Carla Lawrence is a Montana Farm Bureau member from Carbon/Stillwater Counties and she serves as a District 4 Representative to the MFBF Women's Leadership Committee.  During the recent MFBF Convention Carla listened in to Tyler Wiltgen and Melanie Swartz as they discussed recruiting with passion.

Since membership is a major focus for the MFBF president, Hans McPherson, it was only appropriate that one of the workshops during the MFBF annual convention was entitled, “Making the Pitch: Recruiting with a Passion.” Tyler Wiltgen, Senior Philanthropic Advisory, Billings Clinic Foundation and Melanie Schwarz, Director of Marketing and Member Investors, Big Sky Economic Development  (BSED) shared how they approach recruiting new businesses, volunteers or donors, as well as retaining those already on board.  
Tyler’s responsibility is recruiting donors and volunteers to carry out the mission of the foundation.  He provided motivation for why people join an organization.

Why People Join

1) They care about the issue
2) Their livelihood depends on your work
3) They are motivated by their view of the world
4) They seek recognition
5) They want to payback society
6) Their skills are aligned with the  organizations needs
7) Because it is fun!
8) They enjoy the societal aspects
9) It makes them feel needed or useful 
10) Because someone asked
He shared how you find the folks you are seeking; where are they? And answered that question by saying they are where are you, so be active in the community to find these folks; attend school and industry events and be a leader and people will find you.  He encouraged folks to do their homework, to make an appointment with potential donors or volunteers, make it business, but comfortable, and anticipate questions and concerns. He said the most effective way to approach someone is one on one or by inviting them to an event and the least effective is by phone or with a letter or email.
Melanie Schwartz works in community development, new businesses and business growth and services.
Her approach includes passion to deliver the mission and vision of the organization and a strategic plan for execution for support and growth.  This includes, taking care of what you have and tracking members with complete contact information, engaging and cultivating current members.  This approach can be broken up in percentages: 40% maintenance; 40% cultivation; 10% data management (social media); and 10% customization for volunteer/member needs which equals 100% engagement.
Melanie also discussed setting goals which included, knowing the number of members currently engaged and knowing your capacity for bringing in additional members. The ability to retain the current members or recruit new members with a solid communication plan is also important. Melanie shared way to build your “Wish List”.

Wish List

1) Ask yourself who is missing
2) Asking for referrals from current member and volunteers
3) Get a business card and add it to the database
4) Always be in a recruitment mode
5) Attend trade events
6) Become involved in the community
7) Educate and train your team to be ambassadors
Finally, evaluate what you like, what you didn’t like and what you can do to improve the experience. 


Membership recruiting is a critical component to a strong and vibrant organization.  There are a variety of resources already on the blog that are here to help you refine your recruiting skills and get new ideas for including new members.  Be sure to check out this great posts for more information.

How (and Why) to Membership

What Does $85 Get You?

It Only Takes One

Ready, Set, Grow

Ready, Set, Grow Pt. 2

Ready, Set, Grow Pt. 3

Armed and Ready: How to Slay Your Membership Goals

Where AreThey Now?