If you're a member of a struggling club with less than 20 members, you probably believe that increasing membership in your club is difficult, if not nearly impossible. Conversely, a club that is member-strong with 40 or more will likely agree that acquiring new members is a pretty simple process. In fact, many clubs in this category spend very little time promoting their club and new members just seem to keep coming! Why is that?
The answer actually has very little to do with luck, but everything to do with the visitor and the public image that your club projects.
Here are several proven tips to help you increase your membership:
Before launching any new member campaign, improve the quality of your meetings. Getting visitors is easy! Impressing guests enough so that they come back...now that's the challenge!
Separate duties between the Membership Officer (MO) and Public Relations Officer (PRO). Consider the idea the PRO "gets the visitors in the door" and the MO converts them from being guests to members.
Have a member create and maintain a web site for your club. It has been estimated that up to 80% of all club visitors find a club to visit through the Internet.
Be sure to notify your district of your new website address and work with your district secretary to encourage current members to login regularly.
Put your web site address on everything promotional that you do.
Provide a member's name (typically the Public Relations Officer), email and phone number on your web site and encourage visitors to contact him or her with any questions.
Be sure to arrange with your Meeting Chair to arrive 30 minutes before each meeting. Guests typically show up 15 to 20 minutes early. If no one is there, they might think the meeting was cancelled. Plus you gain some valuable time to build rapport with this prospective member.
Ask your Meeting Chair (and other members) to always be on the lookout for visitors and that they should always be prepared to drop everything to greet the guest.
Implement a strategy with your Meeting Chair to "partner" the guest with a member who will introduce the visitor to the group at the beginning of the meeting and be able to answer questions throughout the meeting as they arise.
Educate the club members on how important it is that everyone to interact with and introduce themselves to guests before the meeting. This makes the visitor feel welcome and comfortable. Same applies for the speaker who has been generous enough to take time out of his or her day to add value to your meeting!
Ask the guest to provide their feedback at 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.
What many people do not realize is that even the large clubs can run into trouble with membership. Usually, a dip in membership is the result of poor leadership in the club and a decline in meeting quality. Make sure you have a good product before trying to get others to buy into it and you'll be at membership capacity in no time!
Adapted from Toastmasters International
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