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by Heather Lehman, CAE, KCSAE Secretary

Like many associations in the last few years, membership has been in a tough spot.  In looking at our recruitment strategies, we have tried the same tactics over and over again.  It is insanity to expect different results.  So as an organization, we have taken a good look at what we have tried and in 2019 we are doing things differently.

We started with what we know – our membership.  We determined our strength lays with our component structure.  As an individual membership organization where chapter membership is optional, our demographics tell us that 77% of our membership belongs to at least one chapter in addition to our International organization.  Additionally, survey data tells us that part of the biggest value our members have is in their local chapter.  The connection and sense of community they feel at the local level is a key value for their membership.

We took a good long look at tactics we have employed in the past.  Evaluating if these were successful and asking why they were or were not.  Asking ourselves what has worked well for us in the past? What has not? Knowing this information helped to see what methods to continue.  It also allowed for us to brainstorm and think – what can we do differently?

Knowing our strengths as an organization, we plan to leverage the connections that our chapters draw.  A new part of our membership campaign for 2019 will be focusing our recruitment efforts into helping our chapters recruit new members.  We will be providing our chapters with additional resources and trainings to help them develop prospect lists, value propositions, and trainings for their chapter members on recruiting.  We are challenging each chapter to recruit new members, and to be the ambassadors of membership that is a key value for our organization.

As this new strategy marks a shift in the philosophy and work of our typical membership campaign, we started with getting help in designing specifics and buy in from our international board of directors and our regional leaders.  These key stake holders have informed and helped shape the direction of this new tactic.  We know that their involvement and buy in will be key to the success in reaching all of ARMA’s chapters.

We know that not all chapters are cookie cutters and what works for one may not work for another.  Customization of each chapter’s recruitment plan is where we will be relaying on our volunteer structure to help and support the efforts.  We will be developing resources to help chapters with recruitment best practices, and we will rely on our region volunteers to monitor and track to help each chapter be successful in using the resources or helping make accommodations, so they are.

The new campaign is kicking off now, and our volunteers are excited to help make 2019 a great year for ARMA.  We are optimistic that this new approach for us will be a success.  Check back later in 2019, and we will update you further.


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