How to Recruit EAA Chapter Members From Home

By Mike Dooley, EAA Chapter 91 President

Gaining a new chapter member was the last thing I
expected during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially with a stay-at-home order in
effect here in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, but that’s exactly what happened.

I received a call from a prospective member who heard about our chapter from a neighbor and is looking forward to being active in aviation once restrictions are lifted. He just turned 18, wants to learn to fly, and is interested in our Flying Start program.

He was not aware of the Ray Scholarship program, and I used the opportunity to let him know we are still accepting applications. I also offered him an Eagle Flight as soon as restrictions are lifted, and we discussed the wide variety of online ground school programs, how-to videos, and more that will allow him to learn while staying at home.

I closed by signing him up as a new member to both EAA and our chapter using complimentary/trial memberships and sent him links to several websites, beginning with EAA. 

Our next chapter “gathering” will be online using GoToMeeting. Although we’re new to using this technique for our gatherings, we’re eager to try it and our guest speaker is ready to go. We’ll take advantage of this event to meet our new member via video, even if we can’t meet in person for a few more weeks.

Here are some keys to success when activities are restricted:

  • Have a web-based presence, such as a website, Facebook page, or other link that makes it easy for prospective members to contact chapter leaders.
  • Word of mouth still works! Let your friends and neighbors know that EAA and your chapter still have a lot to offer in the way of information and videos to use while they’re sitting at home.
  • Take advantage of the complimentary six-month EAA trial membership (with a matching chapter membership). 
  • Follow up with an email welcome letter and copy of your last newsletter. 
  • Host meetings online to stay connected.
  • Schedule tentative one-on-one events, such as Eagle Flights, that can be executed on short notice when you and the new member are ready.

We have a large potential target audience sitting at home right now, and many of them have an interest in aviation. Reach out and see what happens!

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