We don’t get as many members applying without sponsors as we used to, but we still get a few.
For those who are qualified for membership, each Monday morning after I have finished my new member review for the weekend and sent out our new member announcement, Judith Rudikoff, one of our Administrative Assistants, sends them each a note inviting them to pick up that 400 pound phone and call her. Sad to say, not all of them do.
The idea behind having a sponsor is that we are NOT a job listing service. Sure, we publish about 600 pages of job leads a month, but I hope no one confuses that with our true mission of being a networking group. To be a real networking group, we have to take an interest in one another and learn the very difficult task of “asking for and accepting help.” It isn’t an easy thing to do.
As we chat up each very qualified new member applicant and explain this to them, I hope they realize that we are a unique organization. Our goal is to infuse them with the missionary zeal that I feel and I hope many of you do as well for this remarkable organization and circle of friends.
The fun begins when we research their company history against our database of members and hook them up with old friends. Some they just didn’t know were members. Others, they have lost touch with in the many corporate downsizings over the course of their careers or as the result of job opportunities elsewhere.
Reconnecting old friends is my favorite “solution set.” Those who rekindle their old friendships join what I call “Matt’s lost friends society.” We have many such lucky individuals in our august body. Some have even discovered old friends by reviewing the new member list each week or through a diligent search of our 400 pound electronic membership directory. (Notice the symmetry in the weight of a phone and our membership directory. They kind of balance each other out.)
If we fail at finding someone from their past, we have a fall back position. We try to find them someone from the neighborhood. In our more densely populated areas, we can find them someone in the same telephone exchange. At worst, we try to find them someone in the same town. If we can, we try to find someone in the same SIG.
One of my firm beliefs is: “Life is about making new friends, helping old friends and feeling needed. Are any other explanations required?”
I hope if you are fortunate enough to get an email from a new member applicant in need of a sponsor, that you will roll out your very own electronic and/or telephonic red carpet and join in the fun.
It is what The FENG is all about.