Member Recruitment and Retention

Member recruitment is important to the health and growth of a Club. Some Members will naturally drop off due to scheduling conflicts or moving out of the area. It is important to bring in new Members who have a lot of energy and fresh ideas so that a Club can maintain its level of service. Once new Members are recruited, a Club should get them involved and keep them interested, so they can serve children in the area for years to come. Below are some programs that will help Clubs with their recruitment and retention efforts.

Welcome Optimists Worldwide Program
Recruiting new members is not a once a year event but is an ongoing process. Every event, activity and fundraiser is an opportunity to bring in new members and should be treated as such. Volunteering and membership has changed and expanded through the years.

Click to download the Welcome Optimist Worldwide Program Docx

Click to download the Welcome Optimist Worldwide Program PDF

NOW (New Optimists Welcome)
NOW stands for New Optimists Welcome and is a program designed to capture the interest of prospective Optimist Members. The program is for Optimist Clubs committed to achieving a net gain of 10 Members during the administrative year.

The NOW event is generally a dinner or series of dinners to which potential members are extended invitations. During the event, the Optimist Club takes advantage of its captive audience and shows the service it provides to the local community. While the NOW event generally includes a meal, some speeches or presentations and an invitation to join the organization, many Clubs modify the idea to fit their needs. Most importantly, the event should create an atmosphere in which new Optimists feel “welcome.”

Zone NOW Event
Clubs interested in replicating a Zone-wide NOW event can follow this suggested timeline. Click here to download the timeline.

For information check out the NOW Brochure or contact the Member Services Department at

New Clubs
One of the most dramatic ways to recruit new Members into the organization is to start a New Club. Check out the New Club section of the website for information about how to get started.

Membership Recruitment Kit
The Membership Recruitment Kit is a method of recruiting potential Charter Members for a new Club, or to add Members to an existing Club.

Optimist Mentoring Program
Once an Optimist Club recruits new Members, it’s important to keep them! New Member education is essential to maintaining or improving Club retention rates.

The Optimist Mentoring Program was created by Steve Andersen and Wes Ellis of the Gresham Optimist Club in the Pacific Northwest District. The program is a comprehensive new Member education tool designed to increase a Club’s Member retention. To get started, check out the resources below.

Optimist Mentoring Program PowerPoint

Mentor Checklist

New Member Checklist