Membership Building: Courteous Ideas that Grow
To run a successful club, you must
be able to attract new members
and retain current members.
By Robert Brumm, ATMS
Building membership in a Toastmasters club is vital to the club’s longevity. I thought I would share some tips that have worked well for our club.
In our club meetings, as guests come in, we ask them to sign a guest book with their e-mail address. We inform our guests that this is so we can send them a thank-you e-mail for attending our meeting. When we start our meetings, we ask our guests how they heard about our club and ask if we can obtain their feedback at the end of the meeting. This allows several things to happen:
- The guest is recognized and introduced to the group.
- We get to hear if our public relations efforts are working.
At the completion of the meeting, we ask guests for their impressions. This helps us know:
- If the club’s format works.
- Are we keeping the meeting on time and interesting?
- What someone outside the club sees.
This process has been enlightening for our club because we can study the effectiveness of our marketing efforts and we get evaluated on our meeting format.
Most guests find our club through the Web and they like our format and process of the meetings. Of the many clubs in our division, only three have Web sites. These days, a Web site is like a business card. It tells people what your club is about, what your club can offer and provides other crucial information to the guest before they actually attend a meeting. Giving information to a guest before they go to a new meeting makes them feel comfortable. After all, part of the club’s mission is “to provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment.”
Many people are intimidated by setting up a Web site, thinking they have to know programming or code. But you don’t need to know all that! Just take advantage of Toastmasters’ free Web hosting service, FreeToastHost.org.
To run a successful club, you must be able to attract new members and retain current members. FreeToastHost.org provides the tools needed to do just that.
Currently, FreeToastHost.org hosts more than 40 percent of the Toastmasters clubs worldwide. It is a Web host specifically for Toastmasters clubs anywhere in the world. Each Web site comes with easy-to-use software ideal for any Toastmasters club. Providing your club is listed on Toastmasters.org, there is no cost for this service! FreeToastHost.org was created by a Toastmaster and is maintained and supported by a group of Toastmasters with the cooperation of Toastmasters International.
What else can you do to build your club’s membership? What about the follow-up after the guests leave your club meeting? Our club officers have made a standard procedure of sending an e-mail to our guests after the meeting. In that e-mail we:
- Thank them for attending.
- Tell them why our club would be a great choice for them.
- Include a Toastmasters application, dues schedule and the Ice Breaker speech description.
These attachments allow the guest to come back with the application filled out. They know the proper fee to pay and who to make the check payable to. Most importantly, the guest has an idea of what to expect for his or her first speech. The guest has the opportunity to ask any additional questions of your club. In one of our recent meetings, we had four guests attend. Out of those, three signed up the very next week!
Try these ideas; you will be pleasantly surprised at your results. If the goal is worth the reward, be prepared to take the steps necessary to get there. With a good Web site and courteous guest procedures in place, you can build your club’s membership quickly and share the benefits of Toastmasters with others.
Robert Brumm, ATMS, is president of Tampa Downtowners Toastmasters club in Tampa, Florida.