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Planning events specifically for recruitment can be really effective – after all, communicating membership value is a whole lot easier in person. But, to make them as effective as they can be (and worth the planning effort), they should go above and beyond what you might normally do for a typical networking event.

Strapped for ideas? Here are a few refreshing ways to engage your prospects face-to-face with current members:

Speed meeting

You know, like speed dating? Whether at individual tables or in a more casual setting, intentionally having prospects chat with multiple members gives them a great idea of what membership is like from different perspectives. And, after meeting a handful of members at once, will make joining a whole lot less intimidating.

Some ways to make the conversations even more effective:

  • Structure the event so that like-minded prospects and members will be chatting. (By role, career level, organization type, etc.)
  • Give your members topics to help guide the conversation – including points that’ll highlight certain benefits.
  • Similarly, ask prospects to submit their goals and interests for joining ahead of time so your current members know what’s most important to them.

Panel discussion

You’ve probably hosted events with panels before, but have you ever done it as a recruitment effort? Hosting a panel creates an environment where you can be open and straightforward with prospects. Start your panel with a curated Q&A, and then open the floor to your prospects for other questions. Don’t be shy about what you’ll answer! Your willingness to be transparent is key here.

To take it up a notch:

  • Provide drinks and appetizers, or breakfast for a morning panel.
  • Invite someone in your industry or community to give a short keynote – either about your organization, or something relevant to it.
  • Ask your panel to stick around until after all of your prospects have left and make themselves available to answer additional questions.

Activities around town

Pairing classic networking with an exciting outing or event will leave a lasting impression. Aim for something that’s fun, but where members and prospects can easily interact, too. For example:

  • Rent a space at your local sports stadium for pre-game drinks and heavy appetizers – and then stick around for the game, of course!
  • Try out a team-building activity, like a ropes course or escape room.
  • Volunteer with your local food bank, a beautification effort, on a Habitat for Humanity build, etc. – something you can do as a group to benefit the community.

With a little out-of-the-box thinking, your member recruitment can take on a whole new, much more engaging light. And that’s just the beginning on how you can use your events to grow your membership. In fact, we wrote a whole guide with tips and tricks: Click below to get your free download.