Here’s advice from FoKL on building membership in a Friends group.
GETTING AND KEEPING MEMBERS
- With a small group of key Friends, (re)define your mission and goals. Develop several compelling reasons why people should join and remain in your Friends organization.
- Establish dues so that membership is available (affordable) to all, from a minimum for students and seniors to a maximum patron level. Remember that the primary purpose of dues is not just to raise money, but to obtain a broad range of community support and/or participation in the Friends organization.
- Design an attractive membership brochure describing your group’s purpose and accomplishments. Offer ways in which members can become involved and follow up when they indicate interest.
- Have membership brochures available at the library check-out desk, at all Friends functions, and as many other community locations as possible. Make membership growth and retention an on-going activity.
- Make a special effort to get members of the business community. Establish a separate membership category for them and list their names so that they receive recognition.
- Friends programs should be entertaining, stimulating and educational. Send out pre-event and post-event publicity through individual mailings and through the local media. Give the Friends the look of a fun and meaningful group. Provide hospitality and refreshments at every function. Make those in attendance, both Friends members and non-members, feel welcome.
- Recognize the work efforts and achievements of Friends volunteers by giving special awards or gifts at public events.
- Review communications to members; make sure they are kept informed about Friends activities, programs, and how funds raised by Friends are helping the library.
- Send out quarterly or monthly newsletter. List new Friends members as they join. A newsletter can also serve as a membership renewal notice at the beginning of each membership year.
- . Take advantage of special events to solicit Friends memberships, such as Kansas Library Month (October) or National Library Week. Have a booth at community and county fairs.
- Encourage your Friends members to attend the annual FRIENDS OF KANSAS LIBRARIES annual event and program, held each spring in conjunction with the Kansas Libraries Tri-Conference. FRIENDS OF KANSAS LIBRARIES or your local librarian can provide you with the date and details.