The Wildly Successful Membership Drive

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Rabbi Einhorn’s SynaBlog is a new innovative blog that shares tips, tactics, strategies and best practices that enable Shul growth and promote Shul vitality.

This past Shabbos, at my synagogue in Los Angeles, we just signed up our 70th new member – 70 weeks in a row! Please understand that our shul is in a part of town that doesn’t have a crazy explosion of new families. What then is the secret behind this campaign?

Over the next few week I’d like to share some insights and observations concerning the membership process. Let’s begin with our particular campaign and figure out what can be drawn from it.

We celebrated our new members and turned that celebration into a fun driven event. Let’s say you are able to capture Member #1. Announce it as something like: “Shloime and Devora Finkelstein just became members of our community. Let’s give them a warm welcome!!” The shul fills with applause and yelps of “Kiddush” “Kiddush”. But you don’t stop there! Use that inertia to kick off a membership campaign. “In honor of the Finkelstein’s let’s set a goal of a new member 5 weeks in a row.”  Make the campaign a manageable number.

The initial keys to this camp:

Have fun with this campaign. It only helps. When the new member pops into shul the following week or two weeks later, say “welcome back to #12”.

How do you include your current membership in the recruitment process? This is a key component. Identify the individuals in your congregation that are most likely to make a respectful ask and also enjoy doing it. You would obviously want to use your “raving” fans for this (what’s a “raving” fan?). It will also help you and your membership recruiter to have a few membership options on hand.

Some membership options might be – Young Couple Associate, Young Couple Full Membership, Student Membership, etc.

Next week I would like to explore a series of other techniques that will take this campaign past the 10 new member mark and beyond!

Wishing you success,

Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn