Club Functions‎ > ‎Our Digital Club‎ > ‎

Our Digital Club - Part 7 - Managing Our Weekly Speakers

posted Sep 15, 2015, 2:46 AM by RotaryofNorristown   [ updated Feb 17, 2017, 10:47 AM ]
Managing Our Weekly Speakers
Planning guest speakers for our weekly meeting is a highly repeatable process requiring significant communication and tracking. Our club has refined that process and leveraged technology to help manage this activity, especially the numerous communications required. As one might imagine, many standard logistical details are communicated between Program Chair and speaker.
'Weekly Speaker Planner' is a simple website with all of the tools to make this process professional and error free.  It is an adjunct part of our club website and available to the Program Chair.  'Weekly Speaker Planner' has been used and refined over the past 18-24 months to address every speaker need.
The first screen panel on the site explains the full communication process, which is a 5 step process.  All electronic communications leverage email and include official club letterhead.  
Here is the 'Weekly Speaker Planner' Introduction Screen

The 2nd menu tab takes you to the SPEAKER DATABASE.  This is the heart of the system.  This is where it is possible to find, create or track speakers. A 10 year history of the club's past speakers has been loaded in order to minimize repeats.  The database fields contain almost everything needed to reach a speaker as well as indication of their process status and their speaking needs.  Tracking the speaker's status is important since the database is shared with the newsletter, 'Spoke' editors announcing speakers and the club calendar. The top of this page (although clipped from the picture here) also contains full documentation on how to use the database.
While this site is a wide screen and the print is a bit small to read, information such as date, speaker name, organization & website, title, email, phone, possible speaking dates extended, status of confirmation, 1 week reminder and thank you letters, video equipment needed, notes and a link to a small speaker BIO is collected.
The SPEAKER STATUS CODE by which they are sorted is as follows:
0 - TBD (no one scheduled)
1 - Speaker is confirmed
2 - Invited (waiting on response)
3 - Working on (reached out, getting speaker contact info)
4 - Possible (speaker has been suggested)
5 - No Match (speaker inquired, not a good match)
6 - No response (speaker has not responded to our invitation)
99 - Completed (speaker info kept for historical purposes)
A check mark tracks if a confirmation letter, a 1 week reminder letter and a thank note letter have been sent.

The system generates the following 5 standard letters to support each of the 5 steps of the process:
  • Send an open invitation to speak
  • Send an invitation of 3 possible dates
  • Send a confirmation letter
  • Send a 1 week reminder note
  • Send a Thank you for speaking note
Here is one example letter, the 'Confirmation Letter' screen.  Once the form is filled in and the 'Submit' button is clicked, the system sends a standard letter with letterhead and files it in the club file system.

The system also has an annual program planning grid which provides the Program Chair a list of standard annual repeating programs, not requiring a speaker.
Additionally there is a BIO tab which allows developing a separately linked short BIO introduction for the speaker in advance.  All letters in the system allow appropriate carbon copy distribution.  The 'Thank You Letter' preparation form contains an optional check box for inviting the speaker to join the club. If checked, additional welcome text is inserted in the letter for follow up.
New speakers come from several sources, but most speakers volunteer themselves directly through our website which sends the program chair an email with details. We have received feedback from speakers on how professional our communications appear.
(special thanks to Rotary leaders Paul Catrambone and Scott Wright for their creative suggestions and willingness to test new ideas)

Our Digital Club is a collection of Rotary social media and computing topics published at the Rotary Club of Norristown website