It’s one of the toughest things to do as a chapter, but it also might be one that needs to be done most often: recruiting members. People come and go, and you don’t want to wait until you only have one or two people left before you make an effort to recruit members. It’s best to make recruiting an ongoing effort so that there’s always people involved in the organization. Here’s a couple of ways you could try to recruit new members to your Amnesty chapter.
Make Sure the Main Organization Knows You Exist
Amnesty International USA actually has a directory of local and student groups, and for our group, it has been a way for new members to learn about our existence. Typically, groups have to register every year so that the information stays in the directory. If you’ve never registered before, or if you’re not sure if your group is listed in the directory, then it’s best to contact your regional office so that they know you exist and can take the necessary steps to get you listed (as well as get you in touch with some great people and resources).
Build an Online Presence
When anyone needs anything these days, they start with an online search. Amnesty International and human rights activism are no exceptions. If you don’t have a website, or a social media presence, for these people to find, then new recruits will have a tough time knowing if you exist and if you’re still an active chapter. With either of these online presences (and regular updating, which is key to showing that you are an active chapter doing things in the area), you have a way for new recruits to find you and to contact you for more information. If your chapter can have both a website and a social media presence (our chapter has a website, a Facebook group, and our Missouri legislative coordinator has a Twitter account), then that’s even better.
Host Events Regularly
Events are some of the best ways to recruit members because you can talk to people face-to-face on a common issue. If you have a movie screening on women’s rights, for example, then you attract people who are interested in that issue, and not necessarily people who are interested in Amnesty International. An event presents a great opportunity to bridge that gap, to show that the group, as an Amnesty International group, works on this common issue and that these new people you attracted can work on the issue through your group. Of course, you want your events to be awesome, but if you want to use events as a recruiting tool, then it’s even more critical that the events are great as they do reflect how well the group is organized and what the group is capable of on these issues.
Have a New Member Meeting or Event
This one is better for college and high school chapters, but may be a good option for local chapters that gets a lot of interest. It can be tough for a new member to jump right into the group, having to learn the social dynamic and to catch up with what the group is doing. Some people can do that easily, but not everyone. Having a new member meeting or event, where new members can learn these things and be given a chance to immerse themselves, can be good way to include them at a pace with which they are comfortable.
Do you have any amazing strategies for recruiting new members into your Amnesty International chapter? If so, we’d love to hear about them! Tell us in the comments!