Recruiting toolkit (3 of 5): understanding your members

It's important to understand how your group might appeal to potential members. Your current members are your recruitment success stories, so start by asking what makes them keep coming back and use this to inform your strategy.

Current members

Music groups give people joy – members join because they enjoy making music in a group. But enjoyment comes from different places for different people. For example, it might be:

  • The social aspect         
  • Musical excellence / development
  • The music performed
  • Performance opportunities

These aren’t mutually exclusive of course and, for most people, it will be a mix of all the above plus other factors. You’ve already successfully attracted your current members. So, what are the things people enjoy most about being in your group? The best way to do that is ask!

Exercise - find out why people joined and why they stay

The questions you are looking to answer are:

  • What prompted them to first think about joining a music group? Is being part of this group helping to improve their life in some way? 
  • How did they find out about your group?
  • What do you like best about your group – what keeps them coming back?
  • Is there something about your group that particularly appealed to them?
  • Is there something that might stop them coming?

There are a few different ways you can get this info:

  • A survey – can be anonymous which is useful for honest answers, but they don’t always allow room to fully explore answers. Good surveys are short and to the point.  
  • Focus group – not anonymous but open discussion can often lead to better information. Doesn’t have to be long or formal, just a small group staying behind for half an hour after rehearsal.
  • Quick polls – this only works for specific questions, but they can be anonymous and are a quick easy way for people to give feedback. There are lots of ways to do them. For example, for the question 'what do you like most about being in the group?', you would need to write four or five set answers, and have members decide on their answer.
    • Voting - have an open container (e.g. bin or box), give everyone a piece of paper to write in their answer (if other, write what on the paper) and ask them to put them in the container, then count the results.
    • Chart – have a large picture of an empty chart (e.g. a pie chart with sections divided for each possible answer), put out stickers and ask people to put stickers in the section that best represent their view. You could get more complicated and have different coloured stickers (red = the number one reason they like the group, blue = other reasons they like the group etc.)

A combination of the above is probably the best way – tailoring the method to what you want to get out of it and what members will feel comfortable with. You could also try them with the committee initially before rolling them out to members.


The exercise will build a picture of why your current members joined your group and why they keep coming back. The answers that you now have will illustrate how your group fits into their lives – and why they love being part of it so much.

In Part 4 we will go on to look at how this information will help you identify who your potential new recruits are.

Read part four

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.