Reframe your perspective so that growth is a natural part of your corps, and try and keep the following in mind:
- You need to be open to change. “This is how it’s always been done” is not a good reason for continuing anything, especially if you have declining membership. If your membership numbers are terrific, by all means, continue what you are doing. If your corps isn’t gaining membership, try something new. What will it hurt?
- Saturate your market. Remember that for public relations, people need to see something seven times before it registers. So, if you don’t see success right away with your recruiting efforts, be patient and don’t give up. Keep at it and keep trying new things! Advertise in new places, try a different flyer, have your corps play at a different community service event. Exposure is the key.
- Assume that people know nothing about fife and drum. It is not a run-of-the-mill activity.
- Keep your website and Facebook page current - please.
- SHOW DON’T TELL at your open house. Please. Don’t talk too much.
- Be friendly to everyone. When you meet a person in the grocery store, tell them about your corps. They may have a child or a neighbor who wants to join.
- Everyone wants to feel welcome and included. When your new people join, make them part of your family.
Still having trouble recruiting? Think about your group.
- Are your requirements too stringent? Nobody wants to compromise quality and you don’t have to. However, you might have to be more realistic about your membership requirements. Are you asking people to know 10 songs in 3 months when they have never even learned how to read music? Wow. That’s a lot.
- Accept that your recruits have many interests and activities. Instead of penalizing those who don’t come regularly, make it a honor for those who do attend and learn. Provide incentives for those who do come such as money toward the big trip, special attendance pins on uniforms, or attendance awards at your annual dinner.
Best of luck, and please let us know what has worked for your group!