So your club has recruited a bunch of new members at your opening Clubs Fair—great! But how do you keep those new recruits, and how do you activate your new members to become fearless pro-life advocates? This is where your club’s first meeting plays a crucial role. You want to inspire the students attending to commit to the club – not simply to commit to the pro-life cause, but specifically to the club’s mission to bring the pro-life message to your campus. You also want to help them feel a sense of belonging with the club so that they come back! Here are our tips on running a stellar first meeting so that those new recruits will be eager to get involved.
- Promote your opening event like crazy at your school’s Clubs Fair! Hand out mini event-flyers with all the info. When you are following up with students you spoke to at your club booth, remember to personally invite them to the opening meeting!
- Personally invite friends, and send them reminders via text or Facebook message!
- Invite clubs that may be sympathetic. The members of different religious clubs, or human-rights-based clubs, may very well be pro-life!
- Put up posters around campus. You can advertise the meeting as something like, “Get to know your pro-life club, and find out how you can get active in saving the lives of the pre-born.”
- Students LOVE free food. Have some snacks out for people to grab when they come in, or consider ordering a meal such as pizza if it’s within your club’s budget. Remember to advertise the free food in your promotion to entice those hungry students!
- Play some fun music as a great way to break the ice (and avoid awkward silences…) Check out our playlist of upbeat music with a positive message—perfect for your first meeting.
- Have an info table with club resources, and encourage new members to take a resource.
3. RUN IT!
- Hospitality is key! Instruct –and remind – the club leaders to really focus on the new members. At the beginning, you and the other exec members should be going out of your way to chat to all the students who come—make sure everyone feels welcomed! It is primarily through forging these personal relationships that you will be able to motivate new students to get active.
- The president or another exec member should do a brief introduction on the club: who you are, why your club exists, and how students can get involved.
- Help people get to know each other by running a fun icebreaker. For instance, you can ask all the students to share their name, their area of study, why they’re pro-life, and when they were 5 what they wanted to be when they grew up.
- You might also want to get some discussion going by playing a short video, then inviting club members to share their thoughts. Some of our favourites are the CCBR’s educational videos, the story of Eliot Mooney in 99 Balloons (be prepared to cry though), and Signal Hill’s Cause and Effect video.
- Most importantly, give students opportunities to get involved!
- Have 1 or 2 activities planned for the remainder of the semester, and really encourage students to get involved! This shows that you’re organized and have a plan as a club, and it gives the students ownership of the cause, showing them they are needed and can make a difference in saving lives.
- You can invite them to sign up for helping with tabling, postering, or the QA project (and let them know that they’ll be paired up with other experienced club members). For example, let all the new members know that your club will be doing pro-life chalking the following week, and you’d love their help!
- Don’t forget to let students know the time and location of your weekly meetings!
- Incorporate some social time at the end for students to mingle, chat, and munch on some snacks.
4. FOLLOW UP!
- You and your exec members should send a follow-up message to new members, thanking them for coming and inviting them to your next event. They’ll appreciate that you remembered them and took the time to contact them!
- If club members signed up for anything, be sure to add their names to your email list (or FB group, etc.) and follow up with them on how they’d like to get involved.
- Finally, let NCLN know how your event went, and how we can help you in your future events!
We hope these tips help you have an awesome first meeting, as the start to an awesome year!