Membership is the lifeblood of any organization. Attracting and retaining members can be a very challenging task, but there are many ways to help make your membership drives successful. Use the Internet, your existing relationships, and promote what you have to offer as a group to increase your organization’s roster.
Use the Internet
Set up a fan page for your organization on Facebook. This is free and allows other Facebook users to become fans of your page. Use the page to publish information about your organization and planned events, and if you have an advertising budget, Facebook offers an ad service which you can target to very specific demographics. Twitter is another great resource for marketing. “Tweeting” about your organization and its efforts to attract members will be seen by thousands, and you can build a group of followers who you can prospect for membership possibilities.
Word of Mouth
The best method of advertising and recruitment is still word of mouth. Have members of your group each try to recruit new members from family or friends. Set up a dinner or other social event where members can bring these newcomers to see what the organization is all about. Keep the event light and entertaining; newcomers should leave with a good feeling about the experience, not feeling like they were fed propaganda or harassed into becoming members.
Promote Your Purpose
An often overlooked way to recruit new members is to promote what your group stands for. Many organizations think their message is obvious, but an outsider looking in may have no idea why the group exists. Promote your purpose and message in appropriate venues. A mother’s club might post a flier at a store selling children’s products, and a book club might want to host an event at a local bookstore or library.
Give People a Reason to Join
A group that offers nothing to its members will likely see its roster shrink instead of grow. Every group needs to offer an incentive for joining, especially if you charge dues or ask your members to donate their time. What you offer will depend on what kind of organization you have. The local book club should host regular meetings to discuss reading assignments, and could try and arrange for a member’s discount at a bookseller. A mother’s group might just offer support, and should have established channels to do so. Promote and advertise what you do for your members, and people seeking those services will be more likely to join.