William A. Verkest, P.E.
Director of Engineering Services (retired)
City of Arlington, TX
APWA Membership Committee Chair, 2001-2002
As a professional association, we are always looking for ways to attract new members. And, without a doubt, this can be a daunting exercise.
But the truth is, there are people out there who would like to be members of APWA, but are either waiting to be â€œaskedâ€ or do not know where to go to get membership information.
Some of these potential members may be very close to youâ€”as close as your chapter and branch meetings. Across the United States and Canada, there are people who attend APWA chapter and branch functions who are not members of APWA. They may even believe they are members of â€œtheirâ€ chapter or branch. However, they are not! There is no category of APWA membership that is chapter or branch level only. APWA membership requires being a member at the national level, with chapter and branch membership included.
What to do? These â€œnon-member membersâ€ obviously see some benefit in the chapter or branch functions, or they would not be attending and participating. So letâ€™s encourage them to stay involved!
Consider them â€œwannabes,â€ and encourage them to join APWA. Talk to them about the benefits of membership and its low annual membership fee. Talk to them about what they are missing by not being a member. Talk about individual, agency and corporate membership opportunities. Talk about national programs. Talk about networking (only members have access to our InfoNOW Communities, for instance) and career development opportunities.
Ask them what they like about the chapter and/or branch functions. Ask them what they would like to see at these functions. Ask them what it would take to get them to join APWA.
And respond! Show interest in them as individuals. Explain why you are a member. Explain why you would like to see them as a member, not just a visitor. Finally, help them in completing the application process.
â€œWannabesâ€ are and can be a tremendous resource. In all likelihood, they are contributing to the success of your chapter or branch right now. Letâ€™s work to get them on board as â€œrealâ€ members of APWA and fully use their talents to build a stronger and better APWA at the national, chapter and branch levels.
Helpful recruiting tools available from the APWA national office include:
We are your partners in the success of APWA!
Bill Verkest, a member of APWAâ€™s Board of Directors, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.