10 Ways to Boost your Associations’ Membership

EFFORT + TIME + MONEY + ENERGY

Master networkers make great committee members – usually because they know lots of people. For this very reason you might be invited to form part of a committee for your peer group, association or institution. However, once you accept this invitation, you may f nd that membership is flagging, attendance is down and you have a tough job ahead of  you.

As networking becomes the norm for business generation today, rather than the exception, more and more networks are springin up. And as there are a finite number of people attending any of these events, sometimes attendance is low, membership wanes and membership renewals often drop off. We also know that it takes as much effort to arrange a function for 50 people as it does to arrange one for 250. So lets look at some practical, inexpensive ways of boosting membership and attendance to make the R.O.A. – (return on attendance) valuable, measurable and effective.

More members = more networking opportunities.

1. NAME TAGS.

Always, always, always provide nametags. Reports show that 80% of the population forget names within 30 seconds of hearing  them for the first time. To avoid this embarrassing situation, providing nametags with the names typed in approx. 32-point type will enhance networking opportunities.

2. COMMITTEE NAME TAGS.

Most committee members are volunteers, who give freely of their time. Providing a different nametag for committee members not only gives them recognition, but also makes it easy for first timers to know who to ask questions, find out information and seek guidance.

3. PROFESSIONAL EMCEES

A great emcee can make an event. Seeking out a professional from the ranks of your membership is an obvious solution. However, just because Jack Smith has been emceeing for 10 years, doesn’t mean he is good at the job. Seek out a professional, who is a good communicator, can keep to time, is not sexist and has a general interest in the growth of the network. Many professional emcees may consider a contra for their services with a view to building their profile within this network. 

4. PROMPTNESS.

It is important to reward the members and guests who arrived on time. Always start and f nish your meetings on time. Starting late to accommodate late-comers is only rewarding negative behaviour.

5. MEETERS AND GREETERS

Are members who position themselves close to the registration area. Their job is to “meet and greet” guests, first timers and regular members with a smile and a self-introduction. Most of the fear associated with attending networks for the first time is specifically related to the first 10 minutes from arrival. A meeter and greeter takes the pain out of this process and can introduce first timers and new members to others with common interests.

6. ASK ME

Encourage some of your committee members to wear an ‘ASK ME” badge or ribbon at meetings. This person will be acknowledged by the emcee and encouraged to mix and mingle throughout the event answering questions and providing information as needed.

7. LIST OF ATTENDEES.

Providing a list of attendees is a great way to facilitate networking during and post event. Including a person’s name, company name and position with or without an email address, enables contact to be made post event. It’s also a good idea to make a note on the list that confidentiality of this information is appreciated. As you meet people during the event, it helps if you highlight the person’s name, to enable you to follow up more efficiently.

8. BUSINESS CARDS ON CORK BOARD.

As an alternate to the attendee list, some networks provide a double sized corkboard filled with pin tacks. As people arrive at the venue, they put a business card in the lucky door prize and then pin a second business card on the corkboard, which is located in a central area. In this way, you are able to see exactly who is in the room and the meeters and greeters can connect you with whomever you want to meet.

9. MEMBERSHIP FORMS AT MEETINGS.

Most networks want members, yet less than 50% of networks actually have membership forms on display at meetings. Such a simple thing that is often forgotten. Some networks say, “go to our website, we accept memberships on line”. That’s fine, but why not have membership forms on hand to capture that potential member while they are hot!

10. TESTIMONIALS from happy members.

Often membership officers become a little tired of promoting memberships, even though it is their role. Why not invite one of your “advocates” to do the membership spot for you. By selecting enthusiastic, visible members, who attend regularly and asking them to say in 2-3 minutes what they have gained from membership is a far better advertisement for the group and again is an opportunity to give a member recognition.

Happy networking until next time.

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