The following entry was selected as the 2018–2020 GFWC Membership Chairman’s top pick for a membership recruitment idea.
Club Name: GFWC North Pinellas Woman’s Club
Idea: New and prospective members are oriented through the First Friends Program, allowing them to meet in a small group setting and hear from club leaders.
Number of New Members: 45, a 25% growth over 2017.
Strategy & Planning: The club planned a “speed dating” general meeting where more than 100 members and visitors learned about 27 different volunteer opportunities by rotating to community service programs and committee tables of their choice. The club has more than 50 members serving in leadership roles, and conducts bi-annual member surveys to ensure that club direction aligns with interests. It also communicates regularly with community partners to ensure service projects have the desired impact in the community.
The GFWC North Pinellas Woman’s Club cultivates a high-touch, supportive culture. Members regularly connect with each other to provide encouragement and emotional support, frequently holding social gatherings that sometimes include spouses and family members. There are no mandatory service requirements, and members are encouraged to give of their time as they are able.
Club Name: Royal Oak Woman’s Club
Idea: August event, allowing time to install new members before the busy fall season.
Number of New Members: 12
Strategy & Planning: Planning starts in late spring with the selection of a theme and advertising, decorations, and refreshments based on that theme. The event takes place at the historic clubhouse on a weekday evening, a time to draw potential members. The event is advertised on the club’s website and Facebook page, on neighborhood sites such as NextDoor, in local newspapers, and via flyers posted at local businesses. Current members are also encouraged to invite friends and family members.
The goal is for at least a 1:1 ratio between current members and guests. Members are reminded to focus on mingling with guests instead of just talking among each other; the majority of the 2-hour event is dedicated to informal conversation and socializing. There is a short program consisting of brief remarks from the club President, the Membership Chair, and a representative from the State Federation. An informational package that describes club activities and structure, meeting details, and the application process is provided to each guest to take home. Following the event, the Membership Chair emails a “thank you” note to guests (encouraging them to contact her with any questions or when they are ready to pursue membership). The 2018 event theme was “End of Summer Soiree.”
Club Name: GFWC Swartz Creek Women’s Club
Idea: Orientation class for new members, which is also open to the community
Number of New Members: 10
Strategy & Planning: Each year, members invites family and friends to come and celebrate the special season with at the Club’s Christmas Party. There is a buffet, entertainment, fun games, and a gift exchange. The Membership Chair presents club information, as well as a table display of awards and certificates received, along with applications for membership. A “brag” sheet is handed out, sharing all that the club has done and contributed to the community; it is a conversation starter about the club. The club has also reported accomplishments and upcoming events/calendar to other non-profits and community groups by attending meetings for the Swartz Creek Kiwanis Club, the Swartz Creek Lions Club, the Swartz Creek Community, Mission Board, the Swartz Creek Parks Board, Swartz Creek Chamber, and City Council.
Club Name: GFWC Woman’s League of the Lowcountry
Idea: Balancing one-on-one contact, group participation and a strong marketing program
Number of New Members: 29
Strategy & Planning:
- All meetings and functions are submitted to the local media, including newspapers and magazines. For larger events, the club submits pictures along with the article and schedules TV interviews with the local news channels.
- Dare to Be Brave! In July 2018, the club hosted a wine and cheese party and invited the entire community – 8,000 houses. Approximately 60 people attended and 17 new members joined.
- In August 2018, the organized a one-and-done project to keep club members engaged during the summer months. This was an opportunity for newer members to see the club in action and to meet more members.
- At the neighborhood’s fall Club Fair, they promoted Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Domestic Violence Awareness (DVA), offering to paint a fingernail purple for DVA.
- When members join the club, the membership chair invites them to lunch and shares information about GFWC and our club. During these lunches, the membership chair asks each new member which community service program is of interest; this information is shared with all CSP and committee chairs. The membership team greets each member as they arrive at our monthly meetings. Guests and new members receive a special name tag so they can be easily recognized. Guests are given handouts about GFWC and the club.
Club Name: Woman’s Club of Tarpon Springs
Idea: A routine community activity the first Friday of every month
Number of New Members: 10
Strategy & Planning: The historic downtown is open to the community to stroll, shop, eat, drink, hear music, while getting acquainted with the fun life in our community. The club has a table and talks to people strolling along the streets, promoting its great work. Contact information is collected for those really interested in the club to invite them to upcoming activities. Activities are also posted on the club’s website and Facebook Page. The club sends articles to local newspapers and invites reporters to events.
Club Name: GFWC Zwaanendael Women’s Club
Idea: Mentoring program for new members
Number of New Members: 9
Strategy & Planning: A mentoring program provides an efficient and quick way to make new members feel welcomed and productive. The Mentor Program offers a structured setting to inform and encourage participation of new members. At the general club meeting on November 20, 2018, the Vice President announced the first five mentors and five mentees. A mentor mission, mentor description, and set of guidelines document have been presented to membership. The club president went on a local radio station in December and spoke about the projects that members of GFWC Women’s Club do for the Community Service Projects and the Community Improvement Project.
Mary Lou Parks
For accomplished author and GFWC clubwoman Mary Lou Parks, writing her club history, HerStory, was a journey that formed lasting friendships and a new perspective on women’s history.
Success For Survivors Scholarship
Each year, GFWC awards scholarships to help intimate partner abuse survivors obtain a post-secondary education that offers a chance to reshape their future by securing employment and gaining personal independence.
The Rochester Junior Women's Club
The Rochester Junior Women’s Club (Michigan) was established in 1956 with 16 members, and today has over 70 members that always come together to support one another. The club chooses three or four major charities to support and several smaller ones, donating approximately $30,000 each year. In total since its inception, the club has provided more than 1 million hours of community service, and raised more than $928,000 to support their community!