October 22, 2014

IABC/Lincoln achieves 108% member attendance

How to produce a chapter workshop that sells out and earns a profit

By chapter president Michele Drahota

Dear IABC chapter leader:

I wanted to tell you about a resource that’s been extremely valuable to IABC/Lincoln. I think this resource might be helpful to your chapter, too.

When we brought in Ann Wylie to present a writing workshop for our members, we hoped to deliver a great member service — and, of course, break even. If fact, we not only earned rave reviews from members, but earned a $1,000 profit, as well.

Ann’s program drew twice our normal meeting attendance. Indeed, 54 people attended the program — four more than our chapter membership of 50! After seeing Ann’s program, six of our visitors expressed interest in joining IABC/Lincoln.

Here’s how it happened: When I found out that Ann Wylie was going to be in the area doing a workshop for another organization, I knew we had to get her on our programming schedule. Ann’s workshops always draw huge crowds and earn rave reviews at IABC International conferences; her popular email newsletter has also made her a hit with IABC members.

Although Ann is a professional speaker who charges more than we normally pay for chapter events, we found that bringing in a nationally known speaker allowed us to deliver real value to our members. We were also able to draw sponsorships that let us make the half-day workshop affordable — if not a bargain — to our members.

Ann’s workshop still comes up in conversation all the time as one of the best programs we’ve offered our membership. I don’t have room here to list all the enthusiastic responses attendees wrote on their evaluation forms, but I will share this one, which seems to capture the feeling of the group. One attendee (who, for reasons that will become clear, requested to remain anonymous) wrote:

“I stopped for an extra-large Diet Coke on the way to the seminar. Beginning at 9:10, I needed to visit the restroom but stayed in my seat until the 10:00 break because I didn’t want to miss a minute! Ann is terrific.”

Knowing the success that IABC/Lincoln had with Ann’s workshop, I highly recommend Ann Wylie as a speaker to any chapter looking to offer an outstanding writing, Web or publication seminar.

Sincerely,

Michelle Drahota

President, IABC/Lincoln