I’m frequently asked how clubs can increase their membership. Almost as often I’m told by club officers that they’ve tried various methods with little success. Key to successful club building efforts is not just the techniques, but understanding promotional efforts bring incremental, yet significantly important results.
District II clubs are inventive when it comes to promotion, public awareness, and increasing club membership. Some methods include club business cards for members; promotional flyers for the coffee shop, library, or business bulletin boards; a regularly updated website; a presence on Facebook and other social media; a well-promoted open house at the flying field; a public fly-in (especially one benefitting charity); and an external newsletter.
A quarterly external newsletter is a great way of communicating to the general public and reminding people of your club. External newsletters work best when they’re targeted toward, and mailed to, elected officials, local media, school administrators, science teachers, relevant governmental agencies, parks and recreation departments, other related clubs (i.e. rockets, model boating, kite flying, etc.), and just about any group or individual of significance to your club. These newsletters should be posted on your club’s website as well.
External newsletters make an exception impact during times of need such as noise complaints, environmentalist objections, zoning issues, and other situations where clubs need public support. And, the time to create an external newsletter is well before a club needs help from its local community.
By informing the public of what a great organization your club is, and the important charitable and social contributions it makes, your club will be ahead of the game. An added bonus is occasionally picking up a new member who learned of your club through the newsletter or by someone who received it. The key to all club outreach efforts is patience and persistence.
On Saturday, August 2, 2014, I had the pleasure visiting the Electric Powered Aeromodelers (EPA) at the club’s John Maggs Memorial event in Scotia, New York. A recipient of an AMA District Service Award, John Maggs was an incredible supporter of model aviation and a benefactor to numerous regional modeling events.
The weather cooperated for the EPA event. Modelers from the northeast had a full weekend of flying all types of electric-powered aircraft. In attendance was AMA Hall of Fame member Ted Strader and his family. Ted is a well-known author, designer, kit supplier, and contributor to RC development. As with many others, it’s nice to see three generations of Ted’s family participating in model aviation.
Remember, it’s not about what we fly, it’s about the people and the friends we make!