As of ten minutes ago the board members of Radio Amateurs of Canada have approved a year-long membership campaign that official starts on Field Day 2010 and ends Field Day 2011.
As we speak, we are making arrangements to have the campaign translated into French (I apologize for the delay which was my fault) which I will send to all the French-speaking clubs that we have registered with RAC.
This is a do-it-yourself membership campaign that has a role for every member, every club, every director, regional director, assistant director, executive member, section manager and everybody else who volunteers on a RAC committee or participates in any other way.
This campaign is designed to be extremely low-cost so individuals or clubs can purchase the materials locally and use them over and over again. The campaign has lofty but achievable goals if we all work together for the betterment of ham radio in Canada.
Please let everyone in your club, community, association or group know about this campaign and feel free to copy this blog address and share it with your friends and fellow amateurs.
Why a national year-long membership campaign?
It’s because Radio Amateurs of Canada is our national organization and as such has an important role to play on the national and international stage when it comes to promoting and growing amateur radio both in Canada and around the world. RAC is our official representative with Industry Canada. We’ve got ongoing issues including Ontario’s Bill 118, tower policies and local ordinances among others that require a strong RAC response.
We need a strong national organization to protect our frequency spectrum allotment as well as negotiate new frequencies for future use. There are many other benefits to having a strong national organization (including RAC’s ability to offer liability insurance, the QSL Bureau as well as ongoing support of on-air activities that include the Amateur Radio Emergency Services and National Traffic System.
And there’s lots more that you can find online at the RAC website. Amateur radio in Canada needs a strong national voice and RAC is that voice. So let’s look at the details.
So here it is:
The Radio Amateurs of Canada National Membership Campaign
(If you’ve got any questions or comments send them to firstname.lastname@example.org)
How To Organize Your Own RAC Membership Drive
All successful membership campaigns are personal.
According to the experts, the main reason membership campaigns fail is because too few non-members get asked to sign up. Itʼs that simple. So hereʼs the challenge:
As the vice-president of public relations for Radio Amateurs of Canada I am challenging you that over course of the next 12 months to personally ask 20 of your fellow amateurs to join or renew their RAC memberships. Some of you who participate in Field Day can accomplish this challenge in one single day.
The goal is to increase the overall RAC membership (new members and renewals) by 1,000 for a total membership of 6,000.
For current RAC board and executive members, regional directors and section managers, you can use this program at every hamfest, fleamarket and special event that you attend this year. The campaign begins and ends on Field Day (2010 to 2011).
And whatʼs the most effective way to ask?
Again, itʼs easy. Hereʼs what I say: “Hi. Iʼm a member of Radio Amateurs of Canada and Iʼm inviting other amateurs to join me in growing our national organization. Are you a member?”
Thatʼs it! Thatʼs the entire pitch. No hard sell. But we do need to ask every Canadian amateur radio operators to join with us by signing up for a membership in RAC.
So what happens if the person I ask says “Why yes I am a member.” I thank them for their membership and support of our national organization and I hand them a printed copy of our online membership form. Then I ask them if they would consider renewing their membership today? Many do and I take their cheque (if they give me cash I keep it and send my own cheque to headquarters by mail) and with their completed membership form I send it all to RAC headquarters in Ottawa.
If they say no, I ask them to consider joining with me in supporting the growth of amateur radio in Canada by joining our national organization. Then I hand them a printed brochure that lists the benefits of membership and a membership form.
Again, thatʼs it: No hard sell or long-winded explanations. If they have questions I do my best to answer them or I invite them to contact their regional director. If they do agree to sign up I encourage them to sign up on the spot and leave me to do the paperwork.
Finally, I shake their hand and thank them for their support. And, thatʼs how you run a successful membership drive.
The Campaign Materials
All the campaign membership materials are available online. In order to keep track of how many amateurs youʼve asked to become members I suggest printing out 20 membership forms. When youʼve given out 20 forms, youʼve done your bit for RAC and thank you very much. (If you wanted to do more, I wouldnʼt discourage you.)
I used a standard ink-jet printer (set to black and white to save on cost) and I printed out the online membership form and I also downloaded the following forms and printed out a few copies on both sides of the paper (again to save on cost) as handouts.
The RAC Membership Campaign Display
For RAC volunteers attending special events (although anyone can use the information here to setup their own local display at a club meeting or special event like Field Day), hereʼs a low-cost way of creating your own campaign display.
The least expensive three-fold desktop display that Iʼve found so far is available across Canada at Staples. Hereʼs a link to the Elmerʼs Foam Display Board (36”X48”) that sells for $18.75. This is dirt cheap when it comes to table top displays. (I suggest every club should buy one and display their club information on it — after the membership campaign of course.)
Now the cheapest campaign materials for your display board are available online at the RAC website. I bought 25 sheets of 8 1/2” X 11” glossy photo paper for $19.94. I also bought 20 sheets of 13” X 19” glossy photo paper for $39.94 as my printer can handle the larger size. I used a few sheet of each to print in colour some of the following artwork for my RAC membership campaign display: RAC logo, RAC Life Member logo, ARES logo, RAC NTS logo. Hereʼs the online link to the logos.
If your printer also scans, you can do a colour scan of the front cover of your latest copy of The Canadian Amateur magazine for your display board or download and print the image on the RAC TCA page. I found it easy to download and print.
How to work a hamfest or special event
Always set up your display somewhere it can be easily seen and in a high-traffic area. Locating near the coffee or washrooms is a pretty good plan.
Itʼs essential to stand in front of the display, brochures in hand and ask the people who pass by if they are members. Again, thatʼs all thatʼs needed to make your campaign successful. And, itʼs not about how many memberships get sold. Itʼs all about how many amateurs get asked to join.
We owe it to our fellow amateurs to ask them to join. Itʼs up to them what decision they make. Itʼs not up to us to try to change their minds. But it is up to us to ask.
If youʼre new to working a booth, being out front is going to feel awkward at first. But after the first hour or so, youʼll be an old hand. (Itʼs sort of like running a pileup.)
It helps if youʼve got one or two helpers but donʼt fall into the habit of talking more with them than your potential members. If youʼre going to be set up for a few hours it helps to bring a stool (not a chair!) to sit on while still out front of your display. The most ineffective way to work a booth is from a chair sitting behind a desk waiting for people to approach you. It just doesnʼt work and youʼll be wasting your time and effort.
Thereʼs a ton more stuff you can bring to make your display more attractive but these are the bare essentials. If youʼve got a name tag wear it as it makes you more approachable. A standard Staples stick-on name tag works.
Having fun by being creative is what makes a successful display. (Years ago I helped staff the Toronto Skywide Clubʼs booth at the week-long International Hobby Show. It was amazing how many people were drawn to the booth by the sound of CW wafting through the crowd.)
Remember every successful membership campaign was made a success by people just like you and me asking people just like our fellow amateurs to join the organization.
Good luck and let me know if I can of any help. Send me photos of your display and you in action and Iʼll publish them on the RAC blogsite.
Peter – VE3HG (email@example.com)