Posted on March 31, 2017Is your association always preaching to the same Choir? The same Audience? The key to growing your membership is to attract new people using a different message.
Look at your Current Message?
A good place to start is your current message. Does it reflect the heart of what your organization is about? Is it a ‘dry, factual’ message or does it exude passion and excitement?
Who is Missing?
Look at your current members. Who is missing? Who isn’t there that should be? Someone, or some group, that you are confident that your association would benefit them.
Is it Working?
If your current message is successful in bringing in new people then keep using it but create a second message to target a different audience to expand your association.
Once you determine the missing group explore the traits of this group? Is it age related? Are they too busy with their families to get involved? What activities are they currently involved in? Is it time or distance related – e.g. they work when you meet or don’t have the means to get to your meeting?
Next step is to capture how your association might benefit the target audience. Does it help them, their family, their friends and how? Is it recreational or a cause they believe in?
Once you know who your target audience is, what their characteristics are, and how your association would benefit them then it shouldn’t be too difficult to create a message that invokes their passion about what your group does. But remember you are targetting a group that is currently missing from your association, this implies that you may not know them that well. Either contact a few of them before creating your message, or at the very least try your new message out on a small sample of them before sending the message to everyone.
If you find that the missing group or individual has characteristics similiar to other members then perhaps the problem is not the message but rather obstacles. They want to join but feel they are prevented from doing so. Figure out what the obstacles are and be creative on how to remove them including use of technology.
You may find that you are good at attracting families with young children for soccor / baseball and seniors for various activities. Perhaps more high school youth could be attracted through fulfilling their 40 hours of community service; pre children couples through sports activities; pre retirement people by conveying to them the value that their skills and experience bring to the organization. Talents that are needed to help the organization thrive.
Societies generally have a specific focus. Can the focus be expanded and still be within the mandate of your society? Are their sub groups within your society that could be expanded? Is there overlap with another society such that some of their members might be convinced to also join your society?
Third Age Learning groups
The biggest problem these groups have is finding a bigger hall! Growth is not an issue, they seemed to have found a magic formula. As long as their lecture series speakers continue to be interesting people keep attending.
Clubs cater directly to the people interested in their particular activities whether it be a sport, a recreation, or anything else. Often what is holding people back from joining are obstacles, or choosing from all the other clubs out there. Creating a higher profile of the club in the community is often the best way to grow.
You have the environmental minded people and the people who want their next generation to enjoy the lake in the same way that they did. What about the people who fish – are you monitoring or improving fish stocks? What about boaters – do you mark hazards on the lake, have a boaters etiquette guide? Everyone is concerned about their property values – do you remind people that excessive weeds due to pollution decrease their property values?
Growth is a big challenge. Sunday school was a great concept allowing parents to attend church without the worry of what to do with the kids. Perhaps expanding on this theme by introducing a youth group that meets weekly and focuses on fun – much like Scouts but without the costs and formal structure. If successful kids will tell other kids at school and participation will grow. Then have a few weekend meetings where the whole family participates, giving the church the opportunity to get to know the parents.