Who are the membership experts at your association? Some of you at National, and maybe there’s a membership pro on staff at some of your affiliates or chapters, but that’s about it. Yet, your chapters are expected to market membership and recruit members as if they had membership expertise. Give them the boost they need by providing member recruitment training.
At the Association Component Exchange (CEX) last fall, attendees discussed how they helped their components grow their membership. Here are some ideas we collected on different ways to provide member recruitment training to chapter staff and volunteer leaders.
Send chapters a weekly Membership Minute newsletter
Chapter volunteers and staff may say they can’t find time for training calls and webinars, but they can surely find one minute a week. Yes, that’s right, just one minute a week to learn about membership.
Every Friday in the late afternoon, send the Membership Minute to your chapter leaders and staff. This newsletter takes only one minute to read—and you’ve timed it to be sure.
In the Membership Minute, you provide Membership (and Marketing) 101 education that chapter leaders can apply to membership and events. Share basic concepts in marketing strategy and tactics, for example:
- Marketing benefits vs. features
- Audience segmentation
- Needs analysis
- Copywriting tips
If you’re stuck for content, you can find plenty of basic marketing and membership advice on the web. Rewrite and repurpose it for your chapter leaders—giving credit where credit is due.
Teach chapters how to convert membership leads
The room was nodding at CEX when someone talked about the frustration of sending a prospect list to a chapter and then finding out they didn’t do anything with it. Sometimes it’s a matter of no time—the prospect list falls through the cracks of their busy schedule.
Sometimes, it’s a matter of know-how. Chapter leaders don’t really know the best way to nurture a membership lead. They’re not sure how to follow up with prospects who attend their events or are referred by members.
ARMA International has a web page dedicated to membership recruitment resources that includes:
- Action plan for identifying and recruiting prospects
- One-page membership marketing flyer
- Social media marketing primer
- List of new ARMA benefits
- Sample guest follow-up letter and employer justification letter
The American Public Works Association has a chapter leader YouTube channel with videos about chapter leader resources, Membership 101, and chapter success stories.
Here are a few more ideas from CEX attendees:
- Teach chapters how to comply with email marketing and data privacy regulations, including GDPR for European chapters, state privacy laws, and good ol’ CAN-SPAM.
- Provide sample introduction and follow up emails for different target audiences.
- Explain how to gather and use membership testimonials.
- Collect and share compelling chapter membership marketing copy.
Create a culture of learning for chapter leaders
Give chapter leaders and staff an online platform where they can connect with each other, share successes, and seek advice. An online community platform like Higher Logic or a collaboration platform like Slack provides a home for peer-to-peer relationship building as well as a library for chapter leader resources.
At an annual chapter leader conference, you can provide more formal training to chapter staff and volunteer leaders. Consider doing a member journey mapping exercise with them—this enlightening experience was a big hit at CEX.
Chapter leaders carry a heavy load of responsibilities, but the knowledge and skills they’re learning during their time in office will serve them well throughout their career and life. Celebrate their progress and congratulate them on membership victories. When they see the impact of new membership and marketing strategies and tactics, perhaps they will convince their successors to continue learning and growing membership with you.