Recruitment

Recruiting New Committee Members: A Success Story

A selfie of several people on, or next to, their bikes

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 these resources in a toolkit for u3a members to use when needed. See the Introduction and Guide to the toolkit, and the full toolkit.

At Easingwold and District, we have had some success in recruiting new members, renewing our committee and setting up a number of new interest groups. We are a Pathfinder member of the u3a national recruitment project and have helped to develop the u3a Retention and recruitment toolkit, which has tools on a large number of topics including Bigger and better committees, Making your interest group offer irresistible and Transforming your website. This is our story – warts and all!

Our u3a was struggling in 2020 as our secretary became very ill and died. There was nobody obvious on the committee within the group, nor any volunteers when an appeal was put out. One of our original members stepped up to fill the gap temporarily but was determined it would only be for a short spell. We were also facing the approaching end of tenure of our treasurer with, again, no obvious replacement.

We have been lucky that we live in a town where people are moving in and we have had new members joining our u3a throughout the Covid times. Our Zoom monthly meetings, musical events and odd entertaining events have drawn out members who are more inclined to join in more fully. Our sub group of recruitment and retention were pushing ahead with a questionnaire asking members about several areas: groups and how they were meeting, any suggestions for new groups, any support members were willing to give in specific areas and asking who would volunteer to be on the committee and even stand for either of these two positions. One of our bulletins made a final appeal for volunteers and that bulletin was hand delivered to all members.

One couple who had only recently joined came forward. The wife immediately said she would try to take on the position of secretary. Initially she was supported by the interim secretary but found it was easier to take on the entirety. She did find it a bit tricky at first when all the meetings were by Zoom and she was trying to work out who each person was as well as recording what was said!

Her husband volunteered to take on the role of treasurer. He and the current treasurer are working together to make the change-over as simple as possible. Now they can meet together to share the information in front of the same computer, the task is much more straightforward. I’m sure we have been extremely lucky that these two members arrived and joined just as our pleas were becoming more desperate. Their response and willingness to support the whole group have been exemplary.

Our groups coordinator followed up on the responses to the questionnaire and found several people who wished to set up new groups. We now have a pickle-ball group, a cycling group, a play-reading group, a history and heritage group, a map-reading group, understanding cryptic crosswords, a poetry appreciation group, researching family history and we had a line-dancing group especially for the opening of our u3a day event. Sadly some of our groups are struggling as leaders have become unwell and unable to run them over the past 2 years but our groups coordinator is doing her best is doing her best to get together with these groups, one at a time, to work out a way forward.

We hope to continue as a flourishing u3a group. We have a lot of enthusiasm among our committee and most of our groups and we are hopeful of success.

Lesley Ogle – Easingwold and District u3a