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Membership Drive Challenge: 40 for 40!

2010 is the 40th Anniversary of the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild, and to celebrate, the Membership Task Force of the SWG Board is pleased to announce a targeted membership drive.  We’re hoping to recruit 40 new members for our 40th year—40 for 40!  In previous years, the membership of the SWG was at 700 but recently it has dropped to about 660.  The Membership Task Team aims to restore membership numbers to their previous level of 700 by holding a membership drive and challenging the current SWG members to recruit at least 40 new members to the Guild. 

The task force not only issues the challenge to recruit new SWG members but recognizes that a challenge is only as good as its rewards.  As an incentive, the SWG will provide a prize to each member who recruits a new member to the Guild.  In addition, for each new member that you recruit, your name will be entered into a draw for—wait for it—a Sony Reader!  The more new members you recruit, the more times your name will be entered into the draw.  Sound appealing?  Then read on.

We won’t just leave you to your own devices to recruit new members (although your own devices are also encouraged, provided they conform to all provincial and federal laws).  At your request, the SWG staff will make available pamphlets, brochures, and/or the full Speakers Toolkit to help you promote the Guild to the audience of your choice. In addition, the staff will meticulously track the new members and ask them to identify a referral source, thereby ensuring your name is duly entered into the Sony Reader grand prize draw.

The idea of a membership drive has been in the works for some time.  The current Membership Task Force is building on the sketch of a plan originally devised by the previous Membership Task Force. The membership drive comes at an opportune time, with the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Guild. The 40th anniversary provides a great jumping off point for “good news” about the Guild and promotion targeted to new members.   

A highlight of the membership campaign includes a targeted recruitment effort for Aboriginal writers at all levels of their writing career.  In Saskatchewan, Aboriginal people comprise about 15% of the total population.  Yet within the Writers Guild, Aboriginal membership is nowhere near 15% of the total membership. 

The SWG is an organization that is full of highly creative, dynamic, interesting individuals.  And yet, imagine all of the creativity, skills, and knowledge that are not flowing through the organization because a significant segment of the population is largely underrepresented.  Diversity will only serve to enhance the organization and our experiences as members.  This is our opportunity to address structural barriers that have stood in the way of equal participation, and to create an inclusive, mutually respectful environment in which all people can participate and contribute.  

Aboriginal membership in the SWG is not at a representative level in relation to the numbers of Aboriginal people in the Saskatchewan population and that is a concern.  Therefore, we will be targeting Aborginal members (including Métis, First Nations, and Inuit people) with a free one-year trial membership.

Furthermore, new youth members will be recruited, and offered free one-year trial memberships, through various avenues such as creative writing students at the two universities, creative writing classes at high schools, windScript, Sage Hill youth programs, and others. The Task Force is looking for member volunteers with a connection to these programs and organizations to present the SWG material and promote the Guild to youth. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Laura Malhiot at 306-791-7740 or info@skwriter.com.

Member rates are $75 for a regular membership and $55 for full-time students and seniors (60 years and older). Membership includes a subscription to freeLance, the magazine of the SWG; a subscription to eBriefs, the weekly e-newsletter of the SWG; reduced rates on a wide range of workshops and events; and connection to a wide-ranging community of Saskatchewan writers who are at all levels of development and who work in all genres.   

The membership drive will take place until September 30, 2010, and regular updates will be provided in eBriefs and Freelance.  The final results of the membership drive will be announced at the SWG fall conference and the grand prize draw for the Sony Reader will take place at the conference as well. 

 ~ Lisa Wilson
Membership Task Force Chair

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