Development Director needs Suggestions

by Bernard Kelly
(Melbourne, Australia)


I recently accepted an unpaid position as the Development Director at a Learning & Living Centre, but the task is actually to find elusive members.

We are located in an affluent suburb, populated by retirees who had decision-making responsibilities when they were in the workforce.

We offer a variety of programs which - over the years - have become staid and routine, and so too have been the marketing effort to attract new members.

So I have established a new program "Retirement - Enjoy It More"

This is the promotion:

"We are a group of modern elders and meet (face-to-face) every Third Tuesday during term at 10.30 am. for 90 minutes.

"Venue is South Barwon Community Centre, 33 Mt. Pleasant Road, Belmont 3216 Vic.

"Our over-arching theme is to maintain our zest for living during retirement, through our friendship group and monthly stimulating discussions on lifestyle themes, led by published author and syndicated columnist Bernard Kelly and with a panel of stimulating guest speakers.

"An enthusiastic team of Directors are responsible for ongoing programs - such as the $2 travel club, home renovations in anticipation of old age, mental health education, Lifelong Learning, non-credit short courses, study trips, and special events for adults aged 60+.

"First attendance is free"

So my question to you is - How Can I Attract Elusive Members?


Bernard Kelly

Comments for Development Director needs Suggestions

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Development Director appreciates your contributions
by: Bernard Kelly - Geelong

Hello Nui


Thanks indeed for your suggestion to offer a "philosopher’s cafe" discussion series. I actually have a series of 42 lectures planned on topics that I have explored either in the two books that I have written or the monthly articles on retirement issues that I write for an online newspaper group.

However I’ll put the possibility of a "philosopher’s cafe" out there and see if there are any volunteers who would like to run that on a weekly basis.

But off to a tangent - you might like the series of novels The Sunday Philosophy Club by author Alexander McCall Smith. It is also the name of the first novel in the series. It’s an informal talking group founded by the main character Isabel Dalhousie.

And as to taking a course of formal studies - I am ahead of you there. My late wife and I both enrolled at age 73+ in undergraduate degrees online.

Here in Australia the national government funds university degrees and you repay your debt once you graduate and earn an income in excess of $48,000. I'm doing a Business degree - with a major in entrepreneurship - one subject per semester (that's three per year) and so it will take me eight years to complete, by which time I'll be 83. I haven't really thought about a career path just yet - but if you have any ideas, feel free to comment.

cheers - Bernard Kelly

Elusive members
by: Nui

Here in Vancouver they offer "philosopher’s cafe" which present a different topic for discussion every week. We also have seniors centres which offer everything from Tai Chi to language classes to cooking classes etc. We also have movie days, dances, local trips to casinos and museums and even live entertainment. One thing they don’t offer but I wish they did was credit courses at the college level. I’m the type who has to have a goal - working towards a college degree would give me incentive.

What you’re doing is great for your community! Good luck!

Retirement - Enjoy It More
by: Bernard Kelly - Geelong

Retirement - Enjoy It More

Thanks indeed Wendy for your thoughts - particularly about Facebook groups.

Actually there are over 25 community Facebook groups here in Geelong, which I think is impressive as "greater Geelong" has a population of 350,000 and yes, indeed, we do intend to target them.

However there are many, many seniors/retirees/modern elders who never look at social media, and of course those who do may never be shown my feeds by the overlords.

Which may answer your question why I'm focused on face-to-face marketing.

However it's back to finding committed and responsible Directors for each function. I'm still wrestling with questions - such as "Why Will They Come?" and "Why Will They Stay?" but input from your forum members really does help to refine my thinking.

And I must say, this forum of yours is really excellent. Keep up the good work!



Newsletter Content
by: Bernard Kelly - Geelong

thanks Jane/Texas for your thoughful contribution - in particular I really like your suggestion about the "Tell Us Your Story" in the newsletter.



Elusive Members
by: Fern Canada

You got my attention with the term "Elusive Members" what a great phrase for marketing! Please add a definition!

The facility where you intend to meet will probably do marketing for you. They will advertise courses and speakers that you have set up, usually for a season or a specific time frame.

The term "Lifelong Learning" might work for you.

Why not google to see what other terms exist and what other groups use?

I believe, in your part of the world, COVID restrictions are different. You might want to explain that and also what is your overall goal for this group, is it to attract specific types of people, would you actually exclude or discourage some people who might not contribute, how much volunteer time is required, age requirements, or will you be developing parameters after the group starts?

by: Jane/Texas

I am sure you have someone in your membership or several people who enjoy writing. A newsletter about what the different groups are doing, who is having a birthday, the latest issues on the medical front as well as anything that would interest seniors.

The newsletter could be emailed to each member and sent to potential members. You might even include senior cartoons or have a "Tell Your Story" section where members can contribute to the publication. I know how much getting a newsletter from this site is enjoyed by all its members.

Local Marketing
by: Wendy, Retirement Enthusiast/Coach

I think you are looking for local ideas to do face-to-face, but with COVID, I don't understand how you intend to do this. Maybe it will disappear soon, but here, it isn't safe once again. Just a few ideas:

Directors -- if you find people to fill these spots, they can help market to their own people (family, friends, Facebook community). Together, as a collaborative effort, you'd get the work out better than one person doing it.

Facebook ads -- you can run very targeted ads using FB. Focus on the area, income, occupations, whatever criteria you want. Being local, you might get very cheap advertising (then again, maybe not... you won't know until you try) and touch many more lives this way.

Facebook groups for Seniors in Melbourne -- start one, post and keep them engaged, ask for people interested in running a workshop, whatever... interaction is the key.

Finally, business cards can be ordered online cheaply -- cards could show the logo, name of the group, website name, and maybe point people towards a form to complete for more info. Don't put names on the cards so others can use the same batch -- 1000 cards with several passing them out IF you can connect with the people you hand them to and get them interested enough to go to the site. The site should definitely be collecting names and emails for interested parties so you can keep them updated on the happenings there.

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