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Helping Group Membership "Grow"

From: LEAVEN, Vol. 38 No. 6, December 2002 - January 2003, p. 127.
by Mariana de Petersen
Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala

Like everyone in the workshop, you may be wondering how a tree can increase the number of people who wish to affiliate themselves with our organization. Let me explain.

For 20 years, I have been leading an LLL Group once a month and have always asked myself how I can increase the number of mothers who purchase membership. Then I read about a fabulous idea for a collage shared by a French Leader, Christine Athey, in LAD Perspectives No. 9, April 2002. Since my mother is a quilter, I asked for her help. She accepted the challenge of trying to make something simple yet innovative, as the quilting techniques were out of proportion for this project. I wanted something that could be used right away!

After going through different materials and scraps together, my mother and I designed the "Tree of Life" collage, which has allowed me to drastically increase the number of memberships sold. Now, almost 100 percent of the mothers who attend my Group are members.

The "Tree of Life" is a cloth tapestry. A tree trunk and ground—both also made of cloth—are sewn onto the tapestry. One by one, as mothers become members of LLL, leaves bearing the names of new members are attached to the trunk. Leaders are represented in this collage by butterflies that bear their name. Leader Applicants are represented by cocoons on the trunk of the tree or in the branches. Although the names of Leader Applicants are not represented on the tapestry, the Leader says them aloud when explaining the collage and what it represents during Group meetings. The flowers in the collage represent the children of members. This collage "grows," or changes, as time passes and more mothers become members of LLL.

While showing the collage at meetings, I list the benefits of membership, including the "members only" email list that I have created. Several times a month I send members up-to-date information. When the date of our meeting gets close, I invite them via email. This system is special because it recognizes the member as an important part of the Group who contributes to the advancement of LLL work.

For more ideas about promoting membership in your Groups, I encourage you to read the suggestions that are provided in the Leader’s Handbook, which is now also available in Spanish. If you would like more information about acquiring the Spanish Leader’s Handbook, please contact Waleska Porras, Regional Publications Administrator at lakeka at racsa.co.cr (email).

Mariana de Petersen, a Leader since 1983, lives in Guatemala with her husband, Carlos, and their three children, ages 22, 19 and 12. In October 2000 Mariana enthusiastically accepted the position of RALA for Latin America. She may be contacted at capm at ucguate.com (email). Special thanks to Nancy Farris de Maridueña, a resident of Guayaquil, Ecuador, who took the time to translate this article into English.

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