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Wooing New Members

In honor of Valentine’s Day, an article on wooing new members seemed appropriate.  Bringing in new members seems to be a universal struggle for many groups.  The nonprofit sector continues to grow and new professional associations continue to emerge on a regular basis – new organizations vying for your customers’ money, time and focus.  How can your organization attract these potential members over the ‘other fish in the sea’?


In the spirit of the day, let’s look at some time-honored dating advice and see how it applies to the wonderful world of membership recruitment.

  • Have fun together: Show that your organization knows how to have a good time by mixing up your business and technical educational offerings with lighter fare – fun social events that will give these potential members the opportunity to network with peers in a less formal setting.  New member mixers are also a great way to introduce these new members to your organization and let them know how to maximize their membership experience.
  • Open communication: How will the object of your affection know that you wish to woo them unless you tell them?  Find a way to communicate to your target market exactly why they should belong to your organization.  Once they join the organization, ensure that a board or committee member reaches out to them to welcome them aboard.  And once you have them engaged, keep the lines of communication open.  Mix it up!  With so many communication tools available, from social media to member newsletters to regular surveys, there is no reason to suffer from the dreaded ‘poor communication’ relationship killer.     
  • Use your networks: When looking for a love connection, it is recommended that you start with your own personal acquaintances and networks.  Same thing applies when looking for new members.  Provide incentives for your current members to bring new members into the fold.  And ensure to recognize and thank those members who are referring new members to the organization. 
  • Be sensitive and caring: Let’s face it…..potential members have options.  If you want to court them, you will need to demonstrate that you can meet their needs.  Within your membership there are likely subsets…..identify these subsets and find ways to tailor the membership experience to make it even more personalized and relevant.
  • Flattery will get you everywhere: When you finally win over a new member, let them know how pleased you are to welcome them to your organization.  And continue to recognize them throughout your relationship.  Social media has given organizations a whole new (and free) means for recognizing members, so take advantage.  

Of course, while it is important to give focus to wooing these new members to your association, it is even more important to cherish those relationships with existing members.  It’s been said time and time again that it is easier to keep an existing customer than to get a new one, and this applies with association memberships as well.  Our next blog will address various ways to engage and recognize your members, and how to nurture that critical relationship.  Keep the honeymoon going!!

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