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Membership Recruitment and Retention Steve Skodak – Executive Director Optimist International Foundation. Finding the Right Fit An Optimists Guide to. Our Goals for Today. Know the value of Optimism Know your prospective member Tell your story Understand meaningful engagement

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Membership Recruitment and RetentionSteve Skodak – Executive Director Optimist International Foundation

Finding the Right Fit

An Optimists Guide to

Our goals for today
Our Goals for Today

  • Know the value of Optimism

  • Know your prospective member

  • Tell your story

  • Understand meaningful engagement

  • Use the “Guest” technique

  • Define your Clubs “Touches”

  • Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

  • Stay awake for the next hour

What is optimism
What is Optimism?


noun \ˈäp-tə-ˌmi-zəm\

Definition of OPTIMISM

1 : a doctrine that this world is the best possible world

2 : an inclination to put the most favorable construction upon actions and events or to anticipate the best possible outcome

— op·ti·mistnoun

— op·ti·mis·ticadjective

— op·ti·mis·ti·cal·lyadverb

Impatient optimists
Impatient Optimists

Optimist International if the only civic organization with a philosophy for our name. The World needs, wants and embraces Optimism…but they are impatient.

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Bert and john jacobs life is good
Bert and John Jacobs – Life is Good

Founded in 1989

“…his (Jake) simple message of optimism was embraced like nothing the brothers had ever seen.”

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Know your prospective member
Know your Prospective Member

“Research has shown that a generation can be characterized by a certain set of attitudes and beliefs…even if not all in the group share the majority’s view.”

W. Stanton Smith

Next Generation Initiatives

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Silent Generation


Generational Events:

  • Great Depression

  • WWII

  • New Deal

  • Korean War

  • Rise of Corporation

  • Space Age

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Silent Generation 1925 – 1945


  • Traditional

  • Conforming

  • Used to “doing without”

  • Team-oriented

  • Seniority-based


  • Formal public recognition

  • Recognition of the contribution and successes of the team

  • Honoring history and tradition

  • Recognition for experience

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Baby Boomers 1946 – 1964

Generational Events:

  • Civil Rights

  • Vietnam War

  • Sexual Revolution

  • Cold War

  • Space Travel

  • Divorce

  • American Dream was a Promise

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Baby Boomers 1946 – 1964


  • Individualistic

  • “Me”–focused

  • Workaholic tendencies

  • Seeking work/family balance

  • Optimistic


  • Live for new experiences

  • Adventurous

  • Like to be pampered

  • Free time

  • Want to hear that their ideas matter

  • Titles and praise

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Generation X 1965 – 1980

Generational Events:

  • Watergate

  • Energy Crisis

  • Dual Income

  • Space Shuttle

  • Latchkey Kids

  • Mom Works

  • End of Cold War

  • Y2K

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Generation X 1965 – 1980


  • Independent/Self-directed

  • Unimpressed with authority

  • Pessimistic

  • Work to live


  • Casual environment

  • Flexibility

  • Lone Ranger volunteer

  • Tech-savvy

  • Enjoy working with friends

  • Expect work to be purposeful

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1981 – 2000

Generational Events:

  • Digital Media

  • Child-Focused World

  • School Shootings

  • AIDS

  • 9/11 Attacks

  • Schedules

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Millennials 1981 – 2000


  • Not interested in “paying their dues”

  • Prefer to work from home

  • Need to be excited about what they do every day

  • Coddled kids


  • Informal, fun environment

  • Immediate feedback

  • Experiential incentives, geared to what they like to do

  • Believe they have a fresh view you need

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Generation M 2001 – 2010

Generational Events:

  • Multitasking

  • Texting

  • WWW

  • Social Networking

  • Smartphones

  • Economic Crash

  • Globalization

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Generation M 2001 – 2010


  • Technology is embedded in their environment

  • No life before www

  • Media rules their life

  • Digital natives

  • Born after cold war


  • Media

  • Friends

  • To be determined

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U.S. Rates

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Canadian rates
Canadian Rates

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Your story
Your Story

Telling your story is the most power tool you have.

“Living a life of Optimism has vastly improved my life ….I support the Foundation through endowment of the scholarship programs and have seen first hand…”

“I was invited by a colleague of mine to an event that provides school children on the lunch program with a backpack of food for the weekend and I was amazed to see…”

  • “Twenty two years ago I got invited to attend a lunch and hear the mayor of our city speak on developments and then attended an internet safety program….”

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Your elevator speech
Your Elevator Speech

30-60 seconds

Answer the question:

What is an Optimist?

What got you involved with the Optimist Club?

What do you do as an Optimist?

Optimist, is that something with eyes?

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The Club Guest

Come looking for “something”

  • Do you know what it is?

  • Can you articulate what makes Optimism special?

  • You have minutes to convince them they made the right choice by coming to your Club meeting or event

  • Define your “touch” system

  • Sales 101

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Member touches
Member Touches

Are encounters with your Club positive?

What do you do for guests?

Are your members missed when:

  • They are sick?

  • Are out of town on business?

  • Miss an event?

  • Drop their membership?

    Establish a plan:

  • Call – postcard – personal visits

  • Create meaningful involvement through listening and asking

  • Personalize the approach

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Call to action!

  • Know your audience and keep it local

  • Share how “Promise yourself…” has made your life better

  • Prepare your elevator speech

  • Praise and encourage Club members

  • Live the Optimist Creed

  • Questions?

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“Knowing is not enough; we must apply.

Willing is not enough; we must do.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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