Effective membership recruitment is critical for boosting your organization’s membership growth and influence. The more members you have, the greater your opportunities to foster networking and mentorship relationships.
How you make your recruitment effective can also impact who makes up your member community. You want to ensure your member recruitment creates a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment for all. You can also focus on recruiting top leaders from your field to establish your organization within the industry.
Each of these recruitment benefits ultimately makes future recruitment easier and increases member retention. While these can have an ongoing impact on recruitment, there are many ways to effectively start recruiting members today, no matter where you are in your membership journey.
Here are the top five membership recruitment ideas for your organization:
- Enhance and promote your membership benefits.
- Host a membership drive.
- Offer a volunteer opportunity.
- Open your major events to everyone.
- Use a strategic social media approach.
Below, we’ll dive into the details of each approach to help you optimize your membership recruitment campaign.
1. Enhance and promote your membership benefits.
Offering a wide array of membership benefits helps with recruitment in two ways:
• Member-driven promotion. When you better engage with current members, they are more likely to promote your organization to their friends or colleagues.
• Clear value-add. When you promote unique and valuable benefits to prospective members, they can see how joining your association will help them achieve personal and professional goals.
Before starting any membership recruitment campaign, revisit your current membership benefits. Ask yourself: Are we doing everything we can to appeal to the interests of prospective and current members?
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Identify areas where you can grow your membership benefits. For example, add a mentorship program or improve your continuing education offerings. Make sure to review member survey results. They can reveal where current members have made suggestions for improvement.
2. Host a membership drive.
While nonprofits fundraise throughout the year, many make a concentrated effort to raise large amounts around the holiday season as part of a Giving Tuesday campaign.
Similar to how nonprofits build momentum and excitement for donors to be involved in year-end giving, your organization can host a membership drive or campaign. A membership campaign can generate excitement and interest in your work and put your organization in front of more people.
Your membership drive might include:
- Member referral incentives. Offer current members a membership discount, free event registration, or gift cards when they refer a new member. Referrals can bring like-minded people into your organization.
- Prospective member events. Organize happy hours, lunch-and-learn sessions, or other opportunities for potential members to mingle and get a feel for your organization.
- Social media giveaways. Encourage online engagement and user-generated content by running contests for new and current members who share information about your campaigns to win prizes, such as branded swag or discounted membership.
3. Offer a volunteer opportunity.
Volunteering is a great way to bring people together. Create a volunteer opportunity relevant to your field and open it up to current and prospective members. For example, if you’re a culinary arts organization, you could organize a day to cook meals at a local homeless shelter.
This lets prospective members casually network with current members and get more information about your organization. It also serves as a bonding experience as everyone dedicates their time to a good cause.
Make sure to follow up after the event to thank prospective members for joining and volunteering their time. Let them know who they can contact if they have questions about your organization or want to join future events.
4. Open your major events to everyone.
You put time and effort into your major events to ensure they strongly reflect your organization’s values and benefit members. Consider opening these annual events, such as your yearly conference, to everyone—not just current members.
Some of the benefits of doing so include:
- Greater Reach: Opening your events gives the broader public a glance into your organization’s offerings and demonstrates what your brand stands for.
- More Networking: Having current and prospective members attend together creates an opportunity for new relationships to form.
- Increased Interest: If prospective members enjoy your annual event, they’ll be more curious about your additional programs. Use the opportunity to showcase other member benefits, like your networking events or career development opportunities.
5. Use a strategic social media approach.
Social media can be a creative way to recruit new members throughout the year. You can use your social media pages to:
- Spotlight current members
- Create behind-the-scenes videos
- Launch targeted ad campaigns
- Run membership giveaways
Focus on content that provides value to prospective members, catches their attention, and offers a call to action. You can do this through appealing imagery and infographics, links to helpful resources, or information on upcoming events and membership campaigns.
Take Creative, Strategic Steps to Recruit More Members
Membership recruitment is a critical, ongoing process for your organization’s health and future. By using strategic membership recruitment ideas, you can demonstrate the value of your organization to prospective members and make a case for them to join.
As you plan a membership recruitment campaign, take stock of your current benefits and where you can improve them, open your events to the general public, and leverage your social media and other marketing channels effectively.
We hope these recruitment ideas have inspired and prepared you to build the best possible recruitment program.
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