Ideas for developing a membership and recruiting strategy
Randy Brenneman (VP)
Tuesday April 03, 2018 7:39 pm
I wanted to share some suggestions and ideas on how to organize and effectively carry out a membership campaign at the Chapter level. But keep in mind; perspective Riders must first become members of their parent organization. So your recruiting strategy should ensure you’re not only bringing in quality Riders, but quality Veterans, Auxiliary and Sons too.
To be successful, every Chapter needs a strong and effective membership campaign.
Sounds easy enough … but how do you actually go about developing one?
- Recruiting new Riders, reinstating former Riders, or retaining existing Riders is a matter of selling and enforcing the positive aspects of why they need to be members! To do a good job of selling, you must know the product—in this case, the American Legion, its programs and objectives. Questions will be asked and must be answered.
- I would suggest having your Riders attend the American Legion Extension Institute (ALEI). This can be done online, or you can contact Mick Sobczak, and he will come to your post and teach it face-to-face.
- A successful membership recruiting campaign must be carefully planned and effectively carried out. Organizing a membership campaign must include capable personnel, good planning, continuous supervision and regular evaluation of the results. But most of all, hard work is required in order to get the job done.
No membership program can be successful unless it is carefully planned and has definite objectives.
- Select a Committee: Chapter Presidents should appoint a capable Rider as Membership Officer (Chairperson), then work with this rider in selecting a committee and planning a membership campaign.
- Set a realistic Goal. Your recruiting goal should be realistic and achievable. This goal should include categories for new and reinstated Riders, as well as retaining current Riders.
- Brief the Committee: Dates should be established for the Membership Committee to report to the Chapter on the progress of the membership campaign.
- Publicize Membership Efforts: Use your Chapters communication tools (Facebook, Website, Newsletters, e-mails etc.) to emphasize your successes!
- Incentivize recruiting success: Make recruiting fun. Set incentive goals. Ask members of your Chapter and Post to help sign up new and reinstated members; Announce contests, dinners and other incentive awards. Advise the membership of your Post on progress of the membership drive and announce winners of contests and awards.
- Measure your results: You need to have a way to measure your results. This way you can make a quantitative decision on ways (if necessary) to adjust your strategy for better results.
Membership Booth. A popular method of recruiting is a membership booth. This method is fairly simple and can be used by nearly any Chapter, regardless of its size or location. The following general outline will produce new members and help to reinstate former members.
- Start Early
- This will work best as a joint Post/Auxiliary/Chapter operation.
- Contact the manager of a shopping mall, trade show, state or county fair, or any place there is a large public gathering. Ask permission (or pay) for space to set up a membership booth. Serve refreshments (if possible) at the booths.
- Give advance news releases to your local newspaper and radio stations regarding your membership booth.
- Place recruiting posters and signs in store windows, post signs at the entrance to your city and along major thoroughfares or any place the public will notice them.
- Obtain an adequate supply of recruiting and informational material. Some material is available from Department and National Headquarters. Other material can be obtained from Emblem Sales.
- The Operation
- Decorate your booth with recruiting posters. Display informational material on the table. At least one Post member, Auxiliary, sons member and one Rider (wearing Parent program caps or ball caps with Post or Chapter logo) should be in the booth at all times. Display a sign large enough to let everyone know you are there.
- If laws allow a drawing, get a member or merchant to donate a gift, prepare tickets with stubs that show name, address and telephone number, hold the drawing and save the stubs for later contact.
- As eligible prospects visit the booth, inform them of the American Legion programs and pass out informational material.
- This is the most important! As eligible members visit the booth, TALK with them and determine whether they are interested in joining the American Legion. If they wish to join, SIGN THEM UP. If they don’t wish to join at this time, DON’T BECOME DISCOURAGED. Just make sure that you get their names and addresses and find out when they will be available so you can follow up with them
- The Follow Up
- Within a few days, assemble teams of members to contact the eligible members and talk to them about joining the Riders. This is the time to check their discharge papers and collect their membership applications and dues. Getting their dues increases your chances of recruitment.
- Be sure your membership teams are prepared to answer questions about the various American Legion programs.
- When a new member joins, make them feel welcome. Ask the new Rider to take an active part in the Chapter as well as the Post, and to help recruit others. Remember that everything you do prior to calling on a prospective member is a form of advertising and Public Relations. Actual selling is done where a perspective member feels at ease, and can give full consideration to the importance of being a member of the American Legion Riders.
I know this was long, but I hope you were able to get something that you found useful in devising your Chapter's recruiting strategy.
American Legion Riders
Department of California