Recruiting & Retaining Members - Colorado College

Recruiting and Retaining Members

I. Ways to recruit new members:

A. Publicize how they would benefit from joining your organization

1. Be specific about the programs your organization sponsors
2. Share the goals and mission of your group
3. Ask current members why they joined, and share this information with perspective members.

B. How to Publicize

1. Word of mouth is EXTREMELY effective
2. Create a reward system for those members who bring friends to meetings
3. If you are a member with ties to academic affairs, then ask your professors to announce meeting times during class
4. E-mail all the people who might be interested in joining your organization
5. Place announcements in the student paper
6. Create and distribute flyers; place a banner in Worner
7. Sponsor an information table
9. Utilize the organization e-mail listserves

II. Ways to retain members

There are two types of members: 1) active and 2) inactive. The active members are typically those who plan and implement most of the meetings, events and socials. By taking on such a heavy load, these members often suffer from burn-out, which causes tension and possibly termination of membership. The best way to describe an inactive member is one who simply uses the organization as a resume builder. He or she is not involved with any aspect of the organization. For your organization to be more successful you must decrease the number of inactive members and increase the number of active. By having a GREATER number of ACTIVE members within your organization, the members will less likely suffer from burn-out.

A. MOTIVATION-People motivate themselves, but the following can be additional incentives for motivation:

1. Recognition
2. Job satisfaction
3. Feeling a part of the team, i.e., assign general members duties and responsibilities
4. Food

B. RECOGNITION is an on-going activity through which people express their appreciation for each other’s contributions

1. Four Components of Recognition:

a) Acknowledgement can be obtained through a glance, an introduction, or a handshake; this reaffirms an individual’s self-worth and acknowledges that he or she truly contributes to the group.
b) Attention is giving both time and energy to focus on the members as individuals;
c) Feedback should be constantly used, but if used in the wrong way can be detrimental to a person
d) Praise must not only be sincere but specific. Praise can be given formally at a meeting or informally while walking down a sidewalk. Praise is more effective when given immediately after an event.

2. Delivery Guidelines for Recognition

a) Sincerity
b) Personalized
c) Accurate
d) Timely
e) Specific
f) Appropriate


  • Have a sense of belonging - Leaders need to provide opportunities for members to give input and feel welcome
  • Assist in planning events and goals - Leaders can give members a sense of ownership by including them in the decision-making process.
  • Be informed - Leaders need to develop a communication network among their members.
  • Be supportive when taking risks - Leaders can empower their members by fostering creativity.
  • Have Fun!!!!

IV. Putting Recognition into action:

Step I: Increase Recognition Awareness - develop a systematic approach to increase awareness of recognition opportunities

  • Keep recognition and reward reminders on your calendars
  • Ask yourself, “are any projects near completion?”
  • Recognize accomplishments of at least one person or team at each meeting
  • Ask team members if they know someone who needs to be recognized

Step II: Select who and what to recognize

  • Creativity and innovation
  • Successful project program completion
  • Consistent steady performance
  • Significant improvements
  • Outstanding efforts

Step III: Choose Methods of Recognition

  • Public vs. Private
  • Formal vs. Informal
  • Tangible vs. Intangible

V. IDEAS for your organization

Awards---comical or serious
Door Decorations recognizing your members
Banners and Signs recognizing your members
Slide Show at the end of the year
T-Shirts for members
Greet your members by name
Take time to talk
Hold rap sessions
Thank you cards
Provide opportunities to attend conferences
Say, “We missed you.”
Celebrate outstanding achievements
Reward stickers
Gag gifts
End of the year banquet
Flowers or balloons
Plan social events
Invite participation in policy formulation