Ideas generated at Member Retention Strategies workshop

  • Every member invite one guest per meeting.
  • Poll membership, determine member needs and design meetings around responses.
  • Mentoring program involving prospective members — a “buddy” system pairing experienced members with new members.
  • Focus on retaining as well as recruiting.
  • Use members’ areas of expertise by using them as speakers.
  • Follow up with absentees to find out why they are missing meetings.
  • Use National programs (i.e. The Equitable, Women and Depression, Making Workplaces Work, pay equity, etc) in the Locals.
  • Do a community issue survey to find out what “hot buttons” are important to the members.
  • Focus on programs for younger women — look to colleges and universities.
  • Nurture the needs of younger members in the group (i.e. provide child care).
  • Invite companies and businesses to buy memberships for their employees.
  • Don’t give the same jobs to the same people all the time — encourage other members to assume leadership positions, etc.
  • For state functions, heavily publicize and encourage all members to attend.
  • Focus on a few key issues… don’t try to be everything for everyone (i.e. focus on family-friendly workplaces and pay equity).
  • Implement better programs at the local level.
  • Provide excellent networking opportunities for members and prospective members.
  • Create a local membership directory.
  • Keep retirees involved.
  • Follow up with guests/prospective members.
  • Provide membership orientation.
  • Affiliate with local corporations to promote BPW Local activities (i.e. Foundation and Making Workplaces Work).
  • Form coalitions with other groups with similar interests (i.e. pay equity, affirmative action).
  • Open communications between local organizations and state organizations.
  • Educate incoming leadership about programs and responsibilities.
  • Be sensitive to members’ time constraints.
  • Be inclusive of needs of all working women, not just a specific occupation.
  • Professionally run your meetings — ensure programs of substance and time for networking.
  • Have a membership drive.
  • Annual calendar of all meetings for the year, with the focus of each meeting and date. Send calendar to local Chamber of Commerce, mayor’s office, local newspapers, radio and TV stations, and to every guest that has attended a meeting in the past year.
  • Explain how BPW dues are less expensive than other professional groups.
  • Call or email members once a month to remind them of the upcoming meeting.
  • Publicize and accent member accomplishments.
  • Get business card of all attendees and drop them a note.
  • Have and send out a new member letter.
  • Mix older and younger members.
  • Short, concise meetings. Give an ending time and stick to it.
  • Remember why BPW is here… to be the LEADING ADVOCATE FOR WORKING WOMEN. Ensure that all programs, newsletters, and recruiting materials reflect that.
  • Look for PR opportunities everywhere! Write letters to the editor about who BPW is and what we do.
  • Make your members feel important.
  • Share information filtered from the top.
  • Handle locals like a business — set goals and follow through.
  • Have state officers directly contact LO officers and vice versa.
  • Steer failing LOs to get a focus.
  • LOs cannot survive as just a social group.
  • At meetings, greet people, make them feel welcome, talk to them and help them get involved.
  • LO officers sit by a new member at meetings.
  • Increase public relations at the local level.
  • Write bylined articles for newspapers focusing on BPW issues like pay equity and family-friendly workplaces.
  • If there are not enough networking opportunities in the LO because of size, invite other women’s groups and nearby LOs together for a big meeting and networking session.
  • Recruit beyond the local. As you travel, sell BPW.
  • Contact media about BPW political issues affecting women in your city and state.
  • Make sure long-term members are willing to share leadership with newer members.
  • If some members want the opportunity to socialize, schedule time at the end of the meeting so others can leave.
  • Alternate meeting times.
  • Invite new members to lunch.
  • Make it fun!
  • Put districts to work with membership chair or eliminate districts if they are not effective.
  • Show concern for members and their needs.
  • Start a job bank.
  • Every committee MUST have a new member on it.
  • Hat Lunch — put new members’ names in a hat and returning members into another. Pick one from each, and have the pair go to lunch at some point during the next month.
  • Stay positive, stay energized!

For some more great ideas on how to grow your Local, check out this helpful document with a variety of starting points for brainstorming (opens a .pdf in a new tab/window).