A number of Toastmasters clubs are “closed corporate,” meaning that membership is only open to people who work at a particular organization. District 57 has many clubs that are in this category. As you can imagine, corporate rules can sometimes limit the methods these clubs can to use to attract new members; therefore, the VP Public Relations and VP Membership have to get creative and use periodic, well-publicized events to raise awareness of the club within the organization.
Here is a list of ideas that can help YOU attract members to your closed corporate club – Be sure to get permission from the appropriate persons in management beforehand, and follow corporate rules to the letter. It also helps a lot if you can get HR on board to help you.
- Word of mouth/personal invitation – This is always a good idea regardless of what kind of club you are in. Talk especially to newer people that want to move up the corporate ladder since communication is essential to them, and mention success stories of colleagues who have accomplished more due to Toastmasters.
- Closed-Circuit TV – Some clubs can gain access to the company’s closed-circuit television system which is shown on monitors throughout the corporate campus. For example, BobMasters at Robert Half in San Ramon, uses “slates” (slides) that tell about upcoming meetings and other events.
- Company Email – Send to department distribution groups or BCC. This can be useful to publicize special events like open houses.
- Company Intranet – Many closed corporate clubs cannot have a “public” website, but some organizations will let you locate your club website on their intranet. Use it to post many of the same things you will find on a “regular” club website. East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) Toastmasters is happy to have this resource available to them.
- Company Newsletter – Write a short story about your members’ and club’s achievements and/or upcoming events, and submit it to the newsletter coordinator/editor. At the very least, make sure your weekly meetings have a spot in the calendar/events section if there is one.
- Flyers – Post “event” and “weekly meeting” flyers in break rooms and other areas, and regularly change flyers so they don’t become part of the wallpaper. You may also want to include an event flyer in a company email. You can find Toastmasters branded flyers at https://www.toastmasters.org/Resources/Resource-Library
- Intercom – Imagine it’s 11 am and you hear “ABC Toastmasters open house luncheon meets in the board room in 1 hour” over the loudspeakers. Does this work? You bet! We recommend using it for open houses, special guest speakers and other occasional events only, or else you risk burnout.
- Management and Executive Support – Don’t just talk about Toastmasters to get their support and buy-in. Invite them to regular club meetings and open houses. When they see how your club works first hand, they will become advocates or even members, supporting the club mission and continued membership growth. Quarterly or annual updates on membership growth and development can help justify corporate investment and support.
- Open House – Open houses can work great for “lunchtime” clubs when you offer food/snacks to guests.
- PR Schedule – Get the word out! Here is a sample PR schedule for an open house event: