September – Attracting and Retaining Membership
Welcome to the first monthly hot topic of the year! One of the biggest problems a section can have is attracting members. Also, once you’ve got some members, how do you keep them renewing their membership every year? I’ve found the following tips useful from my own experience and from talking with other sections. Feel free to comment on this page and add more best practices!
One way to attract new members is to send information to incoming freshman over the summer. Talk to your dean and get a list of incoming freshman (or just freshman girls if you want). Your mailing could be anything from a simple greeting from SWE to a packet of information on your section. You could even send out a flyer for your first meeting of the year. To bring in new members that aren’t necessarily freshman, you can make your first meeting fun and the location easy to find. If it’s still pretty warm, consider having the meeting outside. At the first meeting of the year, it’s also important to get the word out about SWE by telling the attendees what your section does and what you have planned for the year.
If you want more of your general members to be national members, there are a few things you can try. First, you can have a joining incentive. So, if a student signs up at the first meeting, you can give them a SWE t-shirt or SWE bag. College students love giveaways! Another section I talked to invites the dean of the school to a give a $5 rebate to all national SWE members. If your dean has the budget to do this, this is a great way to alleviate the dues fee for your members!
Finally, do little things to award your national members. At the end of the school year at Rutgers, each national member gets recognized at the banquet with a pin.
Thanks for reading and if you have anything to add, please do!