More Information=Better Decisions

True or False ?

People are too busy to read a lot of copy, so membership promotional material should be as short as possible.

Contrary to the belief that "brief is best," studies show that the more information people have, the more willing they are to join an organization. Potential members who are truly interested—and aren’t they your real target?—want all the information they can get. By giving interested prospective members detailed information about your group, you are helping them decide whether or not they should join. The more information you can give them, the easier the decision becomes.

Newsletters—An Effective Tool for Keeping in Touch

What makes a newsletter successful?

* Articles are brief and to the point
* Quality of printing/reproductions is good
* Headlines are appropriate and stories are interesting
* Layout shows good balance between text, headlines, and graphics
* Frequency of distribution is consistent issue to issue
* Content involves readers; provides ways for input and feedback
* Issues are thoroughly planned and organized

How do you plan a successful newsletter?

* Compile a list or anticipate activities, events, observances, and holidays
* Keep a file of interesting articles, tips, news, and graphics
* Create an editorial outline for each issue
* Develop a month-by-month editorial calendar
* Develop practical production schedules and deadlines
* Form a newsletter committee or team

How can you obtain and keep readers?

* Understand your readers–most volunteers are busy and over-committed
* Realize your newsletter competes for readers’ attention and time
* Provide only information that is useful, valuable, concise and easy-to-follow
* Be inclusive—make sure your newsletter reflects the culture of your readers
* Highlight the wonderful projects or programs your members are implementing

Now a Commercial Message

Most voice-mail recordings simply tell callers that the person they are trying to reach is away and will call them back. Why not use this opportunity to say a brief commercial message as well—such as a teaser for upcoming events or new programs or services. For example, "Don’t forget to ask about our upcoming summer camps. This year’s program offers a wide spectrum of projects" By highlighting your services, members are reminded of what Scouting has to offer them.

Using Your Website to Promote Membership

Today people from across the world can connect to websites to learn more about an organization’s purpose. Why not use your website as a means for recruiting new members? You can if your website has two important marketing factors for members—clarity and "browse-ability." For example, does your website allow members to join with ease?

Useful Membership Feedback

Only a small percent of dissatisfied individuals will specify what is wrong. Finding out what the other larger percent think takes asking the right questions. Specific answers can come from such questions as, "May I ask you to describe some-thing about our service that was less than satisfactory?"; "What can we do to improve our service?"; "What did you enjoy most about dealing with Scouting?"; and "If you were running the Scouting organization, what changes would you make?" Now that you have the answers, make sure you follow through and convert the dissatisfied member to a satisfied member.

Focus on the Facts

In your everlasting quest to recruit and maintain members, you continually strive to convey Scouting's worth. But what if you don’t have the resources to print a fancy membership brochure? An economical alternative to address questions about the benefits of joining and belonging to Scouts Canada is a membership services fact sheet. A fact sheet is a quick and inexpensive communication tool that highlights membership benefits and goals and your accomplishments.You can store this document on your computer and print it out on quality letterhead as needed.

While presentation is important, and the bells and whistles of a polished colour brochure are nice, what members and prospective members want to see and hear about is what you can do for them.

Reproduced for by permission of Scouter Douglas Moore - Nova Scotia