How to Quickly Get Referrals from Your Members

Categories: Membership Sales and Retention

aaron-profileby Aaron Cox, Membership Management Specialist

I have seen the puzzled look on the faces of board members, volunteers and sadly even staff at chambers of commerce and business associations when asked the question, “Do you know anyone else that would benefit from membership in your organization?”

While referrals are one of the best ways to generate new membership sales, existing members often understand the value they receive from the organization but can’t always readily see the same benefits for others.

Further, with busy lives, packed schedules, and a thousand other thoughts how do you get current members to refer you?


Here’s a thought — a quick survey of members that asks,  “Who Fixes Your Car,” “Who Cuts Your Hair,” “Who Does Your Taxes,”  or something similar that your members are likely to use in your community.

Send the survey to members, ask them to complete it and end with 2 easy questions: “Are you happy with or feel you are receiving excellent value from our organization” and “If asked by any of the people/businesses above would you recommend membership in our organization.”

Then take these business names you receive to develop a list of the common services, activities, and business categories that will be well served by your organization.

There you have it—several new referrals, potentially lots of new references, and at a bare minimum a nice new list of prospective members.

It’s worth a shot.  Even if you get 50 people referring 3 people each and you can gain 1/3 of those referred as new members, at $200/member, you’d have $10,000 in new member revenue.

What works for your organziation when asking for referrals from members?
Aaron Cox, a Membership Management Specialist at WebLink, brings a wealth of Chamber and not-for-profit leadership and management experience. Immediately prior to joining the WebLink team, Aaron served as the first executive director of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Executives (KCCE). During his tenure with KCCE, the membership doubled, revenue increased dramatically, sponsorship of the organization was increased over 400% and three affinity programs designed to provide necessary services to KCCE chamber members and their members were developed and implemented.

Prior to KCCE, Aaron managed several not-for-profits in the areas of workforce and economic development. These organizations have ranged in size from a staff of one on a shoestring budget to staff of 60 and $6.5 million budget, hence his keen awareness on how to maximize staff, technological and other resources.  You can contact Aaron at

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