To inspire WIs to increase their membership, NFWI-Wales runs an annual Recruitment Award competition. The competition comprises of 2 categories namely ‘WIs with fewer than 25 members’ and ‘WIs with 25 members and over’. The winners are announced each year at the Wales Conference and presented with a certificate and bursary to attend a course at Denman.
|Skewen WI is presented with its award|
Last month Skewen WI, Glamorgan Federation was announced the 2018 Recruitment Award winner of the category for WIs with fewer than 25 members. The WI had increased its membership from 24 to 46 members, an increase of 92%.
The winner of the category for WIs with 25 members and over was announced as Portskewett & Sudbrook WI, Gwent Federation. During 2018, the WI succeeded in increasing its membership from 32 to 52 members, an increase of 62.5%.
Eleanor Griffiths, a member of Skewen WI shares the secrets of the WI’s success in recruiting new members:
Skewen WI were so surprised and delighted to receive the recruitment award for 2018 and of course the bursary award for Denman.
Our journey started in 2013 when Skewen WI was formed with a membership of 23 ladies, but fell to 17 within two years or so. Five years on we have a membership of 70 and it appears to be rising!
So the big question is how?
Well the bottom line or cynical answer could be money!
Yes, we have been awarded two lottery grants, but it’s no use having a lot of money if it’s not used wisely and effectively.
We are committed and we have a passion for creating a WI that is fun, informative, educational, interesting and above all sociable.
A recent edition of WI Life contained an article on the benefits of being a committee member. It describes the three officer roles of President, Treasurer and Secretary as the Holy Trinity. Well - we are not like that!
We are a large and dynamic committee, who have good ideas, energy and the ability to make things happen. There is no better committee meeting when ideas thrown into the pot are creative, fun and sometimes daring!
Our main duty is to provide an interesting programme of monthly meetings and we have used questionnaires to seek members’ views on the kind of speakers and events they would like to happen.
This is just a small part of Skewen WI. We run an array of clubs and workshops, as we want to appeal to a range of members. These include a monthly Craft Club where quality work is produced. Our monthly Book Club encourages vigorous debate and extends our love of reading. The IT Club has amazed and excited us, because, at last we learned to use our mobile phones and tablets properly!
In addition we love workshops, from willow weaving, painting, pottery and wreath making.
We currently have weekly Walking
Netball, we will be learning to sing as a choir in the summer and have a series
of Samba Drumming workshop booked for the autumn.
|Skewen WI crafts|
We travel together on monthly visits, to places such as Denman College, Stratford Upon Avon, Oxford, historic houses near and far and places closer to home such as Penderyn Distillery, Llanelli House and the Gwili Railway, to name but a few.
We never let a good opportunity pass us by, such as the Glamorgan Show. We have entered many classes and achieved gratifying results both as a small and medium WI - in this year’s show we will be classed as a large WI.
Above all we strongly believe that clear lines of communication are essential. All members receive frequent texts and emails, to remind them of meetings, events, or any other useful information. Boy-oh-boy our IT Club has paid dividends in that area!
So it’s not just about having the money to spend on the things mentioned so far- it’s about the leadership of the committee. In other words a committee that constantly looks for ways and means to bring together a community of women to learn share and laugh together.
We firmly believe that leadership is not about title or designation. It’s all about Impact, Influence and Inspiration:
Impact involves getting results like a healthy membership;
Influence is about spreading the passion you have for achieving a dynamic WI; and
Inspiration is the ability to make people want to be part of our very special organisation.
|Portskewett & Sudbrook WI is presented with its award|
Val Robinson shares the success of Portskewett & Sudbrook WI in increasing its membership:
The WI saw a large increase in our membership over the course of the year. The January 2018 meeting was an adult ballet lesson. One of the members invited others from the class in Chepstow to attend that meeting, so that the teacher had some ladies there who knew a little about ballet and could confidently do some of the positions. Many of the visitors that evening went on to become members of Portskewett & Sudbrook WI.
There were several new ladies who attended our “Dough at Home” evening, having seen posters advertising the meeting in the village, with a local baker, who teaches people to make artisan breads in their own homes. They not only sampled the
bread at that meeting but, having sampled the WI, became members.
Members brought friends along and others came and joined, having heard how interesting, friendly and fun the WI is.
Broadcast your WI proudly, invite any ladies you meet in exercise classes, choirs, at the school gate, on the local bus, to come and try your varied programme for themselves.