New version is headed for stakeholder testing!

Jeffery C. Dannel

It has been an incredibly long road, with a lot of time spent in development and test but we are ready for our latest version to be released to our stakeholders to kick the tires and try the new user experience both on the web and mobile.

Ways to Get New Members for Your Organization

Jeffery C. Dannel & Billy Price

Something we often hear from organizations we’ve worked with is that increasing membership is one of their biggest challenges.

Get Help from Current Members

Host a “bring a friend” meeting

Encourage members to bring someone. This could even be a recurring event so that new members are continually bringing new friends!

Reach out to former members

Some people might be ready to come back.

Offer club business cards to your members

It’s an easy way for them to point people to your club and share more easily with their network. Give members “business cards” to hand out to prospective members when they meet them. The cards have a line for the referral source, so the member gets credit for referring someone new.

Volunteer as a group

You’ll get to do good as well as meeting other volunteers in your space.

Coach members on creating a welcoming experience

Getting potential new members to attend meetings is only half the battle! Remind current members to greet newcomers and avoid club jargon when there are visitors.

Ask members to list their membership in their professional bios

It gets your club name in front of more people, builds your organization’s prestige, and reminds members to talk about it.

Create an invitation email template your members can use

Make it easy for members to send invitations by doing most of the work for them.

Give members a button or pin and encourage them to wear it

Make sure it’s stylish so members will be more likely to wear it, and people will ask what it’s about.

Conduct exit interviews with departing members

When you know why people are leaving, you can start figuring out ways to keep them

Create perks for club members who recruit new members

Little perks and freebies can really motivate people. Think about gift certificates, a shout-out at your next meeting, or even reserving a coveted parking space for members who bring in new blood.

Create a promotional video

Members can share it with their contacts, and you can share it on social media.

Thank your members regularly

There are a few different ways you can do that. Here are just a few:

Create a video thank-you message from the leader of your organization, and publish it video on your website, your social media profiles, and your email newsletter.

Each year make a list of all the events, services, and educational opportunities that were made possible by your membership fees. Publish the list on a separate page on your site, and link to it on a regular basis in your online content and email campaigns.

Host a yearly event to say “thank you” to your members. Consider a member brunch, picnic, pool party, or other fun gathering.

Assign especially engaged members a “recruitment role”

You can also hold special recruitment meetings to give these members tools and encourage them to recruit new members — or give them a few minutes in every meeting to announce their results and ask for help.

Film member stories and testimonials

Publish them to your website and social media so you can give prospective members a visual reminder of just how engaged your current members are.

Personally follow up with every prospect

Website Recruitment Ideas

Create a club website

As long as your potential members are able to find you online, even a simple site can do the trick!

Add a “Join Us” section to your website

People need to know you’re accepting new members and how to join you. You can also include convincing elements like testimonials from current members and the benefits of joining your organization.

Make online registration as easy as possible

If you include online member application forms, anyone coming across your website will be much more likely to register than if they have to mail in a paper form.

Refine your member benefits

Make them as clear and enticing as possible in your website copy so that prospective members can’t help but be impressed.

Create member-only sections on your website

Including a section on your website that normal visitors can’t see can help generate interest — they’ll come across it and wonder what more they’re missing out on.

Event Recruitment Ideas

Create a welcome packet for guests

Include things like the mission, calendar, and contact information, as well as information about becoming a member.

Follow up with guests

Send an email or postcard or make a phone call thanking the guest for attending, and asking if they’re considering membership. Sending out a post-event survey can also help you see what went well and what you can improve for next time.

Sponsor a local event

Include your club name and logo on promotional materials, and make sure event organizers have your club information for anyone who asks.

Give a talk about your club at other organizations

Share your mission and activities with other civically minded people.

Host activities for members and non-members alike

A group activity is an excellent way to meet new people. Something like a beach clean up or other community service projects can attract a wide range of prospective members.

Host a guest speaker

Guest speakers attract non-members who share your interests.

Host a charitable event like a run or walk

You’ll raise money for a good cause, and introduce your club to new people who also support the cause.

Host a business spotlight event for local businesses

Local business owners will learn about each other, and about you!

Hold diverse events to appeal to a variety of age groups

If all your events appeal to one group of people, mix things up by hosting an event to appeal to a different one.

Host a charity fun run or cycling event

If you’re not a cycling club, but want to run a similar event, it turns out that Fun Runs are the most popular way small nonprofits maximize funds, increase member participation, and minimize coordination costs.

Host low commitment meet and greets at a local coffee shop

Invite prospects to come for a coffee on you, simply to learn about your club and meet your members.

Digital Marketing Recruitment Ideas

Experiment with Facebook or Google ads

Online advertising can target demographics precisely, putting your club in front of the people who are most likely to be interested. If you’re a registered nonprofit, you can also apply for a Google Ad Grant of up to $10,000 yearly.

Create a content marketing strategy

Starting a podcast, creating a webinar, or writing articles that are on topics your potential members would be interested in and sharing them out can help generate more interest in your organization.

Create a complete Membership Funnel

Give potential members offers at every stage, from those who are just starting to learn about your organization to those who are already on the fence about joining

Create an email marketing campaign

Once potential members have come to your website, ask them for their email in exchange for something they want. Then, continue emailing them with ideas and tips so that they can see the value of joining your organization.

Create retargeting ads

Ever wondered why you keep seeing ads for the same store online after you visited their website? Those are called retargeting ads, and you can set them up too for your organization!

Send a win-back email to lapsed members

This can also include a discount or other incentive to rejoin.

Create an online community

Make it easy for others time find and join for free, then add other incentives to join your organization. Facebook Groups are great for this!

Run online promotions during peak sales times

For example, you could host a Black Friday sale and promote it across your social media channels.

Social Media Recruitment Ideas

Create a LinkedIn profile for your organization

This is particularly good for professional associations. If your members can add you to their professional profile, your organization can more easily attract other people with similar qualifications.

Create or update other social media accounts for the club

This will help prospective members find you, and let current members easily share about the club with their friends.

Encourage members to share club activities on social media

Create a photo release package so that you get permission to tag them in pictures. This will ensure the photos show up in their friends’ feeds as well.

Create social media packages for members comprised of graphics, posts, links, and resources they can share

Traditional Marketing Recruitment Ideas

Put up flyers around town

Look for community bulletin boards and high traffic spots like grocery stores and coffee shops.

Create an informational brochure about your club

Include the club’s mission and activities, as well as contact information.

Place club materials at related businesses

If you’re a group of knitters, put your information at the yarn store. If you’re a bunch of sportsmen, put up a flyer at the bait and tackle shop. Think about where people who share your interests are likely to be.

Share club information with new residents

Do local realtors give welcome baskets when someone moves to town? Ask to include your club information.

Announce club meetings in local newsletters

Look for neighborhood and special interest newsletters, whether online or on paper.

Put all meetings on community calendars

Usually you can submit your information quickly online and get listed quickly.

Submit your club information to local directories

Your chamber of commerce or other local groups may publish a directory — list your organization!

Place an advertisement in the local paper

Paid advertising can pay off if you select publications potential members read.

Put a PSA on the radio

Let the community know about your club or its events in a short radio message.

Send media releases to local outlets when your club completes a project

Learn to write a press release so you can attract media attention to your club.

Networking Recruitment Ideas

Network with other clubs

Work together to increase your visibility. Consider hosting a club mixer to get to know each other.

Visit a Chamber of Commerce meeting

Connect with your local movers and shakers — some of them are looking for clubs to join or will be willing to share your information with others.

Introduce your club to local businesses

Send a letter or stop by and introduce yourself. Bring along your informational brochure and club business card.

Introduce your club to local government

Send a letter or make an appointment to introduce yourself and share your informational materials.

Put up a stand at a conference in your industry

Reach out to universities and colleges in your area

Students may be interested in joining, or you can partner with them for events.

Organizational Recruitment Ideas

Put up a sign at your meeting place

It’s amazing how many people discover organizations by simply walking or driving past their sign.

Report on your membership numbers and goal progress

Keep the members up to date on how recruiting is going to motivate them to help.

Consider the affordability of dues and events

Consider if the dues and event prices are a barrier to potential members. Tiered membership or special rates may result in more interest. You can also reorganize your membership model to better reflect different membership values.

Make sure your contact information is up to date on national and organization-wide directories

Often these are posted and then forgotten. You may have information out there that isn’t correct.

Remove barriers to attendance

Think about what might stand in the way of joining and try to resolve those issues. For example, you could meet near public transport, or provide childcare to members during meetings.

Create a club bumper sticker

Put your name out on the road!

Consider membership tiers

If full membership requires too much commitment, maybe a lesser commitment (with fewer privileges, but also lower dues) would appeal to new people.

Offer a trial period for new members before they pay dues

If there’s no cost for trying it out, potential members may stay long enough to see how much they like your club.

Create a membership drive budget

Ads, events, and promotional materials all cost money. Prioritize your membership drive by budgeting for it.

Offer online registration and payment

Make it easy to join your club without paper forms or checks.

Give away something free to new members

The chance to win a prize always attracts interest.

Create a structured yearly recruitment plan

Check out the Boy Scouts of America for an example of what this could look like.

Create new programs that might entice more diverse members

For example, if you have a professional association, you could create a mentorship program for new employees in the space.

Finally, you could offer educational courses that are related to your central mission.

Make membership free

Designate a Welcome or Membership chairperson

Increasing membership is a worthy effort, so appoint a team captain to head it up.

Set a membership goal

A concrete goal encourages members to recruit new people and puts everyone on the same page.

Talk to other similar organizations to see how their membership efforts are going

Use Membership Management Software to automate your admin tasks and free up your time for member engagement and growth

Create better benefits and resources

If you can be something that people can’t get anywhere else — and something that is special — your membership will flourish.

Look into points of friction or contention for new members