If you’re a member of a struggling club with less than 12 members, you probably believe that increasing membership in your club is difficult, if not nearly impossible.
Conversely, a club that is member-strong with 25 or more will likely agree that acquiring new members is a pretty simple process. In fact, many clubs in this category spend very little time promoting their club and new members just seem to keep coming!
So, what is the difference?
The answer actually has very little to do with luck, but everything to do with the visitor.
Here are several proven tips to help you increase your membership:
- Before launching any new member campaign, improve the quality of your meetings. Getting visitors is easy! Impressing guests enough so that they come back…now that’s the challenge!
- Separate duties between the VP of Membership and VP of Public Relations. Consider the idea the the VP of PR “gets the visitors in the door” and the VP Membership converts them from being guests to members.
- Have a member create and maintain a small and simple web site for your club. It has been estimated that up to 80% of all club visitors find a club to visit through the Internet. There are many free web-hosting sites available!
- Be sure to notify Toastmasters International AND District 23 of your new website address, so it can be added to their sites.
- Register a domain name for your club and point it to your web site. (Contact the District 23 Webmaster if you have any questions about this process.)
- Put your web site address on everything promotional that you do.
- Provide a member’s name (typically the VP Public Relations), e-mail and phone number on your web site and encourage visitors to contact him or her with any questions.
- Ask your Sergeant-at-Arms to arrive 30 minutes before each meeting. Guests typically show up 15 to 20 minutes early. If no one is there, they might think the meeting was canceled.
- Ask your Sergeant-at-Arms (and other members!) to always be on the lookout for visitors and that they should always be prepared to drop everything to greet the guest.
- Ask your Sergeant-at-Arms to “partner” the guest with a member who will introduce the visitor to the group at the beginning of the meeting and be able to answer questions throughout the meeting as they arise.
- Educate the club members on how important it is that everyone shake hands with the guest before the meeting. This makes the visitor feel welcome and comfortable.
- Always offer participation in Table Topics as an “option” to guests. And, never ask a guest to participate in Table Topics until all eligible members have participated in case there is not enough time for the “paying” members to exercise their skills.
- Consider not allowing guests to join until after they’ve attended 3 consecutive meetings. That way, they’ll know if Toastmasters will fit into their work schedule.
- Ask for the guest to provide a short comment toward the end of the meeting about what they thought about the meeting. This will give you a good indication whether they are a potential member. Sometimes they’ll convince themselves to join right in the middle of their comments! Just make sure to tell the guest at the beginning of the meeting that these comments will be requested at the end so the guest is not caught off-guard.
- If your club has 12 or fewer members, request a club coach!
What many people do not realize is that even the large clubs can run into trouble with membership. Usually, a dip in membership is the result of poor leadership in the club and a decline in meeting quality. Make sure you have a good product before trying to get others to buy into it and you’ll be at membership capacity in no time!
Great Ideas for Finding New Members
These ideas for finding new members are not in any particular order. Take a moment to think about each one, and choose those that you think will work for your club, adapting them as you wish. We hope that they will help your club grow and become strong!