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Is an association management firm focused on helping Non-Profit associations succeed in their mission.

Marketing for sponsors and exhibitors

Another in a series of articles related to association management selected from our reading list by:
Robert O. Patterson, JD
CEO/ Principal
The Center for Association Resources, Inc.

For a non-profit organization that doesn’t get too much money via donations, sponsors and exhibitors can be your most important key to success. With the huge advance in technology in the past couple years, the tools and strategies of marketing have changed drastically. For example, if you would have brought up the idea of advertising on Facebook ten years ago, people would have thought you were crazy. Now Facebook is a great way to advertise. One reason it is great is because hundreds of millions of people log in to Facebook every day. If you are reaching an advertising audience of that many people, chances are at least a couple hundred people would be interested in your non-profit organization. This leads to sponsors and/or donators. It is extremely simple and cheap to create an advertisement on Facebook. I know from experience that an advertisement on Facebook can be created in a little less than 5 minutes. It also does not cost too much money. You can even specify who your audience is based on hobbies, age, location, political views, etc. The possibilities are endless.

After talking about the new ways to market, I am going to talk a little bit about the old-fashioned type of ways to do it. As always, the best way to reach people is to talk face to face. I have found from experience with my non-profit organization that going to political events is a great way to meet people face-to-face, but you have to make sure you show up with a political party that matches your views. For example, if you are a pro-life (anti-abortion) group, you should NOT show up at a Democratic event. You SHOULD show up to conferences like CPAC, or to your local congressman’s town halls, fundraiser, etc. (if he is a Republican), but obviously, the same thing works for a pro-choice group except with a Democratic party. Going to these events allow you to meet people who share your point of view, and some of your best sponsors can come from these type of events. Plus, it is always a good thing to get to know you Congressman for many reasons (no matter what political party).

In the end, it is up to you. Some of the best methods of marketing for sponsors come from the least used or new methods that you can come up with. So think, if you were a possible sponsor, what would attract you to a non-profit organization?
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Filed under: Association Resources, Center for Association Resources, Fund Raising, Leadership, Marketing, Non-Profit, Planning, Strategic Planning, Strategy, The Center for Assocation Resources info, , , , ,

Non-profit Organizations–Negotiating Hotel Contracts

Another in a series of articles related to association management selected from our reading list by:
Robert O. Patterson, JD
CEO/ Principal
The Center for Association Resources, Inc.

Managing a non-profit organization can be a unique challenge for even a well-seasoned corporate executive from the private sector. While non-profits seem quite similar to their for-profit counterparts from the vantage point of the organization’s membership, those in managerial positions soon recognize that many key aspects of non-profit governance vary greatly from that to which they are accustomed.

For example, non-profit organizations provide immense value to the communities they serve in the form of meaningful work and improvement in the quality of life. Yet despite the magnitude of the services they provide, operating budgets for most small non-profits are often under $500,000–minuscule in comparison to the services they provide. This paucity of funding leads to the need for enormous amounts of creativity and flexibility on the part of the management team.

At the same time, the management of non-profits often falls into the hands of inexperienced non-management personnel, in large part due to the lack of available funds for recruitment and remuneration of experienced leaders. This is not always a negative; with the proper training and support, those new to management roles can bring a much needed fresh perspectives and insight into the board rooms of small and large non-profits.

Despite the unique challenges they pose, non-profits nevertheless offer the opportunity to bring together people who share common values, an enthusiasm for community action, and the entrepreneurial spirit necessary for the successful maintenance of any organization–something that quite a few experienced managers find exciting.  Ironically, however, one of the greatest obstacles the non-profit manager faces is finding the ways and means to accomplish the kind of joint collaboration that is essential to keeping these critical stakeholders energized and motivated. Regular meetings involving both management personnel and the organization as a whole are absolutely necessary to keep any non-profit functioning with maximum efficiency.

In most instances, full membership meetings of small non-profit organizations occur only once or perhaps twice each year. Usually in a hotel or, depending on the proximity of the organization’s “home base” and the number of projected attendees, a large motor lodge. The reasons for this are fairly obvious; hotels are already equipped with nearly all of the pre-requisites for a successful annual or semi-annual membership meeting: meeting rooms, restaurants and catering capabilities, sleeping quarters, and adequate parking and/or airport shuttle service.  Unfortunately, these are also the reasons why negotiating a contract with a hotel or even a smaller motor lodge for these types of meetings can be so challenging.

According to Whitney Archibald of Exhibitor Magazine, the negotiation process for securing an affordable deal with a desirable location should begin before the non-profit manager even speaks to the hotel event coordinator, when the management team designates the person who will be responsible for negotiating with the venue.

Once the person doing the negotiating has been chosen, both Archibald and Joan Eisenstodt, chief strategist of Eisenstodt Associates, suggest that the management team write its own contract (in collaboration with the firm’s attorney.) Even if the hotel rejects the contract out of hand, the experience will help your team to hone in on exactly what you want from the hotel as well as what you do not want. This approach also allows you to be proactive in including any areas that were problematic for you in other settings.

Of course, it stands to reason that you should also get everything in writing, right down to the color of the napkins on the hors d’oeuvres table (some venues will charge extra for any color other than white or the dining room’s “signature color.”) Do not assume that because something was discussed verbally it will be included. While an oral contract may be legally binding, a written contract is always the best protection for your organization.

Part two of the above–read the contract carefully. Many hotels charge fees for items about which most of us would never think to inquire, and these fees are very often open to negotiation. Items such as maids’ fees when your group will only be staying in the hotel for a single night, tips for the wait staff that are built directly into the price of a meal, or penalties for early or late check-in are all items that usually can be successfully negotiated if you know about them before you sign the contract.

Think about amenities. Very often you can negotiate the use of hotel amenities for your group for free if you do a bit of homework beforehand to see what amenities your group might enjoy. Some hotels may allow free use of the pool and hot-tub but charge prestigious fees for a massage. If your group is small and you don’t plan on using the pool, for example, perhaps you can negotiate free neck massages for anyone who wants one on the first afternoon of the event. On the other hand, if your membership does not mind giving up some amenities, you may be able to use that fact to negotiate a lower room rate or a free continental breakfast.

Another suggestion is to never, ever pay for the use of meeting rooms. Virtually every hotel has more meeting rooms than it ever uses, or it uses them once a year for a single event. You can easily capitalize on this knowledge. Offer to hold break-out groups in the smallest meeting rooms for free, rather than paying to hold a single discussion group in the one large room available. This leaves the hotel the option of scheduling a profitable last minute meeting in the larger conference room; you save money, and your attendees will most likely be more productive.

Finally, think ahead. It is almost always less expensive to book a hotel a year or even more in advance. If your organization has been around for a few years and your membership is stable, or growing at a relatively stable rate, it is reasonable to assume it will continue to do so. Furthermore, as long as you give the venue enough advance notice, you will rarely be penalized if you need to add or remove attendees shortly before the event. Most meeting places require thirty to ninety days notice of cancellation in order to avoid a penalty.

Remember, too, that the recession is still taking its toll on the United States and world economies. Rates for almost everything in the hospitality industry are significantly lower than they were a few years ago and it is safe to predict that they will increase as soon as the economy stabilizes. Do not be afraid to capitalize on this by reserving ahead, thereby locking in your rate a few years in advance.

Obviously, managing a non-profit organization is a tremendous challenge no matter what your vantage point. Whether you are a manager trying to maximize your available funding, a community liaison locating and recruiting new members, or a meeting coordinator working to creatively negotiate the use of affordable venues, working in the non-profit sector offers untold opportunities to make an important contribution to your community.  Keep up the good work!

Filed under: Association Resources, Center for Association Resources, Leadership, Non-Profit, Strategic Planning, Strategy, The Center for Assocation Resources info, Training, , , , , , , ,

Essence of volunteers

Another in a series of articles related to association management selected from our reading list by:
Robert O. Patterson, JD
CEO/ Principal
The Center for Association Resources, Inc.

One of the most vital parts of any non-profit organization are its volunteers. These volunteers perform many necessary tasks for nonprofit organizations, such as filing papers, answering phones, basic cleaning, and even interacting with the people the organization is trying to reach. Almost anyone can participate in volunteering at a non-profit organization just by indicating an interest to volunteer to the director of the non-profit, completing a simple background check, and filling out the proper paperwork as required by the non-profit organization.

Most non-profit organizations are always looking for volunteers. Many non-profit organizations have a website that you can visit to find out more about them and what type of volunteer work they need done. For some non-profits, you will need to go to the non-profit organization, itself, or to its nearest office to find out about volunteer opportunities in your area.

There are literally hundreds of non-profit organizations that are constantly seeking volunteers all over the world. The American Red Cross (www.redcross.org) is always looking for volunteers to teach classes, respond to disasters, do office work, and do shelter work. Big Brothers Big Sisters is another organization that is constantly needing volunteers to mentor younger children (www.bbbs.org). Volunteer Match is also a great resource when searching for volunteering opportunities (www.volunteermatch.org). Many non-profit organizations list their volunteer opportunities on Volunteer Match, and the site, itself, is quite easy to navigate, making it easy for you to research volunteer opportunities in your area.

Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community and is very rewarding for the individual, as well as for the non-profit organization. The extra help from volunteers gives the organization’s staff the opportunity to do what they specialize in within the organization. This is why volunteers are so vital to non-profit organizations.

Another reason volunteers are so critical in non-profit organizations is the fact that these are non-profit organizations and, because of this, these organizations do not have very much to spend on salaries. Their money is mostly gained through fundraisers and donations. When a non-profit organization has enough volunteers to satisfy its needs, it can then use its money to pay the staff and to help the community.

Volunteering is a vital asset to non-profit organizations for so many reasons, and it is easy to get involved with a non-profit organization in your area. You can contact any of the organizations mentioned in this article, or go online and search for volunteer opportunities in your area. One word of warning: Make sure the organization you are interested in is a legitimate organization before giving out any personal information.

Filed under: Association Resources, Center for Association Resources, Leadership, Non-Profit, Strategic Planning, Strategy, The Center for Assocation Resources info, Training, , , , ,

Choosing a Good Board

Another in a series of articles related to association management selected from our reading list by:
Robert O. Patterson, JD
CEO/ Principal
The Center for Association Resources, Inc.

Every organization needs a good mix of board members to be most effective. The mix should comprise of people who have a solid interest in the work of the association and believe in the direction it is going.

Each board member should be able to solidly hold up an area of importance so that when different issues come up, there will be a place to turn for free and respectable advice.

Some areas that should be covered by any organization are leadership, legal, social, subject knowledge, history of the organization, financial and the public media.  Not every organization will be able to cover all their needs with their boards, and each organization will have specialized needs that will have to be identified.

For instance, if an organization is set up for race car safety, they probably don’t need a board member who is knowledgeable in the area of high tea parties. Then again, if a group needs to bring a lawsuit to bring about the enforcement of a law, it would be really nice to have a lawyer or two on the board.  Even if they don’t do the work themselves due to busy schedule or specialization, they can advise whom to see and how to set up the case for clarity and focus.

A socially savvy board member knows people who know people and they can tell more people about the group and it’s thrust.  They know best how to set up fundraisers and how to get people of distinction as honored speakers.  These board members are the heart of the group and keep the group alive.

A member of the media or a media member’s spouse or close relative can help any group immensely.  Just keeping the organization’s name in front of the media with the help of a good and honest and accurate media person is key.  Aim to get one of these people on your board until you get one.  They are that important!

One of the best resources an association can have is a person who has a knowledge of what the association has done in previous years.  This person will have an understanding of what works well, what has been done and over done and underdone. This person has an innate sense of the group and is part of the brain…an excellent resource for the group because many things are not written down, or information is lost. A good human memory bank is priceless.

The other must have association resource is one or more people who know the subject matter well. If your group’s reason to exist is to protect orphaned children, you must have someone who knows children well and orphaned children especially well.  If your group covers the protection of a particular beetle, you must have on hand a natural scientist of some kind to help the organization attain believability.

A board member with accounting background can help in many ways, including help with taxes, training employees, and banking and if you are fortunate enough you will have another to help with investing.

Last, but not least, a leader, a board member who will stay with the group, lead the others and is probably the founder of the group, so you don’t have to worry too much about choosing, but if you do, be sure and find someone who has previous experience.

A few final tips…

  • Be sure that all your board members will be able to attend most if not all meetings, and are interested enough to read the minutes of missed meetings.
  • Big name board members are nice on paper but rarely have time to help in real time.
  • And make sure potential board members get along with others.

Filed under: Association Resources, Center for Association Resources, Leadership, Non-Profit, Strategy, The Center for Assocation Resources info, , , , , , , , , ,

Working with difficult people

Another in a series of articles related to association management selected from our reading list by:
Robert O. Patterson, JD
CEO/ Principal
The Center for Association Resources, Inc.

Difficult people are everywhere.  Our homes, our neighborhoods, our families and at work.  Eventually, a challenging employee or co-worker will eventually find their way into your non-profit organization.  Learning how to handle them and to redirect them in a positive way can save a great deal of time, trouble and wasted resources.

First of all, there are plenty of things NOT to do, when it comes to a challenging person.  Don’t ignore threatening or abusive behavior.  Don’t ignore the problem and hope that it goes away.  It won’t and chances are, others are having similar issues.  Don’t use anonymous or veiled methods of dealing with the problem, such as notes or shunning.  They’ll only serve to alienate the person and make the situation that much worse.  Dealing with the situation, head on, in a positive way can not only solve the problem, but build an environment of trust and respect among colleagues.

The first aspect to look at, when determining how to work with a difficult person is what is making them difficult.  Are they constantly talking over others?  Are they reluctant to really get involved in their work?  Do they have problems working with certain types of people?  Do they need to be in charge, or the center of attention?  Understanding that these behaviors have underlying drives can assist in finding ways to not only neutralize the difficult behavior, but often turn that energy into a positive force.  Those people who need to be in charge can be given a small leadership position, whether it’s managing an outreach project or being in charge of organizing the supply closet.  Giving them a task that they can be in charge of and be recognized for, takes away the challenge and turns it into a positive.

If the difficulties lie in behavior, pulling the person aside and calmly stating your issues can go a long way to fostering an understanding about what is and is not appropriate.  For a serial interrupter, explaining that being interrupted makes you feel as if your contributions aren’t important and asking to be heard will let your colleague know how their behavior is impacting you.  It’s very important to use “I” statements and to avoid accusing the other person of wrongdoing.  “When I’m interrupted during a meeting, I feel as if my ideas aren’t valued.  I would really appreciate being able to finish sharing my ideas, before others discuss them” will go much further toward fostering an environment of understanding than: “You’re always interrupting me and you don’t value my ideas!”  Discussing potentially sensitive topics with understanding and respect can turn an argument into an enriching experience.

Even the most irritating people are with your non-profit for a reason.  They chare the same concern, passion and ideals that you do.  Finding common ground and turning finding ways to use everyone’s talents, to their fullest, will benefit everyone, from the organization, to coworkers, to the irritating person themselves.

Filed under: Association Resources, Center for Association Resources, Leadership, Non-Profit, Strategic Planning, Strategy, Training, , , , ,

Marketing for sponsors and exhibitors

Another in a series of articles related to association management selected from our reading list by:
Robert O. Patterson, JD
CEO/ Principal
The Center for Association Resources, Inc.

For a non-profit organization, marketing is a key factor in getting people to know who you are, what you do, who you serve, why you are accomplishing this mission, how you are doing and where you are focused.  The new parts of your non-profit organization are what keep people excited.  What is changing?  Why is it going that route?  How are you going to accomplish your goals with the new program while keeping the heart of the program intact?  These are the things your non-profit’s marketing department must uphold in order to utilize the key factors of progress and growth in the world around you.
New things are the spice of an organization.  In order for the mission of the non-profit to stay focused, the first step to tell sponsors is that it makes sense.  Why does it make sense?  If you are working in the education realm, perhaps building charter schools, then it makes sense to bring in a technology arm of your non-profit. Not only for the sake of growing the business, but for the future of design in the classroom, possible growth areas within the school and the students lives.  It might not make sense for your organization to offer a grant for adventure travel.  When growing an arm of the non-profit, you have to see where it fits into the overall mission.
One great way to get your message out is to exhibit your non-profit at a fair or to partner with a business and have a booth with a knowledgeable non-profit representative to speak about your group in association with the business.  If you are expanding a technology in schools, as stated above, it would make sense to work with Cisco, IBM, Oracle, or another software company who can also help you develop it.  This way the technology is utilized in the classroom; and many interested people see your organization in partnership with a major company.  This gets people excited about the growth potential you have and may possibly increase your funding.  It will get business people thinking about the power of your group.
When you talk marketing with sponsors and exhibitors, the most important thing to remember is how you represent your passion about a particular subject.  If you are devoted to closing the achievement gap in schools by building charter organizations, you need to make sure that comes across in your presentation to them.  You are always marketing when you talk with someone, and its always an opportunity to make a connection with them.  Everyone has a story and it just depends on how your non-profit and your story intersects with theirs.

Filed under: Association Resources, Center for Association Resources, Fund Raising, Leadership, Marketing, Non-Profit, Planning, Strategic Planning, Strategy, The Center for Assocation Resources info, Training, , , , , , , ,

Benchmarking for success

Another in a series of articles related to association management selected from our reading list by:
Robert O. Patterson, JD
CEO/ Principal
The Center for Association Resources, Inc.

Benchmarking is a measurement tool non-profits can use to gauge both their success and needs for improvement.

Benchmarking can be defined as the standard of excellence by which other activities should be judged.

Though benchmarking was first used in for profit businesses, it is also a useful tool for non-profits. Benchmarking includes activities such as goal setting, comparative measuring, and identifying and implementing best practices. Some key benchmarking activities include defining what a successful outcome is in relation to the non-profit’s services, gathering lessons learned, and defining and applying best practices from these lessons. Determining what measurements are meaningful is vital.

A non-profit can use benchmarking to compare their current performance against their own past performance, or that of other similar non-profits. The scope of the benchmarking can include all aspects of the organization, such as fund-raising, measuring administration costs, and providing services relevant to the organization’s mission. For instance, one measurement the public often considers prior to making donations is the percentage of an organization’s administration costs versus the percentage of funds that are actually used in providing services to the intended population. If an organization has established benchmarks which identify whether the organization is keeping the percentage constant or declining, this could prove valuable to future donation revenue.

Another key measurement for organizations is how well they are implementing activities crucial to the organization’s mission. For instance, a human services organization could poll the consumers of their services to find out what aspects worked well and what needs improvement.  Benchmarks ideally should be specific and measurable. Vague benchmarks will be difficult to measure and will likely not provide useful information.

Top management often needs to lead the way towards benchmarking. Those in the field providing services often do not immediately see the need for benchmarking. Challenges for establishing and implementing benchmarking activities include overcoming individuals’ resistance to change as well as defining measurements and success for disparate or complex activities. Involving field personnel in the benchmarking process may facilitate overcoming some of these challenges.

Benchmarking for non-profits is not a one size fits all endeavor. The organizations culture, mission and locality must be considered. For instance, an organization whose mission focuses on the fine arts may have very different benchmarks than one servicing basic human needs such as sanitation and health care.  An analysis of needs versus goals should be done with the unique circumstances of the organization in mind.

Establishing and communicating the achievements of benchmarked measurements can increase public confidence in the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization.  Public perception of the organization’s effectiveness is also an important item to gauge.  Feedback from surveys, focus groups and online comments can be used to measure how the organization’s activities are perceived by the public. Positive public perception can have a direct impact on donations, so this is an important area to monitor.

Though non-profits may have a few obstacles to overcome when implementing benchmarking, the improvements in goal accomplishment and public reputation are worth the effort involved.

Filed under: Association Resources, Center for Association Resources, Fund Raising, Leadership, Marketing, Non-Profit, Planning, Strategic Planning, Strategy, The Center for Assocation Resources info, Training, , , , , ,

Creating a Technology strategy

Another in a series of articles related to association management selected from our reading list by:
Robert O. Patterson, JD
CEO/ Principal
The Center for Association Resources, Inc.

It is imperative for a non profit organization to have a good technological strategy, because in this day and age people rely on their technology. It is surprisingly easy for an non profit organization to create a technology strategy, and it can usually be done in 2 steps. One of the ways to create a functioning technology strategy is to create a website to help spread the word by leasing out a web domain, creating a newsletter from their website that one can use to tell their followers about upcoming fundraisers goals, as well as just letting their followers know that they can follow this newsletter.

The first thing that a non profit organization should do when they are creating a technology strategy is to create a website. This will be the building blocks of their technology plan and from here they can install many things that will help boost awareness and keep their organization alive! There are many ways to create a website, but the one that most non profit organizations should use is to follow a few steps. Usually the non profit will want to lease out a web domain (I suggest Godaddy.com) which will be the http of their site. This is the place on the web where they will store their information. Usually this dosen’t cost very much, and can be leased for around 5 dollars a month. Next thing they will want to do is get somebody who can help design their website. This will ensure that it looks both professional and also in this economy web designers are looking for work and will normally settle for less than usual, and they will be even more willing if its for a non profit.

The next thing to do is create a news letter in the form of an RSS feed. This “RSS feed” will be available from their website and will let people who are trying to follow their cause have a way to get information on your recent doings. This will require the non profit to update the feed fairly regularly, or at least when they want people to know what they are doing. Creating an RSS feed is a fairly complicated process, so we won’t go into to it in this article, however there is a link included in the sources which goes over how to achieve this. Following these 2 steps will help create a solid and useful technology strategy!

Filed under: Association Resources, Center for Association Resources, Fund Raising, Leadership, Marketing, Non-Profit, Planning, Strategic Planning, Strategy, The Center for Assocation Resources info, Training, , , , , ,

Member survey research

Another in a series of articles related to association management selected from our reading list by:
Robert O. Patterson, JD
CEO/ Principal
The Center for Association Resources, Inc.

Non-profits must provide constant feedback to their membership groups in order to develop a better system for communication, fundraising, organizing and developing solid relationships to expand partnerships and recruit more volunteers.  Asking questions of your members is the best way to obtain direct feedback from your members.  The first thing to note is communication.  How often is it appropriate to make contact with your volunteers?  Maybe a weekly update via an email mailing list is appropriate, whereas a phone call to members may only be required once a year.

Members need to know that their money that is paid in the form of dues is a worthwhile investment for them, and being updated about the new events in the area is important.  Perhaps you can break up the email list into communicating every two weeks, the upcoming events; or a monthly newsletter with breakdowns of what is happening.  This way the member is not overwhelmed, is offered the opportunity to participate and work with the group, but they are not constantly inundated with messages from your group.

Another important research tool is fundraising growth potential with your members.  How often should you connect with them on trying to make money?  Maybe once a quarter you should send out an email that contains a direct payment opportunity; and there may also be a specialized event they can participate in.  Do not underestimate the power of the people on your mailing list: reach out to them for donations, not only in monetary form. There may be an artist in your organization that can donate a piece to auction, a caterer who may be able to provide food at a discounted price, or a photographer who can take pictures at an event for your website.  These are the critical pieces that can be put together if one really sees them as opportunities.

Its not about the money, it is truly about the people.  There are members who can be interested in the organization, they are the ones who are going to help expand your company.  Developing a simple to use online survey will provide value so you can better understand your membership market.  It is important because it allows you to understand what your members want from you, while they can also provide you with their skills to compensate your business.  Their time is valuable, And one should not discount the possibility that two hours of time is less of a contribution to your organization than a donation of $50.  Those photos taken can impact your website which will then impact your web visitors, their donations and their willingness to devote time.

Filed under: Association Resources, Center for Association Resources, Fund Raising, Leadership, Marketing, Non-Profit, Strategy, The Center for Assocation Resources info, , , , ,

Using members in the member development campaign

Another in a series of articles related to association management selected from our reading list by:
Robert O. Patterson, JD
CEO/ Principal
The Center for Association Resources, Inc.

Members are the heart and soul of non-profit organizations. Therefore it’s advantageous for your organization’s current members to play some role in the recruitment of new members. But what are the best ways to get your members involved in the member recruitment process, and to what extent should they be involved? There are traditional techniques as well as new techniques that incorporate social media to consider.

First, consider providing some type of incentive to members who can recruit people that they know to join. This rests on the philosophy that people are more likely to join or support an organization that they already know people in, and that members know people who have similar interests to them that may be in line with an organization’s mission statement or agenda. A for-profit example of this is Groupon’s model, which gives free products/services to members who can convince three of their friends to also join and make the purchase. The benefits from this approach, while essentially incorporating the structure of a “pyramid scheme,” provide the opportunity to expand your numbers exponentially.

Second, another approach you may take is to form a “street team” – recruit members to come out and volunteer at fairs, expos or other public places where they can give one-on-one presentations to others about your organization. This type of member-to-member recruitment is especially popular among young people who are looking for ways to become “activists” in their causes. Although it may be somewhat difficult to recruit people to volunteer large amounts of their time, this approach is appealing to some members because it caters to their desire to be “on the inside” of a cause that they’re passionate in.

Third, consider using social media tools to encourage your members to become involved in recruitment. There are several considerations and approaches that can incorporate social media, but I’ll discuss a few. First, consider having “membership drive days.” On Twitter, for example, many accounts take part in “Follow Fridays,” in which users tweet the handles of accounts that interest them and deserve to be followed. You may email your members, for example, and ask them to take part in Follow Friday. This will also create awareness among your members of your organization’s social media presence.

In another social media approach, you may encourage your members to create rich content for social media platforms, like their own YouTube videos with personal appeals for members to join. To provide incentive, you could make it a “contest” with prizes to see who can produce the most creative product. This approach directly involves members in creating messaging for the member recruitment campaign, and will increase member interest in your social media platform and subsequently your organization in general.

It doesn’t necessarily take slick PR or trained spokespersons to have a successful member recruitment campaign. By involving your members in the process, you’ll not only put more minds to work on the task, but also create stronger bonds between members and your organization.

Filed under: Association Resources, Center for Association Resources, Fund Raising, Leadership, Marketing, Non-Profit, Planning, Strategic Planning, Strategy, The Center for Assocation Resources info, , , , , , ,

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