Article Date: October 1st, 2010
Once a year, AKCHO’s membership team (led by the peerless, fearless Dick Peacock) sends out a letter reminding you to renew your AKCHO membership (or urging you to join, if you haven’t in the past). The membership letter basically consists of a few paragraphs explaining what AKCHO does and why your support is important, followed by a simple form to fill out and return with your check. And every year, like clockwork, almost all of you skim the letter, fill out the form, and send in the check. For this we are eternally grateful!
This summer, while perusing a list of folks who hadn’t yet renewed, we on the Board got to wondering: What keeps people from sending in that check? Is it financial hardship in a tanking economy? Is the form buried in a stack of papers somewhere, never quite rising to the top of the to-do list? Is our “snail mail” appeal not reaching a new generation of texters and Facebookers? Are people unclear about AKCHO’s role, or unconvinced of our importance? Are we doing all we can to serve our current membership and attract new members?
Membership in AKCHO offers tangible benefits, of course: monthly programs bring us together to learn about historic topics and places in our community, and our members form a resource-sharing network that provides technical advice, professional referrals, support in times of crisis, and access to a county-wide audience most of us can’t reach as individual organizations.
But membership in AKCHO is also what you might call a faith-based enterprise: we join because we want to be part of a collective voice for heritage. We value the history of our community, and we believe that preserving and interpreting the past helps current residents understand the present and build a strong future. We want to see those values reflected in the power structures that shape our local governments, businesses, and schools. As individuals we can write letters to the editor and call our elected officials. But we know that as members of AKCHO our small voices are multiplied, fortified, amplified – and listened to.
AKCHO keeps us informed about issues, concerns, and opportunities that affect our day-to-day work – and sometimes our very existence. AKCHO gives us a place at the table when community leaders are making decisions about funding, development, and the cultural environment we live in. AKCHO is our eyes and ears, our voice, and our champion. And AKCHO is the time, energy, and money that we contribute to keep it running.
So this year when you get that envelope, we hope you’ll re-up unhesitatingly, of course – and encourage your colleagues to do the same. But more importantly, we hope you’ll take a moment to consider what AKCHO membership really means – to you, to your organization, and to your community. We trust the answer will resonate loud and clear.
If you’d like to share your thoughts about AKCHO membership, or if you’d like to get involved in this year’s membership campaign, please contact Vice President Mikala Woodward at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-501-6904.