One of the hardest things about starting a new club is spreading the word and finding new members who are interested in sharing their time and energy to accomplish the goals your group has set. With the right approach to outreach and member retention, you can establish a club that prospers and continues to gain popularity, giving you influence within your community and allowing you to amass accomplishments and have fun.
Promote your club. If people do not know you exist, they will not be able to join. Attend local events and pass out fliers advertising your group’s mission and telling people what membership entails. You can also host a table at events by setting up a card table and hanging a banner with the name of your group behind you. Hand out free pens, stickers or pins to attract people to your table and ask them to sign up for a mailing list when they approach. Bring a boom box and play music while tabling to give your club a fun and festive vibe.
Plan activities and events for your group to host that will appeal to your target demographic. For example if you are involved in a college radio club, you can host a dance party for other college students where one of your DJs plays music for students to enjoy. Hold a costume contest to make the event even more fun, and attract attendees by advertising free refreshments. Share information on how to get involved with your club at the event so newcomers who are learning about you for the first time will be able to stay involved and start volunteering right away.
Follow through promptly with individuals who express interest in your club. If people sign up for a mailing list, e-mail them within a few days so that they do not forget what they signed up for or become busy with something else. Most people are understandably selfish with their time, so if you do not demonstrate that you are a responsible club that will not waste the participant's energy, you will lose the interest of new recruits. E-mail new people promptly and invite them to a follow up event where they can become further involved. Always offer support and patiently answer questions volunteers may have.
Develop a sense of belonging within your club as a strategy of acquiring and maintaining new members. People volunteer and participate in social groups because the activities make them feel as if they are part of a supportive community. If people attend one of your club’s events and feel as if they are instantly part of a group of friends, they are much more likely to return. Hold team-building exercises and social events where snacks are provided and strive for an informal, enjoyable environment. Take time to get to know potential new recruits, learning their names and interests and act as a guide as they get more involved with the group.
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