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. It’s that simple. So here’s 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 what’s the most effective way to ask? Again, it’s easy. Here’s what I say: “Hi. I’m a member of Radio Amateurs of Canada and I’m inviting other amateurs to join me in growing our national organization. Are you a member?”

That’s it! That’s 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, that’s 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, that’s 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 you’ve asked to become members I suggest printing out 20 membership forms. When you’ve given out 20 forms, you’ve done your bit for RAC and thank you very much. (If you wanted to do more, I wouldn’t 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), here’s a low-cost way of creating your own campaign display.

The least expensive three-fold desktop display that I’ve found so far is available across Canada at Staples. Here’s a link to the Elmer’s 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

Here’s 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.

It’s essential to stand in front of the display, brochures in hand and ask the people who pass by if they are members. Again, that’s all that’s needed to make your campaign successful. And, it’s not about how many memberships get sold. It’s all about how many amateurs get asked to join.

We owe it to our fellow amateurs to ask them to join. It’s up to them what decision they make. It’s not up to us to try to change their minds. But it is up to us to ask.

If you’re new to working a booth, being out front is going to feel awkward at first. But after the first hour or so, you’ll be an old hand. (It’s sort of like running a pileup.)

It helps if you’ve got one or two helpers but don’t fall into the habit of talking more with them than your potential members. If you’re 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 doesn’t work and you’ll be wasting your time and effort.

There’s a ton more stuff you can bring to make your display more attractive but these are the bare essentials. If you’ve 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 Club’s 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 I’ll publish them on the RAC blogsite.


Peter – VE3HG