The duty of a Subordinate Grange Membership Chairman is to encourage and motivate their fellow members to bring in new members on a regular basis. While it is important for you to set the example and show others how to do it, it is not your duty to bring in all the new members for your Grange.
The goal for the coming year in the state of Michigan is to have a net gain in membership. That will require each and every Grange to do their part.
Plan!: In order to assure membership success, each Grange should set goals for membership. These goals might include a number of new members to acquire and a percentage of members to retain. Each Grange should plan how they intend to reach the goals set, which might include special and/ or new events sponsored by the Grange, new ways to promote the Grange, or development of a new member application specific to your Grange. The year-end report will ask you to report on plans you made this past year to build and/or retain membership in your Grange.
Publicize!: Consider what publicize means in the broadest sense as it relates to your Grange. It might mean getting an article published in the local newspaper or on the radio, and certainly this is a good way to keep the name of the Grange in front of your community so that they know the kinds of projects and activities that you have and what you stand for. However, it is also possible to publicize the Grange as you have conversations with others while at community activities, as well as at your Grange fundraisers and activities. Encourage current members at every meeting to ask others to join the Grange. Make sure you have a membership application with you at all times and distribute these freely to others. Using the benefits list you have created, have a short, two- or three-sentence description of why someone would want to belong to the Grange and target it to the person with whom you are speaking. Finally, ask people to join the Grange.
Persevere!: This is the hardest of all, yet we know that it is a basic principle of the Grange. Based on history, about 76% of the people that you ask to join the Grange will say “no”. However, that still leaves 24%! About 10% of the people you ask were waiting for you to ask. Through creative planning of activities and membership recruiting and retention, as well as publicizing Grange activities, this can happen. Approaching membership with a positive attitude leads to greater success – the glass is half full, not half empty! Often, we want quick growth in membership, but normally growth in membership happens as a result of multiple steps that lead to that growth.
People!: After you have planned, publicized and persevered, people will result! Your task is not over once you have the dues and a signed application. Now, you need to make that new member, and even current members, feel a part of the organization. Make sure that the new member receives the obligation and/or is recognized and introduced at the first meeting they attend. If the first event is not a meeting, make sure that you recognize their contributions. Keep in mind to recognize current members as well. You might wish to have an annual member recognition program celebrating the Grange anniversaries, as well as the new members of the year.