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 retain your current members and recruit new members.
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. We hope you will use and give us feedback on the tools most relevant to your own recruitment project.
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.
We have developed the tools to support u3as in their efforts to retain existing members and to recruit new members. This guide contains relevant and current information, but we realise that in this rapidly changing world things can move on quickly. We welcome your comments and feedback any relevant points you make, will be taken into account during our regular resource review procedure. Updated resources will be posted to replace the existing ones as necessary.
The toolkit itself is also being piloted. In terms of the toolkit overall, we will be asking for suggestions for tools which could be developed and added to the toolkit and, for that matter, whether any tools should be amalgamated with others or withdrawn. We hope that with your help, we can extend the Toolkit. If you find yourselves saying ‘If only we had a recruitment tool which would help us do xxxx’, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We can’t promise to do everything but we’ll do our best.
Is this the right time for a recruitment campaign?
We think that in general this is THE right time. Not only are a large number of people going to be 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, because of Covid19. At the same time, many of the opportunities for retired people – many sorts of voluntary activity for example – are not available. In addition, we need to equip ourselves for a world where many of the 55+ age group will be looking to the internet for inspiration.
Social distancing and periodic lockdowns are likely to be with us for the foreseeable future, so now is as good a time as any.
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 your current members.
Our u3a movement is suffering from two sorts of recruitment problem. There is a long term slowdown in the growth in membership of the 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 are being exacerbated by Covid19.
The Third Age Trust created a Recruitment Working Group which reports to both the u3a Development Committee and the u3a Communications and External Affairs Committee (CEAC). 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.
With your help, we want to be able to develop it into an even better version 2.0.
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.
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.
Using social media effectively
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
New brand banner, new brand leaflets, new brand posters, new brand digital assets: logo etc – 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.