Organizations who communicate effectively, have members that work well together, contribute to their community and offer appealing service and fundraising events tend to retain more members. It is critical for them to also hold interesting meetings that involve all members.
Here are 10 strategies you may wish to consider for improving attendance at your meetings and events:
1) Keep it fresh! Sure it’s easy to keep things consistent by doing it the same way every time. This however gets old and boring, and eventually your members will lose interest. Switch it up every once in a while to keep things exciting! Changing the venue is always a nice option, but if that’s not possible then consider changing the decor, the menu or even the layout of the meeting room/location. Open some windows and/or change the lighting!
2) Monitor Attendance: If you notice a drop in attendance, pay attention to who is absent and follow-up with a personal phone call. If, for example, someone who regularly attends your meetings has suddenly missed a few – pick up the phone and check-in with them. Don’t just send an email… it’s impersonal and you might not receive a response.
3) Develop a mentor/mentoree list or a call squad: Assemble a small group of people to call members encouraging them to attend your meetings and events. This is a great method for enticing inactive members to become involved and regain enthusiasm. Again – phone calls are better than emails!
4) Keep your website up-to-date and circulate a monthly member newsletter. This is an easy and effective way to communicate your event, collect registrations and post updates.
5) Create a points system: Start by dividing your membership into groups and assign a leader who takes roll call at each meeting/event. Give out one point per member in attendance; at the end of the year the group with the most points receives a prize.
6) Plan, plan, plan! Effective planning and organization ensures that your meeting will be a success which will help increase your attendance numbers.
7) Encourage communication and networking: Plan for a 20 minute “free time” before your meeting begins so that members can network with one another. A good time for this to take place is during registration.
8) Address problems immediately: It is important not to let problems brew. If a problem arises, the leadership team should meet with parties involved to discuss the issue and find a solution.
9) Offer something sweet: Everyone has a sweet tooth! Appeal to this by offering a dessert table and/or treats on each table. Ditto for coffee and tea.
10) Encourage open communication: Give everyone a chance at your meeting to stand up and introduce themselves and present a question and/or provide feedback.