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6 Ideas for Running a Smoother Member Recruitment Meeting

Megan Murphy ·

Spring breathes new life into the world around us. If you’re a Fine Arts Director, this is especially true as it's the prime season for your program’s next year RECRUITMENT! For some folks however, the recruitment season can become a bit of a stressor. Perhaps the size of your school/community makes it super competitive between multiple popular programs. Or, your program might be new and it feels like “pulling teeth” to get potential new members and their families excited about joining your group.

Whatever challenges you are facing, first and foremost continue to believe in yourself and the value of your program. Then get ready to make your next May Recruitment meeting the BEST EVER tool for making those member sign ups flow in. Here are some ideas to help get your started:

1. Plan Your Meeting with a K.I.S.S.

Put a planning meeting on your team’s calendar to discuss and get a game plan together with your staff for the meeting - make sure you cover the following:

  • Recruitment goals - how many and for what positions are you seeking?
  • Program vision - what do you want the program to achieve in the next year?
  • Program benefits - what have your students taken from their experience with your program? What makes your program different and special?
  • Sign Up and Onboarding - using the same sign up process or are changes needed? How will new members be brought into the program?
  • Meeting Roles & Responsibilities - who will oversee the sign up process? How will we track and follow up with attendees? Who will handle logistics for the meeting set up? Who will plan the agenda, prepare the materials, and coordinate the speakers?
  • Meeting Promotion - how do we get the word out? Can it be listed on the District and other school calendars? Flyers? Email? Social media?
  • Meeting Date / Time / Location - what is the optimal time for potential members, families and your staff to attend the meeting? Are there potential conflicts? What would be a good alternate meeting date for folks who could not make the original meeting time?

Most importantly, apply the K.I.S.S. approach to “Keep it Simple Sweetie” when planning out your meeting agenda! Students and parents can lose interest in what you’re saying if you start to run long in your meeting. Keep talking points simple and the meeting time short. Your audience will thank you for respecting their time AND walk away with a positive picture for how you will run the program the following year!

2. Show, Don't Just Tell

One of the easiest ways to inspire recruitment is to let your current members “do the talking for you”. Ask a small group of performers, or the whole gang, to make an appearance during your meeting. Treat your audience to a short performance to demonstrate what you have accomplished and what new members can look forward to in your program. Then have one or two of them give a personal testimonial to the crowd. Your students’ enthusiasm will rub off, and will go a long way to helping you solidify the deal.

3. Give Veterans the Stage

If you have a parent organization or student leader groups, invite them to attend the meeting as well. Involve these veterans in the agenda planning, ask for input, and plan to have a couple of parents and students take a few of the talking points and questions that arise during the meeting. Upcoming parents who have reservations or nerves about the volunteering responsibilities, rehearsal and performance logistics, or financial obligations, will greatly appreciate seeing your “veterans” who can positively address and calm their fears. Afterall, they’ve already been through it! And students who might be on the fence about joining, can see and look forward to interacting with a potential mentor within your student leader group.

4. Seek Out High Potentials

Use the time leading up to your recruitment meetings to seek out ‘high potential’ members. If there are students that you see potential in, tell them, especially if they are natural-born leaders. Take a minute to take them aside in the hallway between classes, during lunch or study periods, or send them an email / call to let them know personally that you hope to see them at the recruitment meeting. Who doesn’t want to be wanted?! This approach can make it less intimidating for the student to ‘show up’ to something they may be unsure about. Bonus tip - encourage them to invite some of their friends - let them know that all are welcome!

5. Keep It Interesting

Just like a great ensemble is composed of many talents, people come with different learning styles; visual, auditory, doing, etc. Pitching your program via a long monologue likely won’t be the most effective form of communication. Create a rich vision for your prospective members, after all you’re in the fine arts, remember?! Ask your student leaders or favorite volunteer to help you create a slide-show or video highlight reel as an opener (you could have it running on a loop before the meeting begins to peak their curiosity!). Try to engage your audience as much as possible during the presentation by asking questions that include them in the conversation - “if you could play any instrument, what would it be?” Consider incorporating a short trivia game or ‘section breaker’ trivia questions to keep them focused on the meeting instead of their phones. Raffle off some program merch for participants as part of your meeting wrap up. Don’t forget to hand out a colorful flier with a summary of the program expectations and benefits that they can take home.

6. Simplify the Set Up

Okay, you’ve planned a fabulous meeting sealed with a K.I.S.S, now what? Make the sign up effortless! Now is the time to take a critical look at last year’s signup process. Ask your staff and current members ‘What didn’t work?’ Find out what specific steps caused students or their guardians to stall, or completely abandon the process of signing up? Also inquire to learn about what worked well. Equally valuable for you to get feedback from your newly recruited families about what made it easy for them to sign up. What encouraged them to make the jump?

Final Bonus Tip: Generate Enthusiasm

Remember, ultimately YOUR enthusiasm about your fine arts program determines your potential recruit’s enthusiasm about signing up. If you are excited and passionate about getting started, they will be too. Start the buzz as early and often as you can. Put up some teaser promotional posters around the school with a bit of mystery or clever wit and include a scannable QR code that leads to your meeting invite / program sign up page.

Consider creative ways to encourage students to think about joining for the next season, ALL throughout the school year. One Program Director recently told us he would give out t-shirts to all new recruits that said, “I JOINED THE BAND”, for them to wear on a certain school day. Other students saw a sea of bright green, and couldn’t wait to start in band the next year! How awesome is that?! Let your creativity flow freely and shine before, during, and after your recruitment meeting. The more fun you have, the more students and their parents will want to be a part of your program.

Make Your New Recruits Feel More at Home!

You’ve done the hard work to recruit fresh hearts and minds to your fine arts program. Make them feel welcome and plugged in from the start with CutTime. Use our Announcements, Event Notices and Document eSignature, and more to streamline your member onboarding with a smile.