Membership Recruitment & Growing Your Club

Best Practices, Strategies & Resources

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Content is derived from ZI 2018-2020 Global Membership Drive (GMD), 2020 – 2022 D4 Membership Committee & D4 Clubs.

Preparing for New Members?

New members will stay if they see a functioning club, happy members actively engaged in the community and internationally, as promised.

Know Your Club & Community

Conducting a SWOT Analysis focused specifically on membership will set you up for membership recruitment.

    Resource: Club Manual: Appendix C – SWOT Analysis

      Club Social Media & Website
      • Media channels have current content.
      • Reflect on your club’s involvement in the community, Zonta, and significant campaigns or dates.
      • Developing your own content will have a greater impact on viewers. D4 is developing social media templates.
      • Engage in social media relationships (Like/Share/Friends/Follow) with businesses or individuals you want to become members.
      • Sharing content from ZI, D4, and other clubs shows the expanse of Zonta.
      • Your website and social media images will reflect your club and who you wish to attract. Seasoned members vs. young professionals.
      • Easy to locate contact information and follow up on inquiries in a timely manner.
      • Research what PR methods work in your community and the target market you are seeking.


      • Determine and communicate membership goals and timeline to the membership.  Recruitment brainstorming can be a club initiative.
      • Readily available public relations material, social media, and quality print material relative to your events and budget. Membership material is available at every club event and outreach activity. E.g. media kit/press release, club/event flyers, postcards, bookmarks, invest in pull-up club/event banner.
      • Access local radio and television promotion.
      • Ensure every activity has a membership component.  Who, what & why you do what you do. State that you are seeking new members.
      • Consider regular recruiting events at specific times each year.
      • ID members that are comfortable and willing to be a spokesperson at outreach activities/events.
      • Consider incentives, recognize & reward members that invite guests or gain new members.
      • Build relationships with the community and potential members, not “sell” Zonta as a product.

      Resources: Example of Recruitment Material


      Identify the Type of Member You Want

      Actively seek out members that will build your club’s foundation.

      Members with Specific Skills
      • Look at the resources and skills lacking in your club. Are there professions or individuals that embody those qualities?
      • Look to your community for potential organizations & businesses your members are already engaged with and have established partnerships.
      Target Diversity

      Research your community and surrounding area.

      • Is there an underrepresented community group not being fulfilled in your club?
      • Diversity brings energy and a new perspective to the club.
      • Uncovers systemic issues the club may have been overlooking.
      • Promote the Young Professional Classification.
      Identifying Club Recruiters

      Who’s the best person for the job?  EVERYONE

      • ID members that are comfortable and willing to be a spokesperson at outreach activities/events. 
      • Outgoing enthusiastic members can be more comfortable in “cold call” situations.
      • Members already involved or connected with women in your community.
      • Engage community women holding leadership positions, or know women who do in a brainstorming session to identify potential members or act as the club’s “eyes”.  
      • Example of “Making the Ask.”
      Where to Find New Members

      Outside the Club

      • Local business associations, Chamber of Commerce, & Small Business Centres.
      • Community clubs without service/advocacy agenda. E.g. Sororities, networking groups, young professionals groups, community volunteer events, etc.
      • Professional businesses, banks, lawyers, accounting firms, engineers, education, insurance, real estate, healthcare, donor development & event coordinators, etc.
        • Remain conscious of a young professional’s work commitments and work-life balance.

      Club Connections

      • Club’s partnering organizations & recipients of a club’s donations.
      • Reach out to past scholarship and award recipients.
      • Encourage graduating Golden Z club students to join.
      • Identify the daughters, granddaughters (next generation) of friends and family.

      Recruitment Activities

      Be proactive in your recruiting strategy. Use every opportunity to create awareness about Zonta & build relationships.

      Recruit Volunteers

      Sometimes called Friends of Zonta

      • External volunteers can ease into membership without time or financial commitment.  Today’s volunteer is tomorrow’s member.
      • Make a list of how external volunteers can help ease member workload.
        • Events
        • Skills not available in the club. E.g. website management, PR, developing club promotional material.
      Club Events, Projects or Initiatives to Attract Attention
      • Make quality club information available at every public club event or activity.
      • Identify greeters and members designated to speak one-on-one with attendees about the club and why they are a member.
      • Determine what Zonta can do for the potential member during conversations with the public.
      • Gather and use member testimonies about why they are Zonta members.
      Membership Drive

      Host a Membership Drive

      Zonta membership drives are often called Zings.

      Identify the best time of year for your club to host an event to promote your club and recruit new members.  Develop a themed event and create engaging invitations of the benefits of membership. Invite those that have previously attended your events utilizing club event attendee databases or new community residents.

      District 4 Membership Drive Themes

      • Raking in Members.  A ZC of Woodstock fall event.
      • Cocktails and Clutches.  A ZC of Stratford social event with purse raffle.
      • What’s your membership drive them?

      District 4 has some funds available to assist small clubs with 20 or fewer members wishing to host a membership drive.  The application is available online and submitted to the governor at least 30 days prior to the event.  The application is reviewed and voted on by the district board.  Funds are available on a first-come-first-served basis.

      Zing Application link

      Promoting Global Aspect
      • Join with other clubs to maximize resources
      • Promote membership that can encompass other clubs, districts, international.
      • A female-focused organization with international reach, programs and projects. 
      Follow Up
      • Follow up with a potential member after an inquiry or a visit to your club or event.
        • Assign the task to the membership committee or specific member.
      • Inquire as to what was most interesting from the event or last meeting.
      • Inquire if anything was off-putting or could function better, then disclose concerns to the appropriate committee/board.  Invite the person to help the next time.
      • Invite parties to another event, meeting, or project.


      Working with New Members

      Now that you have new members, now what do you do with them?

      Welcome & Involvement

      Make new members welcome and useful. Member introduction is a two-way conversation. New members need to learn about current members.

        • Make member profiles/bios available to all members.
        • Highlight a member each month in your newsletter or at a meeting.
        • Wearing name badges to avoid embarrassing situations.
      • Don’t overwhelm the new member with Zonta information.
        • Use documents as a reference to substantiate what has been verbally discussed. 
      • Establish a consistent orientation process.
      • Continuing supporting (mentoring) the new member as they become familiar with club meetings, established members, and understanding the culture and activities of the club.
      • Make the induction ceremony special, offer club pins/name badges, roses, and willing mentors to build the relationship between club and member.
      • Invite new members to orientation training sessions with an assigned mentor.
      • Offer positions, vice/understudy positions or match leadership mentors to those wanting more involvement early, they may be your future leader.
        New Member Orientation Plan
        • Offer consistent orientation/training sessions to the new members.
        • Include mentor so everyone knows the information shared.
        • Break down the orientation session into comfortable segments delivered over a period of time.
        • Address membership committee direction, incorporating plans that engage membership and leadership.
        • Assign the new member to a committee that resonates with them.
        • Utilize ZI Leadership Program modules.

        Resources: D4 New Member Orientation Plan & Part 1, 2 or 3.  Contact District 4 Membership Committee to obtain the PowerPoint to personalize for your club.

        Training, Coaching & Mentoring
        • Ensure club members are ready for the task of training and mentoring a new member.
        • Activate passive members as trainers or mentors.

        Resources:  ZI Leadership Development – Mentoring 


        Club Social Media & Website Content

        Studies indicate prospective members will be attracted to a club’s social media content and then do more in-depth research on the club’s website.

        Updating All Media Channels with current content
        • Outdated online information is a deterrent for many professionals.
        • Primary content reflects what are you doing now.  Create a page for past events or archive information.
        • Use images of events and activities.
        • Use images to promote the type of member you wish to attract. 
        • Testimonies & Images
          • Seek permission for posting and follow copyright laws.
          • Why current member remain in Zonta
          • What new members discover about Zonta and enjoy the most.
        • Highlight & welcome new members,
          • Brief bio – written by the member, possibly include workplace, community interests while limiting personal information.
        • Identify current service and advocacy projects.
        • Make content easy to see, find, and follow.  Don’t give a viewer a reason to leave your site.
        • Use social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) consistently.
        • Content is aligned with ZI’s mission/vision, share ZI partnering organization content.

        Resource: ZI Branding Protocol

        Promote on ZI & D4 and share with other clubs to gain more recognition and higher Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

        Resource: D4 Communications Guidelines for D4 content submission.

        Share & Post to Social Media Channels

        Educate your member on how to share and post social media content.

        Example: sharing and posting content.


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