RIPPLE = Residential Industry Professional Peoples’ Lunch and Education (our way of saying “Lunch-and-Learn”)

As a chapter, you have a very important mission – industry outreach. A key component of outreach is meeting the need of the industry at the locations where those in need are. “If it’s too far to drive to lunch, it’s too far.” Says our AIBD President, Kevin Holdridge. That’s why our board of directors is driven to provide as much engagement as possible, as often as possible, and in as many cities as possible.

There are only four steps to setting up a RIPPLE.

Step 1: Set the date.
Step 2: Set up your location.
Step 3: Schedule your speaker/sponsor.
Step 4: Send out your first notice (Remember to include on your mailing list).

Let’s get started…

Setting Your Dates:

Want to be able to skip this step every month? Here’s how…

Remember those old TV sci-fi shows from the ’60’s? In case you’re too young to know, they would end with a cliffhanger and say, “Stay tuned, same time, same channel.” After a while you get to remember when your favorite show is coming on without having to look up the TV guide.

Today, TV networks continue the same tradition because it is the best way to get attendance. We are using the same logic with your Chapter meetings. Pick a date (1st Monday, 2nd Tuesday, 3rd Thursday, or 4th Friday, or similar) and make that your monthly meeting date. Repetition will help your meeting attendance.

In addition, this type of calendar commitment will help make it easier for those in our industry remember when they talk about you. When that happens, experts will be contacting you to present and buy lunch. With a “standing” meeting date and time, you’ll be able to easily schedule them. If the next meeting needs a speaker/sponsor, you won’t have to go back and forth with, “What day is best for you.” If the next meeting date doesn’t work for them you offer the next meeting date. They will welcome this type organized response. Believe it or not, their companies give them quotas. Don’t feel like you’re taking advantage of someone, you’re actually helping them do their jobs. They will thank you…and buy you lunch, too!

Finding a Venue:

A venue is where you are going to have your meeting. There are many options to look at. You might get help from some of your members. Is there an office to meet at? A local diner or restaurant with a private or semi-private meeting room? Maybe an associate member has a showroom and/or a conference room. Some chapters ask to use their local home builder association conference rooms. Find an area that fits best.

Most if not all your meetings should take place at the same place. Remember, this is a 4-step task and we’ve already taught you how to skip step 1. But understand, that if one month you have the opportunity to meet at a different showroom or take a tour, no problem. Occasionally a change is nice. But you’ll make it easier on yourself if you work to make the typical chapter meeting at the same place, on the same day, and the same time, each month.

One great thing to keep in mind. As Chapter Chairperson you do not have to and should not be doing everything. Your presenter can be a huge help. He/she happily will be doing the majority of the work at the RIPPLE.

Finding Meeting Presenters:

This is a lot of fun. You get to select the content of your meeting. First look at the obvious presenters. Remember you have a Chapter membership full of talented people. See if any of your members would like to present any topic or project related to our industry.

Next, reach out to the AIBD Corporate Members (our staff can help with this). There are many members from our corporate list who love to be a presenter and get involved with your Chapter. Remember, they might be helping them meet their obligations by inviting them.

Most Corporate Members have local reps that you can connect with. But this won’t work out for you every month. Plus, your attendees will probably want to change things up now and then. So, below is a list of other potential ideas. You can be creative.

Potential Meeting Ideas:

Have a design charrette

Volunteer at a Habitat site

Have a professional chef at your favorite kitchen design showroom

Go to a showroom – home theater, appliances, cabinetry, millwork, etc.

Have a Chapter Meeting at an HBA Event

Have an old fashioned BBQ

Invite lawyers, bank professionals, and realtors to speak

Many members hold our CPBD designation (Certified Professional Building Designers) and may depend on some of your Chapter meetings to have CE credentials. Here’s the important thing to remember – every presentation gets a CE unit. But if the presenter works for an AIBD Corporate Member, the credit is “Primary.” If they aren’t the credit is considered “Elective.” CPBDs must get 8.0 CE units annually and only 4.0 of them can be “elective.”

What Makes A Meeting Sponsor?

Although it might be interesting, to have a pet groomer talk about how to file the nails on your pet it may not be the best choice for a Chapter Sponsor. Look at industry partners. Talk to your presenters about their topic and help them direct their subject to something beneficial to your Chapter members. Most sponsors are willing to pay for the tab, if the meeting is during lunch, dinner, or happy hour. But be sure to make that clear with your sponsor before committing. Sometimes a Chapter might want to make the event “Dutch” or use funds from the Chapter, if your chapter collects membership fees.

Either way, a meeting sponsor is someone you have selected that would provide an education or fun presentation related to building design and the industry. They become sponsors because they are paying for the event.

Remember, even if you’re doing a dinner or happy hour, it’s still a RIPPLE (Residential Industry Professional Peoples’ Learning and Enjoyment).

Sending out your RIPPLE invites:

The who, what, where, when and why (everyone should attend).

Take your excel data base which has stored email addresses and import them into your choice of email service (Gmail, outlook, etc.). Create a group email and title it for your convenience, e.g. “AIBD, Central Colorado Chapter Group.” This email group contains all of your Chapter members. Set up another group email with all of your potential members and guests. If you are a new Chapter this group might be small. But by the time you have had a few meetings, this list will continue to grow, including your membership group. When you are ready to send an email out to announce the meeting, all you have to do is send to the group. This easier than having to type of copy and paste 20-30 emails. Remember to ask your recipients to forward the RIPPLE invites!

Being organized is so important to making the most of your time.

The 14-5-1 System:

(A System) + (Discipline) = (Success).

The 14-5-1 System is simple. If your chapter has a “standing” meeting day and time, send out your RIPPLE invitations 14 days in advance, 5 days in advance and the day before the event. Of course this can’t be somewhat flexible. If 14 days in advance always falls on a weekend, maybe you’re formula is 16 days or 13 days. Also, if you don’t have a “standing” day and time each month, you’re going to want to give your contacts and members at least a month’s notice to begin with. Right! That means you need to be planning early.

Why include on your mailing list!

First of all, they’re our staff. Helping you is a part of their job descriptions. Why wouldn’t you take advantage of that?

Second, privacy policies restrict the sharing of contacts except for those who are Members. In order to reach as many possible, announcing your event in the “Events” section of the Monday Minute is very important. Not only can it help your RIPPLE’s attendance, but it is important in the overall marketing of the association. If you were researching AIBD for the first time, wouldn’t you be more impressed if you saw a calendar packed full instead of an empty one?

Imagine AIBD as a piece of construction equipment that runs on tracks. It takes a series of smaller wheels moving in concert to advance the entire track, right? Let’s all work together for the mission.

“Small, Smart Choices + Consistency + Time = RADICAL DIFFERENCE.” – From the book The Compound Effect.

What is an RSVP?

In the context of social invitations, RSVP is a process for a response from the invited person or people. It is an initialism derived from the French phrase Répondez s’il vous plaît meaning “Please respond” or literally, “Reply if you please”. The acronym “RSVP” or the phrase “Répondez s’il vous plaît” are sometimes still used in current French to require confirmation of an invitation (Wikipedia).

Getting the RSVP:

An RSVP is simply to reply. Most invitations use it as a request to say that you plan to come to the event and to replay and let the invitee know if you are attending or not. RSVP’s are important. They are especially important to your sponsor who is planning on paying for the event. Because of this it is important for you as the chapter’s planner to make it clear to all invitees to let you know if they are attending. It is socially disrespectful for anyone to say, I am attending and then don’t show.

We all know things happen. A good way to keep good communication open and to remind everyone if they RSVP’d or not is to send frequent email reminders of your upcoming event. Simply resend your original email and list the names of those who have responded and plan to attend. This will prompt those members to say, something came up I cannot make it, or even better, prompt members to see others are coming and they need to RSVP.

Did you know you can grow the AIBD membership and your Chapter membership by a minimum of 1 member at every Chapter meeting with little to no effort? Write and ask how.