Time to time we have similar difficulties in organizing events, so we can
exchange some ideas and experiences for the mutual benefit.
Usally participation is rather good, but it has cost us quite a lot of work.
The first law of organizing is: invitations by email is 0-10% successful,
personal invitations (human-to-human) is 70-90% successful. Since then we
have used our personal contacts more intensively.
Delegating work, finding and motivating volunteers is always a challenge.
But that is our managerial experience. Another big problem is: how to assure
continuity of activities, when leaders come and go? This problem
is still opened for as.
Involving the Section staff is a very good idea. You might also think
of integrating the SAC people to get a better reach-out to the Graduated
Student Members (GSM). Also, Society representatives, Chapter
Coordinators on Section level, might be good contact persons as they are
the ones actually working deeply in technical issues.
There are different needs to be met depending on where the young IEEE
members are going after leaving university. Post-graduate students might
indeed be more interested in publications and meeting professionals in
their field to collaborate in the future. Others might be more interested
in the social network that the IEEE, and especially IEEE YP is offering.
We do need to get more active and recognize that member retention is
closely tight with being visible and for the younger ones getting
the most for the membership fees people pay. And that is not necessarily
publications and conferences.