Monmouth County FRW President Tristan Nelson and Past President Eve Hershkowitz with New Jersey FRW President Vanessa LaFranco
By Vanessa LaFranco
New Jersey FRW President
In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy ripped through the State of New Jersey leaving in its trail 350,000 homes completely destroyed or damaged, millions of residents without power or water, 34 people dead, and others helpless by the ravages of the disaster. Nowhere was the storm’s devastation greater than along the Atlantic’s Shore of Monmouth County. The Hurricane destroyed both our county and our membership.
At the beginning of 2013, 34 stalwart members of the Monmouth County Federation of Republican Women recognized the importance of reorganizing by revitalizing our membership. The Board brainstormed creative ways to improve our membership, while restoring the goals of our founders by actively involving more politically-concerned women in rebuilding the future of our community.
We began by designing a dues remittance envelope with our membership application and volunteer committees imprinted on it. This made it easier for older members and new prospects to complete and return our request. Our membership chair, never without a supply, registered nearly a dozen new members at a single political rally.
We developed a prospect list from existing Republican databases. The GOP county committee list was easily garnered from the Board of Election. We utilized GOP Datacenter to cross-reference women who were committed voters at every election, from which we then selected approximately 145 possibilities.
To interest members who were not familiar with the MCFRW, we downloaded a list of those women who had donated to Governor Chris Christie’s 2009 gubernatorial campaign, targeting women residing in Monmouth County who had donated $250 or more. We added these names to our invitation list and personally asked them to attend political social events to encourage their enthusiasm to join us.
We aggressively focused on our lapsed membership. We used the NFRW database, which contains lists dating back as far as 2008. We researched our former members, identifying those who still lived in the area and remained active Republicans. We invited former members to our annual summer wine and cheese party as a way to actively encourage renewed participation in our club.
Finally, and it appears most importantly, we created Facebook and Twitter pages posting upcoming events and creating photo albums to document our activities. We now have a Constant Contact account to email news and announcements on a regular and timely basis. These e-mails include meeting and event notices, follow-ups with photos of those meetings and events, membership statistics, and updates on committee work such as bylaws. We acknowledge our campaign contributions, welcome new members, and publicize upcoming events by other county-wide political groups. We have moved with the times and taught computer technology to all our members. This has made a tremendous difference in the accomplishments of the entire New Jersey Federation of Republican Women.
Monmouth County FRW's membership has successfully grown 370% in only two years, and will continue to grow due to the dedication and political astuteness of its forward-thinking membership.
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