What's More Valuable to your Club's Existence - Membership Recruitment or Retention?

Recruitment is the most important activity for club membership development and to secure its existence, right? Not necessarily.
Member recruitment is definitely a key factor, but if you want your club to thrive, membership retention is the most important piece of the puzzle.
Although many club officers may think that if new members are not joining, the livelihood of the club will not survive. However, in order for new members to join, it’s necessary to have a solid foundation of members which will always stimulate membership growth. Here are three reasons why retention is more important than recruitment:
  1. Get retention right and you will have built the basis for recruitment. High retention rates are the signal that you have happy, satisfied members. These members tend to share the club success stories with others, automatically creating a grassroots recruitment campaign. 
The point: start with retention, and follow with recruitment.
  1. "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" is certainly true for service clubs. It's true not only because it takes less effort to keep a member than find a new member, but also it is less expensive to retain a member than recruit a new one. 
The point: recruitment often gets the attention, but retention will make your treasurer much happier; ultimately, the membership numbers will make your club executives happier, too.
  1.  A low retention rate is a signal that you have serious underlying problems in your club. Recruiting members is primarily a function of great marketing, but member retention is a function of both marketing, and more importantly, a great membership experience. If you can't keep your members, then you are wasting money recruiting them until you fix the problem that is causing members to leave. 
The point: if you can't retain, recruitment will burn through prospects because they won't remain.

The bottom line is that recruitment is important for your club, but retention must be your first priority. If you master the art of member retention, then recruitment will be fun and easy, leading to success for your club.
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