Membership Development is a Process

When you and your Alumni Club Board discuss ways to increase membership you should consider following these 5 steps:


Step #1: Define your membership goals.

  • Are you looking for sheer numbers or do you want members who will contribute their time and talents in an active way?
  • Are there any special target audiences from whom you most want to draw new members?
  • How many members do you want?
  • Does it matter whether your members are active as leaders in the club or not?


Step #2: Define what "membership" means in your alumni club.

  • What are the benefits and the responsibilities of members?
  • What are the qualifications for becoming a member?
  • What are the costs?
  • Why would someone want to join your club?
  • What should a new member expect from you in terms of meetings, events, communications, opportunities to meet others, etc.?
  • How do you expect to retain that person as a member?


Step #3: Brainstorm where in your community and/or ways within your special interest affiliation you might be able to locate new members.


Step #4: Select a communication vehicle(s) to reach out to those individuals.

  • Mail flyers
  • Make telephone calls
  • Send out an email blast


Step #5: DO IT!!!

Things to keep in mind:

  • Do not assume people know about your club or that you are looking for new members.
  • Be alert to the public image/possible stereotype image of your alumni club.
  • Articulate the benefits of membership using the reasons why people WANT to join the club.
  • Diagnose why some people may be reluctant to join and see if you can alleviate their concerns.
  • To get results you really need to ASK people to join.
  • The clearer you can be about what joining means, the more success you will ultimately have.
  • Marketing 101: the more you repeat your message, the more likely it is to be heard.

Excerpted from The Volunteer Recruitment Book, 3rd ed, by Susan J. Ellis, © 2002, Energize, Inc., pp. 127-128. Energize, Inc. specializes in volunteer management and can be found on the Web at