By Betty Purkey-Huck, Rocky Mountain Regional Leader and Chair of the Chapter Health and Retention Committee
Are you looking to increase the size of your chapter, or replace members who have moved away? September is a great time to recruit new chapter members as many people are looking to join activities in the fall.
As you know, DFW has the “Join Us” process on our website where interested individuals can connect with chapters in their area. As a Chapter Leader, you receive the notifications about these individuals by email, and you are encouraged to invite them to your next meeting. This process provides you with the names of potential new members, and then it’s up to you to welcome them and get them to join your chapter.
Keep in mind that it can be intimidating for a new person to go to your chapter meeting. They are going to a home or other place that is new to them, and they are meeting a group of people who are already friends and may have been together for a long time. To help the individual feel more comfortable, here are a few ideas:
- Meet with the individual ahead of time so that they will at least know one person already at the meeting. Let the person know that you have a very welcoming group.
- Suggest that they bring a friend so that they aren’t coming on their own.
- Offer to pick them up and bring them to the meeting (or have one of your chapter members do so).
- Greet the new person at the door and introduce them to your members.
Any of these suggestions might help pave the way for getting that potential member to join your chapter.
There are other ways to get new members, in addition to DFW’s online Join Us process. Your current members are your greatest resource. They have friends and relatives that might be interested in DFW. Ask them to talk to their daughters, sisters, cousins. Suggest that they talk about DFW with other organizations they belong to – church groups, book or bridge clubs, etc. Have members wear the DFW “Ask Me How” button to attract people’s attention and tell them about DFW. A “Bring a Friend” night is a great way to introduce new people to your chapter meetings. Time has proven that word of mouth is the best way to get new members.
You may also attract new members through community involvement. Last November, a chapter in Spokane, WA had participated in a fair trade bazaar to promote DFW. The Wilmington-1, Delaware chapter co-sponsors an event called Peace Week each September, and it has been very successful in terms of community awareness and recruitment of members. You can promote DFW and attract members using local news media, a community newsletter, posting information on your Facebook page, or using Next Door or MeetUp if are signed up for these online services.
When you talk with people, emphasize what they can get out of DFW – in other words, what’s in it for them. Tell them it’s a great way to make new friends; that you can have a fun and rewarding experience with your friends; it will give you a sense of community; you will feel good knowing you’re making a difference.
Having new members will provide a vital dynamic to your chapter and help it thrive and grow and improve your chapter’s sustainability.