The Road to 250! - Membership Committee

Written by: Susan Thomas, National Chair, Membership Committee
October 4, 2017

As our nation prepares for its 250th anniversary, DAR has the best opportunity of our lifetime to welcome record numbers of new women to the wonderful experience of membership in the DAR. For the next several years we have an unprecedented reason to INVITE the women we meet and know to join us and celebrate our nation’s 250th birthday, to INQUIRE about their Revolutionary ancestors, and to INSPIRE them to seek out the history of their family and their contributions to the cause of American Independence.

What is so exciting about the potential of the 250th anniversary of the United States is that the internet has dramatically altered the way that we locate and share genealogical information. So today, we stand at the crossroads of a significant anniversary AND a revolution in technology – and we must make the most of the potential that offers us. 

Our goal is to make membership in DAR more attainable for the women who want to join our Society and to keep the members we have. Here are some tips you can share with your chapter to reinforce the importance of both membership recruitment and retention. You can also view the entire Road to 250 presentation from the 126th Congress here: https://www.dar.org/roadto250presentation

INVITE women to join the DAR – whether a family member, a friend, or someone we’ve never met, let’s help them become members! 

  • Set a goal to add 10% or more new members to your chapter and challenge the chapter members to bring AND SUPPORT their family and friends in joining the chapter. New members bring energy, enthusiasm and new ideas to a chapter!
  • Make sure that there is someone to help each prospective with her application, including research for generations beyond the first three. The new America 250! Task Force has been established to help chapters in need of assistance with difficult applications, or responding to troublesome AIRs, by enlisting some of the National Society’s most experienced genealogists to help reach this membership goal. See the America 250! webpage for more details on how to INQUIRE for assistance.
  • Social media is a great platform for promoting the work of your chapter and encouraging membership. Chapters that are constantly posting pictures and reports about their chapter activities and INVITE interested women to join them in those activities are reaping great rewards from their public Facebook page. You’ll find ideas and suggestions on the membership committee webpages.
  • Utilize the DAR Prospective Member Database (PMD) – it is a great tool! The Chapter PMD can be accessed by the chapter’s membership committee through the members-only website if it is authorized by the chapter regent and they obtain the PMD pin from her. Instructions for how to use the PMD can be found on the membership committee webpage
  • Build a good chapter membership committee to assure successful member recruitment. Even if your chapter is small, you will benefit from having two or three members working together to encourage prospective members to gather application data, attend meetings, participate in chapter activities, INQUIRE about their interests, and INSPIRE them to learn more about DAR.

INQUIRE about your members’ interests and put them to work – whether they are brand new or well-seasoned members, give them a job they’ll enjoy and make them feel wanted!

  • Emphasize the New Members and New Horizons courses, and challenge your chapter to enroll their members in them.
  • Identify members who cannot attend meetings and find a “phone friend” to call and chat with them about the chapter and its activities. Be sure the chapter chaplain is kept informed about those who need her prayers and attention.
  • Put new members to work! Give them a job to do at meetings so they get to know the members and the members get to meet them.
  • Encourage your chapter to find some fun and rewarding community service activities to undertake. Choose one or two and make them happen!

INSPIRE your members with opportunities for meaningful service through DAR so that they will want to remain a member of your outstanding chapter for life.

  • Promote Life Membership for members who are in their mid-fifties to early sixties – they can pay that over four years. This is especially important for those who do not have family members in DAR.
  • Stay in touch with all members. A monthly or quarterly one-page email report of what is happening in the chapter is a great way to do this – be sure members without email get a copy.
  • INSPIRE longtime members to keep them excited and engaged in the chapter’s work. Check out the Involvement and Retention pages found in the membership committee website for suggestions.
  • Set a goal to have zero, -0-, nada, zip, NO members dropped for non-payment of dues! And then work as a team to achieve that goal.
  • If your state doesn’t already have something similar, talk to your State Regent about adding a State “Terrific Treasurer” award for chapters who have paid dues for at least 95% of all members listed on the chapter dues invoice before November 15th! And give those treasurers a certificate and extra points on your State “honor roll” for achieving that.

INVITE. INQUIRE. INSPIRE.

These touchstones should always guide our engagement with chapter members as well as prospective members. Every chapter should build a strong membership team to effectively manage the increase in interest we will undoubtedly see as we close in on our nation’s 250th anniversary. Remember, every single one of us is a part of the DAR membership team. Our members’ interests, talents and abilities are varied. Wonderful things happen when Daughters with different strengths and interests work together to recruit, train, involve and retain all members.

We will see great success with all of us committed to growing and sustaining our National Society for the future -- AND it will be a grand journey for all of us on the Road to 250! 

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