Growing the League

Seeking input on how to grow the organization, a national officer of The Izaak Walton League of America visited the Boone Valley chapter on May 7.

Scott Kovarovics, the executive director of The Izaak Walton League, asked members what they thought helped drive and retain membership at their chapter. He said national representatives are having similar conversations with chapters across the country.

“We’ve had five years of continuous growth. As you look through the recession, you see nonprofit organizations hemorrhage members and going out of business. We were able to weather a pretty serious storm. That growth is a testament to our chapters,” Kovarovics said.

However, much of that growth has come from several large chapters which include over a thousand members. He said those groups have become so large, some have instituted membership caps or are considering them.

As such, Kovarovics said he came to the Boone Valley chapter to see how local members thought they and other mid-level groups could drive membership. Dave Gordon, membership chairman of the Boone Valley Ikes, attributed the local chapter’s success to several factors. Those included the group’s involvement with other organizations such as 4-H and Pheasants Forever, events such as their cowboy shoot and their well-kept facility south of Webster City.

Kovarovics offered members resources to help them advertise the local chapter. He said that even though many chapters work hard to host events and welcome new members, many people aren’t aware of the organization.

“The Izaak Walton League is one of the best kept secrets in the country,” Kovarovics said.

Iowa has 43 chapters of The Izaak Walton League, more than any other state in the country, according to Kovarovics, with more than 7,000 members. He said members in the state are continuing the legacy of the organization which has its roots in Iowa.