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Members are the lifeblood of associations – they help your organization fulfill your mission, not to mention, small staff associations report nearly half of their revenue comes from membership dues. Memberships propel your organization forward, so it’s no surprise that increasing membership is a top goal for many associations. Community Brands survey of small-staff associations found that increasing membership topped the list of priorities for 93 percent of respondents.

Are you ready to boost your membership? We’ve rounded up six tips for a successful membership drive.

1. Utilize your membership committee

You don’t have to do it alone and you shouldn’t try! Utilizing a membership committee to assist you with recruitment is key to reaching your goals. Build a team that’s committed to your mission and growing your organization. Your membership committee should represent and reflect your membership and prospects. Committee members should be a diverse group of members with an array of demographics, including generations, career stages, and membership tenure. For example, if you’re trying to recruit more Millennials, make sure the Millennial generation is well represented on your membership committee. They will be key to making sure you’re meeting your target audience at the right place with the right message.

2. Ring. Ring. Pick up the phone

Yes, it’s a real thing! Enlist your membership committee and board of directors to assist with making phone calls to prospects. A phone call as a follow-up to your marketing efforts is a nice personal touch.

And, don’t forget about your lapsed members. Make sure you express to your lapsed members you’ve missed them. A personal phone call to lapsed members will help them feel the love.

Prepare and distribute a script for your volunteer callers. The script should not be too long. Below are a few points to include.

  • Identify the caller – name and business name and that they are a member of the organization
  • Encourage them to join – what is the organization and why is the caller a member
  • Discuss benefits – a one sentence review of benefits
  • Make the ask – ask to send them the application

Committee members should be a diverse group of members with an array of demographics, including generations, career stages, and membership tenure.

Thank them for their time

3. Incentivize word of mouth

When your members love your organization, they’ll want to share that experience and invite others to be part of it. A word of mouth recommendation is one of the most effective recruitment tools. Offer current members an incentive, even if it’s small, to get them out there promoting your organization. What benefits do your members value that would be enticing enough to spread the word? Maybe it’s a free ticket to your annual conference or discount on next year’s membership. Or maybe it’s something they can use personally, such as an Amazon gift card.

Everyone loves a little friendly competition. Give a shout-out to those members who are actively bringing in new members. Whether it’s in your newsletter or your online community, acknowledging them shows that you appreciate their recruitment efforts and may encourage others to start recruiting as well.

A personal phone call to lapsed members will help them feel the love.

4. Digital ads

Meet your prospects where they are – online. Digital advertising isn’t just for large organizations. Social media and retargeting ads have proved to be successful and cost-effective for many associations.


5. Re-evaluate your membership path

It doesn’t matter how great your recruitment messaging and tactics are, if it’s hard for members to join, they’re not likely to join. Before you begin your membership drive, review your current membership path. Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes. Is it easy to find your membership application on your website? Is your application an appropriate length?

This is a great exercise in which to involve your membership committee. It would also be beneficial to get an outside option. Have your membership committee members ask one friend or family member to try to join. Feedback from someone not associated with your organization might open your eyes to something you never thought of.

6. Can’t stop. Won’t stop.

Acquiring new members is a never-ending initiative. Every member and event or program your organization holds is a chance to recruit more members. Evaluate your recruitment practices and adjust your efforts accordingly. Evaluations and adjustments will bring in more and more members. Survey your newest members about what activities sealed the deal for them. Don’t forget to also get feedback from your members who recruited a member, too, on what worked for them.

There you have it! Six tips for a successful membership drive. Implementing these six tips will help you rock your recruitment goals and boost your membership and revenue.

Want to learn more about how you can ease the path to membership with a new membership management system? Talk to one of YourMembership’s membership experts today.