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Women’s University Club

Women’s University Club

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Women’s University Club

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  1. Women’s University Club Social Media recommendations May, 2011 Daniela Vásquez Diana McSweeney Jennifer Stallings Kerry Allman
  2. Women’s University Club of SeattleOverview Members-only private club for college-educated and/or professional women Founded in 1914 “to form a closer union of university women in order to promote outstanding educational, cultural and social activities” “For nearly a century, the Club has thrived by striking a crucial balance: meeting the changing needs of our members with enthusiasm while staying true to our founding ideals”
  3. Women’s University Club of SeattleOverview Club offers classes, social activities and dining for members, guests and spouses Classes offered include film, poetry, classical literature, philosophy, bridge, mahjong, foreign languages, creative writing, watercolor and oil painting, book reviews, computing Programs include international, national, local speakers and performances Interest groups include antiques, investments, family activities
  4. Women’s University Club of SeattleTeam 3 Brief Private clubs need to increase member satisfaction and increase membership The Women’s University Club also would like to decrease the median age of our membership by attracting younger members How can social media (1) enhance what private clubs offer their members and (2) increase the visibility of private clubs in the surrounding community while adhering to 501(c)(7) restrictions? Bonnie Miller Women’s University Club Presentation to UW Social Media Class, March 2011
  5. WUC- Social Media Project Background Research Breakfast briefing with: Bonnie Miller, president Pam Riem, membership trustee Sheri Bloch, publications trustee Judy Donnelly, executive manager Surveyed membership trustee for details on the membership’s demographics Attended Club events – the Brava! Awards, Mala’s social media presentation Met with Sue Beller, co-chair, Business and Professional Women’s group Researched other Seattle social clubs – the Rainier Club, the Sunset Club
  6. WUC- Social Media Project Membership Demographics 994 members Seattle residents represent more than half of the membership Approximately 5% of the members work in downtown Seattle Largest membership population: 70-89 2nd largest membership population: 50-69
  7. WUC- Social Media ProjectCurrent Communications Channels Web Public (About Us, Private Events, Guest Information, Contact Us) Members Only (Calendar, Directory, Bulletin Board, Photos, Class and event information, Accounts, Staff, Buddy Lists) Newsletter – available as a printed document or E-newsletter Email Approximately 70% of Club members have email Bimonthly email blasts highlight upcoming events Club communications to members, as needed Personal communication – member-to-member In-House Electronic reader board Bulletin board Poster boards
  8. WUC- Social Media Project Five Challenges 501(c )(7) restrictions (the 800 lb. gorilla) Difficult to peek behind the private social club kimono (i.e., little to work with in terms of how other social clubs are using social media) Culture of the private social club vs. WUC’s goals for social media Current culture of interactive (digital) communication Current membership demographics vs. target demographics
  9. WUC Social Media Project – Challenges 501 (c)(7) Restrictions Most private clubs are classified as “Social and Recreational Clubs” and organized under Federal Tax Code 501 (c)(7) Key advantage of this designation is exemption from federal income tax, but it comes with strict guidelines and significant restrictions.
  10. WUC Social Media Project – Challenges 501(c)(7) Restrictions There is no such thing as a 501 (c) (7) website; there are just ways to reduce your exposure should the IRS ever challenge your site. Private clubs need to be careful in regards to anything that might be considered advertising to the public for membership. A Club should not do something on its website that it would not do in print. Thus, advertising or discussion of club events should be carefully monitored because IRS guidelines dictate that websites are designed to fulfill privacy. This means that clubs: Limit the interactive features of the site to members Put most of the site behind firewalls, accessible only to members If the Club is promoting any products or services that are nonmember-related or nontraditional in nature, that is a violation.
  11. WUC Social Media Project – ChallengesDifficult to Peek Behind the Private Club Kimono According to The Seattle Networking Guide website, there are 27 private social clubs in the Seattle/Puget Sound area More than half are golf or recreational clubs Many have websites that give out very little information (the Sunset Club’s website features just four pages) Just two organizations had a Facebook presence (Bellevue Club, World Trade Center of Seattle)
  12. WUC- Social Media Project – Challenges Culture of Private Social Clubs Private social clubs often value privacy and exclusivity Social media may be perceived as an intrusion upon – or diminishment of – that privacy/exclusivity Private clubs are often conservative by nature (and an older club population may be resistant to change) “What do you think of when you think of social media?” (Mala to Club audience) “Facebook” “Complicated” “Mind-boggling” “Rob me of every minute of my life”
  13. WUC- Social Media Project – ChallengesCurrent Culture of Interactive (Digital) Communication “Social media is conversation – and that conversation helps forge relationships” (M. Chandra, WUC SM presentation) The Club Message Board Launched in December 2009 “Fabulous communication tool for the club. Thanks for all the hard work. All your behind-the-scenes work has resulted in a wonderful tool for the rest of us to enjoy.” (March 2010) 12 messages posted to date (the last in October 2010); just half received a single response
  14. WUC Social Media Project – Challenges Current Demographics vs. Target Demographic Largest membership population: 70-89 Among the smaller membership populations, those 90 and above currently outnumber (by 1) those in the 20-40 age bracket. The club estimates that approximately 5% of current members work in downtown Seattle. It wants to increase members in the 30-40-year-old range, but is only open past 5 on Wednesday and Friday. It is not open on the weekends. Among the four most cited reasons for resigning membership: “I don’t use the Club often enough.”
  15. Goals Increase membership over all and particularly in the 30-40 year old range Increase club participation Improve communication between club member and administration and staff better planning for events better planning for new classes communicate compliments, concerns and complaints Increase communication between club members increase excitement and connection Overall increase connection and make club members feel valued, appreciated and an important part of the whole
  16. Social Media Strategy Strategy is based on a phased approach Based on education and training
  17. Social Media Strategy Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Education and training
  18. Phase 1 - Facebook Provides a channel for ‘word of mouth’ communications to non members Many peoples ‘friends’ list is multi generational so ‘word of mouth’ hits 30-40 year olds A bulletin board for club activities A ‘phone tree’ for reminders and special announcements to club members A channel for exchange of ideas Archive of pictures, videos and stories of club events and activities Get to know individual club members better club members can share personal projects, activities and family Current most active age group 50+, which means many of your club members are already active Having a presence on Facebook starts to bring the club up to date in the current culture Gives the club credibility to the 30-40 age bracket
  19. To Do - Facebook Set up a club Facebook page No affiliation with staff at WUC Fan by invitation Provide help for members to set up personal Facebook pages and show how to grow friends list Mention your Facebook and website at every activity, in every article in the newsletter and on any written correspondence Have cards made out with your Facebook page and website printed and given out at every event Set up a YouTube channel through Facebook for video up loads
  20. To Do – Facebook (con’t) Tie in all events to by having pre information and post information for each activity at the club, on Facebook Have your website be more formal and your Facebook page more social and interactive Put in place a social media review process Continue with regular education about Facebook (suggestion is to have a computer set up in lobby and regular times for Facebook mini classes or scheduled one on one appointments) LISTEN
  21. Facebook Content Have a planned schedule of posts tied to events, holidays and drawings (keep the calendar full) Each event should have a pre event information and a post event information Include pictures and or videos for each event post listing (include names) Include participant comments Introduce new members to the community with a bio On each members birthday have them submit a bio and update of their year Have an open club day quarterly/bi annually for Facebook friends lists (track response) Highlight content for members to share with friends list i.e. drawings, open houses, members successes, comments from events Find outside articles, classes, events, announcements that are relevant to club members and post them on your Facebook page (i.e. university events, author book signings, Seattle community events etc – make your page a go to place for community events information)
  22. Phase 2 - LinkedIn LinkedIn is a social media site for professionals 30-40 year olds are active on this social media site Highlights the professional nature of the members of the club Club members on LinkedIn can highlight their membership in WUC
  23. Phase 3 - Twitter Offers instant, streaming, short communications Send links to videos, articles, blogs for relevant content for events Quick insight and feedback from club members about events Instant information between members as events are taking place
  24. Key Performance Indicators
  25. Additional Suggestions Persuade membership “Evaluate your club: learn how many members are already using social media and get relevant audiences (e.g., Board, Business & Professional Women’s committee members) on your side” Strategic communications program should precede a social media effort Survey the membership – use the data to inform the effort Consider an open letter from the president in monthly newsletter outlining the goals behind a social media effort, post letter in Announcement section of website Host an information session with the Club’s committee chairs (there are currently 90+ committees); enlist their support (e.g., content contributions)
  26. Additional Suggestions Offer instruction Host a series of social media “how to” sessions Start a Social Media group Identify a prominent location on the Club’s first floor and install a laptop to encourage postings
  27. Additional Suggestions Identify existing SM users Offer social media internship (and junior membership) to local university student(s); have them manage Facebook Invest in a flip cam to generate video clips for a Facebook page or You Tube channel Use survey data to identify (1) active social media users among membership who are (2) local university (UW, Seattle U, etc.) graduates. Enlist them to post on alumni Facebook pages.
  28. Final thoughts It isn’t a cure all One part of a greater strategy Help to build and strengthen existing community Laying the groundwork to be relevant to the current culture
  29. Sources “The Internet and 501(c) (7) Clubs” http://www.privategolfcourses.com/private_club_websites/stump.cfm “Requirements for Tax-Exempt Status Under IRC 501(c)(7): A Primer for Social Clubs,” Jeffrey S. Tenenbaum, Matthew Journy (Venable LLP, June 2008), http://www.venable.com/requirements-for-tax-exempt-status-under-irc--501c7-a-primer-for-social-clubs-06-03-2008/ “Marketing Limitations in a Private Club World” (Private Club Practice Group, Fall 2010), http://www.bfmmcpa.com/stuff/contentmgr/files/7c40f2339b243473c76ea10fa3ddf2df/misc/bfmm_fall_10.pdf “Top Clubs Get 'Inclusive': Seattle's Exclusive Clubs Try to Boost Waning Memberships” (Seattle Times, March 26, 2002), http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20020326&slug=clubs26m “The Social Media Delicate Balance – Take Advantage of Its Benefits While Protecting Your Club’s Reputation” (May/June 2010), http://clubster.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Binder1.pdf “Membership Issues – Opinions on What Works in Today’s Private Club Industry,” John Fornaro (Boardroom Magazine, Oct. 2005), http://www.boardroommagazine.com/faSept_Oct05.cfm
  30. Sources “Social Media for Private Country Clubs: Bold Step Has to be Taken” (April 16, 2011), h http://www.scotduke.com/social-media-for-country-clubs-bold-step-has-to-be-taken/ “Clubs Must Consider Implementing Social Media Policies,” Andrew Singer, Esq., Jason B. Kimpl, Esq. (Club Newsmaker, Feb. 4, 2010) http://www.clubnewsmaker.net/activate/e_article001710166.cfm?x=bgLhH6C,bgQ010yq,w “We Just Want to Talk to Our Members …” (Clubster, Sept. 7, 2010) http://clubster.com/social-media-and-private-clubs/we-just-want-to-talk-to-our-members%E2%80%A6/ “Florida Country Club Utilizes The Web To Grow Event Revenue Nearly 20%-Upgrades Website to Deliver ROI and Enable Social Networking Among Members” (press release, March 24, 2010; *WUC uses Members First to maintain its website) http://www.membersfirst.com/news_article.asp?id=2010032301 Sophisticated Adventure Consulting – “A Specialized Consulting Company Providing Services in Private Clubs + Social Media” (Facebook) http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sophisticated-Adventure-Consulting/123971404301953 “Top 25 Private Members and Country Clubs in Puget Sound Region,” – The Seattle Networking Guide (April 2011), http://www.iloveseattle.org/categories.asp?CATEGORYID=10