How Affiliates Grow Their Membership compiled by Ardis Bazyn

January's ACB "Membership Focus" call focused on how affiliates grow their membership. Many good suggestions were given by various affiliates. I've included a list below of those suggestions and ones given to me by presidents who've won the growth award.

  • Special-interest affiliates having joint meetings on interesting topics
  • Joint affiliate fundraisers
  • Telephonic mixer to connect members
  • Conference calls inviting members
  • Technology and employment focus calls
  • State transportation focus meetings
  • Asking state library to send letter to all patrons
  • Giving everyone a job to keep them involved: invocation, phoning, handing out documents
  • People need purpose for coming
  • Encouraging small groups of members to have coffee
  • Profiles of individual members instead of speaker
  • Wine tasting and wine dinners draw people who don't normally come
  • Restaurant fundraisers also social occasion
  • Picnic for membership only
  • Nest egg -- members bring donations and pay $0.50 raffle
  • Non-members pay $10 while members free for picnic/social
  • Pizza/pasta party -- draws outsiders
  • Variety of activities draw more people -- 3 to 4 activities each month, such as game night, cookie exchange, tours, with quarterly regular meeting
  • 50-50 drawings
  • Bargain table -- gently used items, e.g., clothing, radios, jewelry
  • Dine out every two months
  • Bingo -- have different person in charge of each activity
  • Find strengths of members
  • Delegate tasks to new people
  • Support ideas of new members
  • More socials, such as dinner out
  • Ask each member to bring one new person to the chapter
  • Take brochures and flyers with you
  • Mini-lunches -- talk to other local presidents
  • Read documents available from ACB PR committee
  • Ask the national office for a list of "Braille Forum" readers and contact them
  • Tech Olympics -- partner with vision teachers to get kids to come; also contact consultants, VI teachers and regional education centers
  • Call state education agency that does registration of VI students, schools for the blind, or superintendent of public instruction to contact kids about special programs
  • Visit any group which might have visually impaired members such as low-vision groups, senior centers, independent living centers, etc. and share your programs
  • Provide benefits to members, such as assistance with transportation or readers
  • Form new membership team and take a new approach to recruiting
  • Have several people take names of former members and encourage them to join again
  • Have a team work together – even stuffing envelopes
  • Provide return envelopes to make it more convenient for prospective members to return forms and payment of dues
  • Encourage a support group to form a chapter

This call was recorded and will be available for those interested in listening. Please contact the membership committee for details. Our next "Membership Focus" call will be held on Monday, April 29 at 5:30 p.m. Pacific/8:30 p.m. Eastern. The focus will be on how to encourage people that it is OK to be blind.