Encouraging New Memberships
Often the public has heard of 4-H but doesn’t understand that it is available to all youth. The life skills that 4-H members take with them from their experiences are valuable and lasting. Many have the notion that 4-H means animals so “I live in town so I can’t be a 4-H member.” Reality is that 4-H literally has something for EVERYONE.
To share your 4-H experiences with other families, you can promote it at a very personal level, at the club level or at the county level. Each one of these tiers has a strategic plan to encourage others to join 4-H.
Personally: If you are happy with your 4-H experiences your friends have probably already heard you talk about them. Perhaps they are just waiting to be asked to join or wishing that they could be 4-H members too. The first step is to just invite them to a meeting or activity. Tell the good and the bad and the activities are really fun but there is also the work involved in completing your activity books and record books. Are you and your friends in sports? Sit together on a sports bus and talk about 4-H. Maybe you have a variety of friends in different groups; church, snowmobiling, horses, dirt bikes. Each offers an opportunity to talk about 4-H.
Clubs: Make promotion one of your club goals. What if each member brought a friend to a club meeting and encouraged them to join? Your membership would double at that meeting! Once you have a full club, maintain activities so members don’t become stagnant or uninterested. Also provide mentoring for new families so they do not become overwhelmed.
Countywide: Explore different avenues for youth recruitment. People today are bombarded by ideas and other stimuli. A one on one approach is very effective, but newspaper and radio ads are also catchy and might ignite the flame of interest in 4-H.
Some ideas to promote 4-H:
Tell a friend about 4-H
Notice National 4-H Week locker signs and bookmarks
Wear your 4-H clothing
Invite a friend to participate in a local community service project with you
Hold an open house to answer questions about 4-H.
Be a good role model as a 4-H Member
Make reference to your talents if they were learned in 4-H i.e.: public speaking
4-H instills confidence in decision making, public speaking, conflict management, setting and reaching goals and problem solving. Every family should be impressed with these skills and want that for the kids in their family.