“I established SHHH [HLAA] as a membership organization run by people with hearing loss. We provide information necessary for them to make choices, but emphasize the choice must be theirs. The challenge is to develop togetherness within diversity.” --Rocky Stone, HLAA Founder
There are 48 million Americans living with hearing loss. HLAA –headquarters, state organizations and chapters, working together - needs to reach them! We encourage chapter leaders to urge their members to join HLAA. (HLAA members in a state are automatically members of the state association.) As one leader stated, “The HLAA Board of Trustees and our chapter members believe that it is very important to support HLAA. If it weren't for them we wouldn't have captions on TV, better cell phone usage with hearing aids, etc. The list goes on and on.”
Potential or current participants have endless choices including the Internet competing for their attention. HLAA State organization and Chapter activities and leadership opportunities must provide something people with hearing loss can’t get elsewhere: affirmation, a place to tell their story, fun and resources to help them live a higher quality of life despite having hearing loss.
People come to a meeting out of curiosity; they come back when the organization is meeting their needs. The best thing state organization and chapter leaders and members can do is to ASK: ask a newcomer to come back, offer to brainstorm with them and inquire how the organization can help them and observe their strengths and interests. To make it easier to get to know them, you may choose to use your own version of this New Member Interest Form template.
Ask frequent visitors to join HLAA and the chapter. In addition, ask them and fellow members to help with specific tasks such as bringing refreshments, greeting people at the door for meetings, writing a few paragraphs for the newsletter or contacting a person that might be a good meeting speaker. People stay involved when they know the organization values them.
How state organization and chapters benefit
Leaders of successful, thriving HLAA State organizations and Chapters retain members by creating an environment of encouragement, warmth and participation among visitors and long-term participants. They welcome feedback and recognize each person’s gifts and skills that could help build the organization. These leaders plan for handing over the reins of leadership to others and their organization is inclusive rather than a “club.” This, in turn, leads to fresh ideas and prevents leaders from burning out. Many hands make light work!
How to get new members
The number one source of new members is audiologists, hearing instrument specialists, otolaryngologists (ENT doctors) and otologists. HLAA encourages state organization and chapter leaders and their members to visit these professionals in their office, one on one. Call them and set up an appointment to meet with them. When you talk with them in person, show them how the chapter supplements their work: by providing support, people with hearing aids are more likely to be satisfied with their devices when they learn what they can and cannot do.
Ask these professionals to place HLAA membership brochures with the chapter’s information on the back and copies of Hearing Loss Magazine in their waiting rooms. (The organization may want to put a small label on the front cover of the magazines or brochures with the name, phone number and email or website address of the professional. They are much more likely to display and/or give away the materials.) At the end of the visit, thank them for their support. Periodically call each professional you have met with in the past to ask to thank them for their support and to ask whether they need more HLAA materials and perhaps ask them to speak at a future meeting.
State organization and chapter leaders may also request a list of HLAA members in their area. Click here to learn more.
- ASAE – The Center for Association Leadership – catalog of books to purchase about membership and other topics
- 30 Ways to Recruit & Retain New Members – a list from the American College of Emergency Physicians
- How to Recruit People to Your Organization – a list from the Industrial Workers of the World
- 100 Ways to Recruit New Members – a list from ClubRunner™