You’ve all heard the expression, “it’s not who you know, but who knows you,” right? In addressing diminishing membership in your board meeting, both parts of the saying are correct. Every board member and committee chair should have a personal assignment of bringing in X number of new or past members each year. If you are depending only on paid staff to save the day, think again. Staff will come up with ideas, methods, support, materials, encouragement, and some of that will work. But, the #1 successful member campaign is always Member-Get-A-Member.

Need some ideas on where to look for your assignment? Here’s a collection of tactics that work to grow membership for various types of associations.

  1. Contact past members, re-engage or learn why membership is no longer relevant for them.
  2. Merge with another association.
  3. Buy lists of industry magazine subscribers. Net name and segment by publication so intro letter can be personalized.
  4. Consider magazines (print & online) that may be leisure reads for your target (sports, hobbies, travel, etc.).
  5. Mail to attendee list from a regional or national show.
  6. Involve ALL volunteers in the effort (calling, blogging, LinkedIn comments).
  7. Have a member-get-a-member contest with enticing prizes.
  8. Reach out to members of very similar associations with your USP.
  9. Invite all suppliers to your industry, even if they are fringe.
  10. Place digital advertising.
  11. Send to the deans and top instructors of colleges with your industry’s major(s).
  12. Attend manufacturer shows.
  13. Ask to speak at distributor meetings.
  14. Invite local, county, and state officials to join in special dues category.

Oh, there are more strategies. But, this is a good start. Discuss in your next board meeting. See who’s willing to set a personal goal.

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