Best Practices:Membership Recruitment & RetentionTom Lamphere BS, RRT, RPFTPSRC DelegatePSRC Membership Committee ChairAARC Membership Committee Member
Membership is climbing….Why Such a Fuss?? • AARC membership is climbing, but we should not be happy until EVERY respiratory therapist is a member! • Despite our recent improvements, we have approximately 37,000 members out of approximately 112,000 therapists in the country = 33% membership!
How Do We Compare – Membership % AARC = 33% membership • Physical Therapy Assn = 48% membership • Occupational Therapy = 41% membership • American Dietetic Assn = 77% membership • Radiologic Technologists = 37% membership
How Do We Compare – Actual Members AARC = 37,000 / 112,000 • Physical Therapy Assn = 63,000 / 132,000 • Occupational Therapy Assn = 40,000 / 97,000 • American Dietetic Assn = 66,000 / 86,000 • Radiologic Technologists = 103,000 / 280,000
“We’ll NEVER Get Everyone to Join….” • Maybe not, but we should NEVER stop trying until we do….and even then our work isn’t done! • If we were to raise our % of membership to only 50% (56,000 members) AARC revenues would increase $1.4 million and state revenues would increase $228,000!
“We don’t have enough volunteers to help recruit & retain members.” • This point is highlighted by the fact that there are affiliates who don’t even have a Membership Committee Chair. • This is one of the MOST important positions not just to have filled, but filled by an energetic, charismatic and dedicated person.
“We’d love to increase membership in our state, but we’ve tried everything without much luck.” • You’ve tried everything? • Put some time and effort into coming up with a NEW approach! • Is this a priority or not?
“Ok, I’m convinced. What next?” • Create a Strategic Membership Plan. • The first, and MOST important step, is to have a plan that includes Best Practices! • The second step is to identify individuals who will carry out that plan. • The final step is to evaluate the success of the plan and to continually make adjustments to it.
Step 1: The Plan • Without a plan you’re affiliate will waste time, talent, and resources. • Ultimately, membership will not improve and apathy will begin to appear. • “We’ve tried everything and nothing works.” • “Why are we wasting our time and money?”
Step 1: The Plan • With a plan, chances for success improve! • Evaluation of the plan’s effectiveness and adjustment based on this evaluation is a continuous process!!!
Current Membership: Where Do You Stand? • The first step in creating your plan is to identify the facts about where you stand at the beginning of your Strategic Membership Plan. • Find out how many RT’s are licensed in your state (or, if not license, how many work in your state). • Divide the number of ACTIVE members of the AARC in your state (from your membership listing) by the number of RT’s in your state to determine your membership %.
Current Membership: Where Do You Stand? Example • 1,500 Active members / 7,000 therapists in state • 21.4% membership • 5,500 opportunities to recruit new members.
Goals • The next step in the plan is to set short-term and long term goals. • Short-term goals should be achievable within 6 to 12 months and should be based on the number of opportunities identified in the state. • Use a specific number instead of a percentage. • Example: Increase total Active Members by 100 in 6 months
Goals • Long-term goals should be set for a time period > 1 year (i.e. 1 yr, 3 yrs, 5 yrs, etc.) • Aim high for long-term goals!! • Always keep in mind that membership includes recruiting new members AND retaining current members.
Where To Start…. • RT’s fall into 1 of 3 groups: • Students (member and non-member) • Non-Members • “Never Gonna Be a Member” • “Maybe” Member • Members
Where To Start…. • Ultimately, we’ll never convince the “never gonna be” non-members to join the AARC. • So why do we keep spending so much time, energy, and resources to try to convince them? • It’s time to shift the majority of your resources away from these people and move them to….
STUDENTS!!!! If we all invest more time and resources into students now, we’ll spend less time and resources trying to convince them later!!!
Best Practices: Recruiting & Retaining Student Members • Strong Program Director / Educator support. • Get them early….before they move to the dark side…. • Insure POSITIVE shadowing experience!
Best Practices: Recruiting & Retaining Student Members • Board Representative visit all schools and provide AARC overview. • Offer a discounted membership or other small item upon graduation. • Congratulatory letter from affiliate President upon successful completion of CRT exam.
Best Practices: Recruiting & Retaining Student Members • Get students involved with affiliate activities. • Seminars • Assign Student Reps to Board The more they’re involved and feel a part of the organization, the more likely they’ll remain a lifelong member. • Students love give aways….even a pen can make a difference!
Best Practices: Recruiting & Retaining Student Members • Some states provide scholarships. If your state cannot financially support this endeavor try to find support elsewhere from vendors, hospitals or the students themselves!
Best Practices: Recruiting Non-Members • Identify and target RT Department managers that are non-members. • Managers who are members are MUCH more likely to support and encourage membership among their staff. • Develop an updated manager email list and hold manager meetings 2-3x a year. Utilize list to inform managers of affiliate activities and events.
Best Practices: Recruiting Non-Members • Make personal contact with non-members to explain benefits and answer misconceptions about the AARC. • Utilize Ambassador program. • Assign all hospitals to each Board member who then contact the RT departments. • Visit as many facilities as possible (utilize AARC video). Make it a RC Week event.
Best Practices: Recruiting “Maybe” Members • Utilize continuing education events (both large and small) to recruit new members. • Offer discounts for AARC members. • Include AARC membership cost in non-member price for larger events and then sign up the attendee for membership for “free”! • Utilize ribbons that identify individuals as a “Member”.
Best Practices: Recruiting Non-Members • Utilize AARC’s bulk membership program and purchase memberships at discounted rate. Offer new memberships at discounted rate. • Suggest payroll deduction as a possible way for RT’s to pay for an AARC membership. • Ask vendors to consider sponsoring AARC memberships for RC week or during affiliate events.
Best Practices: Recruiting & Retaining Members • Utilize USPS website to send postcards to: • New members – thanking them! • Renewing members – thanking them! • Expiring members – reminding them!
Best Practices: Recruiting & Retaining Members • USPS website: • Allows for mailing at non-profit rate & mailings are discounted as well. Avg. cost $0.23 each. • Simple! Mailings can be done in minutes. • No supplies needed.
Postcards & Other Mailings • Types: • Reminder to renew membership • Thank you for joining / renewing • Congratulations on passing CRT
Reminder Postcards • Do They Work? • Yes….but some work better than others! • Don’t repeat what is in the AARC reminder, the member has already heard it! • Point out the two or three most important benefits offered by the state affiliate. • Send the reminder BEFORE their membership expires!
Reminder Postcards • If offering a discount on membership, explain why. People are suspicous of offers that are too good to be true! • Always promote your website on your postcards…and all mailings! • Don’t use postcards once member has lapsed more than 3 months….send a letter signed by the President instead.
Second Step… • The second step of your MII is to identify WHO is going to put the plan into action and keep it going. • First choice is your state’s Membership Committee Chair. • If your state doesn’t have a committee chair, then go find one! This person is as important as your state’s President!!!
Second Step… • If you’re unable to find a membership committee chair or your committee chair is ineffective, then someone needs to step up and take charge. • This person needs to be active, energetic, enthusiastic, professional, and a leader in the profession… • Sounds a lot like…..YOU!
Final Step… • The final step is to evaluate the effectiveness of your Strategic Membership Plan at regular and frequent intervals. • Exact time frame of evaluation should be based on the plan implemented. Some items may require more time to demonstrate effectiveness. • No matter what the outcome of your evaluation, continue to refine your plan!
Take Home Notes….. • Develop a realistic plan of action both short term and long term. • Consider shifting your time and resources more heavily towards students and your “maybe” members….but don’t give up on the “Never Gonna Be a Member” RT’s altogether!! • Utilize “Best Practices” to improve their membership total.
First Three Things Your State Should Do ASAP!!! • Create a strategic membership plan that includes: • Specific short and long term goals. • Plan of action that includes use of “Best Practices” for membership. • Assignment of responsibility for the the plan. • Evaluation of the effectiveness of the plan.
First Three Things Your State Should Do ASAP!!! • Spend more time and resources on students to insure they maintain membership after graduation. • Insure each RT Program Director in your state is contacted by someone from your affiliate by the end of October to discuss importance of the AARC and their students. In person works best…by phone or in writing if necessary! • Identify Program Directors who do not support or promote the AARC and find out why. If possible, bring them from the dark side! • If possible, arrange for an affiliate board member to give a presentation to the RT students.
First Three Things Your State Should Do ASAP!!! • Identify non-member RT department managers and develop a plan to convert them. • Create a contact list of RT managers from ALL hospitals and other facilities. • Hold a meeting for managers only and provide them with something they need (CRCE’s for themselves, information on legislation, a management presentation, food!!) and promote your state affiliation and the AARC to the managers. • Start a competition to see which hospitals can obtain 100% membership first. Offer prizes (get them funded if necessary!).