Peggy Wilson, Third Vice President 2020-2022
Keys to Making GFWC Georgia Membership Grow
Keys to Evaluating Your Club
Determine your purpose: Ask where our group is going, how are we going to get there, and how will
we know when we have arrived. Ask yourself some key questions about your club.
- What do we do best as a club?
- What needs can we satisfy for potential members that other groups can’t?
- What do we want our club to be known for?
- What value do we want to have in our community?
- What personal needs do we want our club to satisfy?
- A goal cannot be too general in nature. It must be to the point. It must define a specific outcome.
- Any goal must be measurable. If individuals experience success in reaching a goal, it will lead to motivation and determination to do more or better.
- Goals must be attainable. It is important to know your capabilities. Any goal must be within reach. Your club must be able to attain what you set out to achieve. It is not achievable; it may lead to negative experiences and a lack of motivation to try again.
- Goals must be realistic. The measurable parts of a goal must never be too easy or too difficult. Many times you may need to break the goal down into smaller objectives. This can give the club additional chances to be successful and make adjustments, which, in time will help to reach the final goal.
- Each goal or objective must have a time limit. Without it, there are no deadlines. Working with deadlines makes it easier to measure and determine success. Time limits must be measurable, attainable, and realistic.
Key Questions to Consider
- Who are we as a club? Do most of us work outside the home? Do we have small or school aged children? Are we baby boomers or millennials? Are we a small group that has been together for a long time? Are we a large club with a constantly changing membership? Who is the member of our club that most closely represents who and what we are – age appropriate, active in club and active in the community, and personalizes the kind of woman we want to attract to our club?
- What does our club do? Is there a project/program for which we are known in the community?
Are our activities predominantly “hands on?” Does the club mainly hold fund-raisers and donate the proceeds to further the work of others. Do we spend more time in meetings than on projects? Do we have fun? What is the mix of social and service activities?
- What kind of skills/interests do we need to achieve club program goals? What efforts are we making to attract members who have the skills we need?
- Where does our club meet? Do we have room to grow? If not why not? Is there enough parking? Is our meeting place safe for evening meetings? Can we do a variety of activities in our regular meeting space?
- When does our club meet? Can working women attend our meetings easily? Can busy members participate in program activities at times that may be more convenient than meeting times (weekends, evenings)? Is our club flexible and willing to accommodate the changing needs of its members?
- How does our club work? Are meetings too long? How are programs chosen? How are members treated when they come to meetings? How are our “worker bees” thanked? Are a few members doing all the work? Does everyone have an opportunity to participate?
- Are new members put on committees immediately so they can become involved right away?
Key Plan for Membership Growth
- Appoint a Club Membership Chairman. Ideally this should be someone who has a passion for membership and has an understanding of the workings of the club and Federation.
- The Club President or Membership Chairman should appoint at least two additional members to serve on the Membership Committee. There is a lot of membership work to be done- share the load.
- Establish specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time specific membership goals. Remember, if you lose four members, you must recruit at least five new members to achieve a net increase.
- Write a club profile. It is important to give a prospective member a professional looking brochure explaining the programs and projects that define you as a club.
- Update your directory or roster and be sure to provide updated contact information for your club members to your state federation.
- Conduct a recruitment event. Recruiting is an ongoing activity; however, it’s a good idea to have an event with strictly membership focus at least once a year.
- Start or continue to issue a club newsletter and establish and maintain a club website. Communication is absolutely vital and these are two useful tools.
- Always let members know they are important to the club.
- A vital aspect of membership growth is to find out how your members perceive your club. Use the following questionnaire to help you know what your members think about your club. Share what you learned from the questionnaire.
Keys to Marketing
- The more you TELL, the more you SELL, so tell the benefits of being a club member whenever you can.
- Develop an “elevator speech.” An elevator speech is a brief personal statement about something that is meaningful to you, which can be presented in about 30 seconds-the average length of an elevator ride. Chance encounters at grocery stores, coffee shops, community events, and social gatherings are often great opportunities to share your enthusiasm about your club, GFWC Georgia, and GFWC with a potential member.
- Set up a Facebook page, Twitter account, Linkedin, or Instagram for your club to promote your club’s activities. Share stories often about what’s happening all around your club.
- Market your club through emails to friends that are not members of your club. Share what your club is planning. Invite them to join you at special events.
- If someone is interested in your club activities and cannot attend invite those to join your club on zoom. This will give them a chance to learn more about your club.
- Be visible in your community by honoring a community member at a special meeting.
- Design a club brochure and distribute it to prospective members.
- Ask your Chamber of Commerce to list your meeting information in their newsletter.
- Post brochures and flyers in your community.
- Send out press releases on all your activities. Don’t be discouraged if it takes awhile to be noticed. (NOTE: Small community newspapers are likely to give you the best coverage.)
- Buy a classified ad in your local paper.
- Have club business cards made with your meeting date, location, time, and a contact number. Pass them out everywhere.
- Put a GFWC bumper sticker on your car.
- Wear your GFWC shirt when you go shopping.
- Place posters about your club meeting in local businesses.
- Sponsor a GFWC booth at community events. Follow up with people who express an interest.
- Be active in your community. This puts you in touch with other people who may be interested in GFWC. Consider scheduling a social event that can showcase what GFWC can offer. Make sure you follow up on all new member leads.
Key Recruitment Event
- Develop a fun and relevant theme to interest a wide range of possible members.
- Brainstorm with others who to invite – challenge every member to invite two, three, or four possible members and reward those who have prospective members attend. (Places to look for new members: work place, social gatherings, neighbor, doctor office, library, other community clubs, schools, and church.
- Carefully choose the date and location to maximize attendance.
- Publicize the event using local media, social media, and e-vites –make sure your club website is updated and portrays a positive experience.
- Give paper invitations to your members to distribute.
- Celebrate the club’s history and investment in the community with a display or photographs with emphasis on the impact to the community.
- Have refreshments.
- Focus on making guests feel welcome – have an experienced member partner with a new comer. Play an ice breaker game.
- Provide a small thank you gift to your prospective member.
- Provide a welcome packet and instructions on how to join with an application included.
- Follow up with your new members with an email, hand written note, or phone call and contact the prospective member for the next meeting or project.
- Be positive!!!!
- Follow up with a new member orientation. Plan a small group get-together to answer any
questions the prospect might have.
Key Ideas for Recruiting New Members (here are a few, there are many more in the Membership Guide)
- Members and Mentors
GFWC Jacksonville Beaches Woman’s Club (FL) “Members and Mentors” program paired each new member with a club mentor. The mentor was responsible for assisting the new member in her first year in every way needed, from answering questions about the club and club activities to helping her determine which committees to serve, introducing her to current club members, and providing a ride to meetings if needed.
- Who wants to be a Millionaire?
GFWC Morrow Civic Woman’s Club (GA) invited potential members to enjoy a salad supper. After the meal, participants played a game based on the TV show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” The questions were based on trivia facts about GFWC and the local club. The game was very engaging and provided the visitors with an overview of the club, its Community Service Programs, projects, and
history. Door prizes were drawn for all guests.
- Sorority Rush
GFWC Rochester Juniors (MI) mirrored the sorority rush idea for their membership drive. New members were recruited by the local paper, club website, and Facebook page, as well as through word of mouth. At the open-house style gathering, each guest was greeted by a clubwoman who showed her the Past President memory books, explained the club’s goals, and answered questions. The
atmosphere was upbeat and informal and resulted in gaining 14 new members.
- New Evening Group
GFWC Woman’s Club of Newport News (VA) established the Evening Group of the Woman’s Club of Newport News to enable women who work during the day an opportunity to be a part of the club. The Club President and other members who attended the day meetings were welcomed to attend the evening meetings. Evening meetings included fellowship time, a program, and a business meeting. This one change resulted in an increase in club membership.
- New-Member Ambassador
GFWC Greater Keller Women’s Club (TX) created a “New-Member Ambassador” board position to ensure new members were integrated into the club. The Ambassador connected with new members for six months by hosting small social gatherings, and through emails, phone calls, and texts. She answered questions and helped new members understand the club and its activities. A new-member
“Meet the Board and Hospitality Committee” party was also held so new members would understand club operations and meet key members.
- Bunco Bash
GFWC Wilbraham Junior Women’s Club (MA) kicked off the year with a “Bunco Bash.” Members planned the event, shopped for raffle prizes, spread the word on social media, and organized supplies and game instructions. The Bash was a successful membership event, as well as a fun social! Although it was not designed as a fundraiser, the event garnered the club a small net profit.
- University Outreach
GFWC Junior Woman’s Club of Raleigh (NC) is located in a city with 10 colleges and universities. Before their September meeting, two members participated in a Career and Community Involvement event at William Peace University. Students and faculty met with clubwomen and learned more about the club’s involvement in the community. Given the vast age range for membership in the club,
targeting recruitment at a university with a concentrated student population and faculty seemed ideal.
Start a mentor program and call it “Keys to Federation Friends.”
- Mentors can explain the club structure and activities to the new member.
- Mentors stay in touch and monitor the new member’s level of comfort and involvement.
- Mentors help the new member find the projects or committees that best fit her interest.
- Mentors share information about district, state, and national meetings.
- A mentor needs to be passionate about GFWC club work, high level of knowledge about the club and GFWC. They must devote time to helping the new member fully engage in club projects and meetings
Key Ingredients for Keeping Members
PERSONALITY – good leaders will give your club a definite personality.
PROMPTNESS – plan your meetings well and start on time.
PROGRAMS – appeal to the majority, not too long, brainstorm occasionally.
PROJECTS – be selective, have a few good ones; choice of majority.
PARTICIPATION – the sure way to interest and keep members.
PLACEMENT – use talents or preference for committees; keep files.
PROGRESS – inform your members; it is their club – they want to know.
Don’t forget PRIDE – instill PRIDE by using the seven above P’s.
GFWC Club and District Grants
Grants are available from GFWC to clubs to assist with recruitment efforts and to districts to assist with club building efforts. Funds are designated each GFWC fiscal year beginning July 1 and ending June 30 to help underwrite membership recruiting and rebuilding in your community. GFWC offers $50 for club member recruitment programs and $100 for district new club building programs. To apply for a club membership grant, please visit http://www.GFWC.org/Membership, e-mail GFWC@GFWC.org, or contact 202-347-3168. Please note that you must return the application form to GFWC Headquarters at least 45 days prior to your event. While a GFWC club or district may submit grant applications for separate events, GFWC will award a maximum of one grant per club/district per GFWC fiscal year.
There are many tools available to promote the value of GFWC/GFWC Georgia clubs. Please visit our Tools for Success page here for more forms and useful guidelines.
Join GFWC’S Seasonal Recruitment Campaign: GFWC’s “Hat’s Off to Membership” Recruitment Campaign
Join GFWC clubs nationwide in our popular membership recruitment campaign. Please submit the names of those successfully recruited during your membership campaigns, please complete the GFWC Seasonal Recruitment Campaign Report Form and return it to GFWC Headquarters by the deadlines noted.
- Summer – Ball Cap: “Retention – Staying in the Game” June, July, August (Report Due September 1)
- Fall – Winter Hat: “Recruitment – Exploring for New Members” September, October and November (Reports due December 1
- Winter – Hard Hat: “Mentoring – Building the Connections” December, January, and February (Report Due March 1)
- Spring – Fancy Hat: “Recognition – Celebrating the Victories” March, April and May (Report Due June 1)
Clubs achieving and reporting three new members as a result of their seasonal recruiting efforts will be recognized in GFWC Clubwoman Magazine.
Check out GFWC GA’s Day of Service Event Page and join us this year!