When you and your Alumni Club Board discuss ways to increase membership you should consider following these 5 steps:
Step #1: Define your membership goals.
- Are you looking for sheer numbers or do you want members who will contribute their time and talents in an active way?
- Are there any special target audiences from whom you most want to draw new members?
- How many members do you want?
- Does it matter whether your members are active as leaders in the club or not?
Step #2: Define what "membership" means in your alumni club.
- What are the benefits and the responsibilities of members?
- What are the qualifications for becoming a member?
- What are the costs?
- Why would someone want to join your club?
- What should a new member expect from you in terms of meetings, events, communications, opportunities to meet others, etc.?
- How do you expect to retain that person as a member?
Step #3: Brainstorm where in your community and/or ways within your special interest affiliation you might be able to locate new members.
Step #4: Select a communication vehicle(s) to reach out to those individuals.
- Mail flyers
- Make telephone calls
- Send out an email blast
Step #5: DO IT!!!
Things to keep in mind:
- Do not assume people know about your club or that you are looking for new members.
- Be alert to the public image/possible stereotype image of your alumni club.
- Articulate the benefits of membership using the reasons why people WANT to join the club.
- Diagnose why some people may be reluctant to join and see if you can alleviate their concerns.
- To get results you really need to ASK people to join.
- The clearer you can be about what joining means, the more success you will ultimately have.
- Marketing 101: the more you repeat your message, the more likely it is to be heard.
Excerpted from The Volunteer Recruitment Book, 3rd ed, by Susan J. Ellis, © 2002, Energize, Inc., pp. 127-128. Energize, Inc. specializes in volunteer management and can be found on the Web at www.energizeinc.com.