Tips for Developing a Membership Campaign
The following how-to suggestions for developing a membership campaign are an amalgamation of ideas from the byway representatives participating in the roundtable discussions for this CD and from organization resources that were suggested as additional resources.
• First, develop a plan and personnel for your campaign. Spend some time to carefully select a campaign chairperson. Ask the chairperson to help select committee members. Help them prepare the talking points that will best sell membership in your organization.
• Establish goals and a target member profile – how many and what type of new members do you want to add? Do you want to use a group recruitment goal or a per person committee member goal, e.g., each recruiter will sign up 5 new members at $100 each?
• Establish a timeline - by what date do you want to reach your new members goal?
• Develop a campaign budget to cover materials, postage, advertising, phone and other costs and staff time.
•Set budgeting benchmarks for periodic review of costs vs. membership income. Subtracting the number of members from your membership campaign plus membership services costs will give you a per member recruitment and maintenance cost as a measurement tool to help set your dues structure.
• Determine the best ways to reach your target members – where do they work, recreate; what publications do they read, to what other associations or organizations do they belong – are there speaking engagement opportunities there?... Develop a target members’ contact list with phone number and vital information – consider using a software management program – this may require a computer-saavy staff person.
• Survey existing members to identify their reasons for becoming and staying members - use their testimonies in promotional materials and/or advertising. Consider simultaneously running an existing member retention campaign to recognize members for their loyal past support.
• Involve your current members in the campaign - ask them for new member prospect referrals – or reward the members who recruit the highest number of new members.
• Involve board members in campaign – as committee chairs, members, spokespersons/Speaker’s Bureau representatives.
• Do you need a training program to educate your campaign committee on how to solicit participation? Do you want to provide incentives to member recruiters and/or to new members?
• Develop a simple form for new members to easily complete and return with their payment. Consider an online method for accepting payments by credit card.
• Plan a kickoff event to announce the campaign, showcase the benefits of belonging to your organization and offer an early-bird membership discount. This event can also serve as an annual fund-raiser with collateral events, such as a banquet, auction, etc. Have existing members receive a discounted admission if they bring two prospects who can enter free.
• Build your campaign around a theme to make the event fun for campaign members, prospects, participants and media. The 2004 Florida Chamber of the Year raised $63,000 in new membership revenues from 175 new members over the course of a three-day campaign built around a Hollywood movies theme. Learn more
• If your byway covers a large geographical region, consider developing membership chapters that could meet locally and send representatives to meetings farther away.
• Set up periodic evaluation meetings to assess your progress toward membership level goals.
• Designate a campaign recorder, who collects the details on what was done, when and where so you will have a blueprint for future replication of successful campaigns.
• Build your own membership campaign drawing from
the success stories of others.