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Membership News
Membership Moment: All Events are Membership Drives

By Faith Quinlan, CT State Grange Membership Director

  MARCH 6, 2019 --

A Grange Membership Drive should be nothing like an Automobile Test Drive.  The welcoming spirit of Grangers has more power than the best used care salesman.  It is easier to get new people to a fun gathering that they have an interest in then to approach people out of the context of the Grange and ask them to join.  I have gone car shopping recently and no matter how many years go between my shopping experiences, the creepy car salesmen is always there.  He asks questions that feel too personal and he clearly wants something from me so I never feel like I can trust what he is saying.  Please do not think of recruiting new members as something that requires an intense sales approach.  We are some of the amazing stars of our community and we entice new members more by showing them our true family and community nature.  

This past month I had an opportunity to give a small helping hand to Barbara Prindle, Master of Taghhannuck Grange #100.  The experience proved to be a great example of how to have a membership growth event.  Events that we already are having plus some new interesting community related fundraisers are exactly how we can begin the conversation with new members.  The conversation is easier when they are already visiting your grange.

Barbara Prindle and her Grange used an event as a Membership Drive.  Every event going forward they will have things in order to make teach following event go the same way.  The goal is to *show* them why they should join and follow it up with information.  After attending an exhibit at the Sharon Historical Society about the history of Ellsworth, the part of Sharon where her Grange is located, Barbara and her husband, Brent,  saw an opportunity to share this with their Grangers who had not attended the event.  It started off as a plan for a short presentation to be done just at a  regular meeting but they saw the opportunity to invite more of their neighbors and potential new members to attend also.  This is when they opened the doors to a membership drive. They took a few more steps to ensure they made the best of this chance to grow.   Simple steps you can use every fundraiser or neighborhood event. 

Below I am listing the general steps they took and how they put it to action at their Grange.  Please think on how this might work in your part of the state.

Advertising - Free Resources like community calendars in the paper and on the town website, radio or television opportunities, Facebook and other social media (ask people to share) and if you have an email list you should send them all an invitation and let them know if they can invite others.  Flyers and Signs and traditional methods are fine too if they usually work for your Grange.

Track Reservations - When possible you should collect names, numbers, addresses and emails as early as when people sign up.  This will give you an idea how many non-members will be attending and a chance to be prepared for that and learn where they may be coming from.

Sign in Table - Someone near the door to greet attendees and sign them in.  This table can include signs about membership, upcoming events and a “if you are interested in more information”  name, info and email sheet.  This can also be a chance to give a quick tour to new people, showing them where the bathroom, food, seating can be found.

Introduce The Event & Grange - when things begin and you are introducing the entertainment you can also mention when your Grange meets, what you are working on and when the next event will be.  Please tell them that everyone is welcome to join and you can mention things that  you participate in that relate to your event (because obviously this is something they are interested in)  You can mention programs that relate to advocacy, volunteering, crafts you make for charities.

 Friendly and Helpful - Please enlist all members to participate.

Follow up can really complete the positive experience for the potential new member.  A chance to send an application and any relevant information about your Grange, next event or things you may want new members o know about.  We can help you with a personalized sample letter that you can make small edits to and use over and over again.  If you can college the email addresses then you can link different Grange info to the email for them to have easy access.

Keep in Contact by keeping their contact information and put them on your list to be notified of what is happening at your Grange as the year goes by and of course send a packet to anyone who explicitly said they wan membership information.

Barbara had over 30 attendees and 12 were members.  She collected contact information on almost all of them and has created a special email group for these people so she can send them special messages when appropriate.  She may not appreciate me making a fuss over her and her work but I really must tell you how gret her event was and how well she has shone a light on her Grange.  We will wait and see how many applications for membership arrive.  Though it would be great if that turned into a large number, the truth is this was still very successful and the potential members will come back again and will spread the word about what happens at a Grange, What Grangers are like and what kind of work we are out here doing.   

Barbara Prindle is on the Membership Committee and could be a fantastic resource if you are planning something and want some practical advice on how to get great results.  I am also available to assist and welcome your contact.

Your Grange can do this.  If you don’t get immediate sign ups you can still count the event as a success.  Of course the goal is membership but in these times it is even more valuable to get their attention and participation, membership will come in time.


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