Membership Recruitment Tips
Membership Recruitment and Marketing
Membership is the lifeblood of any association, and your chapter is no exception. As such, one of the most important tasks a chapter can undertake is recruiting new members. GCSAA has compiled a list of ideas and suggestions that may be of service.
Developing a Membership Marketing or Recruitment Campaign
While membership recruitment and marketing is not an exact science, here are some ideas from GCSAA, the American Society for Training & Development and the Independent Electrical Contractors Council.
- Develop your goals – Ask yourself
the following questions:
- Why does our chapter want to conduct a campaign?
- How many viable prospects are in my territory?
- What is the number of members I need to bring in to
offset the cost of the campaign?
- Develop marketing plans that are data-driven. You
will want to have quantifiable results that can be tracked.
- Track the return on investment (ROI). It helps you
budget for marketing campaigns, to track what recruitment
methods are most effective, and to track how much time
you need to optimize marketing.
- How much time do I (or others) have to devote to member
- Conduct a strategic planning session and evaluate
the biggest areas of membership growth opportunity.
- Develop a detailed budget that includes costs for
design and development of campaign pieces, volunteer
time, postage, printing, etc.
- According to the Direct Marketing Association, most
industry specific campaigns average around a 2.61% gain.
Set a realistic goal.
- Cull your prospect list – Try not
to begin your campaign with an unmanageable number of prospects.
Break your list into small groups that will allow you and
your volunteers time to follow up. Here are some ideas:
- Start big – Send the first mailing to all of
your potential prospects. Base follow-up communications
on responses received.
- Divide your list into small groups by identifying
the “low hanging fruit” or golf courses
you already have had contact with. Ask board members
or volunteers for recommendations, or go through the
list with them and find the easier prospects.
- Maintain a current list of prospective members and
periodically send them notices about upcoming events,
new features on the website, etc.
- Identify a group of members who are willing to contact
nonmember facilities and arrange visits with the golf
course superintendent to discuss what the chapter offers
and get better acquainted with the golf course superintendent.
An alternative is to invite prospective members to a
member’s golf course to play golf and tour the
- The power of “7”
- Simply stated, people need to see your message at
least seven times before they will act on it. Only sending
one recruitment mailer is a waste of your budget –
you need to send out multiple pieces and use multiple
vehicles (i.e. direct mail, fax, e-mail and the website).
- Communication strategies
- Keep your messages simple. If you can’t describe
it in a sentence, run!
- Use testimonials (personal stories) from your members
on how they have benefited from being a chapter member.
- Communicate the “value” – not “features”
– of membership. What does the member personally
gain from membership? Instead of communicating, “Through
your membership, you get a magazine, have access to
discussion forums, access to the website, etc.”
communicate the value to your members. For example,
use this communication strategy, “Through your
membership, you have access to discussion forums through
which you can make real-time connections with thousands
of professionals who can offer ideas on solving the
challenges faced at your facility.”
- Have consistent marketing pieces with the same “family
look” or association brand.
- Post membership information on your website. Make
sure it is easily found and dynamic.
- Personalization is key – In this
day and age where people are constantly bombarded with junk
mail/email, try and take a more personalized approach.
- Use a contact name on everything
- If you have a small mailing group, use stamps. Stamped
letters get more attention.
- Send a personal handwritten note – let the potential
member know that you care enough about this, and that
you’ve taken time to write a note.
- Understand the generational differences and needs
among your prospective members and target messages accordingly.
- Ask a board member to invite a prospective member
- Allow prospective members to attend a meeting so they
can experience the chapter. Waive the meeting fee. Offer
them a “trial membership.” Introduce them
at the meeting.
- Encourage allied members to recruit members. Supply
them with information on the benefits of chapter membership
that they can distribute during facility visits.
- Send a news release to the local media when a new
member joins your chapter. Provide photographs when
- Ask for a response! If you don’t
ask prospective members to do something, they won’t.
Have a call to action. Try and engage prospective members
in the process by asking for some sort of response or feedback.
- Offer a trial newsletter subscription. Ask prospective
members to complete a reply card in order to receive
the trial subscription.
- Invite them to a complimentary function and require
- Membership Application – Make your
membership application an important part of your chapter’s
marketing campaign. It should:
- Be a stand-alone piece that restates one to three
key benefits of joining the chapter
- Have a key code, so that the chapter can track the
source of the new membership (i.e. a particular direct
- Capture the potential member’s hobbies, interests
and skills if possible. This information could be used
at a later date to match up potential volunteer duties.
How can GCSAA support you?
- GCSAA can provide a list of nonmember golf courses in your area. Just ask!
- Develop a prospective membership recruitment letter.
- Other Ideas: