in any business, the business owner's first task is to figure out what they are selling as a product/ service, what the business model actually is like, and do the numbers make financial sense (i.e. will the business be profitable after incurring costs such as rent, equipment, furniture, employees etc). in Toastmasters, of course things are a little more complicated.
The "product/ service" of a Toastmasters club is naturally to provide a nurturing and conducive environment for members to develop communication skills. but of course, this conversation that we're having involves a much wider scope; managing an entire district's worth of clubs.
To summarize the entire discussion, a healthy club is a self sustaining club, and a self sustaining club is a club that is able to recruit members as often as it “sheds” members; whether through natural attrition or through “graduation”. This requires not just the club exco to put up a sufficiently engaging and fruitful educational agenda throughout the term, but for the Club VPPR to reach as many guests as possible.
The success of a club’s recruitment, however, does not solely rely on the Club VPPR, but on the Toastmasters brand itself. Suffice to say, the Toastmasters brand, in Singapore’s context, can be summarized as:
heard of, but not sufficiently enough for members of the public to actively seek out what Toastmasters supposedly provides.
Therefore, a DPRM’s role can be said to be a balance of:
managing the Toastmasters brand (under its geographical jurisdiction of Singapore)
being able to educate, groom, and mentor Club VPPRs (since the single unit of a District is a Club)
If that is a DPRM’s role, then naturally we must consider what the KPIs are, so that we can measure their success:
number of members joined (should be the primary performance indicator)
number of people that have heard of TM,
and subsequently number of people that have joined TM because it is precisely what they’re looking for.
What is NOT under the DPRM/ CLub VPPR’s control, and therefore purview:
how well the educational programs are run
how satisfied members are/ how much benefit they have gained from TM
why members leave
That is not to say the DPRM or Club VPPR need not concern themselves with these, in fact they should be even more concerned; HOWEVER unfortunately the above rests with the more relevant appointment holders.
Of course, the DPRM/ Club VPPR are given a small slice of the budget, and therefore they must figure out how to utilize funds well. Everything else, unfortunately, is “sweat capital”. So in taking up the role of DPRM/ Club VPPR, the person involves should first be mentally prepared that:
the heavy lifting efforts of DPRM/ Club VPPR is often invisible; the visible portions are in fact quite often the least impactful of all their efforts
the role of DPRM/ VPPR is not very well understood, so you must be prepared for an uphill climb when it comes to co-opting members to be part of your PR Team. Even your own executive committee (whether in district or down to the club level) will often have no idea what you’re doing, or if it’s the right direction or not. Only the DPRM/ Club VPPR can evalaute themselves at the conclusion of their term.
most importantly, you have to have a keen sense of what would likely work and what won’t. this unfortunately is based solely on experience; members who are salespeople and business owners are therefore good candidates to consider.
Administrative Chores before commencement
After the DPRM/ CLub VPPR has been chosen, normally there should* be a list of chores that needs to be done. (SHOULD does not mean that it is often done; if anything the following is rarely if ever done)
Documentation of existing assets (physical merchandise, marketing collateral, digital assets like poster templates, websites)
Event Calendar: this should be THE SINGLE MOST important thing any PR professional does, because marketing NEEDS to be planned BEFOREHAND. Strangely enough, it is almost never done in D80’s context
For D80 DPRM; figuring out how often the District trio intends to publish notices, and through which platform. Also, a District Directory project is something that will take up a DPRM’s bulk of time during the first half of the term.
Building a team
Figuring out how to engage and education Club VPPRs, because it is extremely likely that Club VPPRs are ABSOLUTE newbies who have NO IDEA how to even understand their role, much less perform in it. Strangely enough, TI actually provides a wealth of information and manuals for appointment holders in the PR portfolio... but rarely is it even referred to, much less studied.
Overall Strategy and measuring KPIs
to be continued
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