2021-2022 WAHHI BOARD and COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS
WAHHI’s mission has endured over the 62 years of the Association. There have been many changes in our Hilton Head Island, Bluffton and Daufuskie communities, but the WAHHI mission remains constant: To facilitate communication among women, to encourage projects that benefit the community, and to promote the natural and cultural beauty of the Lowcountry.
2021-2022 was the year of RESILIENCE for our organization, community and members personally. We weathered two years of a pandemic to emerge changed in many ways but stronger and thriving. Dealing with COVID restrictions proved to be a roller coaster ride, but we were relieved and happy that our 4th and final member luncheon in April did not require masking or other restrictions.
WAHHI leadership remained vigilant throughout the year, willing, and ready to adapt to any public health changes in order to keep our members safe and healthy as they began to once again participate in WAHHI activities, meetings and events. ZOOM continued to play a role in groups such as the Author Series, Member Spotlight (new this year), book groups, new/prospective member informationals, and a number of committee meetings.
As Interest Groups came back to life they continued to practice social distancing through outdoor gatherings at the beach, member’s patios, etc. And of course outdoor sports like Pickleball, golf and boat tours remained popular with many members.
WAHHI supports and enhances our Lowcountry community in many ways such as the Charitable Fund grants to local nonprofit organizations, to special WAHHI Anniversary community gifts, to the Difference Makers Interest Group food drives, to special speakers and bestselling authors who build insight and expand knowledge, to the chef series that excites our interests in new food tastes, to outdoor sports and on the water events that build friendships and a greater knowledge of our environment, and keynote speakers at member luncheons who enrich our appreciation of local arts and culture.
Over 940 members enjoy a women’s community of smart, caring and energetic women who have a positive impact on each other and where we live. Highlighted below are some of the ways WAHHI has been at work this year in our community through the generosity of your time, talents, and financial resources.
- Conducted a number of neighborhood meetings (Indigo Run, Sea Pines, Hilton Head Plantation, Palmetto Dunes, Hilton Head at large, Rose Hill, Port Royal Plantation, Shipyard, Hampton Hall, Wexford, Water Walk, Hampton Lake, Bluffton at large)
- Continued support of members who are not technology-enabled
- Served cheerfully in many capacities wherever called upon from meeting new members, greeting, helping with table décor, checking vaccine cards, assisting speakers and vendors, directions with parking, etc., at luncheons and events
- Continued to support efforts to distribute name tags and printed directories
- Broadcasted live on WHHI-TV, and on FB, Instagram and ZOOM – interviews with WAHHI President, Author and Chef events, luncheons
- Continued with ZOOM to facilitate program delivery and meetings (Chef, Author, Special Speaker, New/Prospective member informationals, Board/Council meetings, December member luncheon, etc.)
- Continued distribution of the Pink Paper newsletter eblast at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday of each week
- Increased communication, publicity and visibility of WAHHI and its history, programs/events through TV, press releases, local print media (Island Packet, Local Life, Hilton Head Monthly, Hilton Head Sun, CH2, PINK magazine, and History section of WAHHI website
- Planned and executed Fall Charitable Fund dinner event which raised $922.50
- Planned and executed Spring Youth Awards dinner which raised $752.57
- Organized and executed Shop for a Cause events in October, December, and March which raised $2,468.40 for Youth Service Awards.
- Organized and executed raffles at two member dinners, four luncheons, and April Golf Scramble totaling $6,673.
- Organized vendor participation (table fees) at the February luncheon
- Created a WAHHI member sport shirt purchase option in addition to the sale of other WAHHI logo items raising $650.44 to support the WAHHI Charitable Fund
- Added a new spring garden tour event which raised $4,831/39 to support the WAHHI Charitable Fund
- Planned and executed WAHHI participation in the 2021 HHI Lantern Parade, including member lantern building workshops which raised $768.10 for the WAHHI Charitable Fund
- Planned and organized WAHHI volunteer participation supporting the local Pledge for the Pink event
- Authored and collaborated on a booklet “Traveling the Island With WAHHI” featuring a self-guided tour highlighting the many projects that the Association has funded over 62 years to enhance our community through landscape beautification, promoting/preserving history, education, art, commemoration and improving public pathways
- 48 groups in 2021-2022, including 6 new groups
- Group growth and activities thrived post pandemic
- Most popular groups: On the Water; Pickleball Clinics; Difference Makers; Golf Nine and Wine; Golf Clinics; Movies Matinees and Munchies; Pickleball Piccadillies
- Established first priority on safe meeting protocols and spaces
- Focused second priority on training IG leaders in knowledge of Wild Apricot to manage and communicate with groups and event set up
- Built schedule and executed individual leader training on Wild Apricot resulting in leaders of largest groups being comfortable with use of application
- Incorporated WAHHI general liability waiver into all Interest Group activities/event registrations
- 948 total members (including 22 Past Presidents) – 40% increase over last year and 20% increase over 2019-20 (pre-pandemic)
- 254 Diamond members – 70% increase over last year
- Processed 370 new members – a record 146% increase over last year
- Continued Introductory Membership for February 1 – May 1, 2022
- 80 Introductory Members – 54% increase over last year
- 800 membership directories were printed in September 21 with additional printings required in 2022 as membership increased.
- Transition began in 2022 to online membership directory and website instructions for use compiled and posted
- PDF copies of all components of current 2021-22 printed directory were posted under Member Resources under Directory section
- WA phone app introduced and promoted for more portable access to member resources
- Held three in-person events for new and prospective members to share information about WAHHI’s history, organization, events and activities, volunteer opportunities, and foster an environment to meet and greet other members and WAHHI leaders
- Conducted a membership survey in May 2021 to guide program planning for year
- Established a Strategic Planning Committee and with SCORE assistance and carried out a process to develop a 3–5-year strategic plan.
- Conducted surveys of Board and Council members and general membership to elicit feedback for building the strategic plan.
- Developed a WAHHI Strategic Plan, retaining Mission Statement, and adding a Vision Statement and Shared Values. Identified 5 Goal areas and completed objectives for each area, including timing, resources and assignments.
- Added new outdoor and indoor Interest Group activities in response to growing member interests
- Reviewed WAHHI insurance coverage and developed a General Liability Waiver (with legal consultation) and policy requiring acknowledgement/signature by all WAHHI members as condition of membership
- General Liability Waiver policy will extend to all “guests” participating in WAHHI events/activities/programs
- Developed and added to membership registration/renewal form for agreement a policy statement regarding use of photography taken in course of WAHHI events and activities
- Established an “In Kind and Sponsorship Policy” to build support for WAHHI programs and events and encourage/nurture relationships with local businesses and individuals
- Established a new Council position of Sponsorship Chair (to be recruited in 2022-23) to execute and oversee the implementation of the “In Kind and Sponsorship Policy”
- Remained proactive and vigilant throughout the year by continually researching COVID public health guidelines and State/local mandates as they affected WAHHI programs, events, and activities
- Reviewed and updated the WAHHI COVID policy as needed in response to changes in Federal and local guidelines and restrictions, with first priority remaining to protect the safety and health of WAHHI members. WAHHI COVID policy changes included requirements specific to the nature of Interest Groups.
- Distributed $12,000 from the WAHHI Charitable Fund to eight local nonprofit organizations for projects focused on
- Distributed $5,000 to five seniors at local high schools for Youth Services Awards recognizing their excellence in community service.
- In spring of 2021, $20,000 was awarded to the Coastal Discovery Museum as part of the 60th Anniversary Community gift for the development of a garden labyrinth which after some construction delays began in March 2022
- Supported 13 activities through the Difference Maker’s Interest Group, including special collections of food, books, Christmas toys, cookies for first responders, and community service/environmental projects including Habitat for Humanity, Humane Society, Pledge the Pink Cancer Walk, and oyster shell recycling
- Held first membership luncheon of year in September at CDM Honey Horn Pavilion – Interest Group Expo and Speaker (Dr. Debi Lynes) introduction to 2021-2022 program theme of “Resilience”
- Second membership luncheon held in December at The Sonesta Resort – annual toy collection for The Children’s and Bluffton Self Help; speakers representing “Resilience in the Arts” from Lean Ensemble Theater, Beaufort Film Society, Bluffton Roasting Room/Live Acoustical Taming and Talent Acquisition, Director of Cultural Affairs for Town of Hilton Head, and Art League of Hilton Head (interactive painting project)
- Third membership luncheon held in February at The Sonesta Resort – presentation of 2022 WAHHI Charitable Grants, annual cookie collection for HHI and Bluffton First Responders, 18 vendor tables representing local businesses and organizations to support the theme of “Resilience in Women’s Health” along with keynote speaker Dr. Debra Ringer, local board-certified surgical oncologist
- Fourth membership luncheon held in April at the Marriott in Palmetto Dunes – presentation of 2022 Youth Service awards and vendors representing the Heritage Library, Beaufort County Library, Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park, authors of “Gullah Days: Hilton Head Islanders Before the Bridge 1861-1956” supporting the theme of resilience throughout HHI history and culture with keynote speaker and co-author Dr. Carolyn Grant
- Pink Ribbon programs were compiled, printed, and distributed at each of the four member luncheons
- Instituted late afternoon “Member Spotlight” program on ZOOM and held 4 programs to introduce to the membership WAHHI women with interesting careers, backgrounds and fascinating stories to tell
- Planned and held 2nd Groundhog Day Trivia Night
- Author Series team conducted a market survey and according to results will adjust program frequency for 2022-23 to bi-monthly and continue via ZOOM
- Author Series team promoted synergy with WAHHI book groups, and compiled/distributed a reading list for members on resilience
- Held monthly (12) Author Series events and 2 Special Speaker events via ZOOM
- Planned and held 7 Chef Series Events
- Engaged with Town of Hilton Head Director of Cultural Affairs for initial discussion of a “multigenerational conference focused on unique opportunities and challenges presented to women in the arenas of business, health, and mental wellness” and potential partnerships for this undertaking anticipated in 2024
- Convened the first two meetings of a group of presidents/other leaders of women’s associations in the Hilton Head/Bluffton area for the purpose of information sharing and building greater collaboration/support – to be continued in 2022-23
- Assisted with issuing periodic COVID policy updates
- Managed the WAHHI calendar
- Compiled and distributed to all Board and Council members notices of meetings, agenda, and minutes from all five 2021-2022 meetings
- Distributed to Board and Council special communications from President as directed
- Assisted President with updating for 2021-2022 the Policies & Procedures Compendium
- Sent numerous cards to members or their families – get well, sympathy, etc.
Technology and Training
- Developed and posted all components of the WAHHI online directory
- Provided periodic group and individual training to Interest Group Leaders and Ambassadors
- Promoted greater use of event system for registration of all-member events and Interest Group activities
- Improved appearance and location of various WAHHI features on the public and member resource website views
- Created new streamlined instructions for all Event Coordinators on setting up events on website
- Created, recruited, and filled new Council position “Website Events Coordinator” to oversee scheduling, content and set up of all activities
- Created policy to be used by event coordinators for Online Payments & Cancellations and posted to website
- Maintained accurate financial records for all WAHHI activities, events, member dues, and donations
- Ensured a cost work up was completed for each major event to plan for break even or positive return to the Association
- Implemented 5% surcharge as approved by Executive Board for all WAHHI member credit card transactions as follows: 3% processing fee and 2% contribution to WAHHI Charitable Fund
- Extended use of credit card processing to all member wide activities, including entertainment events, with credit card transactions now making up 91% of all payment activity
- Provided reports on historical spending as inputs for Strategic Planning initiative
- Recommended transition to online member directory which realizes $3000 savings annually on printing/postage costs