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Winter 2014 • 23 22 • The Optimist

Most Optimists have asked themselves this question

at least once - How can my Club recruit new Members?

Bringing in new Members is vital to the survival and success of all Clubs. The good news is there are many answers to this question! Clubs need to try new ideas and determine what works best in their community. While every idea may not bring about the desired results, they can each beneft a Club in other ways and help bring you closer to your goal.

Club Evaluation

A good place to start is to evaluate where your Club is currently. Are the same Members showing up at meetings and running Club activities? Are membership numbers dwindling? Have Members become bored? Ask Members to make a list of the benefts of being an Optimist. What does being a Member mean to them? What does Optimism bring to their lives that

they cannot fnd elsewhere? Then have them make a list of goals for the Club. What do they hope to achieve in the short-term and long-term? Finally, ask them to list reasons the Club should bring in new Members. This evaluation will help get Members excited about the Club and the idea of recruiting new Members. The lists created give Optimists information to share with potential new Members, such as benefts to joining and future plans for the Club.

Attract New Members

Here are a few ways to pique the interest of potential new Optimists:

• Post fyers in your community inviting people to a Club meeting.

• Host an event at a local park or popular attraction. People will already be there and will likely come over to watch your event.

• Conduct a NOW event, such as a dinner or guest speaker.

• Sponsor a booth at a community event.

• Conduct events for youth and invite their parents in attendance to a Club meeting.

Retaining New Members

The frst step is to make a good impression. Remember the saying, “you only get one chance to make a frst impression.” Make sure the potential Members feel welcome and have a nice time at the Club meeting or event. Current Members should make a point to speak with potential Members and share the benefts of being part of the Club. One suggestion would be to print a fyer with Club information, so the potential Members have something to take with them. Ask for their name and contact information, so you can send them information about your next meeting or event.

Following the event, an Optimist should make a personal contact with each of the potential new Members.

AN OPTIMIST HOW-TO:

RECRUIT ( and Retain ) NEW MEMBERS

Would Like To Hear Your Tips!

International wants to hear your secrets to ng and retaining Members. Please send your tips zine@optimist.org. Responses may be featured in sues of The Optimist.

Getting the Commitment

Prepare a Club membership packet for every new Member. Give the new Optimist something tangible to show they are now part of the group. This can include simple materials on Club projects, benefts to membership and a copy of the Optimist Creed.

Use Club Meetings as a Retention Tool

The secret to retaining old and new Members is to keep them interested. Meetings should be fun and allow opportunities for fellowship, along with the required business matters. Consider scheduling fellowship events following meetings or on separate days. Welcome new Members and visitors to each meeting. Provide a quick synopsis of any business that needs to be discussed. Remember you are competing for each Member’s spare time, so they need to feel like their time is being well-spent.

Next, it is time to make people feel good about attending the meeting. One simple way to do this is by handing out rewards and recognition. This can be a certifcate, pin or any item your Club chooses. Even a few words of appreciation can go a long way towards making someone feel valued. If a Club Member feels

appreciated, the odds are better that they will enjoy that meeting and continue to support the Club with their membership.

Club meetings should also be entertaining. Survey the membership for things that interest them and plan activities on those themes. Make a point to schedule speakers and activities that will hold Members’ attention and get them excited about being an Optimist. Remember speakers are great candidates to become Friend of Optimists.

Optimist membership must grow in order to continue providing quality service to the

children of our communities. The key to growing the organization is by building strong local Clubs.

Page 14 - Full English Winter Magazine

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