Excellent feedback from Harewood House event
Minutes -Virtual Review of the Harewood House Event and some thoughts on future activities
The meeting started at 18.30 and finished at 20.10 with 19 members attending from Blackpool, Manchester, Merseyside and Mid Cheshire, West Yorkshire, Zurich and South West Group branches.
The consensus was:
- The Harewood House event was deemed to be very successful which could have been even better with more emphasis on explaining the background of the wine selection and no more than four couples in the breakout rooms and they should be different at each rotation.
- There is a place for virtual events but traditional face to face remains the main focus.
- Virtual events would be more easily managed if simpler in terms of food with nibbles/snacks in preference to full meals.
- Inter branch virtual meetings gives the opportunity for much more educational aspects such as interesting speakers and food and wine tastings which would not be as available to individual branches. Ron offered for instance to liaise with his MW contacts.
5)Stephen recommended that we run national (or Zonal) scale virtual events which are actively
promoted to current non-members to
- raise our profile as the preeminent wine and food organisation.
- attract new members to both existing branches as well as a possible virtual branch. Obviously, existing members would also be very welcome!
It was stressed that this would require Exco support in the form of marketing money.
If we simply use this for current branches and members, Stephen felt that we will not arrest the increasingly serious decline in membership.
It does leave open many questions to be addressed about membership model, costs etc, but would
essentially be aimed at stimulating activity that shows the IWFS off to a wider audience.
6)Smaller, more local, weekend gatherings should be encouraged alongside the more expensive international events.
7)The 45 plus age range is the target for recruiting
- Wine and food lovers
- Those newly arrived in an area wishing to make friends
- Singletons looking for social groups e.g., single/widowed ladies who are interested in IWFS which can provide a relaxed safe social environment.
8)Tim G felt that a couple of contributions were aimed at rethinking the IWFS offer to attract new members. The internet/ virtual event opportunity is vast, and needs a thorough analysis. A Northern task force with open minded individuals with a can-do attitude could produce ideas that could develop and support the EXCO marketing plan that has its primary aim an increase in membership. As well as specifying numeric targets EXCO could help by having a vision of what we might look like in the future. So, the task force could be the focus for a way forward .
Tim Hodges 18 April 2021
Attendees of the Harewood House event and EXCO committee