The thrust of Tuesday's discussion was that the Club needs rejuvenation. The suggestions were nearly all coming from old people.
It seems to me that the best source of ideas for rejuvenation would be young people. The Club needs to reach out to non-member young people not just to try to get them to become members but to get their ideas as to what would make the Club more attractive to the younger set.
I am the membership chair for "The City Club of Denver". I am also one of the youngest in the group. I welcome suggestions about how to target people of my generation.
The most interesting aspect of this discussion is that the "old" people say it is not about the cost and suggest that they want more young people. Then the young people say it is about costs, and they want to meet the older people. If one were to ponder this conundrum for a bit, the answers would become obvious.
But subsidizing or reducing the cost to young members is not the only tool available to expanding the clubs diversity. We should also target politicians. My vote would be to subsidize both the young guests and the political guests, by increasing the cost to other guests. Having more political and economic leaders in the audience would naturally induce more activity at the luncheons.
Another tool is to provide leadership roles to young aspirational members. Get them involved in the planning and discussions.
The biggest challenge for the club in the future is the rising demand on our time, the economy and the wide variety of social clubs available for networking. The City Club is the best at providing content, but needs work on providing networking, leadership, and integration. We have to make sure that it means something to be a member of the City Club of Denver.
The "Brown Palace" is a non-negotiable for me. I love having the 3,000 calorie meals there among distinguished people.
To begin the analysis of how City Club can become more healthy first requires an analysis of whether City Club is relevant today. To no one's surprise, the world is vastly different today than it was 10 years ago, 20 years ago, or even 2 years ago.
City Club has earned its rightful place as an important civic organization in Denver because it was able to provide citizens with content from the actual doers in the city and state. It provided the citizens of Denver with a real opportunity to understand the operations of the city, public, non-profit and private, by those that were involved with these spheres of influence. today, snippets of information are available instantaneously and, particularly for the younger generation but to a large extent the adult world, is no longer relying on such archaic conveyors of information as the slowness of a newspaper or waiting to hear someone deliver a speech on a specific topic as to a development that is occurring in our city or state.
That being said, we need to understand and clearly articulate what is the proper position and purpose of City Club in the 21st century. It it just another networking opportunity? And if so, why is it more desirable than the social networking on the internet or other civic and social groups in Denver that bring in speakers periodically to basically the older segment of our population? Examples: Eccentricity and Mile High Club.
Historically, City Club was somewhat unique in getting the legislative leadership to actively participate in a forum and to also have the mayor and governor present speeches to an active assemblage of people who coveted the idea of a relatively cozy and friendly environment to have a give and take with the state leaders. That, I believe, is one of the real strengths of the City Club.
This year's program committee, driven by Kay Landen, has assembled outstanding and provocative speakers and still we have trouble either getting significant luncheon attendance or new members.
Rather than say we need new, younger members, I think the real question needs to be how City Club can be more attractive to larger numbers of concerned citizens. The answer, in my opinion, has to start with how we can differentiate City Club from very similar organizations or other networking opportunities. It may be that with the enormous amount of information available through the Internet and other sources, a meeting every Tuesday except the summer is just too much. We should not have a meeting just to have a meeting. City Club luncheons should be events -- events that engender enthusiasm; therefore, if we went to two meetings a month or possibly one a month, we could build up enthusiasm in anticipation of a unique event that people would like to attend.
Another variable that is incompatible with having weekly meetings is that people seem to be busier and busier; therefore, fewer people have the luxury or the willingness to participate in four meetings a month. It appears that the majority of workers in Denver do not even go out to lunch if they have lunch at all.
Our business model is troubling in that if we have an interested speaker who elicits a larger crowd, there is no positive impact on the bottom line from a very small crowd. For both scenarios, hopefully the Club breaks even on a lunch. The historical answer to this dilemma is to gain more members, but even though that effort has been addressed for the past couple of years, our membership roles have not increased. These issues need to be critically evaluated before there can be any discussion on subsidizing a new class of membership.
Obviously I don't have all the answers, but I think the solutions are more difficult and must be subject to careful analysis in order to develop a uniqueness again for City Club status in this city.
Most of the speakers are not controversial. It might be a good idea to be more adventurous.
Not many people want to come every week. Every other week or once a month mght attract better attendance.
Cannot understand why we stay at the Brown. The lunch prices are too high for mediocre food. There must be other downtown hotels that would offer more value.
The Brown is also symbolic of old places and old ideas. Stodgy describes it.