Member recruitment can happen at any kind of chapter event. Focus on making it a fun, engaging experience that will highlight why someone should join. Remember to show, not just tell and sell. A potential member needs to see the value of membership. Some ideas for events are:
Farm and ag-related tours to let people see connections with the industry and gain first-hand knowledge of how a product gets to market
Tour a successful agri-marketing office to show members with whom they can exchange ideas
Happy hour to let people network in a relaxed environment
Coffee or breakfast to jump-start the day with connections and learning in an informal atmosphere
Reception as part of a chapter meeting that will have an outstanding speaker or robust panel discussion on a topic of interest
Graduation party or career fair for recent college graduates (be sure to stay in touch with schools and any Student NAMA groups in your area)
Find creative ways to make non-members feel like VIPs during your National Ag Day celebration (Example: host a cook off and have members bring food and non-members judge the entries)
Charity event to engage people with the chapter in a fun way for a good cause (Examples: a holiday party that gathers toy donations for Toys for Tots or an activity to support a local children’s hospital or ag-related charity such as the NAMA Foundation)
Raffle Event. Everybody wins when your current members are encouraged to donate prizes and bring potential new members to your next meeting. A great bottle of wine, restaurant gift cards and date night packages all make raffle winners happy!
“Do Good Together” where younger members especially seek meaningful ways to spend their time while networking.
Once you have chosen the type of event you’re going to have, you need to determine the specific programming. In the case of a tour or reception, the program plan can be fairly broad because the event may not have as many specifics to cover. Your program choices and plans become a little more involved if you’re going to host a speaker or panel discussion or other formal learning event. Tips for programming:
The program must be relevant and interesting, so pick something a lot of people want to do or know about. The event must provide value to attendees no matter how formal or informal.
Make sure the programming is appropriate for the potential members you are targeting in both topic and tone. Always be thinking about your audience.
Vet any speakers beforehand and choose them wisely. A poor choice for speaker(s) will reflect negatively on your chapter and NAMA and decrease a person’s desire to join.
Plan for a good mix of business and fun—time to learn and time to network.