How Recruitment Awards Can Spur Member Growth
Recruiting new members is not exclusively the responsibility of an association’s board, membership committee, or staff.  It’s something that all members can facilitate. Some associations recognize this dynamic and create an incentive to do just that through membership recruitment awards. One such association is the North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors (NAFCD), which runs a Membership Growth Award program.

NAFCD’s Membership Growth Award is given out annually to an individual who has made outstanding contributions in furthering NAFCD membership. That includes recruiting new members, but it’s not just limited to that. It also includes efforts to retain members who may be on the fence about maintaining their membership, or contributions in helping member companies increase their engagement levels with the association.

The award is presented during a ceremony each year at NAFCD’s annual meeting, a high-profile event where the winner is recognized in front of their peers. Each gets an award and is allowed to make a statement. They typically say a few words to the audience about the members he or she recruited and the importance of the program. Dunn Rasbury of A&M Supply, the 2018 award recipient, says he was “incredibly honored” to receive NAFCD's Membership Growth Award. “NAFCD consistently strives to connect and develop the members of the flooring distribution channel through the association’s educational offerings, strategic partnerships, and networking events such as the NAFCD 2018 Annual Convention. I'm proud to be part of this industry and this organization, and I encourage those who are growing in their careers to join NAFCD.”

That personal message from the winner inspires other members to participate in the program and recruit new members, explains NAFCD Executive Vice President Kevin Gammonley. By publicly identifying the positive behaviors that led to the award, NAFCD has found that it inspires more people to participate in the program and be advocates for the association. Further, while it’s an individual award, it also shines a positive light on the member company that employs the award winner.

That’s where the real power of the award lies. “The best way to get a prospective member to join is to hear a personal story from an influential peer that they know or respect, or have a relationship with,” Gammonley says. “To hear them say why they belong to the association and commit their time is what’s powerful.”

Since NAFCD established the Membership Growth Award four years ago, it has had a positive impact as part of a larger membership recruitment strategy. The association has experienced membership growth over the last four years and all of the metrics around this initiative are very positive. It has not only led to higher membership rates, but increased attendance at the annual meeting as prospects are invited to attend each year. Most importantly, it shows that growth is everyone’s responsibility.
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