Strategies to Increase Membership in Your Club

Joining a club is a great way for people of all ages and backgrounds to get involved in your community. By offering a built-in social network of like-minded individuals who get together for the same cause or reason, clubs are an enjoyable way of doing what you love with others. Whether your club is a recreational sports league, a networking group for professionals of a certain industry, or a book club, every club is tasked with increasing membership and retaining members. Let’s dive in and discuss actionable steps you can take to achieve these goals.

Increase awareness of your club

First and foremost, people must know about your club in order to seek membership. Membership marketing is vitally important to the continuation of your organization, and should be simultaneously carried out in a variety of ways. Word of mouth is the most powerful way your existing members can drum up interest.

Make it clear to your members who the club would like to recruit. For example, if you’re part of a recreational sports team, then your club can emphasize that you’re looking for everyone and anyone who can make practice and games on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 7-9pm. Emphasize that all physical fitness and activity levels are welcome. Encourage members to tell their friends, family, and co-workers who may be interested in the club to check it out. Depending on the type of club, you can offer incentives for members to invite friends.

Besides word of mouth, here are some other methods your club can use to increase awareness:

  • Social media
  • Email
  • Posters, flyers, and billboards
  • Reach out to relevant organizations that could spread the word
  • Host local events

Use Jotform’s membership application templates to gather new club members online — for free!

Make it easy to get involved

Once potential new members find out about the club and become interested, they will probably find their way to the club’s website, which should be as welcoming as possible. The website should be appealing, and clearly state important information, such as what the club is about, and how to get involved. This is best accomplished with an open invitation to apply for membership. The club membership application form should collect information including an applicant’s name and contact details. Check out this membership application template for ideas on how to get started. All of Jotform’s templates are customizable.

Flexibility, convenience, and enjoyment will drive participation. When possible, create a range of opportunities for people to participate at times that are convenient for them. Potential members should have a chance to meet members of the club and try out some club activities prior to committing to membership. Hosting free, open opportunities to introduce your club’s activities on a regular basis is a great way to break down barriers and make it easy to become involved.

On top of creating “come and try” events, here are some additional methods of encouraging people to check out your club:

  • Meet and greet happy hours, volunteer days, and other events
  • Free trial periods and days
  • Introductory classes for beginners/potential new members with reduced pricing
  • Financial incentives (reduced membership fee for new signups)

Focus on membership value

Retaining engaged, happy members is key to increasing membership. This is common sense, but should not fall to the wayside in favor of recruiting new members: people stay in a club where they feel like they belong and when it adds to their life. Build a strong, vibrant social calendar where members can get to know each other on a deeper level. It will foster greater camaraderie and a commitment to the organization.

Be transparent about membership dues and where the money goes. This builds trust in the organization, can start a dialogue, and ensures members that they are getting value out of their participation. Communication flow between all members and leaders should be crystal clear: give members plenty of opportunities to ask questions, contribute to ideas, and give feedback, whether anonymous or not. Find inspiration in these feedback form templates.

Here are additional ideas to increase membership value:

  • Create an online community for club members (such as a Facebook group)
  • Offer opportunities for branded club merchandise and swag
  • Ensure social calendar offers small group events
  • If possible, offer family events/days where members’ families can also get involved

Do you run a club? What other strategies do you use to increase membership?

This article is originally published on Dec 01, 2016, and updated on Aug 12, 2021.
An avid writer, she has contributed to sites including Entrepreneur and Social Media Today. A Bostonian and University of Miami alum, she loves traveling, trying new foods, and drawing & crafting.

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