Strategies for Enhancing Membership

Strategies for Enhancing Membership
by Ardis Bazyn

1. Publicize your affiliate and the benefits of membership throughout your state and special interest community.

2. Distribute your membership benefits brochure to spread the word include in invitation letter.

3. Plan your recruitment carefully and establish an organized timeline to be sure you complete all necessary steps.

4. Look carefully at your letter of invitation to prospective members. Is it time to revise? Is it appropriate for your prospective members or simply copied from a sample? Be sure to include brief information about the ACB scholarship program, the Braille Forum, and the annual convention. State your affiliate's mission and highlight opportunities for development in the areas of leadership, service, and fellowship.

5. Follow up the letter of invitation with a personal phone call to each prospective member explaining membership benefits. This call can also be used to extend an invitation to your affiliate's next gathering. Delegate this duty to volunteer members as well as chapter officers and the membership committee.

6. Establish an enhanced membership program to provide rewards to members who actively take part in and support chapter activities without penalizing those members whose participation is minimal.

7. Consider a provisional member program allowing prospective members to become aware of membership benefits.

8. Be sure your affiliate membership accurately reflects the diversity of your state or special interest group. Make a special effort to reach out to those whose age and ethnic background are dissimilar from the majority of your members.

9. Schedule orientations to accommodate prospective members as well as new members. This can be done at your annual conventions and at the chapter level.

10. At the orientation, stress that participation in affiliate activities is voluntary and that membership benefits are not contingent on participation. However, those members who actively participate in the enhanced member program will be eligible for special awards in addition to the basic membership benefits.

11. Include on your orientation agenda a brief but detailed explanation of the different opportunities to becoming involved in affiliate activities including leadership, committees, and special projects.

12. Consider having a current member speak briefly at the orientation to state ways that state affiliate membership has been of benefit to them.

13. Explain the dues structure and give information on the various programs supported by these fees.

14. Follow-up with a phone call to prospective members who do not join your affiliate. Find out what concerns they may have and address them.