Getting new members is only one reason for your PTA to put a membership growth plan into motion. There’s a second reason: to keep the members you already have. It takes more effort to recruit a new member than it does to keep an existing one. Further, it is the returning member who will more likely take on a leadership role. The future success of your PTA depends on your having a good mix of returning and new members. Below are some tips on how to retain members.
Treat membership marketing like the business it is.
Understand that you’re in the business of marketing and selling memberships. That means a membership is a product, with many useful features and services. Be ready to explain to renewing members the existing and developing benefits of PTA membership.
Get all of your members involved.
The most active members will always be the ones who get the most out of their membership, leading them to renew year after year. Therefore, getting members involved is the key to keeping them. It’s not always easy, though. Many members don’t understand the value of being involved, or don’t feel comfortable. To help them get their feet wet, draw up a list of activities that members can choose from, and modify this list as new opportunities arise. Members are more likely to get involved in a short term activity with clearly defined roles.
Open the door to two way communication.
Many organizations rely on a magazine or newsletter to communicate with their members. It has never occurred to them that not all members want their information delivered this way. Make it clear on everything you print how you can be reached: by phone, fax, snail mail, e-mail, voice mail, social networking sites, etc. Give members all the options you can.
Post basic information on your website.
In addition to posting a list of events, names of board members, and PTA information and activities (all with contact names, phone numbers, and email addresses), post membership and registration forms that can be either downloaded or submitted online. This will make it easy for new and renewing members to join.
Keep the material on your website current and relevant.
Outdated material is a sure sign that no one is monitoring or maintaining your website, which makes a bad impression on existing and potential members. Find relevant material (from your print publications, from National PTA, and from non-copyrighted sources) to post on a regularly scheduled basis. (See PTA.org for the National PTA permissions policy.)
Teach new members how to use PTA services.
Provide details about the benefits and resources PTA offers to its members. Most importantly, inform new members exactly how to use these great services. Many complaints are heard from new members who say they do not get information about PTA services and how to use them. Put a brochure of benefits and services in your new member packets. Be sure to show members the many resources available at PTA.org.
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Shantel Yarbrough, Membership Growth
Seidah Vaughn, Family Engagement
Jason Boston, Male Engagement
Bobbi Dunn, Rural Membership
Julie Garrett, VP of Membership