On Saturday August 1 the ballots for president-elect will be mailed to all members of the National Society of Sons of Utah Pioneers. Enclosed with the ballot will be the candidates’ pictures, a short statement about themselves and their qualifications and their answers to five questions that resulted from member suggestions.
It will be important that members cast ballots and return them so that each returned ballot is postmarked no later than midnight August 31. The ballots will be tabulated by the National Office staff and the results will be announced in a September, 2020 Newsletter.
It remains impossible to predict how soon the covid-19 pandemic will allow us to meet again. If it seems possible to hold our Christmas Dinner in December, we will plan to swear in the new officers at that event. If that does not appear to be possible, we will schedule a special zoom meeting including the Board members and Chapter officers where we will swear in the new officers.
We know that the general membership would desire to be included in the swearing in process, but that is not possible given the limited capacity of zoom meetings. As with so much else during this critical time in our history, we are having to adjust as we go, just as the LDS Church, governments, businesses and individuals have also had to adjust. We pray for your understanding and for your continued support.
Our candidates are both excellently prepared to become National President in 2021 at the time that Brad’s term expires. That transition will take place at the 2021 National Encampment at Rexburg, Idaho.
It has been a pleasure to come to know our two candidates much better during the past few months. I know that whomever is elected will lead SUP with knowledge, experience, wisdom and inspiration.
Pat Cook has prepared a flyer which is attached to this Newsletter reminding us of the voting process. Chapter Boards may want to copy Pat’s flyer and include it in your chapter newsletters to your membership.
As an Executive Council, we have given considerable thought to recruitment and retention during this pandemic. Our membership has remained steady, but new membership is rather flat.
During this time when so many events have been cancelled, SUP Chapter officers need to maintain contact with members. Remember that wives make a difference in decisions relative to joining or renewing membership. If you have members expressing hesitation about renewing their membership, it may be helpful to give them a gentle nudge through contacting the wife and encouraging her to motivate her husband to remain a member.
Most of us, as individuals and as chapters, can do more in presenting Pioneer magazines to prospective members. The National office can provide you with back issues including the application for membership inserts. Recruiting new members goes better when they can see what we are doing as a society to teach and perpetuate the study of our rich pioneer history.
When you can resume chapter meetings, consider holding periodic special chapter meetings for invited guests: our friends, sons, grandsons, nephews, cousins and friends of active members. When guests do attend, make sure they are specifically welcomed and recognized. Follow up with notes to the guests telling them you enjoyed their company and hope they enjoyed coming as much as you enjoyed having them at the meeting and encourage them to join. Follow up the note of appreciation with a letter or personal contact.
Create a membership retention and recruitment committee that will make personal contact with members who are slow to renew membership or with prospective new members. The committee can coordinate with the Treasurer to find who is slow to renew membership and then make personal contact.
Make sure members have an opportunity for involvement. Assignments can be given for giving prayers, leading the open song, giving the pledge, giving the pioneer minute, and do take suggestions from members regarding future activities and meetings.
Most chapters can give out more awards than we do. Certificates are not expensive and can easily be prepared and given to someone you may choose as the modern pioneer of your chapter for the month or the quarter. Chapters could make it a goal to present an annual Modern Pioneer award using the attractive National stand and plaque.
The quality of our meetings is important in both retention and recruitment. Seek presenters who will provide a well prepared and presented message on a subject of interest to your members. Be assertive regarding time management of presentations. When inviting a speaker, be specific about the subject, the audience, the time frame for the presentation, the date, place and start time of the event.
Through radio interviews and articles in local newspapers chapters can keep their activities and contributions to the community before the public. Do not be afraid to make requests to local radio stations and newspapers. Some chapters have reported some recent successes gaining interview opportunities and the publication of articles.
These are only suggestions. If you find any of it potentially helpful, please give it a try. Thanks to our members and leaders for all you do to make Sons of Utah Pioneers a truly worthwhile and significant organization.