I don’t know if this response will show up next to your question or not. I am so new at using a blog! You asked a question about how to get people to our meetings. I hope others will “jump” in with their ideas.
1. It all starts with our newsletter that comes out the week before our meeting. It has a friendly cover letter that says what is happening and when. This is included with the e-mailed newsletters and snail-mailed newsletter are just a bit different.
2. The Monday before our Tuesday meeting a friendly reminder is sent out, again stressing any special events that will happen before or during the meeting.
a. Last September, we had our first plant sale. We sold a wide variety of plants including roses, day lilies, a few house plants and several varieties of outdoor plants. This was so successful we did it again in October and brought nearly $200 to our treasury with donated plants. We’ll be doing this again in April.
b. This March will feature our first tool sharpening event. For a donation, we’ll sharpen members’ tools 45 minutes prior to the meeting. I don’t know how that will go, but at our February meeting there was a lot of enthusiasm expressed.
c. We have our “Christmas” social in January. We had 22 attend. 26 were scheduled to come, but the flu kept 4 members home.
3. We send out an e-mail the Monday before our Tuesday meeting reminding people of the meeting and putting in info about the speaker and anything special that will happen before or during the meeting.
4. We frequently e-mail any news about members to other members. If a member is in the hospital, others want to know so they can send a Get Well card. We do our best to have our rose society be a family.
5. We have simple treats at our meetings. It can vary from store bought cookies to baked bread.
6. New members are the easiest to lose. Last year,we took a new rose to each new member save one. For this member who wasn’t easy to contact, we sent a gift card for a new rose. This year, that new member sponsored another new member!
I don’t think there is one easy answer to your question. I don’t know that any effort will work with all societies. There are some great PowerPoint presentations on the ARS website that might help. Getting good speakers who are known in their field helps. We were the first rose society to have Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott and now she’s being quoted everywhere. We don’t pay our speakers as we are not a big society with a big budget,but we do take our speakers who travel long distances out to dinner and try to provide an honorarium for the cost of the gasoline consumed.
I hope this helps!