Steering Committee commits to focus on stewardship, power | Kentuckians For The Commonwealth

Steering Committee commits to focus on stewardship, power

The KFTC Steering Committee kicked off its March 28 meeting by sharing stories and photos of some of the highlights of the first quarter of 2015. KFTC chapters and members were busy these last few months building power, pushing our issue campaigns, hosting events, and having fun.  Numerous activities were highlighted including the General Assembly lobby days, the voting rights vigils, the Madison County Pie Auction, Jefferson County’s We Are Kentuckians event, Growing Appalachia, a Showing Up for Racial Justice training and more.

The Steering Committee spent some focused time during the meeting discussing the concept of stewardship and what that means for KFTC.  They noted that stewardship is simply the idea of taking care of the folks who support our work—our members! This involves thanking them, communicating with them about the work their renewals and donations make possible, and motivating them to renew and get others to join with us.

The Committee noted that focusing on stewardship and growing our base of support is important for many reasons.  First, it helps us build our power. More members mean more people engaging around our issue campaigns and pushing for the change we seek. Secondly, growing our membership and Sustaining Givers helps sustain our work for the long haul.  A solid show of support from members helps us weather the ebbs and flows that can happen when seeking grant support.

“It’s not just about membership. Our members are our power.”

“This is about power,” noted Meta Mendel-Reyes of Madison County. “It’s not just about membership. Our members are our power.”

After reviewing some data from 2014—and learning that we’d had a bit of a dip in our membership renewal rate—the Committee broke into small groups to brainstorm ideas for boosting renewals, recruiting new members, and encouraging members to become Sustaining Givers.  

Sustaining Givers are members who commit to give on a regular basis—generally monthly or quarterly.  Often folks are able to give a larger amount when it’s spread across a year of monthly or quarterly gifts than they could give at any one point.  

“Being a Sustaining Giver is awesome because you never have to worry about whether your membership is current,” explained Christian Torp of Lexington. “It’s the bread and butter of our work.”

Ideas generated by the Committee for boosting renewals and support ranged from raffling off dinners with notable Kentuckians to having a drawing for a weekend at a state park for members who renew by a certain date. Other ideas included making more personal connections when asking folks to renew, developing a new member packet that engages folks soon after they join, and highlighting our Sustaining Givers at the annual meeting.  

The Committee noted that we have to find new and creative ways to capture the consistent high spirit that so many folks associate with being a member of KFTC—whether they’re deeply engaged in chapter work or someone who simply enjoys reading balancing the scales.  If folks feel that spirit, they’ll be moved to renew.

Leslie McBride of Shelby County said it was that personal connection to KFTC and the feeling she gets as a member that keeps her renewing.

“KFTC works on all the issues I care about.  I choose to be a Sustaining Giver because we’re multi-issue and I can get so much from my membership here,” she explained.

The Steering Committee made a commitment to check in on our stewardship efforts at every meeting this year.  Chairperson Dana Beasley Brown encouraged all the chapter representatives and alternates to take a few minutes at each chapter meeting to check in on these issues of sustainability as well.  

“If everyone could work with their chapters on this, we’ll succeed,” she noted.

In other business, the Steering Committee approved a financial report, approved the Annual Meeting theme of “All In: Uniting Around a Progressive Vision for Kentucky,” debriefed KFTC’s work in the General Assembly, and made plans for their overnight retreat coming up in May in Bowling Green.