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Thread: chapter meeting - low attendance

  1. #1
    CPAFMA Member
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    Dec 2012
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    Buffao Grove, IL
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    7

    chapter meeting - low attendance

    Hello,

    I'm the President of the Illinois chapter. We have been noticing that the attendance rate for our chapter meetings has been dropping. It's been so low for some meetings that I've had to cancel the meeting.

    We make effort to have quality speakers talk about business law, HR related issues, tech ideas, and other topics. We even try to schedule something fun after the meeting for the members to do at least once a year.

    The location of the meetings vary as we hold the meetings at the members' offices. We try to have some in the suburbs and some in downtown Chicago to give members opportunities to attend depending on where they are located. We have meetings 4 - 5 times a year and try to schedule them so they don't interfere with busy seasons. They usually last 5 - 6 hours and have 2 or 3 speakers and round table discussions based on member questions they bring to the meeting.

    Some of the firms in our group have gotten acquired by another CPA firm and have dropped out of the association because the new firm doesn't support CPA FMA. (Four firms were acquired by the same CPA firm.) Of course many of those members were some of the regular meeting attendees.

    It's so bad, I couldn't get enough people to volunteer to be on the board for the next year. I was going to step down and let someone else have a chance to be the President, but stayed on due to lack of interest. We won't have a VP for the next year. What's worse is I had to cancel our July meeting, which is when we vote in the new board. This will be delayed until the next meeting.

    I've thought about having a webinar for our main guest speaker to accommodate members who can't travel or take a day out of their schedule to attend meetings. However, I'm not sure how to do this. I need to speak with my IT guy.

    I intend to send a survey out to members to find out what they would like at meetings to get them to attend and more involved.

    Can you offer any suggestions to help increase our meeting attendance?

    Thanks!
    Mary

  2. #2
    CPAFMA Member Tina Neustel's Avatar
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    Nov 2012
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
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    22
    Hi Mary,

    I am following this thread hoping to gain new ideas to engage our chapter membership.

    Tina
    Tina Neustel, PAFM
    Office Manager
    Dillwood Burkel & Millar, LLP

  3. #3
    CPAFMA Member Tiffany Taft's Avatar
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    Jun 2016
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI
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    111
    Hi Mary ~ It sounds like you are doing all the right things so I can understand your frustration. While reading your post I wondered if you had tried Skype type meetings, and it looks like that is on your radar. National can probably help with that, so let's talk about that.
    The other thing I thought of was to make your meeting times shorter and only have one speaker per meeting? However, with the geographic makeup of your base, I can see where trying to give them as much as possible makes sense. Its just a thought.
    I highly recommend a survey to see what the membership wants. I'm happy to help with some questions, we've done them here in Michigan.
    One last thing - can you work with your state society to get in front of all Firm Administrators, not just members? It might be helpful to get in front of non-members to share the value of CPAFMA.

    I'd love to help further, just let me know. Also, let me know if you would like National's help with the webinar or a Skype meeting.

  4. #4
    CPAFMA Member
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    Mar 2017
    Location
    Mississauga, Ontario
    Posts
    30
    Good morning,

    On the subject of webinars. As a vendor, cPaperless would be happy to do a webinar for any of your meetings. We have:

    1. E-Sign Form 8879: As Part of the Paperless Tax Return Assembly and Delivery Process
    2. Using Adobe Acrobat to Prepare 1040 Workpapers
    3. Encrypting PDF Files in Email Attachments: Reduce Rick, Automation and Compliance
    4. Why Client Portals Fail: Understanding Client Transfer Solutions and Alternatives
    5. Future of File Sharing: Challenges of Portals, PDF Encrypting and E-Signing

    https://www.safesend.com/safesend/

    Please feel free to contact with any interest that you have.

    Debbie Clarke
    Dir Business Development
    Office: (800) 716-2558 x 190
    DD: 301-880-4506
    Fax: (800) 716-9038
    www.cpaperless.com

  5. #5
    CPAFMA Member
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    Dec 2012
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    Buffao Grove, IL
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    Thanks for the ideas

    I will be sure to include some of your ideas in the survey I send to the members.

  6. #6
    CPAFMA Member
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    Oct 2013
    Location
    New Hampshire
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    123
    Hi Mary
    We have , I think, about 65 members in our Chapter but only probably 15-20 rotating members which attend things. Those who do participate seem to really find value in it. We have polled them to see what they would like before. We also keep our meetings a bit shorter - from 11-2:00 with lunch included. We also rotate the location as well, which draws different folks. What we have found to be our "best" meetings are when the members pick the topics for the following year and we do round tables. We typically try to bring in one person to speak to the group for about 1 hour on the topic and then open the floor to questions...very free flowing, so if we go off topic because some one has something immediate that they are dealing with we can all help.
    Sounds like you are doing lots of the right things. If you wish to have a direct conversation about anything, please don't hesitate to give me a call. Don't have all the answers but willing to share!
    Lee

  7. #7
    CPAFMA Member Sharon Trabbic's Avatar
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    Mar 2012
    Location
    Toledo, Ohio
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    332
    Hi Mary,
    Thanks for reaching out to the board. I'd like to echo what Tiffany said - it seems like you are doing all the right things. You shouldn't feel alone - we have had a similar problem in Ohio. I'll be following your post and we will definitely be on the agenda at our board meeting the last week of August. Good luck, and thank you for your service to CPAFMA!
    Sharon L. Trabbic, COO, William Vaughan Company, Maumee, Ohio

  8. #8
    CPAFMA Member
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    Jun 2012
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    Indianapolis, Indiana
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    Tiffany,

    You stated in your response to Mary that National might be able to help with a webinar or Skype meeting. Indiana is considering doing just that to hopefully reach members that are not located in the Indianapolis area. Can you give me some additional information on what could be done.

  9. #9
    CPAFMA Member
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    Jul 2017
    Location
    Lomira
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    9
    Hello Mary:

    Sorry this post comes in quite late, but I'm just getting caught up on some threads on CPAFMA today.

    I work as a Firm Administrator in WI and would enjoy participating in the Illinois Chapter meeting, but I never know when they are. How would I find that out? That might be the reason for some of the low attendance, is that individuals do not know the dates or where to locate meeting information. Maybe something to think about for the 2019 Engage Conference is having a Chapter breakout session, so those in attendance can find and get to know their Chapter.

    Feel free to reach out to me via email at jjacak@HubertyCPAs.com

    Jackie Jacak
    Firm Administrator

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