u3as have been sharing ideas with each other and coming up with resources to help the movement retain and recruit members during this time and beyond. This new series hosts a resources toolkit for u3a members to use when needed. There will be more resources going up over the coming weeks.
This toolkit is intended for use by your committee and any sub-committee or team that you set up. The purpose of the toolkit is to provide you and your u3a with tools to assist you in your efforts to recruit members and retain your current ones.
The Toolkit has a number of different types of tool: PowerPoints, videos, How to guides and a checklist. The tools are designed to address the following issues:
- Retaining your current members
- Developing your team, building support and dealing with objections
- Planning your relaunch/recruitment campaign
- Recruiting new members: tips and suggestions from u3as
- Your interest groups
- Using social media and the internet effectively
- Recruiting new members and promoting your u3a
- Promotional materials
- Enrolling, welcoming, inducting and following up your new members
- 1. Preparing to recruit
2. Recruiting and promoting
3. Support processes
The list of tools and its intended audience is set out in the Contents section below. The Toolkit is quite large, You won’t necessarily find that every tool is useful to your u3a. That’s fine. At the risk of stating the obvious, you don’t have to use every tool. This is a resource which you can dip into for suggestions which might suit your own u3a priorities as you change and develop.
Two of the tools are described as Swap Shops. One is about retaining your current members. The other focusses on recruiting new members. They are different from the other tools in that they are designed to facilitate the exchange of experiences and ideas between u3as. Between them, the Swap Shops provide vivid examples of u3as which are doing almost all of the things which are suggested in the How to guides. They are very practical and, of course, they demonstrate one of the enduring strengths of our movement: there are lots of different ways of doing things. If you have experiences which you would like to share through the Swap Shops, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Is this the right time to recruit new members?
It is always a good time to recruit new members. New members:
- Bring new ideas, energy and enthusiasm
- Benefit from joining your u3a
- Become new helpers, interest group leaders and committee members
- Enrich your u3a
- Will spread the word to other prospective members
Over the next few years, not only are a large number of people retiring from work in the normal way, but they are unfortunately being joined by a large number of people aged 55+ who are losing their full time job, directly or indirectly, because of Covid 19. At the same time, many of the opportunities for retired people – many sorts of voluntary activity for example – are not available. But the newly retired may be different from many of our current members. We need to equip ourselves for a world where many of the 55+ age group will be looking to the internet for inspiration and new opportunities.
There is a further important argument. Almost everything you do to prepare your u3a to recruit new members will also serve to strengthen your u3a and make it more and more attractive to your existing members. There is a substantial overlap between preparing to recruit new members and retaining current members.
u3as are suffering from two sorts of recruitment problem. There is, first, a long term slowdown in the growth in membership of the u3a movement and the proportion of newly retired people joining the u3a is in decline. This may in part be associated with an over-reliance on word-of-mouth as a means of attracting new members. These long-term trends have been exacerbated by Covid19.
Representatives from thirteen u3as comprise the Working Group and have developed this toolkit. Three members of the Working Group are also Regional Trustees and several other members are also members of Regional Support Teams.
Above all this toolkit has benefitted from the practical experiences, ideas and suggestions of over 60 Pathfinder u3as who have been working with us to develop the toolkit. Without the hard work of all involved we would not have a toolkit.
Chair u3a Recruitment Working Group
u3a Retention and recruitment toolkit – Retaining your current members and recruiting new ones
Introduction to the toolkit
An introduction and guide to the u3a Retention and recruitment toolkit – this document – for committee members and members of recruitment team.
Each resource on Sources is also available as a download on the u3a website.
Retaining current members
Swap shop: Sharing ideas to retain your current u3a members – for committee members – Tips and suggestions from u3as. Downloadable version.
Developing your team, building support and dealing with objections
Building support for recruitment in your committee – for individual committee members – this is a how to guide. Downloadable version.
Developing a shared relaunch/recruitment project with your members – for committee members and members of recruitment team – this is a how to guide. Downloadable version.
Why we need to recruit more members – for u3a members – this is a PowerPoint which can be customised by your u3a. Downloadable version.
Planning your relaunch/recruitment campaign
Monitoring and evaluating your recruitment project – for committee members and members of recruitment team – this is a how to guide. Downloadable version.
Recruiting new members: tips and suggestions from u3as
7 steps to recruiting more interest group convenors – for committee members and members of retention/recruitment team – this is a how to guide. Downloadable version.
Zoom – Why Should I Bother? – For interest group coordinators and Convenors/Leaders – this is a video on YouTube.
Get your u3a interest group online in 5 simple steps – For interest group coordinators and convenors/leaders – this is a video on YouTube.
Zoom screen sharing for u3a interest groups – for interest group coordinators and convenors/leaders – this is a video on YouTube
Using social media effectively
Social media: Choosing and using – for committee members and members of recruitment team – this is a How to guide in the form of a PowerPoint. Downloadable version.
Writing for the web – for committee members and members of the recruitment team – this is a how to guide in the form of a PowerPoint. Downloadable version.
Getting and keeping website and social media traffic – for committee members and members of recruitment team – this is a how to guide. Downloadable version.
Recruiting, relaunching and promoting
Transforming your website: case study video presentations from three u3as – for committee members and members of the retention/recruitment team – this is a video on YouTube.
New brand banner, new brand leaflets, new brand posters, new brand digital assets including the u3a logo – all of the above can be found on the brand centre.
Model emails and letters for promotion and recruitment – for organisations running pre-retirement courses, councillors/MPS/faith communities/health professionals, employers and HR managers – this is a How to guide containing a number of different model letters and emails which can be customised by your u3a. Downloadable version.
Enrolling, welcoming, inducting and following up new members
Online Welcome pack for new members – for new u3a members – from u3a brand centre and can be customised for your u3a.
See the rest of the Recruitment category for more of the series.