West Mt. Airy Neighbors: Membership down by 50 percent


A new year has begun for the West Mt. Airy Neighbors (WMAN) and the community organization has lost about half of its membership. The group held a special meeting on Tuesday evening to get down to business and figure out how to combat this crisis.

Vice President of Development and Communications Chelsea Badaeu said that WMAN membership now stands at about 270.

As the group brainstormed ideas for attracting new members, one thing was obvious—not enough newsletters or email blasts were being sent out, and the community was not well enough informed about WMAN’s mission.

“Historically there hasn’t been a definition of a membership,” said Paul Chase, WMAN Administrator.

Though a definition was never established, one thing was clear—people in Mt. Airy need to see more of WMAN. Two newsletters are sent out each year to remind members to renew their membership with the community organization, and apparently that just isn’t enough.

“I’m a board member and I don’t even know when my membership expires,” said Allyson Katzman Bormack.

In the past, membership was renewed at one fixed time during the year. But after a vote, membership will now be accepted on a rolling basis so people in the community will have the opportunity to join and renew at any time of the year.

In addition to more newsletters and email blasts, WMAN board members will hit the pavement, going door-to-door to solicit new members in the community.

They have also vowed to sponsor more community activities such as recycling events, park clean-ups, and seminars on how to shop safely online, all in the name of community involvement.

The group adjourned energized but aware that a more rigorous approach will be necessary in order to sustain the group moving forward.

“In a pure dollar and cents issue, if we don’t get membership up to a sustainable level, that’s it for the organization,” warned Martin Schmieg, Vice President of Finance.

WMAN’s membership decline is not unique. Both the Chestnut Hill Community Association (CHCA) and East Mt. Airy Neighbors (EMAN) have seen a drop in their memberships and have adopted similar campaigns to boost interest.

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