Membership Drive Ideas to Grow Your Organization

Need more members in your organization?

Whether you’re bringing people together to change the world or just to participate in some fun activities as a group, the old adage “the more the merrier” always rings true.

If you’re looking for ways to increase the number of people who are a part of your organization, consider some of the following membership recruitment ideas.

Define your goals and limits

Budget

Before recruiting members, determine how much you’re willing to spend. Use this information to craft a cost-per-member budget to help you better determine what efforts or events will likely provide the appropriate return on your investment.

Recruitment goals

Know what you’re aiming for by clearly identifying your recruitment goals. Look at historical recruitment numbers and consider how many members you want to onboard within a specific time frame.

Do you have yearly, quarterly, or monthly goals? Be sure to break the targets down into a sustainable influx of members so your organization can grow and thrive.

Create opportunities

The first rule to growing your organization is to hold regular recruiting events. This is true regardless of whether you recruit online or in person. Even if your first few events feel lackluster, keep creating spaces for people to engage with your organization. With multiple opportunities for connection, you’ll be more likely to win the hearts and minds of those you want to recruit.

Local recruiting

Local Events

Are there farmers markets in your area? Fairs? Would concerts or poetry readings be a good place to find new members?

Identify local events that would attract the types of individuals you would like to recruit, and find out how you can recruit at those events. Learn if you can distribute brochures, put up flyers, buy an advertisement, or share an announcement.

One Illinois PTA creates local events to drive membership. They connect with educators at teacher events and with parents at PTA-sponsored events. Consider create ways to connect with your target audience.

Connect with local businesses

If you’re looking for members nearby, then local businesses — especially family-owned franchises — are a great place to share information about your organization. Ask about opportunities to advertise in local business materials, such as menus or weekly discount papers, leave information near a cash register or door, or hold recruitment events within the place of business.

Leverage local colleges and universities

If your area is home to a college or university, reach out to the student life department and learn about campus recruiting events.

Many higher ed institutions make an active effort to get students plugged into the community and may hold volunteer or job fairs, or other events ripe with recruitment opportunity. If not, they may be able to direct you to professors or department heads that will help get the word out about what you do and how students can become a part of it.

Remote recruiting

Host webinars

Webinars are a fun, engaging, and relaxed way to draw people in. Host a live Q&A at the end to make it even more interactive.

A webinar will give you the chance to share your message while immediately fielding questions and addressing concerns. Include a clear call-to-action at the end and follow up with an email inviting webinar participants to formally join your organization.

Engage in social media

While social media platforms vary in purpose, you can hone in on your specific target audience by using the platform that relates most to the members you want to recruit.

If possible, create a group centered on a shared interest and interact with members often. Create shareable posts, share helpful articles, and ask interactive questions. Send out invitations to join your organization amidst valuable posts to get people on board with what you’re doing.

Send mailers

Consider mailing a postcard to your target audience. You can narrow your audience geographically if you’re looking for local members and want to get the most bang for your buck in postage costs. Be sure to include a call to action with relevant information, and if possible, a membership code so you can easily track the mailer’s success.

Share reasons

People are busy. This means that if you’re going to ask them to join anything, you’ll need to be clear about what value membership will add to their lives. Without specific reasons to join, few people will take the time to come on board.

Explain the benefits

Why should someone join your organization? Be sure to answer this question right away by providing details about the benefits.

Will members have access to special information or experts as part your group’s communication? Will they receive unique opportunities? If so, how are these different than the same resources they might be able to access without membership? Share what your organization has to offer and why it’s exclusive to members.

Discounts

If you’ve done the hard work of establishing affiliate relationships, you may be able to catch the ear of prospect members with the potential for savings.

Will becoming a member save them time? Will it save them money? Are they privy to special promotions or offers? Let potential members know how membership will improve their finances to create a valuable reason for them to join.

Events

Does your organization hold regular events, such as lunch-and-learns or conferences, that may interest prospective members? Do you have get-togethers with other members or participate in community events? Be sure to advertise any events that potential members could enjoy, and perhaps provide examples of past events, to recruit individuals interested in what your organization has to offer.

The Rotary Club in Germany experienced a 27% increase in their membership over a decade by putting an emphasis on events for members and their families. Consider if a similar approach would help your membership base.

Mission and vision

Whether you’re a for-profit or a non-profit, let people know why your organization exists. Share this vital information to ensure potential members know the heart and soul behind what they’re signing up for. Give them the foundational reasons of why your organization exists and why they should be a part of it.

Remove obstacles

People often feel inclined to avoid unknown people and things. This is true also of unknown situations. Take out any ambiguity or mystery to joining your organization.

Detail what to expect

Help members know what to expect by creating a written onboarding flow. Write it out, step by step, with links, names, and numbers they can utilize when they need more clarification. Also, create an FAQ and add it to your website. Identify common pain points members experience when joining and work to eliminate them so you prevent the unnecessary loss of potential members.

Give examples of before and after

It’s essential that, as one part of your membership drive strategies, you include personal testimonials of current members. Case studies give potential members a chance to personally connect with what it means to be a part of your organization. Ask for testimonials that start from the beginning of a member’s experience and highlight any common questions or reservations they encountered. Have them reflect back and articulate some of the key benefits of being a part of your organization.

In conclusion

Beyond creating the type of organization that members want to be a part of, it’s important to ensure potential members understand the “why” and “how” of joining and have ample opportunities to learn about your organization. Make these things clear, and you’ll find individuals excited and anxious to be a part of the organization you’ve built!

Looking for more inspiration? Take a look at some of these resources from organizations that also recruit members:

ABCs for Volunteer Recruitment
11 Effective Ways to Recruit New Members for Your Cause
Red Cross Clubs: Recruit, Retain and Recognize Club Members
Successful Club Membership Campaigns: Methods for Recruiting Kiwanis Members