Membership Building and Public Relations
The purpose of this page is to gather information that you can make available to your clubs. As a District Officer, you need to be aware of what is available but perhaps not particularly well-publicised. If you find a resource that is useful but not included here, please feel free to add it to our suggestions page.
Table of Contents
Membership Building Campaigns
Toastmasters runs several campaigns each year and encourages clubs to do the same. As a District Officer, it is worth checking that clubs are aware of these campaigns in advance. If a club meets the requirements, they receive a banner ribbon plus a discount offer for the Toastmasters store. The three campaigns are laid out on this page.
The incentive for individual members is not so well known, though every member will have seen it. There is space on each application (800) form to specify a sponsoring member, and recognition for any sponsor who brings in five or more new members, as outlined here.
Finally, encourage your clubs to hold open meetings at least once a year. The International website has a number of resources to give ideas; simply suggest to your club they search the site for “open meeting”, and use what they like from the results. Always remember to ask them to check that their designs align with the Toastmasters brand, as shown on the Brand Portal.
Membership and Public Relations Resources
The creation of promotional material takes two basic forms. Toastmasters has plenty of documents available, from the foldout All About Toastmasters (item code 124) to the excellent PR manual Let the World Know (item code 1140) and a host of fliers. However, many feel the fliers are too generic and prefer to create their own. Another advantage of doing that is that the campaign can be used as a Pathways Level 4 or 5 project.
There is no one right answer for clubs. A District Officer’s role is to support clubs and members in the decisions they make – not to make the decision for them. That means you need to know your way around areas such as the Official Toastmasters Resource Library (HINT: Select English as the category before going into detail, and not to be confused with our District 112 Library) and the Video Library in the Resources section of the International website.
Club Officers may also need nudging in the direction of the Public Relations Page.
Not every club has reserves of money. One of the best things you can do as a District Leader is to make clubs aware – preferably as the start of the year – that they can ask for help. Everything they need to know is on the District Documents page.
The Web Presence of a Club
This section has been placed under District Officers because it is one of the best ways you can fulfil your role of helping your clubs. Learning about presence involves answering a few simple questions – no technical knowledge needed.
You may find this one-page summary useful. It is intended as a practical guide for finding the pieces of the “web presence jigsaw”.
Any entity (person, club, district, etc.) can have a website. They can have a Facebook page, YouTube channel, Instagram adventure, TikTok dance class – almost anything on the web.
All of that is irrelevant if the entity doesn’t have a web presence.
A web presence is a simple concept. No one has heard of the website “www.google.co.nz” – but everyone knows the web presence Google. If Google doesn’t know about your club, you do not have a web presence. If Google does not know your club is a Toastmasters club, you do not have a web presence.
An exercise for Area Directors – and please let the club know your result. Next time you do an Area Director Visit, try this:
- Turn on location on your mobile phone – if not already on
- Stand outside the club’s venue
- Start Google and search for “Toastmasters” – nothing else
If the club does not appear on the first page of results, they need to ask themselves why – and the answer is in “Search Engine Optimisation”. Or SEO for short. Or “Making your club visible to Google” in English. And anyone can do it.
In mid-2020, Google introduced “Local SEO”. In one sentence, they changed the idea of searching from “what you are looking for” to “how close you are to what you are looking for”. For clubs, that means the better they link their name with their location, the higher up the results they appear.
How to do that? The basics are in this eBook, updated January 2023, which is designed to assume no specific knowledge. For more in-depth information, you can join the Facebook group mentioned on the first page.
KEY POINT: if people can find you using Google, they can also get to your website, Facebook page and other elements of your web presence. However if they can’t find you – they won’t.