How can the Moon Society retain and recruit members? How can Chapters and Outposts inspire their members and motivate them to consistently volunteer? These are important questions and the answers are critical to the Society’s ability to achieve its goals.
This page was inspired by an article in the Reflector (Vol 71, No. 4 September 2019). Reflector is published by the Astronomical League (AL). According to the article, “local clubs are the backbone of the Astronomical League”. Unfortunately, they have experienced a decline in membership and member activity. The AL is also experiencing a “graying” of their membership (average member age is trending toward the older end of the spectrum). These are problems that the Moon Society is also experiencing.
This information is not just for Chapters and Outposts. We can use these ideas to grow the Society as well. Also, some of the ideas assume that clubs (or Chapters/Outposts in our case) have multiple volunteers. If yours doesn’t then you’ll just have to improvise. The ideas below are not verbatim from the article and have been modified to work better with the Moon Society. New ideas have been added as well.
Your ideas and thoughts are valuable. Please contact the Membership Coordinator if you have something to add to this list (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Find a member to volunteer as the Membership person for your Chapter.
- Devote a Chapter meeting to growing membership.
- Make meetings more appealing. Offer refreshments. Allow for interpersonal time before and after the meeting.
- Use social media on a regular basis.
- Designate someone (or multiple someones) as greeters. Make sure they are good with people.
- Assign a member to welcome new visitors. Don’t talk about their work lives. Instead, ask about their interest in the Moon and space. Suggest ways they have help your Chapter and the Society.
- Wear name tags at all meetings. Even long-time members might not know everyone’s name.
- Request visitor’s email before the meeting starts. Email them after the meeting thanking them for coming and encouraging them to return. Let them know about upcoming events and activities. Ask if they would like to be on your Chapter’s email list.
- Make a Chapter email list. Keep your members up-to-date on activities and events.
- Give first-time visitors a memento of their visit, possibly some kind of inexpensive Moon Society merchandise.
- Prepare new member packages. Packages can include: Moon Society pamphlet, Chapter pamphlet, inexpensive swag, etc.
- Create free associate memberships for children. “The value of having young people in aging clubs vastly outweighs the loss of dues income”, according to the article.
- Find out from your members, and potential members, what activities they would be willing to get involved in.Then create those opportunities.
- Create an easy online membership application and way to pay dues. The Society already has this but individual Chapters may want to collect dues to fund their activities.
- Use television advertising, especially if your Chapter is having a big event.
- Conduct a Student Night. Get permission to put notices in school science classes, libraries, school papers, etc. Make sure to match the event with the appropriate school age.
- Create an impactful Chapter poster. Distribute them (with permission) to schools, universities, libraries, museums, etc.
- Anticipate parental concerns when hosting an event with younger children. Provide names, background info, and contact information on adults that will be interacting with children.
- Contact lapsed members. Tell them they are missed, ask what they would like to see from your Chapter, and invite them back.
- Register your Chapter with the Night Sky Network (nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov) if you host observing events.
- Provide equipment if your Chapter hosts observing events. Assume that most people do not have access to a telescope or binoculars.
- Have interesting programs at your meetings. Invite authors, astronomers, engineers, professors, students, etc.
- Network your Chapter with local organizations with similar or tangential interests. Provide speakers to each other’s events.
- Submit articles and photographs of your Chapter’s activities and accomplishments to local news sources (TV, radio, print, etc.).
- Ask inactive members to participate in committees or help with projects.
- Use anonymous surveys/questionnaires frequently to find out how your membership feels about specific issues. Ask them what they would like to change.
- Consider changing your bylaws to include term limits for officers. New members might feel that leadership positions are closed to them.
- Include well-known (even if just locally) people in your major outreach efforts. A researcher, author, politician, or celebrity can boost publicity and attendance.
- Some meetings could be devoted entirely to new members and getting them involved in Chapter (or Moon Society) activities.
- Annual social events (picnics, dinners, etc.) that allow spouses and children to participate can enhance the Chapter’s sense of community.
- Chapter members who are society members could print out their membership cards from wild apricot and use them as their name tag.
- See if the local public library has a STEM program and what your members could do to participate.