Retention or Recruitment: Which Is More Important?

Depends on who you ask!

From my prospective they're both equally important.  While it's imperative to take care of your current members you must continue to build and keep your eye on the future.

Your chamber will always have attrition (the amount of your members who drop their membership each year).

The key is keeping it to a minimum with great customer service and great programming and gaining more new members than the amount of members you lose each year through attrition.

The better question is whether you have a strategy in place for both of these important aspects of your membership activities.  Remember, we are membership organizations so without them we wouldn't be in business.

Retention plan

In addition to your initial new member kit, each chamber should have their own membership retention plan in place.  I’m not going to list everything you should do, or what may or may not work for you, but here’s a list of things a number of chambers have done with success:

  • 90 day welcome call;
  • Six month "check-in" email; and
  • Three months prior to due date you reach out again and thank them for their membership.

Recruitment plan

Just as you have a retention plan you should also have a recruitment plan.  Again, what works for you may not work for all chambers, but you need to have a plan and stick with it.

  • A good list;
  • Repetition in "the ask;" and
  • Follow-up.

Retention and recruitment, you need to be doing both!

A great resource for measuring your activities and results vs what others are doing around the country can be found in their annual Marketing General Inc. Membership survey.

You can get it HERE.

Conduct More Effective Meetings by Following These 4 Tips

There have been many articles written on the subject manner and my 4 tips are based on conducting hundreds of meetings over the past 20 years.

While I'm sure you have your favorite tips for conducting a successful meeting, I suggest following these 4 tips will get you started in the right direction that you can tweak as you see fit for your specific organization.

1.    Room set-up
2.    Agenda with appropriate background materials
3.    Start on time and stick to the agenda
4.    Robert’s Rules of Order

Room Set-up

Conference room style with name tents in front of all members is a great way to set-up your room.  The names should be on both sides of the name tent so it won’t matter what side of the table you’re on you’ll be able to see the persons name.


Once you’ve decided on an agenda with your board chair, get it out to the board in advance of the meeting.  Keep it short and simple.

And always use the consent agenda to your advantage.

Start on Time and stick to the agenda

Do you create an annotated agenda for you and the board chair?  If not, I suggest you do and it should have times on every item.

This will go a long way of keeping your meeting on schedule and productive.  You don’t want any one board member to highjack the meeting with a subject matter that is not on the official agenda.

For a sample board agenda's and other materials from Bob Harris, Institute faculty member,  go HERE.  Or, go HERE for a great website on board agenda templates.

Robert’s Rules of Order (RRO)

If you stick to the process laid out in RRO I suggest you will find your meetings will run smoothly and on time.  It keeps an orderly fashion to your meeting.  And it’s very simple, motion to approve, do I have a second, discussion, all in favor, all appose?  That’s it!

One final thought, keep your meetings to two hours or less.  You need to be respectful to your volunteers and that they are spending time away from their businesses or organizations.  Think of how you like meetings to run when you’re on someone else’s board.

Good luck in conducting your next great meeting!