Keys to Recruiting

Jan 6, 2016

Groucho Marx once said that he refused to join any club that would have him as a member.

Thank goodness CAI members don’t prescribe to that motto.

It’s not too difficult to understand that an organization’s members are its lifeblood.  Without members, an organization dies.  And an organization can never have too many members.  After all, membership is a fluid, moving thing.  Members pass away, they move away, they become inactive for any number of reasons.  So an organization needs to keep bringing new members into its fold.  Otherwise, it dies. 

As community managers, we are in a unique position to help build CAI’s membership.  Not only do we have a ready supply of Board members, each of whom should be members, but we have direct contact with vendors, professionals, and homeowners (yes! Homeowners), all of whom would benefit from membership in CAI.  The “trick” is to tap into their WIIFM – What’s In It For Me?  Everyone has a different WIIFM, and if you can answer that question by telling them all of the benefits that they will receive – personally – then you’re halfway to getting them signed up.  Some of the benefits may be the same for almost everyone, while others might be very specific to that person you are recruiting.  Notice I didn’t say “trying to recruit”.   Be positive, and your message will come across as positive, too.

If you don’t know exactly what benefits would appeal to your potential recruit, simply call the Chapter office.  The Chapter staff is well equipped to help you answer all of the WIIFMs you have on your list.  And a list is very important!  Sit down and write one up right now.  Don’t be stingy.  You know that everyone on your list will benefit from CAI membership.  Even if you think that some won’t join, put them on the list.  Are all of the professionals you deal with (attorneys, accountants, engineers) members of CAI?  If not, put them on the list.  Most professionals who provide services to community associations already know the benefits of belonging to CAI, but everyone once in a while you’ll come across one who, for whatever reason, isn’t a member.  What about the plumbers, the masons, the painters, the electricians who service your communities?  Don’t they want to grow their business?  (Oh no, we really just want to stay small and not make much money. Ha.)

Recruiting Board members seems pretty obvious, but what about homeowners?  Not all of your homeowners will see the benefit in joining CAI, but they should.  Why should the Board members be the only educated, savvy folks in the community?  Shouldn’t all homeowners know about Association governance?  About fiscal responsibility?  About the newest trends being followed?  Reference CAI frequently in newsletters, on the Association website, and anywhere else you think a homeowner will see it.  Eventually some will ask: Just what is this CAI you keep mentioning?  How do I get more articles like the one you put in the newsletter?  Can I attend a webinar or educational seminar?  I’m on the Landscape/Architectural/Covenants Committee, do they have something for me? 

But “selling” is hard work!  It’s time consuming!  I’m just not a salesperson.  Then take that (hopefully long) list and fax/mail/e-mail it to the Chapter office.  They’re busy people, but you know what they say about getting things done…….

One last thing.  Read your latest Community Assets.  Read your latest Common Ground.  Now imagine no CAI.  Not just the Delaware Valley Chapter.  NO CAI.   PERIOD. 

If that doesn’t get you list making, I don’t know what will.

Barbara Saxton, CMCA, AMS, PCAM is a Regional Manager with The Galman Group, a management company member of CAI. In addition to having achieved her CMCA, AMS, and PCAM designations during her membership with CAI, Barbara is a member of the Pennsylvania & Delaware Valley Chapter of CAI Communications & Content Committee of which she is the former chair. Barbara is a frequent contributor to Community Assets magazine and @ Home with CAI blog. In 2016, Barbara recruited 17 new members to join CAI, was named CAI National Recruiter of the Month twice, CAI Pennsylvania & Delaware Valley Chapter Recruiter of the Month twice, and was honored at the Annual Meeting & Holiday Party with CAI’s prestigious Rising Star Award. Barbara also won the chapter’s 2015 Recruiter Rewards campaign grand prize, a $1,000 travel voucher.  Barbara can be reached via e-mail at:



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