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Membership Development

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 your club.

  1. 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 members.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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 profits.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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 organization.

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

Adapted from BPW Canada

Want to use this or other articles in your own newsletter? Please keep the credits attached, and reference the ClubRunner newsletter as your source.


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Site last updated: February 19 2010