Membership retention is as important for clubs as employee retention is for corporate managers. Because of this, I turned to a resource that was recommended to me for keeping employees engaged.The book Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em: Getting Good People to Stay (link below) is great for helping companies keep employees and translates well to clubs keeping members.
I’ve given the presentation “Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em: Getting good Members to Stay” several times and I usually reference these four chapters:
Buck – It Stops Here
While all members are responsible for the success of the club, the club president is where the buck stops. Article VII of the Club Constitution states that “The club president is the chief executive officer of this club and is responsible for fulfilling the mission of this club.” There are a number of ways the club president can make sure the members stay engaged:
- Take a moment to make each member feel special. Not every member at every meeting, but at every meeting pick one member and try to make them feel special. Acknowledge an educational award, a promotion at work, thank them for something, commend them on a skill, or reference some other big event in their life. Public praise goes a long way. Keep a list and make sure you are always praising someone and make sure that every member receives this special moment.
- Start every meeting off with a lot of excitement. Be happy, enthusiastic, and set a tone of anticipation for the meeting. If you’re excited, the members will get excited, too.
- Close every meeting by acknowledging the enjoyable meeting you just had and proclaim your excitement for the coming meeting. Inspire members to look forward to the next club meeting.
When the president sets a tone of praise and excitement in the meeting, others will follow and reinforce this as the culture of the club.
Link – Create Connections
Help your members build personal and professional connections with other members. Connect your members with other members of the club who share similar interests. If you know members in other clubs, create those connections, too. When members have personal and professional connections within Toastmasters, they are more emotionally linked to the club and to Toastmasters.
Mentor – Be One
Mentors are another form of creating connections. However, they also link members to the club by showing a deeper level of concern for the member’s progression through the Toastmasters program. Additionally, many mentoring relationships turn into close friendships.
Make sure that your club has a strong mentoring program. If they don’t, develop one. Beyond helping your club, you’ll help yourself through the experience.
Understand – Listen Deeper
Your members came to your club for a reason. Do you know why each member joined? You should. And you should stay in touch with how things are going for them so you will know when they’ve achieved goals and when they’ve set new ones.
Take time to speak with your fellow members as well as their mentors.