Membership Recruitment

Chapters and councils play a very important role in acquiring new members. Studies report that most new members join organizations like TU because:

    • They were asked by a member to get involved
    • They know about the group because family or friends are involved
    • They enjoyed participating in an activity that was sponsored by the group
    • They are concerned with their local home waters

Chapter-recruited members renew at a higher rate than other members and are more likely to become active members that attend chapter meetings, come to workdays, and serve as chapter leaders. To encourage and help local chapters to recruit members, a new member rebate is given to chapters who recruit new members.

To receive proper credit for this rebate, your chapter must recruit the new member must come through one of the four following ways:

  1. Use your chapter-specific, custom recruitment link, which makes it fast and easy to share in emails, online text or message to friends and anglers you meet on the stream and more. Your chapter’s unique link will follow the following format and automatically redirect to a recruitment form which includes your chapter’s unique 3-digit code for tracking the rebate. (Example: A full list of all chapter links can be found in the library in the Leaders Forum online community, or by contacting your Volunteer Operations staff.
  2. Share the generic recruitment link of which is a “hidden” link from the TU website and search engines and will automatically assign the recruited member based on their zip code.
  3. Have new members use the print membership brochure, which you can order and customize here in the TU Printshop.
  4. Send a spreadsheet of recruited members and payment to TU using this special New Member Recruitment Spreadsheet.

The new member recruitment rebate program is described more fully in the Membership Memo and your Volunteer Operations Staff always has ideas and suggestions to help you succeed.

New Member Recruitment Strategies

The following resources and strategies are designed to help you and your membership committee think through opportunities for your local member recruitment efforts. Watch Five Easy Ways to Recruit & Retain New Members to help your board come up with a plan.

    • Organize a membership committee – Gather a standing committee of individuals who will focus on developing a recruitment plan that genuinely welcomes new individuals into the chapter.
    • Set a board-level membership recruitment goal – A common goal is to challenge every board member to recruit 10 new members in the coming year. For most chapters with a board of 10 members, that can quickly add up 100 new members or $1,500 in rebate revenue!
    • Reach out directly to lapsed members and encourage them to renew – You can download the list of lapsed chapter members through the ‘Membership Changes’ option in the Leaders’ Only Tools site to start the outreach.
    • Collect contacts at your events – If you are not already offering an event or meeting sign-in sheet, offer one at your event welcome table to capture the contact and other pertinent information of attendees. Doing so at each of your events allows your team to follow-up to thank them for attending and personally invite them to your next event. 
    • Host a “Bring A Fishing Buddy” event  – Create a special event (a streamside barbecue is perfect) and encourage every member of your chapter to bring a non-member fishing buddy to join the fun. At the event, have membership brochures and actively ask everyone to join and support the chapter.
    • Go “green” at events across your community – Sign up to host a vendor table at all the green festivals in your communities as these events often draw throngs of people who care about the environment and clean water and would willingly join to help you improve local rivers – even if they don’t fish!

New Member Recruitment Tools

    • Sign new members up online for half price – Set up a “Join TU” link on your website pointing to, promote it in chapter emails and in all chapter communications. Let new members know when they join for half price ($17.50) that $15 stays local to help support your work.
    • Print custom chapter membership brochures – Add your local chapter information and place these at local fly shops, have a stack in every board members’ glove box and fishing vest and hand them to anyone who expresses an interest in fishing or conservation
    • Print custom chapter business cards – Add information to the card on how to join the chapter at and use them to introduce your chapter to anglers and prospective members and encourage them to join TU
    • Create and distribute member recruitment posters – Great locations to hang these include local fly shops and fishing stores, outdoor retailers, diners near local fishing streams, library, grocery store and post office community bulletin boards