Thursday, October 18, 2018

What Makes a Successful Club?

person with brown bucket hat using black and grey Fujifilm Instax camera

Clubs with highly-focused interests may do best

For many years I've heard members of various service clubs groan abut their declining membership figures. Oddly enough, it is easy to find recent articles on the wave of loneliness that lurks in our society. You might think that if loneliness were a major problem - I suspect it is - then clubs would be swamped with applicants.

This is all part of the "Bowling Alone" phenomenon, based on a book of that name which noted that Americans aren't the joiners they once were, even for groups like bowling clubs which make few demands.

The aging demographic of clubs is often noted. Do the clubs need younger members to attract younger members? If so, how do they attract the younger members in the first place? What's the average age of the Shriners?

Simply doing more of the tried and now-untrue recruitment efforts probably won't work anymore.

I am working on some strategies to help recruitment since these organizations continue to do fine work. Feel free to share any ideas.

[Photo by Eric Ward at Unsplash]


Texas Leigh said...

I belong to a luncheon group founded in 1974. Our membership is small, but we aren't losing ground as people who visit, often join. A campaign of reminders to current members to invite someone new to each meeting is ideal. Great speakers and fascinating programs make it easier to invite guests...but we must all remember Zig Ziglar's favorite radio station: WIIFM (What's In It For Me?). Promote the benefits of new or continuing membership and make them sound compelling.

Michael Wade said...

Texas Leigh,

Those are great ideas. Too many organizations don't invite new people and even if they do the stranger is subjected to a boring program.

I wonder if the size of the group plays a major role in retention. Absence is quickly noticed when the group is small. People may sense that their presence is more important.