Julie Walters, Third Vice President 2022-2024
Theme for Membership: Birds of a feather flock together
What is the status of your bird house?
As we think of our club members as birds, our meetings we can think of as our bird houses- are you welcoming to new birds or help make your club grow?
A club assessment is vital to keeping current members engaged and active while you also ensure your club is attractive to prospective members.
It can be hard to be reflective and take an objective view of your club, but it is important to reveal both your club strength and areas you need to improve.
You can send a survey out to your club members. You can use the state’s Constant Contact account to send that survey, or if you have the Forms app on your Office 365 account- send out the survey to your members with that tool.
You can ask Yes or No questions, but you might get better data by asking open questions that require detailed answers. Ask members what their favorite projects are, favorite programs, opinions on changes made, and suggestions for improvements.
Focus on Realtors
This administration we are going to focus on inviting new members of the community to join a club. We are printing Welcome to the Community postcards that will members will ask their local Realtors to distribute to women when they purchase a house in the community. Click here to download the postcard.
The General Federation of Women’s Club, is one of the world’s oldest and largest women’s volunteer community service organizations. Communities across the county benefit every day from projects and programs supported by local women’s clubs.
Clubs are important, as they help hold communities together and preserve civic values. Continuing that tradition and offering to others the opportunity to be a part of that tradition are vital. Introducing women to the personal rewards of membership in a GFWC Georgia club and actively encouraging them to become part of your club will guarantee that GFWC Georgia thrives into the future.
Clubs cannot wait for members to come to them. It is time to take a proactive role by reaching out and offering women the opportunity– and the privilege– of becoming part of what we know is a wonderful organization.
Your community is unique. Your community members and needs are unique. Adopt or adapt ideas to best suit your situation. Most importantly– have fun. If you are having a good time, your fellow clubwomen will, too.
Public Relations and Recruitment Tips
Look around at the ladies you know who sewed face masks during this pandemic. These are ladies with a heart for service– invite them to join your club.
Do not let your club be the best kept secret in your community.
- Print business cards for your clubs members with the GFWC logo and club contact information printed on them.
- Publish a Meetings note in the Community Calendar section of your local newspaper. List the details of the meeting and invite interested ladies to attend.
- Join your local Chamber of Commerce and attend networking events. Hand out those business cards!
- Have a float in your community parade.
- Offer your members as speakers to other civic organizations in your community.
- Ask your Mayor for a Proclamation for Federation Day.
- Talk about your club everywhere you go- from work, family gatherings, neighborhood get-togethers and parties.
- Put your club on display. Are there any vacant storefronts on a nearby street or in a nearby shopping mall? If so, contact the owner and ask if your club can use a front window to display a poster and other information on your club. Make sure to provide the names and phone numbers of some club leaders who can be contacted for more information.
- Write and publish press releases about programs and projects your club holds.
- Put prospects to work. If your club is planning an upcoming service project, ask several prospective members to get involved. Why wait until they join the club? Perhaps hands-on involvement in a service project may be just the thing to prod some good prospects into making a commitment.
- Plan a fun event. Not sure you want to put prospects to work before they join? Then how about organizing a party or other fun event? Invite as many prospective members as possible, along with all members and their spouses or significant others. While having a good time is the main objective of the get together, you can also work in some federation education and even a soft-sell invitation to join.
- Increase your circulation. Does your club send a newsletter to members before every meeting? Why not increase its circulation? Send copies to prospective members, to media professionals and to former members. Add a personal note on each, inviting the recipient to attend the next meeting.
- Recognize recruiters. When a member successfully recruits a member, publicly thank and recognize him or her for a job well done. Do something special to show that member (and everyone else) just how important it is to bring in new members. You could ask both the recruiter and new member to sit at the head table, send a hand written thank you card to their home and recognize their work in the club newsletter.
- Roll out the welcome mat. Whenever guests come to a meeting, make them feel right at home. Encourage your members to introduce themselves and talk up the club. Many clubs assign one or two longtime members to accompany the prospect and make sure he or she gets a good introduction to your Club. First impressions are important.
- Set up shop. Does your city or town have community fairs or trade shows? If so, consider renting a booth and handing out information on your club. Make a short video on your phone about your club. Set up a laptop and play the video. A good video is worth several thousand words.
- Look up old friends. Pull out some of your club’s old membership rosters and circle the names of those who have left the club. Give those members a call, their situations may have changed since they left and they may be ready to return to your club. If for some reason they are unable to rejoin, ask them for the names of some people they think would make good members.
- Have club t-shirts that you ear, out a GFWC decal on your car and drink out of a GFWC mug at work.
- Set monthly new-member goals. If you miss, you can increase a later goal.
- Follow Wal-Mart’s example and have a “greeter” stationed at the entrance to your meetings to make sure everyone gets a warm, friendly “Thanks for coming.”
- Ask members to list their membership in their professional bios on LinkedIn. It gets your club name in front of more people, builds your organization’s prestige, and reminds members to talk about it.
- Create a club website. As long as your potential members are able to find you online, even a simple site can do the trick!
- Add a “Join Us” section to your website. People need to know you’re accepting new members and how to join you. You can also include convincing elements like testimonials from current members and the benefits of joining your organization. Make online registration as easy as possible. If you include online member application forms, anyone coming across your website will be much more likely to register than if they have to mail in a paper form.
- Create a welcome packetfor guests. Include things like the mission, calendar, and contact information, as well as information about becoming a member.
- Encourage members to share club activities on social media. Create a photo release package so that you get permission to tag them in pictures. This will ensure the photos show up in their friends’ feeds as well.
- Is there a New Comers group in your community? Check with local realtors if there is or if you can ask them to share your club brochure with folks they sell houses to.
Membership Event Ideas
Every program, every project, everything you do as a club is a membership event. You are always recruiting for new members. But you should also arrange events that are membership events. Here are some ideas.
Book and Author Lunch
Hold a lunch and invite a local author to attend and speak about her/his book. Invite prospective members and the general public to attend. Have information about club membership to hand out.
Welcome Back Pot Luck
If your club does not meet over the summer, in the fall when you have your first meeting, make it a Welcome Back Pot Luck meal meeting and invite prospective members to attend. Plan activities that require members to mingles and talk to each other. Have sign up sheet for current members and encourage prospective to sign up as well.
Club members take turns hosting a tea monthly at their home. Invite current members to bring at least one prospective member. Purchase vintage tea cups at Goodwill or flea markets and tie a tea bag and membership invite to the handle. All prospective members get their tea in one of those cups—that is a take home favor.
Ice Cream Social
Hold an ice cream social and invite prospective members to attend. Promote on social media and have membership information to distribute at the event.
Virtual Membership Bingo
If the pandemic has taught us anything—it is that we can still connect with each other if we are not in the same room. We can connect virtually. Hold a membership Bingo game via Zoom or Teams. It is a fun way to connect and introduce prospective members to your club.
At the Office
Have a membership event at the office and invite the co workers who are interested.
Ask your local library to host a club event during Library Week in April. While you are hosting events for the library—-you can invite prospective members to attend.
The next step in recruitment is Orientation to the new member about the club. Have an Orientation meeting. New members need to know what the club and Federation is all about. Invite current members to attend too—-it never hurts to remind everyone of the goals and mission of the club.
The club president, officers and community service program chairman should attend and lead.
Orientation is an important opportunity to welcome new members. Informed members will remain active and enthusiastic for years to come.
New members may be honored at a regular club meeting, at a special luncheon or dinner meeting or at an open house. Once your club has set the date for a new member orientation, send an invitation to each prospective or new member to attend. Encourage all club members to attend and involve experienced members by asking them to serve as greets or hostesses.
- Use an Ice Brakers as an opener to get members attention and interest and as a way of getting acquainted.
- Share an organizational chart. Show GFCW international. State, district and local clubs.
- Distribute a map of the six districts of Georgia– highlighting where your club is located.
- Be sure to give each new member a GFWC Georgia yearbook and club directory.
- Provide overviews of the Plan of Work. Have each Community Service Program chairman give a brief summary of the projects they are doing and planning for the club to do.
- Have a long standing member of the club give a brief history of your club.
- Ask a couple of current members to share their membership story.
- Provide a copy of your club bylaws.
- Explain your club fundraisers. Tell what is expected of each member during these fundraisers.
- Share where the funds from the fundraisers go. District a copy of your club budget.
- Explain the financial obligations of being a member– how much are the dues, and where they go– how much goes to district, state and general federation.
- Explain other obligations of being a member.
- Do not overwhelm them. Al of this is a lot to absorb at one time. Be brief, let it soak in slowly. The yearbook and other handouts are easier to understand after a brief overview of the club.
- At the end of the meeting, ask questions about your local club, district, state and international organizations and give small prizes for the correct answers.
Icebreakers are a simple and fun way to begin helping people bond. Without a sense of belonging and friendship, club members won’t stay.
It’s important to use icebreaker activities that are easy to learn, non-threatening and fun. Since bonding is the goal, they should have an element of bonding. When you choose an icebreaker for your club, think about the people who will be present.
- What are their personalities like?
- Are they friends already with one another?
- How will people respond to a game or to being asked questions?
It’s good to know who you’re serving so you can find the best icebreakers for them.
It is also helpful to think about which icebreakers work best during different seasons in the life of the club . In the beginning stages of a small group, it is helpful to do more get-to-know you games and questions so people feel known. As time progresses, changing up the icebreakers will bring new energy to the group. You can always ask your small group members what types of icebreakers they enjoy most as well and plan from there.
Description: Go around the room and have each person share something that makes him or her unique or unusual, such as “I’ve never left the state I was born in” or “I am one of 10 kids.” The more unique the facts, the more fun the icebreaker becomes.
Tips: Give examples of unique or unusual facts, and be willing to share your answer first. This activity often creates starting points for conversations between members.
Description: Most people will not know each other well in a club that’s just forming. Using this icebreaker helps create friendship and community within the club. Simply ask one of these questions and give everyone a predetermined amount of time to answer.
Your goal is not to answer all of these questions, but we have provided them to give you options.
What do you do for fun?
What would be your ideal vacation?
What is the most memorable activity you did with your family as a child?
What quality do you appreciate most in a friend?
What is one characteristic you received from your parents you want to keep and one you wish you could change?
What is a good thing happening in your life right now? What makes it good?
If you knew you could not fail and money were no object, what would you like to do in the next five years?
Description: Ask the club: “You’ve been exiled to a deserted island for a year. You are told you may take three things you want, apart from the essentials. What would you take and why?”
Description: Ask each club member to name three people, past or present, he or she admires. Why?
Or ask: “If you could interview anyone in history, who would you choose and why? What one or two questions would you ask?”
Reasons for Joining a Club
A survey was conducted asking all of the GFWC membership——why did you join a GFWC club. Never forget HOW and WHY you and your fellow club members joined.
How I joined
- Married into a clubwoman family.
- Daughter went to a youth leadership conference where clubwomen were working.
- Had just retired; visited a club, heard the laugher and joined.
- Retired to a new town and joined at a cookie exchange.
- Asked to do a program at a meeting.
- Invited to lunch and recognized GFWC logo—had belonged to a Junior club and wanted to be a part of GFWC again.
- Saw an article in the newspaper about the club.
- Went to a fundraiser.
The number ONE answer– I was asked.
Knew a member and was asked.
A group of ladies invited me to join after I moved from another state and the members assured me “ We will take care of you”.
Moved from another state and siz days after moving into my house, I was asked to join a club.
A good friend asked me to join a new group.
Postcard from a local club invited me to join.
Moved from big city to rural area and invited by club to join.
Why I joined
- To belong and be a part of something
- To learn to do things I have not done before
- Leadership skills
- Meet friends
- Make friends
- Support group
- To work to mold public opinion for betterment of community
- Personal accomplishments
- Had things to offer and could make a difference
- Wanted adult friends and interactions
- Gives me confidence
- National organization that I can follow as I move
- Broadens horizons
- Strength in numbers
- Diversity of programs offered
Why I Stay
- Meeting others
- Improve the community
- Help the less fortunate
- The projects
- Ability to Serve
- Learning new skills
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!