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Feb 17, 2022 11:30:00 AM by Korrin Bishop

5 Effective Membership Recruitment Ideas

effective membership recruitment ideas

Effective membership recruitment is critical for boosting your association’s membership growth and influence. The more members you have, the greater opportunities you have to foster networking and mentorship relationships. 

How you go about making your recruitment effective can also impact who makes up your member base. You want to make sure your member recruitment creates a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment for all members. You may also want to focus on recruiting top leaders from your field. This can establish your association as an influential organization within your industry.

Each of these recruitment benefits ultimately makes future recruitment easier and member retention more likely. While these can have an ongoing future impact on recruitment, there are many ways to effectively recruit members starting today, no matter where you are in your membership recruitment journey.

Here are the top five membership recruitment ideas for your association: 

  1. Enhance and promote your membership benefits.

  2. Host a membership drive.

  3. Offer a volunteer opportunity. 

  4. Open your major events to everyone. 

  5. Use a strategic social media approach.

Below, we’ll dive into the details of each approach to help you optimize your membership recruitment campaign.


1. Enhance and promote your membership benefits.

Offering the right array of membership benefits helps with recruitment in two ways:

  1. Member-driven promotion. When you engage with current members better, they will be more likely to promote your organization to their friends or colleagues. 

  2. Clear value-add. When you can promote unique and useful benefits to prospective members, they’re able to see how joining your association will help with their personal and professional goals.

Before starting any membership recruitment campaign, revisit your current membership benefits. Ask yourself: Are you doing everything you can to appeal to prospective and current member interests? 

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Determine areas where you might be able to grow your membership benefits. For example, you could add a mentorship program or improve your continuing education offerings. Make sure to review member survey results. They can reveal any areas where current members have made suggestions for improvements.


2. Host a membership drive.

While nonprofits fundraise throughout the year, many make a concentrated effort around the holiday season to raise large amounts as part of a Giving Tuesday campaign. 

Take inspiration from nonprofits. Similar to how they build momentum and excitement for donors to be a part of that year-end giving, your association can host a membership drive or campaign. This can generate excitement and interest in your organization. Taking a dedicated approach to new member recruitment puts your association in front of more eyes. It also gives the process a fun and game-like experience.

Your membership drive might include: 

  • Member referral incentives. Offer current members a membership discount, free event registration, or gift cards when they refer a new member. This can bring like-minded people into your organization.

  • Prospective member events. Organize happy hours, lunch-and-learn sessions, or other opportunities for potential members to mingle and get a feel for your organization.

  • Social media giveaways. Encourage online engagement and user-generated content by running contests for new and current members who share information about your campaign to win prizes, like branded swag or free membership.


3. Offer a volunteer opportunity. 

Volunteering is a great way to bring people together. Create a volunteer opportunity that’s relevant to your field and open it up to both current and prospective members. For example, if you’re a culinary arts association, you could organize a day to cook meals at a local homeless shelter.

This allows prospective members to casually network with current members and get more information about your organization. It also serves as a bonding experience as everyone dedicates their time toward a good cause.

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Make sure to follow up after the event to thank prospective members for joining and volunteering their time. Let them know who they can reach out to if they have questions about your organization or want to join other events in the future.


4. Open your major events to everyone. 

You put time and effort into your major events to ensure they’re a strong reflection of your association’s values and provide key benefits to members. Consider opening these annual events, like your yearly conference, to everyone—not just current members. 

Some of the benefits of doing so include:

  • Greater Reach: Opening your events gives the wider public a glance into your organization’s offerings and demonstrates what your brand stands for. 

  • More Networking: Having both non-members and members attend allows current and prospective members to get to know each other and begin forming critical bonds.

  • Increased Interest: If a prospective member enjoys your annual event, they’ll be more curious about your other programs. Use the opportunity to showcase additional member benefits like your networking events or career development opportunities.  


5. Use a strategic social media approach. 

Social media can be a creative way to recruit new members throughout the year. You can use your social media pages to:

Focus on content that provides value to prospective members, catches their attention, and offers a call to action. You can do this through appealing imagery and infographics, links to helpful resources, or information on upcoming events and membership campaigns.

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Take Creative, Strategic Steps to Recruit More Members

Membership recruitment is an ongoing process and one that is critical to the health and future of your association. By using strategic membership recruitment ideas, you can demonstrate the value of your organization to prospective members and build the case for them to join.

As you plan a membership recruitment campaign, take stock of your current benefits and where you can improve them, open your events to the general public, and leverage your social media and other marketing channels effectively. 

We hope these recruitment ideas have left you inspired and ready to make your recruitment program the best it can be

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