Dr. Abel Fink, Past President of the Buffalo Torch Club, hit the nail on the head when he said, “Achieving the old adage that membership grows when every member invites a new member is a challenge for some of us. Some members feel they lack the personal contacts with potential members. Others lack the motivation required.” Dr. Fink called this the New Member Dilemma.
Some membership development advice is: Invite personal and professional acquaintances to consider Torch. Hold a special reception or meeting for potential new members and ask members to bring a guest. Appoint a membership chairman best suited to do the job. Create lists of people (professionals, retirees, new residents) who are good candidates. Establish a club wide goal for recruiting new members. Invite speakers to become a member of the club. Make potential new members feel welcome when they attend a meeting. Assign a host. Send out news releases and meet personally with a reporter who can do a feature article on Torch. Speak to various organizations (e.g. service clubs, the local Arts Council) whose members might enjoy a group like Torch. Look for likely social settings (professional housing area/retirement communities) as a source for new members. Watch for people described in special features in the local paper
The IATC office can provide local club officers with a number of aids that would be of assistance in recruiting and retaining new members Recruiting and Retaining Members: Suggestions and Resources for Torch Clubs (PDF) is a handbook edited by Past IATC Director-at-Large for Membership David Smith. The pamphlet can be downloaded directly as a PDF document or ordered from the IATC Home office. (We are in the proccess of updating this booklet) Induction of New Members (PDF). New!
IATC does not have a prescribed induction ceremony for new members, but the welcome of new members should be a special event. Past IATC President Reed Taylor developed an induction ceremony that has been used by the Buffalo and other Torch clubs. A PDF version is available for download. An attractive new member packet and Torch pin to give new members at induction is also available from the IATC Office. The Torch magazine is published three times year. Extra copies are available from International to use for recruitment.
A full color tri-fold brochure explaining the spirit of Torch is now available from the IATC home office is useful in the recruitment of new members. Club officers can request free copies of this brochure from the IATC office or they may purchase copies that have been personalized with their club information.