Part three of a three-part series:
Putting First Things First: Formulating & Applying a Member Retention Strategy
Leverage What Toastmasters Offers
The Toastmasters program offers built-in ways to help clubs address member retention. Here are three general suggestions that fall in the heading of club best practices: 1) Provide mentoring: For new members, especially, but even for experienced members, it’s essential that clubs provide mentors who can share insights and experiences that help members achieve their goals. The most successful clubs are those that do this consistently, methodically and well. 2) Provide rewards and recognition: Recognize member involvement, both active and passive, in ways that will encourage the member to move up the ladder of involvement. Consider offering member-specific recognition or incentives. At a minimum, be sure to simply be courteous by, for example, saying thank you to your members, verbally and ideally with a hand-written note. 3) Maintain full disclosure and be collaborative: Do not limit important decisions on club operations to club officers. Seek and heed members’ opinions. Work with your club Treasurer to prepare and deliver club financial reports. Be open and honest about where member contributions go.
Craft and Implement a Plan
Proper execution of a good member retention plan ensures that each member has clearly and easily been able to express their involvement expectations and is seeing the club work to satisfy them. What goes into the plan is up to your club, but here are a dozen ideas to consider as a starting point:
1. Key club leaders periodically send “check in” notes or e-mails to members or call them.
2. VP, PR, reaches out to ensure members have access to club Website, are featured or quoted in news stories, and/or are encouraged to write stories.
3. Club sends invitations to members to attend group social events.
4. Club periodically conducts a written or online survey of member interests, needs, and satisfaction.
5. Club collects and shares testimonials from members getting value from the program.
6. VP, PR, sends meeting invitations with a description of what’s happening at future meetings as well as writes and share a compelling recap of what happens at meetings.
7. VP, ED secures interesting guest speakers to liven up meetings.
8. Members personally welcome each new member with welcome packets and phone calls.
9. New members promptly get assistance adding their profile to club Website.
10. New members promptly are assigned a mentor (as is anyone who requests one).
11. New members are told about additional information or programs that would be of value to them.
12. Club uses social media (e.g. Facebook, blogs, etc.) as a means of extending member communication.
Remember, each interaction with a member may determine whether the member stays or goes. Determining what individual members want and then meeting those needs may seem like a huge task. However, your club can meet the challenge. Development and execution of a solid member retention plan is among your club’s most important activities; all of your members should be part of the effort.
Lt. Governor Marketing
Note: This article incorporates material from multiple online sources, especially an article posted by The Center for Association Leadership.
The entire article is available as a printer-friendly PDF file.
By Jodie Sanders