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12 Tips to Increase Membership
Every club should have a good mix of membership strategies for retention and to increase growth.
The start of a new year is a good time to evaluate your membership plan.
Here are 12 ideas that BPW Moncton has
used in the past few years to become the biggest club in Canada. Every club is
unique, so get inspired and try some of these out in
Exude a warm and welcoming attitude
A warm and welcoming executive can translate into a warm and welcoming
club. Your executive needs to take a pro-active approach
in meeting and greeting potentially new members. The
president, in fact, should stand at the door, and shake
the hand of members and guests as they come in for your
monthly meeting. It can be hard for people to walk into
a roomful of people they don't know. Introduce yourself,
take an interest in them, and introduce them to other
Make everything you do a "media event"
Now that digital cameras are so easy to use, take a picture at all your
events - your keynote speaker at the monthly meeting,
your new member inductions, when you meet with your
politician - and send it to your local newspapers.
Newspapers, especially weeklies, are always looking for
items of local interest.
Want to get the media more interested in what you're doing?
Invite a local journalist to speak at your meeting. When the club invited the assistant managing
editor of the Moncton Times-Transcript a few years ago,
she not only spoke about her life in the media but also
gave us tips for ways to get better media coverage. She
also took the business cards of everyone there, and
wrote profiles of several business-owning members.
Set up a club website
In this Internet age, people increasingly expect an organization to have
one. Online search has become the most common and
easiest way to research an organization for more
information. You want to ensure that you are not missing
on valuable exposure online. Setting up a club website
is also a valuable resource to your members, who need to
find timely club information quickly and easily. A web
based club system such as ClubRunner makes it easy for
your club to have a professional website in addition to
communication tools, and is very affordable for non
Get to know your members
Make sure your executive, including the Membership Secretary and her
committee, makes a special effort to get to know each
member by name. This can be a challenge, as your group
grows, but it is essential. A member needs to feel that
he or she is a valued part of the club, regardless of
how much service or volunteers hours are contributed.
Get new members involved on committees and special projects
Ensure that members are aware of what your committees are, and encourage
them to get involved. A wide variety of skills and
talents are needed to run a successful club, and
everyone's contribution is needed. Use your club website
to feature all the committees and what they do.
Buy nametags for members
Many clubs have professionally-made name tags, with logos and the name of
the club and the member. Having such nametags gives a
"professional" feel to the club. Guests at your meetings
realize who is a member. These are also very useful when
your members attend district, national or international
conventions. The cost can be included in a one-time
initiation fee when the individual first joins.
Have a membership contest!
Any member who brings in a new member during the year has their name put
into a hat. The draw is held in April, and the winner
gets their membership for the coming year reduced by
half! There can be various takes on this - maybe the
member who brings in the most members during the year
gets a free membership the following year.
The key issue is that your membership grows as a
result of a collaborative effort.
Send postcards to local businesses
Use postcards as a promotional tool. If you see an article in your local
newspaper about a new business or about a person who has
a special appointment or achievement, send them a
postcard with congratulations and invite them to come to
a meeting. Better yet, invite them to join the club.
Many people might believe your club is exclusive and
would find it a great honour.
Challenge every member to bring a friend to at least one meeting per month
Ask one guest to provide a short comment toward the end of the
meeting about what they thought about the meeting. This
will give you a good indication whether they are a
potential member. Sometimes they'll convince themselves
to join right in the middle of their comments! Just make
sure to tell the guest at the beginning of the meeting
that these comments will be requested at the end so the
guest is not caught off-guard.
Make use of other organizations in your community to "spread the word" about your club
Service clubs, networking organizations, and professional associations
are always looking for speakers. Most municipal councils
are open to presentations by local non-profit
organizations. Economic development organizations often
organize conferences and one-day seminars where you
might have an opportunity to speak to others about your
Actively promote fellowship
Most clubs start their monthly meeting by giving everyone present an
opportunity to introduce themselves. This is an
important part of fellowship and to some extent
networking that members look forward to. Encourage
members to sit with people they don't know. There are
also a variety of games that you might play to get
people talking to people they don't already know. Some
clubs draw numbers out of a hat to indicate which table
they will sit at for that meeting.
Survey your members regularly
While the executive is elected to provide leadership, an important
element of leadership is receiving and listening to
feedback. Find a way to survey members on a regular
basis about what they like in the club and what they
would like to change. Then act on it!
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