Recruiting toolkit (5 of 5): finding new members

So far you have defined your recruitment aims (Part 1), reviewed your joining process (Part 2), understood what your current members like about your group (Part 3) and what will appeal to potential new members (Part 4). Now you can use all of the above to create a strong marketing message and help bring new members through your doors.

Crafting your marketing message

You won’t be able to meet every need for every potential recruit. But if you present what is good about your group in a way that matches the needs of potential recruits, it allows them to make an informed decision on whether the group is for them.

We will revisit the recruitment personas from Part 4 to explain more (you can download a pdf of these personas here).

INCLUDE application process

Recruitment personas
The New Mum  

Age: 29

Gender: Female

Occupation: Nurse, currently on maternity leave

Background: Mother and baby groups have reminded her how much she loves singing, but she can’t stand 'Wheels on the Bus’

Looking for: Meet new people, establish identity beyond 'new mum'

Musical experience: Low - sings at home

The Returner  

Age: 45

Gender: Male

Occupation: IT Project Manager

Background: His three children are now teenagers, meaning The Returner now has more free time and is looking for a music group to join

Looking for: A personal challenge

Musical experience: Medium - played saxophone at school and university but hasn’t played since

The Leisure-time Musician  

Age: 54

Gender: Female

Occupation: Architect

Background: Lives on her own, used to be in a community choir

Looking for: A musical challenge

Musical experience: High - good singer - played violin and trombone to grade 8

The Retiree  

Age: 63

Gender: Female

Occupation: Retired military scientist

Background: Recently retired and looking for ways to enjoy her new-found free time

Looking for: A new challenge & Meet new people

Musical experience: Low

The Socialiser  

Age: 33

Gender: Male

Occupation: Broadband engineer

Background: After a sports injury, The Socialiser can’t play football anymore, so he is looking for a new group to join

Looking for: Part of a team & Regular activity

Musical experience: Low - plays guitar a bit - can’t read music

You can download a pdf of these personas here.

Perhaps your current members told you that the thing they loved the most about being in your group was the social opportunities. This is something that both The New Mum and The Retiree personas are looking for and need in their daily life. So, by presenting your group as sociable, welcoming, and friendly, your group will appeal to these two types of people.

Similarly, perhaps your current members love how challenging your repertoire is. Both The Returner and The Leisure-time Musician personas are looking for a challenge, so by including this in your marketing message, you will appeal to these types of people.

Your group meeting a potential recruit's motivation is your strongest pull. Address this as quickly as possible in your messaging so your potential recruits can decide whether they want to find out more about your group. Let’s take The New Mum persona and discuss it in a bit more detail.

We have the information from your current members that your group is friendly, welcoming and sociable. You have identified that you aren’t looking for recruits with strong musical backgrounds, and you’re happy for anyone to join – you'd like to recruit ten new members.

So, what might The New Mum want to know when deciding whether to join your group?

She’ll want to know the basics:

  • Group name
  • Type of group (choir, orchestra, band etc.)
  • Where your group is based
  • How frequently your group meets in person (weekly, fortnightly etc.) – and where. 

What the joining requirements are:

  • Is there an audition?
  • Does she have to meet a certain level of singing/playing?

What the group is like and whether it meets her needs:

  • Is the group sociable with a focus on getting to know each other?
  • Do people attend the group to meet new people and have fun?
  • Does your group organise social events outside of rehearsal time – pub, end of term meal, activities linked to shared interests etc.?

The basics and joining requirements should be clearly presented in your marketing message. What the group is like could be managed with a quote from one of your current members. Consider the following marketing message:

'Join our fun, friendly music group to sing along with friends every Thursday evening!'

With this, you are promoting some key points that may appeal to your potential recruits. Someone reading this may think that it could be of interest to them, but they may be wary that it’s an advert designed to make them join your group. This might lead them to feel sceptical of how fun and social your group really is, when you are the one making the claim.

To give the potential recruits more confidence in you, they need to hear from a third party – a quote from one of your current members. Now look at our marketing message rewritten to include a quote:

'Join our weekly music group – every Thursday at 7pm. “I have made many amazing friends from this music group and look forward to having so much fun each week” - John.'

This quote shares the information on how good your group is – the potential member can see that there are happy members within the group, and they have achieved what it is they were looking for (social opportunities) so fulfilling their own same need becomes more obtainable and attractive to them.

If you don’t already have any quotes from members, you can ask. Asking for general feedback will generally produce better, more natural quotes rather than asking for a quote specifically. Remember to ask permission if you do want to use a member’s words in any external marketing.

However you are getting your message out there – be it leaflets or social media – there will be a limited amount of information you can include. Providing a way to find out more is vital. This is easy enough with a link to your website on social media links. For leaflets or posters you can provide a simple URL (www.mychoir.org.uk/join) or a QR code that can be scanned by a smartphone that takes you straight to a webpage.

In either case the link provided needs to go to a page that will have all the relevant joining information clearly resented.

Getting your message out 

There are six main ways to deliver your message:

  1. Get out and perform – performing in your local area is the best way to demonstrate exactly what your group does, how it works and help potential recruits imagine what it would be like to be part of your group. This doesn’t need to be limited to formal concerts; any chance to sing, play or make music publicly gives your group more exposure and helps potential recruits find you. Going to where people are, rather then waiting for them to come to you, will help that exposure. A great way to do this is to perform at community events – but you can also create your own events by performing in public places. Train stations during commute hours, the local shops on a Saturday morning or park on a Sunday afternoon. It doesn’t have to be the whole group either – perhaps a small sub-section could go out and perform with the specific aim of promoting the group. The most important thing about these events is to have some printed materials handy to distribute to any interested people. A flyer put in a pocket could be found two weeks later and give the person the nudge they need.
  2. Website – the most likely way someone who doesn’t already know you can find you is via an online search. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the practice of getting your website to the top of the first page of search results (e.g. if someone searches for ‘samba band in Loughborough’, you want your samba group that's based there to be number one on the results list). There are quite a few useful tricks to help improve your SEO that you can read more in our resource on designing your website.
  3. Printed material – flyers, posters etc. placed in relevant places. There are loads of places that posters and flyers can go – community buildings, music venues, music shops, other local shops, community notice boards, waiting rooms (doctors etc.), hairdressers, coffee shops, pubs, cafés – anywhere where they might get seen really. Many businesses will have notice boards for this sort of thing, even if they don’t, it’s worth an ask. Remember to ask permission first and keep an eye on 'flooding' the market – being everywhere can be counterproductive. By nature, they have limited messaging – at most you can have an image, key group info and a quote. Placing a QR code can help with directing the person to a page on your website that has all the relevant information. (For more information on ensuring your communications can be accessed by everyone, have a look at our Inclusive communications resource.)
  4. Social media – building up a following on social media can take time, but there are things you can do to help. You need to be more precise with posting on social media than you do posting flyers. Someone actively looking for a music group is likely to be following a music-related organisation. By following, liking and re-tweeting these types of organisations, you can increase the chances of them finding you. Think about the cumulative effect too – the more you engage with music organisations, the more chance you have to be noticed by their followers.
  5. Raising local profile – performing in public raises your profile in the local community. This could be by word of mouth, through local press or via events you have taken part in. All these would really help with people finding your group and understanding what you are all about. Local press can also help in other ways, short stories or features about an award your group won, or fundraising initiatives you completed can help increase your reach.
  6. Word of mouth – as mentioned in Part 2, your members are your biggest asset. Happy members will automatically be your best recruits and will be sharing their experiences of your group with their friends, family and wider network. It’s a good plan to let your members know all about the joining details (especially if you’ve made any changes recently) so they can pass on the latest information correctly. Make some printed materials available to them as required so that they can also share these with their networks. You could even incentivise members to recruit for you by offering a discount on their membership if they bring two new members or telling existing members they can offer a discount to new ones – members might like being able to offer their friends something (just be clear about how much the discount is!)

Summary 

This recruitment toolkit should have helped you:

  • look at defining what your aims are
  • assess the process someone goes through to join your group
  • understand what your members like about the group and what you offer
  • think about why people join groups
  • plan what you can do to attract those people.

There are some key points to remember:

  • People can take a long time to decide to join a group. 
  • People join groups for different reasons.
  • What might seem easy or natural for your current members could be daunting for new ones.

This means:

  • Your recruitment can take some time – it is made of lots of small bits coming together.
  • You can’t get everyone. You can get the people whose motivations and needs are matched by what your group offers – but you need to show them the match.
  • You need to make it easy for people to join – and make them feel welcome when they try.

All the exercises in the toolkit are aimed at making sure that when someone, whose music group needs you meet, goes on their version of those steps your group is the one they end up at. Below are two examples versions of the steps someone might take, and how by doing some small things well you can make sure you recruit them.             

Example one 

Steps Your group
Saw a TV show three months and thought being in a music group looked fun  Nothing - but you can take advantage of their impression in a later step. 
Saw a group play in a local park and got a flyer  Your group had volunteers handing out flyers and speaking to the audience in an engaging way. 
Lost the flyer but searched online  Good SEO meant they found your website quicky. The website had easy to find information, good imagery and links to social media. 
Looked your group up on social media  A recent post had images showing a fun and social group. Clear information about attending a rehearsal.  
Decided to come to a rehersal  Got a warm welcome. MD/chair found time to say hello. A designated 'welcomer' explained the process (break, toilets, biscuits) and made some introductions.   
Joined group See our Retention resource to make sure they stay on!

    Example two

Steps Your group
Read an article about the benefits of music making   Nothing - but you can benefit from it later on. 
Saw a poster in a local shop  Your group poster, with a well-being quote from a member. 
A friend told them how much they loved their music group The friend was a member of your group. At the last rehersal the chair encouraged all memebers to talk about the group to their friends. 
Looked your group up on social media  Saw a recent post that had a short video of a rehersal.   
Attended the event  Saw how much everyone enjoyed the performance. Spoke to a volunteers in the interval and got a flyer.
Emailed the group about coming along  Got a quick and friendly reply with all the key info.
Decided to come to a rehersal  Got a warm welcome. Their friend looked after them and made some introductions. A committe member found time for a quick hello.    
Joined group See our Retention resource to make sure they stay on!

We hope you found this toolkit useful to planning your recruitment strategy. You can revisit the previous parts at the links below:


We hope you find this Making Music resource useful. If you have any comments or suggestions about the guidance please contact us. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the content of this guidance is accurate and up to date, Making Music do not warrant, nor accept any liability or responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the content, or for any loss which may arise from reliance on the information contained in it.