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You Get What You Give
By Colin Stuart-Morse

Prior to joining the membership committee in 2017, I had a somewhat superficial relationship with ALGA. ALGA connected me with my mentor and offered a steady stream of high-quality, webinar-based CPE, but that was the extent of my involvement.

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I’ve since come to see ALGA as indispensable to my professional development. ALGA has lots of tangible benefits—affordable peer review, quality training options, the LGAQ, and benchmarking data are just a few. But, for my money, ALGA’s greatest benefit is the network of auditors who volunteer to coordinate peer reviews across the country, present valuable trainings, and write compelling articles for the LGAQ. I found that as I gave more to ALGA, I developed stronger connections to these dedicated and talented auditors.

Somehow, I suddenly know auditors with a decade or more of experience in a range of specializations all over the country. As a new audit manager, these are people I can reach out to with questions on leadership, culture, and coaching technique. Or, they might have conducted a similar audit to one we’re planning to launch. And yes, they’d be happy to make time for a call with one of my colleagues.

All this is to say that you get what you give. The more you engage with and contribute to ALGA’s growth and success, the more you’ll reap the benefits. And I think you’ll find it goes far beyond a transactional relationship. You’ll discover that you’ve become a member of a tight-knit community. ALGA, after all, is made up of people like you. It’s got writers, editors, number crunchers, detail-oriented folks, and strategic thinkers. But, most of all, it’s full of people who want to help make their governments work better.

Take it from me, volunteering to serve on a committee is a great first step towards becoming more involved in our community. There are lots of great options, though I’m partial to the membership committee myself. If you’re considering the membership committee, the below sections describe our core activities and identify the team members who have driven our success over the past year. In general, the membership committee has three main tasks: retain current members, recruit new members, and conduct surveys.


RETENTION

Team members: Mia Neidhardt (lead), Ronda Kolheim, and Tanya Baize

The retention team works closely with member services to help existing members renew their memberships in a timely manner. We’ve already begun reminding folks that memberships expire June 30 and we’ll be checking in periodically over the next couple months. As a reminder, memberships can be renewed online. If you need a paper invoice or have any questions, please contact Kathleen Young at or (859) 276-0686.

After the renewal season, the retention team takes on a variety of special projects that support other membership committee activities, or at the request of the Board or other committee chairs. This year, the retention team identified a chief audit executive (CAE) for each member shop. This will allow the survey team to distribute the Benchmarking Survey to all member organizations. Previously, the survey team could not send the Benchmarking Survey to all CAEs, because it lacked contact information for about one-third of CAEs. We hope better CAE data will increase participation and make the survey even more valuable.


GROWTH

Team members: Angela Owens (lead), Jason Hadavi, Catrina McCollum, and Mary Dory

The growth team recruits new members to join our community. Over the past year, the team has focused on outreach to non-member audit shops. All together, they contacted shops associated with 15 cities, 41 counties, and 45 school districts. To support their efforts, they developed and distributed marketing materials with the help of member services. Although we didn’t succeed in convincing most of these shops to join our community, we increased ALGA’s exposure and learned a lot about what local government auditors are looking for in a professional organization. We’ll be presenting those lessons learned to ALGA’s Board in the coming months and developing our recruitment strategy for the next year.


SURVEY

Team members: Courtney Smith (lead), Sherrie Mattson, Syreeta Thomas, and Dawn Wiseman

The survey team conducts three primary surveys on a biannual basis. In odd years, we conduct the Member Satisfaction Survey. The team is currently working on this survey. Look for it in you email inbox in July! In even years, we conduct the Benchmarking Survey and Committee Activity Survey. The Benchmarking Survey goes to CAEs and asks questions about topics like staffing levels, salaries, and productivity. The Committee Activity Survey goes to all members and asks for their opinions about committee programs and activities.

Over the past year, the survey team has reviewed feedback regarding the Benchmarking Survey and proposed edits to consolidate questions and generally streamline the survey. We’ve also conducted a variety of smaller surveys on behalf of the awards, conference, and DEI committees.

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JOIN US

Joining a committee is a great way to reap the full benefits of ALGA membership, advance our mission, and develop valuable professional relationships. If you’d like to get more out of ALGA, come join us and help make our community even stronger and more vibrant. We’ve got plenty of work to do, so the more the merrier. You can email me at or call me at (773) 478-233.


ABOUT THE AUDITOR

Colin Stuart-Morse is the chair of ALGA’s membership committee and a chief performance analyst with the City of Chicago Office of Inspector General.