13 ideas to develop membership retention and recruitment strategies
August is membership and club development month, a time to focus on and appreciate your members, celebrate their devotion to the club and the impact they have made. It's also a time to think about developing strategies around growing your membership. The reason why Rotary is such a successful organization is because it is full of members that have one trait in common - the passion to make a difference in the world. All of us share this passion and it's what drives us to work together.
Today, a growing population of youth are not even aware of what the organization is or does while those that do are unable to join for a variety of reasons. Granted, we've made many changes to combat this challenge such as the introduction of eClubs, relaxed attendance requirements, more meeting time options, etc. but we still have ways to go. Members continue to leave and clubs continue to struggle to recruit.
This year, with members in mind, why not create a development and recruitment strategy by implementing methods your club hasn't tried before.

Membership development

1. Analyze results from past exit interviews to see what members cited as their reason for leaving the club. Often, you can immediately see a pattern to act upon.

2. If your club doesn't conduct exit interviews, consider contacting ex-members from the past few years to ask them for feedback on what they feel the club could've done better.
3. Make sure every member has some role to play. Every member in your club joined to become part of something big, and if they aren't being given a chance to make a contribution to the club, slowly but surely, their satisfaction level will begin to decline. Consider giving each member some sort of responsibility at every meeting (ex: introduce/thank speaker, contribute jokes of the week for the club newsletter, etc.). 

4. Focus on happiness: happy members are those that are motivated to do good for the club. There are many ways to keep members happy. Sometimes just being asked means a lot, so in your next meeting, have every member anonymously write changes that they would like to see in the club which would make them happy. Such a simple act shows your members that you care about their presence in the club.

Recruitment strategies

Even though your club may have an open door policy, many prospective members interested in joining still might be hesitant to come visit. The answer?
5. Promote your open door policy everywhere you can - on your website, social media and even at your meeting location (example, at the entrance of the building, near the elevators, staircase, etc.)
6. Put up flyers welcoming visitors pointing them to where you meet, time, etc. The more signs prospective members see, the more you've alleviated their fear of trying something new.

Countries like Germany, India, Africa have all seen an increase in membership due to the emphasis they've put on personal connections. Rotarians here have been urging family members to join and have even created new clubs that meet in the evenings and have lower fees for the children of all members. This makes it easier for parents to balance family life with club service. 

7. All of us know at least one person that might be a good fit for Rotary, whether that person be a colleague, family member or friend - all we have to do is ask.

8. Many Rotaractors tend to leave Rotary altogether. Team up with a local Rotaract club and speak more on the benefits of joining your club, so that you can create a smooth transition for them to join your club when they are ready.
Other ideas to try include:

9. Propose a 'trial' period - offer a 3 month membership plan where members can pay only for those months to get a better feel for what it means to be part of your club. This way, they don't have to worry about investing money/time for the entire year.
10. Create a club designation to recognize members that recruit the most members. Then for every 2 or 3 new members that join, the recruiter receives the special club designation title. Plus take advantage of Rotary's New Member Sponsor Program.
11. Host an open house and promote it via Facebook ads. You can set your own budget and reach a wider audience.
12. List the benefits of joining your club right on your site. Add a video showcasing the fun your members have so as to evoke a feeling of being part of a team.
13. Ask your guests and speakers to join your club, even if they choose to join as honorary members.
Most importantly, follow up with all of your prospective members. You can now add all your prospective members into your contacts list, so following up is easy. Send a personal note reminding them of their interest in the club and reinforce the benefits. At the end of the day, it's up to us to open the door to new members by asking people to join. What's your membership goal this year?
Want to use this or other articles in your own newsletter? Please keep the credits attached, and reference the ClubRunner Newsletter as your source, linking back to the ClubRunner site.