So you have a name for your club, but now you need it to grow. Membership recruitment is a crucial part of club stability and can be a challenge even for the most established organizations. By having a solid plan of attack, any group can become successful and the possibilities are endless.
One of the first decisions to make is who you want to join your club. It is up to you and your current members to decide how selective you will be when recruiting new members and how the selection process will run. Many clubs have an open door policy which will allow more members to join, but if you want to project a particular image to the public, you may choose to be me more selective. No matter what your selection process, you will want to have a clear vision of who you want to target. This will allow you to use specific techniques that will appeal to your particular target group.
It’s now time to get personal. People generally respond best when face to face, or at least voice to voice. Sure, flyers and emails are a great way of communicating, but using your voice allows you to make a connection, ask the potential recruit about themselves and what they are looking for in an organization. Be sure to keep notes regarding these conversations as they will allow you to remember key facts when you meet the recruit again. And of course, get their contact information. There’s nothing worse than talking with an interested party only to realize after the meeting that you have no way to get in touch again.
By speaking directly with a potential member, you will also have a chance to invite them to a specific event. You may even ask them to help out as a volunteer, allowing them to feel more welcome. Getting new recruits involved right from the get-go instills a sense of belonging from the start. Following up with new recruits and making reminder calls about these events will create a feeling of personal responsibility.
But where do you find people? Make other members responsible for growing the club. They can bring in friends and family members. Go out in to the community and talk with people. The local feed or tack store can be a great source of recruiting. Hold events specifically aimed at recruiting so new members aren’t intimidated. And of course, avoid any “cliquish” behavior that will make a newcomer feel more like an outsider.
Most clubs start with a small group of people with a similar interest. If you and your friends have the same needs and goals, certainly others do as well. Remember there are many resources to help you grow your membership: websites, flyers, mailings, etc. so get out there and start spreading the word about the great experiences people are sure to have when they join up with your new club!