Go Fish for Members: Seasonal Recruitment Form Due Sept. 1
August 16, 2016
By Henrietta Belcher-Stack, GFWC Membership Chairman
Congratulations on starting a new club year with members you’ve worked hard to recruit all summer! Now is the time to submit the “Go Fish for Members” recruitment form that is due September 1, 2016.
Don’t assume that your new members will automatically have the skills and experiences to fully participate in club meetings and activities. Studies indicate that first and second year members are the most likely to drop their membership if they do not understand or feel a sense of ownership and pride in the organization. We as clubwomen have a responsibility to offer educational programs that teach new recruits the rich history of GFWC and your club, and provide the tools to be active, participating members. You want your new members to understand that they are a vibrant part of this great organization.
It is time to plan a New Member Orientation. You can call it whatever you want to—an information session, an orientation, or a social evening gathering.
Let’s say we are having a “new member social evening.” Plan this as a special event for your new members. Send them an invitation. You can purchase invitations, create invitations on your computer and print them out, or send an e-invite. Be sure to take your potential members’ access to computers into consideration when you plan how you will invite them to this important gathering. Plan to include refreshments or even a light supper. Have the event start just after work or whenever is most convenient for the majority. It should last no longer than two hours.
This special event is the time to show these new recruits that they are “An Essential Piece” of your club. Building an orientation event around the “essential piece” is easy. For this you will be using decks of cards. You can use cards from the Dollar Store as centerpieces. Make name tags with a card and place cards also using individual cards from the deck. Your agenda for the meeting can have a border of playing cards around the paper to keep with the theme, and the ice breaker can use the cards to support the essential piece that each new member represents.
What should happen at a New Member Orientation? The event should be planned like a meeting with an agenda to keep on track. A gathering of new members, new members’ mentors/Federation sisters, and board members would be appropriate for this event. This is a perfect time for new members and current members to get to know each other in a smaller social group setting.
The meeting is used to welcome, acquaint, inform, motivate, and engage your new members. To illustrate how the club operates, each board member should be prepared to give a short overview of her job. The GFWC Membership YouTube video can be used at this time, at a follow-up event, or even shared with new members for private home viewing. The membership chairman should assemble and distribute informational packets covering all levels of GFWC for new members to take home and read at their leisure. GFWC is an organization with a long history and many facets to understand, and you do not want to overwhelm new members with too much information at once.
Plan to follow up with the new members the following week to see if they have any questions, and to find out how they want to participate on a committee or community service program. The sooner you are able to get the new members involved, the faster they will feel welcome and at home in their new club.
An eight-year Air Force veteran, Penny has been a GFWC member since 2008, and is currently serving as the club president of GFWC Helena Woman’s Club (Montana).
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