by Camilla Feibelman
Ever had a conversation like this one?
Membership Chair: So, have you signed up for our member-recruitment training?
Conservation Chair: Well, recruitment's not my department. I focus on conservation.
Wrong. Recruiting members is everyone's department.
Our members are a resource that must be renewed through recruitment; we can't depend on the same members to do all the work indefinitely. The more members we have, the more planet we can save. Two of every five activist members - people who go to meetings and write their elected officials - were recruited in the field. But in the last three years, chapters and groups have seen a 25 percent drop in the number of members they recruit.
Here's what you can do to help:
If you have limited time:
-Share Sierra magazine, The Planet or your chapter newsletter at work.
-Invite friends on a Sierra Club hike.
-Buy a gift membership for someone, or invite a friend to join.
If you are a volunteer:
-Help table at public events.
If you are an outings leader:
-Announce that you have membership forms at the end of every trip, and ask if anyone would like to join to help protect what they just enjoyed.
-Send newsletters and applications to non-members on your sign-in sheet.
If you are a conservation chair or event coordinator:
-Assign one person to coordinate membership materials for each event you do.
If you are a membership chair:
-Work with other chairs to integrate member recruitment into all events.
-Make a recruitment plan and calendar at the beginning of each year.
-Make sure there is a membership ad in your chapter or group newsletter.
There are also tactics that anyone can use to boost membership.
At meetings, events and outings:
-Use sign-in sheets with name, address, phone, e-mail, questions, interests. Ask, "Are you a member?"
-Explain the benefits of membership: Sierra magazine, outings, and the opportunity to get involved with local and national conservation issues.
-Always have applications on hand.
-Send a newsletter and application to all non-members who attended.
Describe Your Conservation Efforts
Potential members frequently ask, "What does your group do?" Can you answer that clearly and concisely? If not, get your group to help compose a response.
Ask Someone to Join
Don't be afraid to ask a potential member to join. Use a local conservation issue to interest him or her, and just ask directly! Some people have never been asked.
For More Information: Join the Membership Committee's new campaign: "20,000 for 2000" - the goal is to acquire 20,000 new members from the field for the year 2000. To order a "20,000 for 2000" campaign kit, contact Yolanda Andersen at (415) 977-5635; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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