How to Grow your Club with Online Open Houses

Discover how to work together as a team to market your club’s online open house, entice guests to join and encourage members to return!

Despite the impact of COVID-19 on all our clubs, guests continue to visit and join. In fact, over the past 30 days, more than 75 new members have joined our clubs. As we all settle down into our online club meetings, this is a great time to start running fun open houses that grow our community. Before you dive in though, there are some key differences between an in-person and an online open house to consider as you plan your next membership building event which I’d like to share.


Everyone is now online! Take advantage of all social media platforms to get the word out and promote your event. This could be everything from Meetup, Facebook, GroupMe, Instagram, Nextdoor as well as email and text messages. Amplify your advertising by getting all members posting and sharing across social media platforms. Writing out a short promotional message they can copy, paste and post on social media makes it easy.

Online Security

When you promote your club’s online meeting, avoid posting the Zoom link publicly, to avoid unwelcome visitors and zoom bombing. Instead have a primary point of contact for people to request the Zoom (or other online meeting link) to join.


Keep focused on who you are inviting and adjust your meeting theme and marketing plan accordingly. Here are some potential audiences to target:

  • Former Members:
    Invite back former members with a welcome back theme. You could include links to songs such as Carole Kings, So Far Away. A small personal touch, letting them know you are thinking of them, can make all the difference today.
  • Former Guests:
    Dust off your guest book and invite all your former guests to attend. Virtual meetings may be another skill they hadn’t considered leveling up when they first visited. Now they can learn how to run more effective work meetings, 1:1’s, deliver better online presentations or simply discover new ways to stay in touch with friends and family.
  • Bring a X to Toastmasters Meeting:
    What is X? X could be anything from a co-worker, family member or friend. Have one open house about bringing co-workers, another about bringing family members, another about bringing friends. Get all your members involved and consider making it a competition! Adjust table topics questions or speech content to fit the audience.

Stay focused by using just one theme for each open house. That means your first open house targets just former members. Your second targets former guests. Your third is just where everyone invites a co-worker and so forth.

What are we selling?

Remember, you aren’t just selling Toastmasters at your online open houses in your speeches. You’re also selling online meetings. Incorporate a Thought of the Day into your club meetings or open house. This is the perfect opportunity for a member to share a 1-2 minute story about how online meetings have helped them. Plus, if you record the online Thought of the Day, that speaker can earn a $25 Amazon Gift Card – more details here!

Closing the deal

It’s incredibly easy for someone to Leave your online meeting before you get a chance to talk. Engage with your guests before, during such as Table Topics or after the meeting. The same guidelines apply:

  • What brought you to our meeting/to Toastmasters?
  • What did you think of the meeting?
  • We would love to have you and help you reach your goals – would you like to join? 

If they aren’t ready to join yet, make sure to have their email address or phone number to follow-up after the meeting. Email the guests a New Member Application Form. Also, it’s good to able to accept online payments such as PayPal for quick and easy dues collection.

Finally, don’t neglect to take advantage of incentives available to clubs until June 14th:

Online Open House Experience Incentive

Your club can earn a $50 check (that’s right – a check – not a Toastmasters Gift Certificate) by running an open house before June 14, 2020. Clubs can earn this incentive TWICE between May 1 and June 14th, for each open house that is run. For details, click here.

Online Thought of the Day Incentive

One of your members can earn a $25 Amazon gift card by delivering a 1-2 minute Thought of the Day speech during your club meeting explaining how you have personally experienced excellence and benefited from online meetings (not just Toastmasters) in your life. For details, click here.

Don’t be fooled. Guests are continuing to visit our clubs as they are looking for a community to help them develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth. As you learn to run excellent online meetings and our Toastmasters year draws to a close, now is the time to spread the word how much fun your club and Toastmasters can be.

Have any questions? Email me at and I will be happy to assist you!

Bill Holsey, DTM
Open House Chair
District 57 Toastmasters