by Sandy Miles
Membership Committee Chair
Membership is every member's business -- donor, activist, leader
or lobbyist -- and the lifeblood of the Sierra Club. Our strength
lies in our grassroots base and nowhere is that more apparent
than in our membership statistics. Two-thirds of our members join
through mass marketing methods, like direct mail or canvassing,
but many don't renew. Those members recruited locally by other
members, on the other hand, have more first-hand knowledge of
local issues, identify with local members, and are more likely to
renew with the Club over the years. It is for this reason that
all local outreach efforts should provide recruitment
Say your local group has formed a coalition of neighborhood
associations, hiking clubs and churches to stop the city from
selling a park to build a mall. You've just finished a great
meeting. You set clear goals, planned exciting events, assigned
jobs. Everyone congratulated the Sierra Club on its great
organizing. But if you haven't asked your newfound friends to
join the Club, you may have overlooked an important chance to
Anytime there is a gathering where the Club participates, make
sure that membership information is available. Your membership
committee will work with you to integrate membership recruitment
into your conservation activities, outings and public meetings.
Conservation: One-third of our members say they joined because of
our conservation efforts. So carry membership information to all
conservation meetings you attend on behalf of the Club, and tell
other participants how they can make a difference by joining our
organization. Sometimes you can -- with appropriate permission,
of course -- use meeting registration forms or membership lists
for Club recruitment.
Outings: One of five members say they joined because of outings
and social activities. Publicize your outings to non-members
through the media and other organizations, and be sure to connect
with non-members during the outings. Use sign-in sheets to send
membership information or hand it out at the end of the hike.
Better yet, add a social event with food after the outing and ask
these non-members to join on the spot. (Never underestimate the
power of refreshments.) You can also combine conservation and
outings by scheduling an outing to a threatened area.
Programs: When you have public meetings, identify non-members or
new members with name tags. Urge your chapter or group leaders to
make a special effort at general meetings to speak with
non-members and new members. Open meetings that consist entirely
of Club business have proven to be a turnoff to non-members and
Encourage all your committees to include membership outreach in
their plans. And budget some money for membership activities.
Remember, your chapter or group receives a $5 rebate on locally
recruited memberships through the Field Recruitment Incentive
Program (FRIP) or $17.50 through SuperFRIP.
Spending a little extra time on membership development can pay
big dividends. More members mean more money, more activists and
more clout. And we need that today more than ever.
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