Club strengthening: Step-by-step

Want to increase your membership? Here are 12 steps to excite your members, impress your prospects, and enhance everyone’s Kiwanis experience.

  1. Make your purpose known. Create a vision with your club and mention it in every meeting, newsletter, news release, fundraising ticket, and advertisement.  
  2. Remind them often. At every meeting ask, “Who have you invited to come to Kiwanis this week?” Remind every member to look for prospective members and invite someone to come to your meetings. Yes, at every meeting, talk about growing your club!
  3. Give them a reason. Host a contest: Why? It gives everyone an excuse to ask others to come and to join Kiwanis. If you get your club excited and they just ask people to join, you will grow.
  4. Promote friendliness. Compile an accurate membership list with names, addresses, phone numbers, cell phone numbers, and e-mail addresses, and distribute copies to every member. Follow that up by e-mailing them a copy. Keep the list updated and redistribute copies at least every three months. This is a must—the club members must be able to communicate with each other before the club will grow.
  5. Speak their language. Communicate often and in many formats. At least monthly, publish a club newsletter, and mail and e-mail a copy to each member. Have additional copies at meetings for guests and prospective members. Send weekly e-mails to remind members of programs, special projects, fundraisers, etc., and include past club visitors in your distribution.
  6. Plan your program. Have a set agenda every meeting. This is a huge component of the member experience. Your members will more readily invite prospective members when they know there is a good program planned. Programs should be planned at least two months in advance. Don’t just meet and talk over fundraisers.
  7. Stay young. Invite kids to be part of your programs! Remember, we are an organization dedicated to helping youth so keep young people as the focus of your program agenda.
  8. Don’t forget the fun. Every two months or so host a “fun” program to which members invite their friends and family.
  9. Show them you care. Send a “we miss you” card or note to members who have missed two meetings in a row, even if you know why they’ve been away (vacation, etc.). Especially send one if you know someone is sick. If a member goes into the hospital, take up a collection and send flowers. No matter why they’ve been absent, send a note telling them they are important and missed.
  10. Extend a warm welcome. Greet new visitors at the first of the meeting and introduce them to the club. In the three weeks following the prospective members’ visit, send a follow-up letter or postcard…even if they don’t come back immediately.
  11. Make it personal. Send a letter of invitation to every prospective member who has been invited to join. Each month compose a prospect list of names and addresses and share this list with current members, asking them to contact those on the list. A personal invitation to come and join can be very effective.
  12. Show appreciation. Send thank-you notes for every donation, no matter how small. Include a picture of your fundraiser or project that they were a part of, particularly any news cuttings; it is easy and impressive to the community and prospective members. Brag on your team every chance you get!

NOTE:  Check your club meeting room. Your club will only grow to 70 percent of the capacity of your room. Period. Do you need to move to a bigger room, or maybe even a different place?  Also is your room bright and cheery? If not, offer to paint it and clean it up.