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 series hosts the new resources (toolkit) for u3a members to use when needed.
How to guide: Developing a shared relaunch/recruitment project with your members
The purpose of the guide is to suggest how you can develop a shared campaign which could include all or most of your members. The objective is to share the load across your u3a, encourage members to support and participate actively in your campaign and to bring their collective knowledge and experience to bear.
This guide is our first draft. We will be collecting feedback to create an improved version for use by u3as. Your experiences of using the guide are of vital importance. Please email your suggestions for improvement to firstname.lastname@example.org
Planning your relaunch/recruitment campaign
- As a committee, commit to a relaunch/recruitment campaign, share thoughts on possible options.
- Make sure that you are ready to recruit (see Preparing to recruit checklist)
- Prepare the sort of plan which suits your u3a. Some suggestions are given in the How to Guide: Planning your relaunch/recruitment campaign
Support from your members
- Communicate to all members why you want/need to recruit new members (see the PowerPoint: Why we need to recruit)
- Decide how you want to manage your relaunch/recruitment campaign: will you involve the whole committee? Set up a sub-committee or working group? How much do you want to involve all your members?
- If you are going to do a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) as part of your planning, it will probably be a better analysis and will generate more support if you involve the wider membership.
- Your members will have all sorts of contacts which might be useful in your campaign – in local media, and on social media, directly or through friends or relatives.
- They may have employer contacts – these could be really valuable to ensure that people who are retiring or leaving work can get information about your u3a.
- Members will certainly know some local influencers: health professionals, Councillors, MPs and elected members, faith group leaders, community group leaders etc.
In a large meeting or at several smaller ones, ask members to:
- Provide ideas on who and how to recruit
- Identify influencers and possible community partners
- Identify news and social media stories
- Identify possible barriers to recruitment and how they can be overcome (e.g. not enough interesting interest groups? See the guide in the toolkit on Making your offer irresistible).
Mobilising your support
Ask members to join small teams which will break the big recruitment task down into lots of small tasks. To ensure all this energy is used to best advantage, you will need to have one or more coordinators to keep everyone on track.
Small teams could focus on, for example:
- Your website
- Using and advertising on social media
- Using YouTube
- Pop up displays in libraries/ supermarkets etc
- Posters in shops/surgeries etc
- Contacting local media
- Promoting to influencers
- Faith communities
- Working with community organisations
- Local employers
- Welcome and induction team
- Online meetings for prospective new members.
Ask group coordinators/leaders to identify opportunities to promote their group activity as part of the u3a recruitment campaign (e.g. posters/leaflets in local cinemas for film groups; in garden centres for gardening groups, in restaurants for dining groups etc.)
Conserve energy/don’t reinvent the wheel reuse/recycle/adapt recruitment materials which are already available (e.g. the new branded u3a materials).