The Thankful Hubbard Chapter Success Story

Written by: Lynn Young, President General
March 1, 2016

Recently I had the privilege of visiting with the Thankful Hubbard Chapter in Austin, Texas about the Guardian Trust Campaign.  The Chapter meets at Chateau Bellevue, also known as the Austin Women’s Club, built in 1874.

Chapter Regent Betty Bird welcomed over 100 ladies to the luncheon and I was grateful for the opportunity to share photos and provide more information on the Constitution Hall restoration and need for an endowment fund.  Pamela Marshall, the Texas chair for the Guardian Trust Campaign, enlisted the help of Betty Bird and Zipra Morgan in making chapter pesenations in the central Texas area.  I was so very surprised when Betty introduced Marilyn McGlamery and Elaine Kiesling who presented me with my very own Miss Lynn doll, beautifully dressed in a copy of a dress I wore for Opening Night at the 123rd Continental Congress in 2014.  They also copied one of my business suits.  Very talented women!

The chapter is thriving and I’ve asked Nancy Kampe, the Chapter Registrar and Membership Chair, to share the story of the amazing growth the chapter had in 2015. Nancy is a professional genealogist with a marvelous personal library and research resources.  The chapter is fortunate to have several expert genealogists who are willing to share their time and talents with prospective members.  Please read her message below and see if your chapter can implement any of these suggestions.

 

Thankful Hubbard Chapter of Austin, TX added 121 new members in 2015 – 126 new members if Jan 5th Board of Management’s vote is included.   New talent, new ideas, and new friends are a rich blessing and the Chapter is the beneficiary!

What was the magnet for membership?  The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to receive the lovely DAR 125th Anniversary Membership Certificate!   And once prospective members visited our chapter meeting in the 140-year-old Victorian mansion of our founding - many ladies were then eager and motivated to finish their papers to join.

Our Membership Committee set an initial goal of 50 new members for 2015, but as referrals rolled in – we began to think about trying for 125 new members for the 125th Anniversary Year!

At the start of 2015, we announced at monthly chapter meetings that if daughters, sisters, cousins, or granddaughters of members wanted to join DAR – this was the year to make it happen!   It would be an easy process, since relatives would be joining on an already proven lineage.   Membership Committee members promptly followed up on every lead!

Work was needed to add missing Patriot service sources, update vitals, add generation information, or fix red-codes, but our lineage research and volunteer genies found the missing pieces – fast!   We also established 4 new patriots and 4 new children of patriots this year.  Frequent trips to the Texas State Archives, UT Libraries and Briscoe History Center, and even road trips to cemeteries, nearby courthouses, or regional libraries were made to help applicants collect their documents.   Phone calls were made to out-of-state Archives, Genealogical Societies, or other repositories to track down proof documents.  We set a deadline to finish as many applications as possible by summer’s end – plenty of time for the genies in National to verify before year-end.

Our Communications Committee reminded everyone of the 125th Certificate in monthly email blasts and the Chapter newsletter.   We advertised the member-for-member pin that could be earned and emailed members the M4M credit report as the year progressed. 

While prospective members’ applications were in process, we asked if their sisters or cousins would like to join at the same time, and they could receive consecutive member numbers.   Many new members brought at least 1 relative in with them; one prospective member brought in 8 cousins and another paid for 6 relatives as a holiday gift!  

Our goal was to mail applications to Washington within 2 days of completion – not waiting to sign at monthly meetings.  Our Regent, Registrar, Treasurer, and Vice Regent were on-call to be ready to sign applications promptly.   It was all about expediting the process for the applicant and getting quick results for all the hard work!

Here’s where the 126 new members came from:

  • 49% were relatives & friends of existing chapter members
  • 29% were relatives or friends of prospects, or found through community networking
  • 13% were from the PMD
  • 9% inquired thru the chapter webpage or a chapter event

Clearly, the largest referral source of new members was friends and family of our existing members!

But it was not all about increasing our numbers.   We are working hard to involve our wonderful new members in the Chapter.  Because of jobs or schedules, some new members can’t attend weekday chapter meetings regularly.  

“Supplemental Sundays”

In the fall, we began a training & social gathering on the last Sunday afternoon of each month (while family was watching Sunday football) to teach new members how to begin their first Supplemental application and meet other members in small groups at our Membership Chair’s home.  New members learn about the GRS, at-home DAR projects, donations, and other ways to participate outside chapter meetings. 

Junior Interns

Juniors who weren’t able to attend meetings could “intern” with a committee to help with after-hours activities – like post office runs, consulting on computer questions, or library research on campus.  Many juniors are in school, have jobs, or have young children and can’t make chapter meetings presently.

Orientation & American Spirit

We host twice-per-year orientation luncheons.  New members are treated to a Powerpoint presentation about DAR history, committees, and how to order insignia.  We encouraged new members to subscribe to American Spirit & Daughters newsletter to learn about the national society.   Our subscription rate went from 17% to 42% in 2015!

Everyone has something to share, and we respect the different seasons in each of our new members’ lives.   Some will have more time to be active in future years; some can jump in right now!

Our proud numbers reflect a chapter-wide effort to gain new members this year – and of course -- very hard work, lots of volunteer time and resources donated by our lineage research and volunteer genealogists to find those evidence trails leading back to the patriots who served our country at its birth.

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