Directly Speaking - All You Have To Do Is Ask!

by Scott A. Meyers, Executive Vice President
April 3, 2014

During a recent Strategic Planning Committee conference call, the group began discussing the different levels of member-engagement we experience here at ICHP. The group identified 5 levels of member engagement, and I’ll list them first together and then describe them individually. None of these terms are meant to be derogatory, and once you read each description, it should be clear how they came to be named.
  • Checkbook members
  • Users
  • Micro-engaged
  • Engaged
  • Leaders
Like most associations a significant percentage of members are what is called “Checkbook” members. This term is used across the association management field and again is not meant to be derogatory but merely describes those members who write their annual dues check and then that’s really all we see or hear from them each year. The term is actually a little dated because fewer and fewer members write checks, but the point is still the same. The “Checkbook” members may read KeePosted and access the website, but they don’t come to meetings or participate on committees. We hardly know they are there or if there is anything more we can do for them. “Checkbook” members are critically important when ICHP speaks with legislators and regulators and uses membership numbers to describe the organization.

The next group, called “Users”, use our products and services such as the Annual and Spring Meetings, the toolkits on the website and may participate in Legislative Day or local affiliate meetings. Again, participation is limited to using products and services and not on creating, reviewing or revising those products or services. “Users” are equally important because they bring traffic to our exhibit halls, fill seats in our educational sessions and hopefully take back information to their worksites to share with colleagues and hopefully improve patient care.

The third group are the “Micro-engaged”. These members respond to our surveys and may serve in an ad hoc position like poster reviewer, poster judge, article reviewer, or article editor but still don’t serve on a regular basis on any one committee or division. Their contributions are important, and these contributions are the first step on the true engagement ladder. The “Micro-engaged” are critical players for the Council as they take on tasks that might otherwise go unfinished or perhaps be the one-too-many task that burns out an “Engaged” volunteer. Plus the “Micro-engaged” bring special knowledge to the table from time to time that proves very useful to ICHP.

The “Engaged” member serves regularly as a member of a committee or division within ICHP. This includes the Divisions of Educational Affairs, Government Affairs, Marketing Affairs, Organizational Affairs or Professional Affairs or as a member of the New Practitioners Network, Strategic Planning, Annual Meeting Planning, Spring Meeting Planning or Technology Committees of ICHP. These members are a part of the broad spectrum of ICHP activities and are determined to participate all year long. The “Engaged” are the back bone of the Council’s activities!

The final level of membership engagement are the “Leaders”. These are the members of the Board of Directors, the Executive Boards of the Student Chapters, the Past Presidents, the ICHP Pharmacy Action Fund Board of Trustees, and the members of the ICHP Building Committee. These are members who have served for several years at the “Engaged” level and have decided not only to serve the organization but to help lead it forward as well. Without the “Leaders”, we don’t move forward; we don’t provide new products and services, and the utility of what we do provide quickly becomes outdated.

Take a minute and consider at what level of engagement you are currently, and then, where you would like to be. And when considering your level, remember that you should consider yourself at the highest level of your involvement within the past year. In other words, if you are currently on a division or committee, you are “Engaged” even though you may also consider yourself a “User” and “Micro-engaged” because you go to the Annual Meeting and may have taken on an ad hoc task within the past year. Or if you are not on a division or committee but have served in an ad hoc capacity in the last year, you are “Micro-engaged” even though you may also consider yourself a “User”.

Now, ask yourself if you would like to move up a level or more. If the answer is yes, all you have to do is ask! Send an email request to me at the ICHP office or if you know exactly what position or task you want to take on and you know who leads that effort, send them and email and ask to be added to whatever the group or task is. ICHP does not limit the number of members who may participate in most activities. And even if there is a limit because of the size of the task at hand, we very seldom reach that limit. That’s not to say that we are in drastic need of volunteers but rather, our philosophy is that there’s always room for one more.

But many of you are thinking, I like being a … “Checkbook” member, “User”, “Micro-engaged”, “Engaged”, or “Leader”, and I’m happy right where I am. Well, there’s another opportunity just for you. We want you to feel like “all you have to do is ask” a pharmacy colleague if they would like to move up to your level of engagement and join you in volunteering with the Council. In fact, this “ask” is even more important than someone asking to be a part of a committee or taking on a specific task. Asking to be a part of something can be very hard to do. When you ask to join an activity there is always the chance you’ll be rejected. But if a colleague invites you to join an organization or activity within an organization, the chances of rejection are diminished and the feeling of being wanted and needed is a great confidence builder. And yes, even the “Checkbook” members should invite their non-member colleagues to join the Council to become new “Checkbook” members to add to our numbers, share KeePosted and the website, and maybe move up the engagement ladder together. The “Buddy-System” has always been a great way to step out and explore.

Many hands make the load light, not to mention a lot more fun! So whether you are asking to join in or asking someone else to join you, all you really have to do is ask.

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