Now is a good time to check your club’s DCP progress, and review the previous article by Sarfaraz Nazir, “Why Is the Distinguished Club Important?”
Every six months, clubs collect dues. Not all members renew their membership. They move out or move on or leave the club for various other reasons. That’s why clubs need new members to replace the ones who do not return. To assist with this effort, the Distinguished Club Program (DCP) includes goal number 7 (add four new members) and goal number 8 (add four more new members). New members include new Toastmasters, dual members and reinstated members.
To add new members, clubs can do the following:
- Implement annual or semi-annual membership growth plans, like membership contests, to encourage existing members to bring guests and have guests join the club.
- Promote your club. You can promote your club through the local newspaper (community calendars), the local libraries, or the local chamber of commerce.
- Prepare membership information kits for guests. These kits provide the necessary information about the Toastmasters program and the club. It also shows that the club is well organized.
- Conduct professional, well-organized meetings that follow the Toastmasters proven format. Guests are automatically encouraged to join when they witness successful meetings.
- Follow up with the guest. At the conclusion of the meeting, the club vice president education should have a discussion with the prospect to find out their goals and to show them how the Toastmasters program can help them achieve their goals. Do not simply thank them for coming and hope they return. After the meeting, contact them again and re-invite them if they are not yet ready to join.
To become a distinguished club, the club not only needs to achieve at least five of the ten DCP goals, the club must also be at charter strength (20 members or more) or have a net gain of at least five members. This means that the club must not only focus on adding new members, it must also have plans in place to retain existing members.
To retain existing members, the club must operate professionally, by Toastmasters standards, and ensure that member’s goals are being achieved. Members should be encouraged to give speeches on a regular basis and their accomplishments should be tracked and recognized. Encourage members to take on club leadership roles. Involved members are more likely to stay with the club.
The members should also be encouraged to participate in area and district events. The broader their involvement, the greater their satisfaction.
If clubs do not retain existing members or add new members, club membership declines. Fewer members means that members have to take on multiple roles during the meetings. Before long, meetings become boring, members become dissatisfied and leave, and the club becomes history. To ensure that this does not happen to your club, focus on members’ needs and goals, and have a well-planned member growth and retention plan in place.
By Jodie Sanders