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FRSA tours state in recruitment drive.

How do you get the message to prospective and existing members that your association has valuable benefits and services--that dues are a good bargain in a recessionary economy? Tom Monahan, CAE, executive director of the Florida Roofing, Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors Association, Winter Park, decided to try something different.

Monahan hit the road with his staff. Dubbed the "FRSA World Tour," the 15-day membership drive visited 12 cities. About 25 staff people participated in the tour, which resulted in a net gain of 30 new members--more than enough to cover the tour's costs.

"Especially in this industry, which has been hit hard by the recession, we needed a drastic measure," says Monahan. "We had to do something to get the interest of members." Several factors added up to success.

* Advance planning with affiliates. "We wanted to utilize our chapter cities as stopping points for the tour," notes Monahan. FRSA asked affiliates to change their regular meeting dates to accommodate the tour (12 out of 15 ended up doing so) and to conduct a one-day telephone campaign to encourage members and nonmembers to attend world tour meetings.

"Telephone support was essential," says Monahan. "While all of our stops were well-received with increased attendance at each meeting, there was a definite difference in the attendance by those affiliates who really worked the phones; some meeting attendance nearly doubled. Many members also got caught up in the excitement of the tour," he notes. "One committed six new members from his affiliate."

* Attention-getting promotions. One of the first steps in organizing the tour was to design a T-shirt with the tour schedule printed on the back. Staff wore the T-shirts, which were also given away as promotional prizes at board meetings before the tour and at world tour meetings as door prizes. FRSA also filled meeting rooms with red, white, and blue balloons--"an inexpensive way to create excitement," he says.

* Planned information program. Monahan opened each world tour meeting with a slide presentation that emphasized the importance of associations, followed by staff members' discussion of FRSA benefits and services. Literature on any program was made available to meeting participants, who were also encouraged to share suggestions for improvements.

FRSA staff learned, for example, that members who had not attended conventions were interested in seminars that addressed licensing and regulation issues and employment-related problems. Ideas gleaned from earlier world tour meetings were shared with participants in later tour meetings to generate additional feedback on ways to improve FRSA benefits and services.

The FRSA World Tour drove home the importance of finding effective ways of communicating with members, notes Monahan: "We, as a staff, seriously overestimate our own ability to keep FRSA members informed on the benefits of membership."
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Title Annotation:Florida Roofing, Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors Association
Publication:Association Management
Date:Nov 1, 1992
Previous Article:Selling a dues increase.
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