Amateur Radio News

Six Ways to Get New Members and Visitors Involved in Your Ham Radio Club

Radio clubs are the backbone of Ham Radio. They provide a valuable service by providing local Hams with the opportunity to meet each other and learn more about the hobby. Getting Hams to show up at a club meeting isn’t all that difficult, but getting them involved is another story.  Many are just happy to sit back, drink their coffee, and go along for the ride.

So how do you get people to become involved, especially those who are visitors or new club members? Make your club a place they want to be.

1. Create a friendly atmosphere. Always greet visitors and new members—this is the responsibility of every club member. Learn their names and callsigns. Encourage club members to wear their call/name badge at all club functions. Radio clubs should be warm, inviting groups that make visitors and new members feel welcome. Make their experience at your club a positive one—something that will encourage them to visit again and again.

2.  Give them a reason to show up. There are plenty of things for an individual to do on any given day. Why should they attend your meeting?

If you present interesting programs, they will come. To make sure this happens, have an individual or committee in charge of planning programs six months to one year in advance—along with some backups if things go sideways. Seek out speakers and resources that are Ham Radio- related and will interest your club. With technologies like Skype, you can bring in speakers from across the country or around the world, including some of the big names in the Ham Radio community.

3. Socialize.  People come to radio club meetings to be with local Hams and to learn more about the hobby. Informal gatherings can also fill this need. Share a meal before the meeting, or hold a breakfast or lunch gathering at a local restaurant on a regular basis. Plan a club picnic or a project day. You don’t always need to meet in person. Set up a weekly net on the air to say hello, share information, or answer technical questions.

4. Just ask.  Many people are reluctant to volunteer on their own. But if you ask them personally, there’s a better chance they’ll participate. Invite your new members to join a committee, participate in Field Day or help with a special event. Invite visitors to join you again at next month’s meeting or to attend a future club function.

5. Have fun.  Nobody wants to sit through a long business meeting. Instead of debating every little detail or letting your meeting drag on, have your officers and committees take care of the tedious stuff ahead of time. They can report back to the club at the business meeting with suggestions and recommendations. There’s no reason a business meeting can’t (and shouldn’t) conclude in half an hour or less.

So what do you do with all that extra time? Have a terrific program, a 50/50 raffle, games, quizzes, watch some short videos on Ham topics, order pizza or just do something fun.

6. Show appreciation.  Remember that clubs are volunteer organizations. A truly great club acknowledges the efforts of its members, whether it’s a simple thank you, a certificate, or some other form of recognition. This can work wonders for club morale. Wouldn’t you want to be part of a club that appreciates your efforts, as well as the efforts of others?

People want to go to places where they feel comfortable, have fun, and can learn more about their hobby. A successful club provides all of the above, building its membership one person at a time.

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