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Promoting Membership: Getting Off to a Good Start

Robin Stanford
Tallahassee, Florida, USA
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 36 No. 3, June-July 2000, p. 46

A new mother is thrilled to discover LLL. She purchases a membership at her first meeting, in part because of the subscription to NEW BEGINNINGS. She is encouraged by the many mothers in the Group who are eager to share information they have read in the latest issue. At the next meeting, the library copy is passed around while the Group Treasurer explains LLLI membership (subscription), and the new mother notices an article of special interest to her about returning to work. She then realizes that it has been two months since she paid her dues, and she hasn't received her first copy of NEW BEGINNINGS. She is disappointed to have missed reading all the interesting articles.

LLLI's Customer Service Department receives calls every day from new members inquiring about their subscription to NEW BEGINNINGS. It is important for each membership to be processed and sent to LLLI immediately so the new member will receive her first issue in a timely manner. Of course, we know it takes time for the Group Treasurer to record the membership, make the deposit, and mail the membership information and check (cheque) to LLLI or to the Affiliate. The Group Treasurer needs to make this task a priority as soon as possible after each Series Meeting. If the Treasurer postpones doing this, it delays the mother's membership.

After receiving a membership, LLLI records the information and adds the new member information to the computer database. Because NEW BEGINNINGS is published bimonthly, there is often a time delay in starting a new subscription. An organization may not seem reliable if a mother has to call about a delay in her subscription, so it is helpful when new members are told that it may take up to two months or longer before she receives her first issue.

Many Groups alleviate this problem by ordering extra copies of NEW BEGINNINGS (often extra copies are available for shipping costs) and giving one to each new member when she purchases her membership. The mother then has a copy to read while waiting for her own subscription to start.

When new members read the interesting articles in NEW BEGINNINGS, they often become more involved with the Group. During the discussion about the benefits of membership and sharing the information about receiving NEW BEGINNINGS, Leaders can mention that there are articles of interest for the entire family. As the new member reads NEW BEGINNINGS, she finds helpful information to share with the baby's father, other family members, as well as her friends. As time passes and the baby becomes a toddler, information in the "Toddler Tips" column is helpful. When a mother's membership is about to expire, the Group Leader or Treasurer can remind her of all the articles that address the needs of her growing child, thus promoting a renewal of her membership.

Another way to promote membership is to point out that La Leche League is the foremost authority about breastfeeding and disseminates current breastfeeding information through NEW BEGINNINGS. There are also ads for products that may be of interest to breastfeeding women.

At our planning meetings, we often discuss articles found in LEAVEN that can help us develop our skills as Leaders. Discussing ideas shared in the "Promoting Membership" column has encouraged us to try some of them in our Group.

LLLI is looking for ways to process memberships quicker. We can do our part by forwarding memberships as soon as possible after receiving them, the best way to get mothers "off to a good start."

*Editor's note: Outside the USA, other local publications are included in membership or are available by subscription.

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