Membership

Membership Hack: Card-Carrying Volunteer Recruiter

By / Mar 24, 2017 (via NJCPA)

The New Jersey Society of CPAs recruits volunteers with a business card that removes the barriers to getting involved.

How to hack it? The New Jersey Society of CPAs was on a mission to engage members face-to-face and recruit some volunteers at the same time. To do this, NJCPA armed its volunteer relations committee with business cards. Except these cards didn’t list job titles or contact information. Instead, printed on them are benefits to volunteering for NJCPA, as well as a phone number and the link to the organization’s volunteer page. “We provided [our leaders] with talking points,” says Carolyn Hook, director of membership and engagement. “But we asked them to make it personal—talk about why they got involved, and what they got out of volunteering.”

Why does it work? In Hook’s experience, recruiting new volunteers works best in face-to-face situations, where members make the personal ask. Each committee member was given about 30 cards to hand out at routine events, like chapter meetings and conferences, and relied on these wallet-sized talking points during their conversations. As the cards were distributed, more individuals started registering for volunteer opportunities using the online form. “We are in good shape now,” Hook says. “As more members complete the form, we can find volunteers more easily.”

What’s the bonus? The cards are helping NJCPA bring in fresh faces at all levels of volunteering, some of which can lead to leadership opportunities. “We had a leadership pipeline shortage, and this effort was part of our plan to fill it,” Hook says. Another value add: Hook says the cards are easier than other alternatives, including “clumsy forms that would get folded and crinkled.”

Tim Ebner

Tim Ebner is a senior editor for Associations Now. He covers membership, leadership, and governance issues. Email him with story ideas or news tips. More »

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