Allen- At the risk of stroking a caver's ego, I think you're doing a great job so far. I think your priorities are on track, and you're taking steps to get to your goal. From my social media perspective, here are some ideas:
- Time and time again, the major grump that we see from former NSS members (who are very vocal about how horrible the NSS is-- in the NSS group on Facebook
) is that the NSS is elitist/not welcoming. I think that the "Grotto Greeter" idea-- having someone designated to welcome new faces at grotto meetings-- is essential. Whenever someone shows up to a grotto meeting, I make it a point to shake their hand, ask them why they've come, invite them on a trip if I can, and make sure that they get a copy of the NSS News to look through. I also pull out my smartphone and show them the links at caves.org for responsible caving, or whatever they said they were interested in. This is a bit off topic, I know, but I think it's important because many people are looking for activities to do with their kids, and that's why they go to a grotto meeting. Bringing it back, keep up the welcoming, supportive attitude and we'll continue to attract younger cavers.
- I know you're active on Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook-- I don't know to what extent you search for hashtags like #youthgroup, #caving, #scouts, etc., but I think that it may be beneficial to reach out to people using these hashtags and promote your website directly to them. To some extent, the Social Media Committee does this, but it might mean more coming from you. And of course, continue building your team of regional coordinators so that they can find a contact on your website and get a quick reply.
- What kind of feedback do you get about your website? It seems that there is a variety of rich information available-- is it enough? Too much? Are more details needed?
- I'm sure that you do this, but I think that empowering your participants is essential. Show them techniques and then let them show others. This is preparing the next generation of leaders!
Thanks for all your hard work! As always, let me know how to help!