Recruiting new members can be challenging. The acquisition cycle ebbs and flows. Some months you’re struggling to keep up with all the new applicants and the next, you’ve signed up only a small handful of members. To help create a more consistent flow and increase your membership numbers today, we’ve compiled tips from successful association managers and membership groups

  1.  “Ensure that prospective members feel important” (Rotary Club, Ontario)

This one seems like a no-brainer. But think about the last time you interacted with a prospect. Did you make them feel important? Did you provide them with informative resources? Ask yourself what you could have done better and use that feedback in your next encounter.

2. Have your current members identify people they know want to get involved. Personally, invite them to attend a meeting. Word-of-mouth is the best and least expensive type of publicity you can use. (Missouri State)

Don’t just rely on your efforts; get current members involved. Ask them to suggest a friend or colleague who would benefit from your group. Reach out to them and show your interest.

3. “… incentivize employees to refer others… we offered different items, such as cash rewards, free iPads, and Flip cameras, etc. to employees who referred people to join our company that we ultimately hired.” (Forbes)

Similar to tip #2, ask for referrals and reward members who bring on a new person. It doesn’t have to be an iPad or camera either. You’d be surprised at how many people will take action when you offer free food – just see this post from HubSpot about cupcakes.

4. Make sure you’re not forgetting a key audience that can be served by content marketing: prospective [members].” (Content Marketing Institute)

It’s likely you have a blog or newsletter for your association. Are you leveraging its contents for prospective members as well as active members? Be sure to use this opportunity to connect with prospects. Ask your current members what they wanted to see before joining. What material drew them to you?

5. “[ASID on using Instagram for recruitment]…This is a campaign geared toward recruiting our young, emerging professionals,” (Kerri McGovern).

Think about your audience. How does average age affect your recruitement strategy? The American Society of Interior Designers uses Instagram to engage and convert prospects because A. they know their audience is on social media and B. what better platform to use than one of visual content?

6. “Membership recruitment is about creating long-lasting relationships, engaging your prospects and proving to them why they would benefit from your association.” (XYZ University)

This isn’t so much a tip but a reminder. Member recruitment isn’t just about hitting your numbers as a membership manager. It’s about creating content and strategy that serves the prospect. It’s about finding people in your community and industry who could truly benefit from your group.

If you’ve got tips and tricks you use to recruit new members, share it with us! We’d love to hear from you. You can reach out to me, Annie, at

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