October 13, 2014

The Strength of Our Federation

“In this era of excessive regulations and inflated costs, the strength of our membership drives our influence. I think I can speak for every member when I say how proud we are to be more than 140,000 members strong. Thank you Spikes, for what, and who, you bring to the association.” -  Jerry Howard, National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Chief Executive Officer    
Some say being a consistent PAC fundraiser is the key to a healthy advocacy effort. Others would claim that a consistent membership recruiter is the key to advocacy, the power of many voices funneled through one bull horn. Truth be told, without both PAC and membership we are small boat adrift on the ocean.
I have written many an article regarding PAC. This article won’t be one of them. This is about the men and women of our Federation who bring in new members. This is about “growing our strength through member recruitment, retention and Involvement.”
What is a Spike that Jerry Howard referenced above? A Spike is someone who actively recruits new members. Think about a railroad spike or a spike (nails) used in building a home. Without spikes the entity collapses. You can’t build without a connector and the value of that connector, or spike, is the key in a stable entity. In this case the entity is the home builders association (HBA). Spikes deliver the lifeblood to our industry protection and growth efforts; they recruit and deliver new members.

November is Spike Appreciation Month, and Spikes are arguably our most important assets within our association efforts to help all of our businesses. Each local HBA has Spikes but the question is what will each local HBA do to acknowledge them

Some suggestions:

1.   Newsletter (or whatever platform you utilize for members) recognition. You must start with a short paragraph explaining the value of members, overall, to the local, state and national HBAs. Without the “power of our voices grow as membership grows” description, other members reading will glaze over the recognition, defeating the purpose of membership;
  • Picture
  • Name and, if applicable, any NAHB designation.
  • Company name
  •  How many members recruited
  • Press release to local media.
2.   General membership recognition with;
  • The recruiter(s) brought up and recognized in front of the gathering. Again, two minute or so description of the value of membership and then the value of recruiters to everyone who earns a living in the building industry. Reach out personally and invite their employers so the employer can witness first hand the recognition.
  • Have a sign prepared with each Top Ten (or a number of your choice) recruiters picture, name (designations) and company name, with current Spike count if you'd like. Or, if this can be easily done, rolling presentation on screen of your recruiters.

3.   Thank you letters to the employers of your recruiters explaining, again, the value of our association as it pertains to each members’ company and highlighting the employees efforts and the press recognition with the company name included.
4.   For the owners of the company who are active recruiters, all of the above applies to you and your efforts.

It is up to each local HBA to take pieces of the above, all of the above or utilize my message here to craft your own message. But doing nothing is not a wise choice. Everyone likes recognition particularly in a volunteer fueled association. Recognition and the openly discussed value of each recruiters' efforts are an amazing motivator. Plaques, certificates or any other "award" are nice but they do not drive Spikes. Giving a special thank you is all most recruiters need or want. 
Take this month of November, our nation’s month of Thanksgiving, and give the proper thanks to those who give it their best effort to bring in new members.

For more information on Spikes visit the Spike Club (click here)

Special note from Mary Spooner, NAHB Manager, Membership Systems, Member Services and Education

We wanted to let you know what Membership has planned for Spike Appreciation Month in November.

·         Email from NAHB to all Spikes with video-recorded thank you from Chair Kevin Kelley

·         Page on nahb.org about Spike Appreciation Month and its importance

·         TouchPLUS promotion for local and state HBAs to use to thank their Spikes directly

·         Profile stories on top Spikes throughout the federation

·         Social media exposure related to the above items: Facebook, NAHBNow.org blog posts, etc.

Please let us know if you have any thoughts or suggestions  mspooner@nahb.org


submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP 

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