Stay in touch. Besides hearing from your club members during the annual club assessment, try “taking a pulse” regularly throughout the year. Here are some suggestions.
- Informal conversation. Spend time during a meeting to talk about what is and what is not working. In the months between administering the annual club assessment, check in with the members to see what needs are and are not being met. This can be done in small discussion groups of four to five people. It can be done at a club officer retreat. The point is to invest the time to take a pulse of your membership on a regular basis.
- Exit interviews. Many clubs use exit interviews to discover candid reasons why the member is leaving the club. Sometimes the reasons are personal and there is nothing club leaders can do to change their minds. Other times you can get a sense of emerging trends that should be discussed and addressed. Use these suggested exit interview questions as a starting point to developing your own style.
- Observers. Ask a potential member to visit the club and share his or her observations and reactions to the meeting. This “mystery shopper” can provide a thoughtful assessment from a new perspective—and may even end up joining! You can also invite a member from another club to attend your meeting as a guest and provide feedback on his experience and recommendations for improvement.
- Missing members. If you notice that a member is not participating in the club’s activities, find out why, before the member disconnects from the club and ends up leaving. Contact the member one on one and discover through an informal conversation if there is anything in the club experience that he or she is not happy about, and do something to fix it.