Although the Girl Scouts of the United States of America is considered by many to be an institution in this country, the organization has been facing a decline in membership in recent years. In fact, according to the Associated Press, the Girl Scouts of the United States of America has seen a total decline of 27% since 2003, a dramatic loss that has left many in the organization scrambling to find ways to turn the tide.
SEE ALSO: The Vital Role Email Plays in Membership Acquisition
What’s Behind the Decline?
Although many factors are at play, it seems that the economy is the main culprit in the recent membership decline. Because families are having to work more just to keep up, many parents are simply unavailable to find the time to take their daughters to Girl Scouts events. Likewise, money that would usually be spent on gas to transport daughters to meetings is now being appropriated elsewhere in families’ budgets. It’s also important to remember that Girls Scouts members also include adult volunteers who lead meetings and events, and the economy has made it difficult for these individuals to stay in the organization as well, shrinking the ability of the Girl Scouts to hold meetings.
How is the Girl Scouts of the United States of America Battling This Trend?
In combating the growing decline, Girl Scouts leaders have turned to the Internet in an attempt to increase membership and retain current members. Through the use of social media sites, such as Facebook, the organization is giving volunteers an easier way to connect with one another while reaching out to girls who might be interested in joining the group. In addition, the organization is now helping volunteers to plan an entire year’s worth of meetings and events in one day using online tools. Although it’s too early to tell whether this strategy will ultimately be successful, Girl Scouts leaders are optimistic.
Going Where the Members Are
The thinking behind this strategy is to go where the girls are, and this tactic can be used in any organization that is interested in increasing membership. Just as a business owner needs to market his or her products or services to people in areas where the product or service will be beneficial, organizations need to go where their members go, and in the case of girls and young women these days, that place is the Internet. Because most young people are getting more and more of their information from online sources, including social media, the Girl Scouts has decided to use this fact to its advantage.
If you run an organization, it would be wise to take a page from the Girl Scouts playbook. In order to attract new members, you have to go where they go. While it’s true that the Internet is a great place to find new members, offline resources should still be leveraged as well. By taking an overall approach, you’ll be more likely to attract new members and retain the ones you currently have.