Recruiting Club Members
Club officers need to develop a membership recruitment plan that fits the needs of their club.
Membership Development - Where to Start
Clubs add new members continuously throughout the year. However, a minimum of two times annually a club should “roll out the red carpet” and give people the opportunity to join during a Membership Recruitment Meeting (Seek Meeting or Information Meeting).
The club’s leadership should select two (or more) regular meeting dates during the year designated as Membership Recruitment Meetings. The key to a successful Membership Recruitment Meeting is planning. There are four action steps the board should take when planning a membership drive / recruitment meeting.
- Step One–Appoint a Membership Chairperson. The club president, with the board’s approval, appoints a membership chairperson. It is imperative that your club has one member in charge of managing all aspects of the recruitment drives / meetings.
- Step Two–Develop a Plan with Goal(s). The club board of directors, along with the membership chairperson, establishes a membership plan of action. This plan can be specifically for the next recruitment drive or for the entire year. The board should evaluate the club’s current membership, anticipate any deletions, and develop a goal for the number of new members the club needs to recruit. We suggest setting a goal that achieves an overall year-end increase and also setting a stretch goal to increase the club’s membership by 20% annually.
- Step Three–Allocate the Funds. Once the goal and dates for recruitment meetings are approved, the board also needs to budget funds to cover incidental costs, such as meals, snacks, prizes, promotions, postage, etc.
- Step Four–Promote and Announce. The club president announces to the club the new member goal and the date(s) set for the recruitment drive(s). The principle behind promoting the goal is to give members a sense of ownership in the outcome. In turn, they are generally more involved in bringing prospects to the Recruitment Meeting.
Club Officers “Lead by Example”
The best way to achieve the new member goal is to lead by example. The president and the other club officers need to bring prospective guests into the club during the year and especially during membership drives. This shows that they are committed to the goal and motivates members to also bring prospective guests to the meetings/projects and especially the membership meeting.
Where Do We Find New Members?
When recruiting people to join your club there are two options:
- Invite people you know to visit/join
- Canvas the campus and invite people to visit/join
Simply stated, recruit people the members know or recruit people the members don’t know. Club publicity through newspapers, radios, TV, website informs the public about your club and is therefore a great awareness avenue. However, realize that not many people come knocking on your door even if the club has an open-door invitation at all meetings/projects/socials. Understand that it is important to give prospects the opportunity to visit, learn about, and join your club. To accomplish this you have to invite the prospects and most importantly ASK them to join!
There is no substitute for enthusiasm – it will inspire your recruitment campaign, motivate your fellow members, and inspire your visitors to stay!
Recruitment ideas for your organization:
- Offer a giveaway, such as a t-shirt when you pay your dues. This is something physical that they can hold onto right away.
- Have a booth at Campus Kickoff! It’s a great way to talk to people.
- Team up with other service organizations at your school, not only will this help you do more service, but you can also get people to join your group also.
- Club members were divided into eight teams. During four six-week segments two teams competed against each other, earning points for bringing prospective members to meetings (1 point for each guest) and submitting membership applications to the club’s board of directors (5 points each application). Teams also received bonus points for two or more members inducted (5 points) and two points for each new member inducted above two. Each team was given five reduced-price luncheon tickets to be used for guests. Winning team members of each segment were given small gifts from a local merchant, and the overall winning team members were given gold lion paperweights, as were sponsors of new members during the campaign. When the new members were inducted, the sponsor’s team stood with the new member during their induction, further emphasizing the team spirit of the competition. Seventeen new members were inducted into the club during the six-month contest period, showing that teamwork and some friendly competition can not only yield new members, but also is a fun way to unite all club members in a common activity.
- Every other month, hold a presentation featuring a timely topic and well-known speaker. Club members should be encouraged to invite guests for the evening, and after the event participants can engage in an idea exchange. Information about club can be presented at each of these bi-monthly events.
- Create a New Member Committee to educate and guide new members. The committee can conduct orientation activities, which introduces new members to the club and helps them become involved in activities. Forming a committee to properly introduce and involve new members has ensured that the hard work identifying and inviting new members is not wasted.
- Honoring specific groups of community members can successfully raise awareness of a club and boost membership.
- Recruitment Nights are Successful: Popular worldwide, recruitment nights are an excellent way to reach a large group of prospective members at one time. These events don’t have to be at night, or be a traditional sit-down dinner meeting to be successful. Clubs have held teas, potlucks, barbeques, buffets, Friendship Days or Family Fun Days.
- Audio-Visual Presentations Make an Impact: Whether they are videos, PowerPoint presentations or DVDs, many clubs successfully utilize these presentations to explain their club to prospective members.
- Target Marketing is a Good Way to Focus Efforts: Identifying a specific group for invitation helps focus efforts and resources. There are a large variety of groups to target – women, couples, families, young professionals, community leaders, teachers, doctors, etc.
- Engage the Entire Club in Membership Activities: Involving the whole club in a membership drive keeps motivation high and helps all club members feel a sense of responsibility toward the health of the club. One of the most popular methods to involve the entire club is to have each member name one potential new member to invite to a meeting or event.
- Public Relations is Very Important: Keeping a high profile in the community is essential for successful membership efforts. People want to join organizations with positive public images. Clubs with strong public relations programs have found that it reaches over to their membership efforts as well.
- Planning is Critical: Any membership growth program will benefit by careful planning. Clubs that had a clear-cut plan with step-by-step plans for proceeding found their efforts to be highly successful.
- Give Prospects a First-hand Look at Service: Inviting prospective members to help with a service activity allows them to personally see the impact of your club and often leads them to want to become a part of your club.
- Never Give Up: Clubs with successful membership development initiatives consistently look for new members. Not every person asked will say “yes.” It is essential to not become discouraged and to keep asking!
- Come ‘n’ Try days are an effective way of promoting your club to the local community. They attract potential new members to your club and the involvement of the community and publicity you may receive gives your club a competitive edge over other sporting clubs in your area. Your club’s credibility can be enhanced through your involvement with the local community and your efforts to promote your club to local schools.
- Advertise that your club is having an open day where anyone can come to your club grounds to watch training or games. Have a nominated club person available to take visitors through a club and sport orientation. This gives people who are interested in your sport an opportunity to become more familiar with the club prior to joining. Promote your best features to those who attend: teams in all age groups, safety measures in place, club principles, etc.
- “Bring Three YOU Know.” This theme encourages members to list three (or more) people they feel would enjoy the group experience and invite them to the recruitment meeting. The candidates are endless – friends, classmates, others in your area of study, etc. The main idea is to encourage, motivate, lead, and reward members for their efforts. Also, always encourage/expect members to bring prospects to any and all membership meetings.
- Bring Them Back Meeting: Occasionally conduct a Homecoming Meeting with the goal to invite past members to a special meeting with an invitation to join. Consider asking the former members to tell a one-minute memory of a project/event they experienced in the past as a club member. Making time for this during the program is a great way to rekindle their interest in reinstating their club membership.
- Invite individuals associated with the groups your club supports to a special meeting informing them who you are and why the club supports their groups/associations. During the presentation extend the opportunity to have a representative join your club. It is a great way to offer active membership to the groups you support.
- It is easier (and often more effective) to advertise a specific event, such as a taster course, than it is to advertise the ordinary meetings of a Speakers Club. At all of your events have information regarding your club, its purpose, meeting times, upcoming events, etc.
- In order to stand out, your posters need to be bold and simple – do not try to fit too much on or over-complicate it with too many words, pictures or cartoons.
- Give a name, telephone number, and email address if you have one (some enquirers might use email rather than telephone because it is a little less personal). Consider including a website address where enquirers can find out more (if your organization is a chapter of a larger organization, include their website address). Make sure that your contact person is available, checking and responding to inquiries. Choose a friendly, open, and upbeat contact person (not everyone is good at this!).
- Make Meetings Fun: During each meeting have something different, whether that be food, ice-breakers to get everyone introduced, awards, door prizes, or photo slideshows of past events.
- Don’t limit yourself when it comes to advertising. Utilize every source your group has access to – Facebook, Twitter, flyers, posters, letters to non-members, chapter T-shirts, newsletter, visiting classes, etc.
- Host a community service event to show that your organization cares. People are inclined to join, not just because they see you’re giving back, but because they see you’re giving back to a cause they’re interested in. Host a food, clothing, toy, or toiletry drive; give a day of service at a local organization like Harvesters, TLC, Habitat for Humanity, etc.
- Create business cards with your group’s contact information and meeting times. On the back, handwrite upcoming events. Pass the cards out to prospective members. Not only do they get general information, but they have a built-in reminder of what you’re doing on the back.