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 members ask people to join, you will grow.
  4. Promote friendliness. Compile an accurate membership list with names, addresses, phone numbers, cell phone numbers and email 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, create a club newsletter and mail or email a copy to each member. Have additional copies at meetings for guests and prospective members. Send weekly emails 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 for 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 discuss fundraisers.
  7. Stay young. Invite kids to be part of your programs. Remember, we are an organization dedicated to helping children, 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 and encourage members to 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 beginning of the meeting and introduce them to the club. In the three weeks following a prospective member’s 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 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, particularly any news coverage. It is easy and impressive to the community and prospective members. Brag about your team every chance you get!

NOTE: Check your club meeting room. Your club will only grow to 70% of the capacity of your room. 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 and clean it.