Getting Guests to Your Meetings
Building and maintaining your club’s membership is important and challenging. Having a healthy club membership of at least 20 ensures more ideas, participation, input and better learning for all. Better yet, make it to Operational Strength (25+). But the first step is getting guests to your meetings.
- The easiest and most successful way to get a guest to attend is to personally invite her/him. Use the President’s Agenda at the beginning of every meeting to remind, reinforce, and reward your members for inviting guests.
- Another proven method to get guests to your meeting is by publicizing an event. Host an Open House or feature a guest speaker giving a presentation on a topic relevant to your target audience. Better yet, use back-to-back(-to-back) events – one or two meetings with a featured speaker/presentation followed by an Open House at the next meeting date. Hold these events on consecutive weeks even if your club normally meets every other week.
- Have your club members use the 40 Guests in 4 Minutes to brainstorm people’s names. Tell them to write down the first names that come to mind. After the form is complete, members should start inviting those who could possibly attend your club. Next have them invite others to attend a club near or convenient to them. It’s okay to invite guests to check out a club in another part of your district or the world.
The remaining items on this page, adapted from the Success 101 brochure, outline some ideas to help attract and retain members and achieve success.
Implement a Membership Building Program
Conduct a Membership Drive
- Hold a membership-building contest.
- Participate in Toastmasters’ annual contests (Smedley Award, Talk Up Toastmasters, Beat the Clock) or create a contest of your own.
- One of the easiest ways to build membership is by hosting an Open House Meeting.
- Conduct Speechcraft. This short, seminar-style program is a great way to attract new members. Potential members learn basic speaking and evaluating skills.
Recruit Members from All Available Resources
- Hand out promotional materials at community organizations.
- Give short talks about Toastmasters at company seminars on related subjects.
Publicize Your Club
- Distribute fliers with your club information to local businesses, and display posters in strategic locations.
- Send news releases announcing your club’s time and meeting location to local newspapers. For more ideas, go to the PR FAQs page.
Establish a Guest Program
Provide Useful Material
- Have at least 10 guest packets available in advance. Download the recommend items from the Document Library.
- Brochures are perfect for guests. A number are available from the Toastmaster International Marketing Resources page.
- A copy of the Toastmaster magazine allows guests to see what Toastmasters has to offer.
Welcome Guests Warmly
- Order plastic badges and plastic badge insert to provide your guests with a name tag, have them sign the guest book and seat them next to someone friendly and knowledgeable.
- Present them with a Welcome to Toastmasters ribbon to make them feel welcome.
Make Sure to Follow Up
- Send follow-up communication with details of membership benefits. Use The Benefits of Toastmasters Membership and Features, Benefits and Value Chart.
- Additional follow-up should occur each time the guest visits until they join.
Welcome New Members
Conduct a New Member Induction Ceremony
- Formally induct the member into your club to create a sense of belonging.
- Present them with a Promotional Welcome Ribbon, if you didn’t already do so when they were a guest.
Develop a New Member Orientation Program
- Familiarize the member with all the meeting roles and education tracks. A Toastmaster Wears Many Hats and Toastmasters Recognition are excellent resources for this.
- Direct the member to www.toastmasters.org and www.d13tm.com websites to ensure they know what Toastmasters has to offer.
- The New Member Orientation Kit for Clubs contains materials to orient and induct five new members.
Implement a Mentor Program
- Assign the new member a mentor.
- Train your seasoned members to be mentors using Mentoring module from the Successful Club Series. The Club Mentor Program Kit provides enough materials to mentor 20 new members.
Increase Member Retention via Satisfaction
Evaluate Their Interest
- Find out a member’s needs and goals to ensure they reach their objectives. The Member Interest Survey is a useful tool to accomplish this.
- Base the focus of your club’s educational program on the results of your research.
Analyze Reasons for Missed Meetings
- Are members missing meetings because of the time or location? Consider changing it if the other members agree.
- Are meetings too long? A shorter program might be more effective.
- Are members not given the opportunity to participate as much as they’d like? Try a rotation method so that everyone gets a chance to fulfill all the roles.
Nurture Potential Non-Renewals
- Has a member reached his or her original goal? Suggest a new goal, such as the Advanced Communication or Leadership tracks.
- Are members “burned out” on fulfilling too many meeting roles? Lighten their load as needed.
Start Achieving Now!
Plan your club’s year using the Distinguished Club Program and Club Success Plan.
Keep Track of Achievements
- Keep track of your club’s goals using the Distinguished Club Program Goals.
- Keep track of your member’s educational achievements using the applicable wall chart. The Wall Chart Set is ideal for this purpose, and is available for order from the TI store.
Keep Your Club and Its Members Informed
- On a monthly basis, review the achieved and remaining goals with your club.
- Reward members as goals are achieved.
Membership Building Resources
Open House Checklist (pdf)
Open House Flier (pdf)
116 Ways to Recruit New Members (pdf)
New Member Flowchart (pdf)
Public Relations Web Resources
Brand Portal (logos, images, templates, marketing materials, etc.)
Distinguished Club Program and Club Success Plan
How to Host a Club Open House
Increasing Club Membership
Membership Building Contests
Success 101 Brochure-How to Attract and Retain Members