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    Hey dental hygienists, it's time to stop blaming the victim



    Blaming nonmembers

    Another version of this blame game often plays out in organized groups. Membership recruitment, retention and participation, volunteer management and fundraising are necessary elements for the survival of voluntary organizations. Falling membership dues and stagnant membership numbers continue to be of concern whether it’s a church, union or dental hygiene group. Once again, it must be the fault of nonmembers. Don’t they feel any loyalty to contribute to the professional organization? The answer for many is no.

    Millennials are the most diverse generation in U.S. history, as was pointed out by Pew Research Center’s Millennials in Adulthood survey. They come from so many backgrounds and have different upbringings than previous generations. What appeals to them is often very different yet rather than shift thinking, often dental hygiene groups just do more of the same and see those who aren’t participating as apathetic, noncaring people just out for the money. This couldn’t be more wrong. Once again, blaming the victim is evident. The biggest blunder occurs when associations blindly accept what they were doing, offering and even that which brought the most success in the past is no longer working.

    It isn’t just millennials who are no longer interested in association membership. Gen X and Baby Boomers are just saying no, too. If associations don’t become the answer for multigenerational membership, then extinction is imminent.

    More from DiGangi and Gutkowski: The truth about alternating codes D4910 and D1110

    3 simple ways to change the game

    The big picture is the answer, and then change, adapt and innovate. Membership is not a duty; it can be seen and experienced as a joy and what someone wants. Organizations need to accurately determine the needs of those they serve and then brainstorm creative ways to meet them. There isn’t a one-size-fit all for your patients nor is there one solution that will appeal to everyone to participate in an organization-diversity is the name of the game.

    1. Social media influences all. An associations needs to have a social media presence. This is not limited to Facebook and Twitter; Instagram, Tumblr and a whole host of other social media platforms are available to engage potential members. Who can you find to help manage it? Millennials and those who behave as Modern Millennial Hygienists.

    2. Encourage leadership by stepping away. Often, leaders don’t know when it is time to step down. No matter how creative or innovative, leadership is tiring, which can lead to tired ideas and a lack of energy and enthusiasm. It can be experienced when the leader's attitude says, "been there, done that." New leaders can’t step up unless previous leaders step down.

    More from DiGangi: 5 things your dental practice needs to know right now about Medicare

    Continue reading on Page 3 ...


    Patti DiGangi, RDH, BS
    Patti DiGangi, RDH, BS is a certified Health Information Technology trainer through the Office of the National Coordinator for ...


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