Confessions of a Club President Dealing With Membership Retention

Currently I am the President of a club in Kelley School of Business, DECA. DECA is an amazing club that provides its student with amazing experiences. I couldn’t begin to explain how amazing DECA is because it just is! But as the president of the club, or any club at IU, we have to attend these orientations about all IU has offered, and we get to sit down and meet the Presidents of other clubs. Last month I went to one and sat with a group of students who for some odd reason had the same problem as me MEMBERSHIP RETENTION!

Personally I just don’t get why we all have a problem keeping members, is it because students are focusing on their schools without extracurricular activities? (if that’s the case I understand). Is it because although we think our clubs are great people aren't actually interested? Or is it because the clubs that have the least amount of members are open to all? DECA is open to all students, I mean I'm the president of a Kelley School of Business club and I'm in the School of Public Health.  Have you ever noticed that the clubs with most members are exclusive? They have a whole application process which I guess in some way makes students feel honored that they got the opportunity to join, right? 

 DECA is an international competitive business club that has members in many business schools and high schools across the nation. Probably 1 in every 20 students have been in or know of DECA (that statistic is made up, but I am pretty sure it’s close to being true), so why is it that I have the hardest time getting members? If you ever attend a DECA meeting you will see how dedicated and passionate I am about the club. I really try to make it open to all and try to make it with everyone’s best interest in mind.  Yet although I probably never said it out loud I sometimes wonder why. Why do I work so hard, or why am I still in this club if I can’t get more than 10 members? Easily I could just take DECA off my list and focus on school because that’s why I am here and that’s why I am paying the overpriced out of state tuition for right?

And then it hit me, I am here trying to give back to DECA what it has given to me. When I joined DECA in high school, I joined a community where I finally felt like I belonged, I got to travel (I went to Salt Lake City for the international competition), I got to face my fear (I have anxiety about interview type situations, and in DECA we have case competitions which means standing up and presenting), and all I want is for the members to feel some sort of accomplishment. A place away from school and work, a place where they can feel connected. That’s what clubs are all about right? Finding a place on this big campus where you can feel like you belong.

So if you’re a student who hasn't joined any clubs I highly suggest that you take a look at MyInvolvement and find a place where you can see yourself fit in. if you’re a student who is in lots of big clubs think about joining a smaller club, trust me we have our perks. And if you’re a president of a cub with 7 members, have the best time of your life with those members because if you give them a great experience and a place to belong, then you are in some way leaving a legacy because they will tell their friends, and eventually you will have a fair amount of members and you’ll know you helped build the club.  

But if you’re a student who likes business, likes to be compete, and/or worried about your future think about joining DECA and if you’re a student who is looking for a place to belong with new friends definitely think about joining DECA.

I hear they have this really weird president who loves making new friend.

Thanks,

SC

Bee tee dubz If you would like to join DECA reach our to us by emailing ksbdeca@indiana.edu 

About The Author
Sara Claire GaspardClass of 2016, Evanston, IL