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4 Out Of The Box Member Recruitment Methods for Associations

The same old member recruitment methods can leave both your association’s staff (and your potential members) lacking something special.

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The same old member recruitment methods can leave both your association’s staff (and your potential members) lacking something special.

Yes, the tried and true member recruitment strategies that many associations know and actively use are there for a reason- they work. But getting yourself into a member recruitment pattern can become predictable for your target audience, turning your association’s recruitment messages into background noise and spelling disaster for your new member rates.

According to GrowthZone’s 2018 Association Annual Survey, 12% of associations have seen a decrease in new memberships in the past year. With that in mind, if you want to keep your new recruitments coming in strong, you’re going to have to start thinking outside of the member recruitment box. But is that easier said than done?

With the challenge of recruiting new members already high and member recruitment rates constantly rising and falling, your association should always be looking for new ways to bring in a brand new crowd. That’s why we’ve done the hard work for you.

Here are 4 totally unique, entirely “out of the box” ways that your association can work to excite and engage potential new members enough to get them on board. With these creative strategies at your association’s dispense, you’ll have no reason not to take on a new way of recruitment thinking.

Keep reading on for the answer to your member recruitment problems.

1. Open seminars

When recruiting members, you want to make sure you’re able to reach them on their own time. After all, your audiences have just as busy schedules as you do.

So, what better way to do that than to hold open seminar sessions all about your association?

Think about it this way: Your potential new members are constantly on the move. From busy work lives, to balancing home lives, and any personal interests and tasks they may have after that, it can be hard to get everyone together at the same exact time.

But with an open seminar service in place, your association can make time every week to hold informational talks about its services and member benefits to anyone who feels like stopping by and listening.

If your association is a small, locally-based organization, you may find it beneficial to have open walk-in for anyone looking for more information. This way, potential members can come to you on their own time, and you’ll be able to engage them when they’re ready to hear it.

However, if you have a larger national/multi-chapter association, you can hold weekly conference calls/open seminars for potential members all across the country who are looking to learn more. You can even hold live video sessions, allowing participants to ask questions within the chat and you to answer those questions in real time.

Holding open seminars will allow you to let recruits come right to you, making your chances at retaining those potential members much higher.

2. Recruitment incentives

Want to create a way for your association’s staff to get on board with member recruitment? Incentivize your recruitment strategy, and you could have an amazing competition on your hands.

Holding recruitment competitions with varied goals and incentives will inspire recruiters on your association’s staff to move towards larger goals. With everyone working to be top recruiters, there’s no doubt your member recruitment rates will be on an upward trend.

There are a few ways to do this. For smaller associations, you can set a specific goal for your recruiters to reach in order to receive different incentives, sort of like a program. Or, you can offer up one large prize for the staff member that acquires the most new members in a set amount of time.

For larger associations, you can hold one content for any and all of your chapters. This allows each chapter to work together to acquire the most members, building team camaraderie while also building up member rates.

Incentivizing your member recruitment process will promote friendly competition while getting the job of new member acquisition done.

3. Member referral

While member referral programs are not a brand new idea, they are an underrated tactic in terms of member recruitment.

According to Nielsen, 92% of customers will trust a referral if it is given from someone they know. In fact, people are 4 times more likely to make a purchase if referred to it by a friend. Referrals have the power to bring in a brand new audience for your association.

Member referral programs are a key solution for any association with a low budget and very little money left to spend on recruitment tactics. If you can convince your members to give your association a good word with others, you’ll have less work to do when building trust with your target audience.

Of course, this method should always have some incentive. After all, you don’t want your members to feel as if they’re being taken advantage of while your association gains from their recommendation.

Work with your team to come up with offers that members will find appealing. Whether it’s discounts on member dues, VIP access at events and conferences, or free merchandise. There are multiple ways to get your members to start spreading the word about your association.

4. Sample boxes

If you’re aware of the trend of monthly subscription boxes for specific retail brands, you’d know they have the potential to pull in new customers each time a sample box is released.

However, if this is your first time being exposed to the trend, you might be a bit confused. So, let’s break down what a sample box is, and then go over how your association can make one of its own.

A sample box, or subscription box, is a package that companies send out with sample sizes of popular products for first time consumers to test out. Users can either pay a discounted fee for this service, or they can even be sent out for free. It’s a great marketing move for companies to attract more consumers- and it’s something your association can learn to provide to new recruits.

So, what can your association include in its own sample box? Things like event brochures, a question and answer packet with frequently asked questions, samples of association merchandise, and a guide on how to get started as a member are all useful sample box items. You can also include discount codes, content samples, and access to online materials.

There are many ways to customize your own sample/subscription box and get it on its way to potential new members.

Recruitment Made Fun

Recruiting members does not have to be a cut and dry process that bores both your staff and potential new members. Come out of your shell and incorporate fun, imaginative new ways to get your members on board- and they may thank you in the future!

If your association is looking for a change of pace in the member recruitment world, try these 4 tactics on for size and see what they can do for you.