Building a strong, cohesive membership is a huge and ongoing challenge. There are always new members joining who need orientation to the group and former members moving on who need to be added to the alumni roles. Keeping the recordkeeping straight is no easy task either! Check out the sections below for tools and example documents to help with maintaining your membership.
Working to retain singers starts the moment they have joined the chorus and getting member orientation right is a good first step. ChoralNet has an excellent section on new member orientation at http://choralnet.org/view/221695. You can also review the document below on welcoming new members.
New Member Welcome
A description of one choruses approach to welcoming new members
A comprehensive member handbook is an excellent way to make sure your singers have access to all of the information they need about the chorus.
This handbook example provided by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus is one of the most comprehensive we have seen.
Most choruses have an attendance policy defining how many rehearsals a singer can miss and what happens if a singer exceeds that number.
This policy is taken from the SFGMC handbook
Dues are a necessary fact of life for most of our member choruses although a few choruses have experimented with eliminating dues and just requesting contributions and have generally had good results. This section includes some data from GALA’s operations survey on dues practices and an example of a dues scholarship application.
Membership Dues Practices
The document provides the data gathered in GALA's operations survey on dues practices and amounts.
Dues Scholarship Application
Many of our member choruses offer scholarships for dues, retreat and outreach tour expenses and Festival. Below are some example policies and application forms.
Chorus alumni are a great source of volunteer and financial support. Keeping alumni engaged with the chorus may also encourage them to return to active membership when their schedules permit.
Slide show from a workshop presented at Festival 2012 containing an extensive list of ideas for engaging alumni
Alumni Relations Handout
Companion handout to the slides above
Survey to be used with alumni
Moving and Looking for a Chorus?
Use our world chorus map to find a chorus in the city you are moving to or even just a city where you will be visiting.
Struggling with Board and Staff Boundaries?
GALA 411 Advisor Eve Campbell is absolutely the best at helping member choruses to face up to issues causing the chorus to run less smoothly than you would like. Apply to work with Eve through the 411 program.