Struggles to Recruit
As the second semester begins, we reach halfway through the membership. It is a great time to take a step back and reevaluate the health of your local chapter. How active have you been so far? Have you done a service project? What does membership look like? What does the involvement look like? Your questions and answers may look completely different. Although, having a realistic understanding of what your chapter looks like, through the different points in the year, allows for a more in-depth understanding and ability to appropriately plan events. With only half of the year left, it’s a great time to finalize membership numbers.
Chapters come in all shapes and sizes. There is no shame in having a chapter with only three members, and no advantage to having a 500-person chapter. Although having a larger chapter can have its benefits. As chapters get larger, there are more options on how to run things. Allow for more leadership roles and opportunities for the members within the chapter, but then the increased competition becomes a factor. Large chapters typically have more member involvement in meetings and events, but make sure everyone who wants to contribute can. Large chapters can split powers and partake in more service projects. Local competition within a local chapter can promote positive competitive energy, resulting in higher-performing competitors. Having more members allows for more meetings to occur, and veteran members can run meetings, eliminating the complete reliance on an advisor. As more people enter your chapter, public interest can peak, allowing an opportunity for mass growth. Try different methods for membership recruitment to reach your maximum member count.
For small schools or small chapters, trying to grow may seem very intimidating. In reality, you are at a great starting point for mass increase. To begin, ask yourself why your chapter is small.
Struggling due to a lack of awareness that the club exists is common. Having a call-out meeting can be a great way to sit potential members down and explain what the organization is, although getting people to attend these meetings can be difficult. Use the membership that you currently have to spread the word amongst other students. Try making eye-catching signs, placed in spots with heavy foot traffic, and label them with your meeting time, location, and a brief description of the meeting purpose. Social media can also be a useful tool for spreading information, but you have to already have a following of some kind in order to effectively spread information. Having difficulty with member enthusiasm is a likely result if the chapter is not very active. When have only one meeting a month, and one small project, or none at all, leads to members struggling to get excited, forgetting what the organization is for, or even that it exists. Advisors and leadership need to show enthusiasm in order for it to spread to the other members, and having a consistent level of involvement sets an expectation.
If your problem is simply that your school is small, then growing may involve getting creative. HOSA has many benefits for students outside simply the education in the healthcare field. To attract new members, try reframing what HOSA is and how it can benefit you. A lot of high schools students have no idea what they want to do once they leave high school. HOSA allows students without a career direction to explore hundreds of options. Potential members may have no idea that they would have a place in HOSA, or they could learn something valuable. Healthcare is not limited to hospitals and doctors' offices. Do you like animals? Well try veterinary and explore if you like animal care and behavior, and potentially try competing to really dip your toes in the field. Sports? Explore being an athletic trainer. Even if you are not much of a people person, that does not mean that healthcare can’t still be for you. Many fields like a laboratory, medical billing, and hospital administration do not require extensive human interaction the same way nursing does. Not to mention all the types of jobs, but also the range of specialties. If you do not like children, you can work with adults or the elderly. If you don't like blood, try physical therapy, occupational therapy, or maybe even psychology. Fascinated by how the brain works? Neurology is perfect for you. You may have ruled out healthcare due to the idea that it requires a lot of schools. Not all jobs require a four-year degree or more, some simply require a certification. For instance CNAs, CCMAs, phlebotomists, and techs within a hospital. Healthcare has nearly limitless options, although even students adamant that they are not going into healthcare may benefit from HOSA. The understanding of the healthcare field, the chance for leadership development, networking opportunities, and working on a team are all components of HOSA that can benefit most fields or simply being an adult.
Strong membership can be a crucial tool for a powerful chapter. Do not allow the struggle along the way to gaining membership to stop you from continuing. There can be numerous factors that can contribute to low membership, but understanding those factors is a great starting ground for growth.