Think of the words recruit and attract.
The word recruiting hints at going out into the world to promote your service club, your weight loss support group, your book club. While you’re recruiting, everyone you meet is a potential member. It’s like you’re on a mission, raising an army, or enrolling people in your cause.
But attracting? It’s drawing people in, pulling them toward you, catching their attention, being a magnet.
When you recruit, you hunt them down and bring them in. When you attract, you create such a desire they come in on their own. Your goal remains the same, but your attitude could mean all the difference in achieving your goal: increasing your membership.
So how do we attract new members to our service or nonprofit organization? Think about how kids make friends. It may be that basic.
School friendships often begin when a child shares her candy, her lunch, or her table in the lunchroom. In the same way, share the good things that are happening in your club.
Is your next guest speaker a cancer survivor? Invite a friend who has undergone or is undergoing the same struggle. Have you invited a local political candidate to speak to the group? Invite a friend or acquaintance who has an interest in local politics.
[This implies that you know program topics ahead of time.]
The next time you plan a service project, invite a couple of acquaintances to join. They may even feel flattered. You’re implying they care about clean highways, feeding the hungry, or helping the local hospital foundation achieve its goals. If they agree to help, they’ll begin to form relationships with others in your group. They’ll begin to “get” what the group is all about and may want to be part of it.
If your meetings lack structure or are boring, visitors won’t come back. If in their busy-ness your members ignore visitors, they won’t be back. Time is too precious to spend on unprofessional, unfocused, or unproductive meetings with strangers.
Friendships grow as kids – and adults – get to know each other beyond their names, members of their families, and what they do all week. Be able to express what led you to this particular service club. Why do you stay? What are the perks?
If they still keep their distance after you’ve included them in your plans, let them go. Not everyone’s a good fit. If they are a good fit, they’ll stick around.
And that may be the strongest reason of all for attracting instead of recruiting. If they’re attracted to your group, if they feel comfortable among your members. you won’t have to work to involve them or to keep them.
Recruiting versus attracting. What a difference one word can make!
What do you think? How does changing this one word change your attitude? Have you seen this switch in attitude work?