GROWTH AND CHANGE: Introducing Member Connections
In celebration of our 20th year, Impact Austin looks back on challenges and opportunities that helped us to grow and mature as a circle of women philanthropists and a collective giving grantmaker in Central Texas.
A look back at the Zones Initiative
Impact Austin introduced our Zones initiative in 2016 to connect members socially outside of Impact Austin's "work." Zones were geographic areas across greater Austin near where many of our members live and work. A member might belong to just one Zone near her home or workplace, or she might receive notifications for events in more one Zone. The concept was that Impact Austin members would gather socially in the Zone area(s) most convenient to them, meeting and networking with other members nearby.
Original Zones gatherings included happy hours in restaurants or homes; wine-tasting; an Austin bat tour; Saturday brunch; dinners out; post-Discovery Day brunches; cooking classes; an art gallery tour; and more.
The pandemic shut down Impact Austin's in-person events and social gatherings. But once again the Zones initiative helped to keep us connected - virtually - as we sheltered in place. An online cocktail party shared post-pandemic travel plans; another divulged our pandemic obsessions. We Zoomed about wine; we talked trivia; we tasted chocolate; we shared holiday traditions and recipes. By 2021, even as the pandemic continued, the Zones team help us to safely gather outside and offer hands-on community service.
As we moved into 2022 and 2023, members were content to step away from Zoom and meet again in person. The geographic emphasis on gatherings shifted, because members valued social get-togethers regardless of location. Instead, the focus is on the power of connections to enhance Impact Austin's membership experience.
Thanks to our long-standing Zones/Member Connections team:
Robin Krumme, Tonya Netzley, Lisa Warne-Magro (left photo) and Margaret Ballinger (right photo, far right)
"Zones" now renamed "Member Connections"
Impact Austin's Membership Committee offers this definition for our rebranded initiative:
"Member Connections events are intended to enrich and enhance member experiences. These events provide opportunities for building a deeper sense of community, maintaining relationships and friendships among Impact Austin members. and networking. Member Connections activities may include social gatherings like happy hours, brunches and dinners, outdoor ventures, enrichment classes, professional networking, and community service like Community Partner visits and volunteer projects. Anyone who is interested in learning more about Impact Austin is welcome at Member Connections events, and current members are encouraged to invite friends and colleagues to these events."
Special Connections and Resources for New Members
New members should expect a very warm welcome to Impact Austin. The Membership Committee shares this special message:
"We are excited that you have joined Impact Austin and can’t wait to get to know you! Within a week or two of joining Impact Austin, new members will receive an email detailing the most recent upcoming events. If you would like, you can meet one on one with an Impact Austin member for coffee or wine. You'll also have the opportunity to attend one of several optional orientation events that we host throughout the year, where you will meet leaders in Impact Austin and learn about how to get involved. Impact Austin believes that the member experience is enhanced when members gather to develop and strengthen both personal and professional relationships. To that end, you will be invited to social and networking events throughout the year, where you can meet Impact Austin members and develop long-lasting friendships. We are here to provide extra support your first year at Impact Austin. Should you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to our New Member Connections Chair, Robin Krumme."
Membership and Marketing partnered to create a Quick-Start Guide for new members, with pointers for how to get involved with Impact Austin! We look forward to having you connect with us in all the ways that fit.
Keep your eye on a new Member Connections page that will share opportunities for new and experienced members to meet socially, enjoy meals together, volunteer with hands-on activities, explore cultural locations, network, and build friendships. With these gatherings, our collective giving organization gives back to us.
Member Connections events will be listed on a dedicated webpage and on our Events page.