusively word-of-mouth. We have not yet put anything in the council newsletter and are just this week making a presentation to the board (with the exception of a few board members we talked to individually to help get us started).
- Getting enough buy in to form the critical mass necessary to build momentum and grow the program.
- Recruiting mentors for the young alumni.
- Website development.
- Consistency and quality are essential at the beginning. We met individually with a handful of member prospects to get their feedback, prepared a website before the first event, and had that initial group use their network to recruit friends. Commitment was the most important characteristic for this group, which soon after became the volunteer committee (just as with any other Scouting program, a strong committee to drive it forward).
- This requires staff to be very proactive, but also gives a great excuse to get into the community and set meetings with prospects. Mentoring is a low time commitment, we pair them with a member and ask them to meet 3-4 times per year, and attend an all-society social function (to which spouses are invited).
- The target demographic expects a clean and easy digital interaction and the ability to register online.
Committee members each agreed to a job description that included playing the lead role in organizing at least one event, recruiting other young professional members, and recruiting at least two mentors.