Mary Palm and Al Siano reconnected via the Webbased professional networking service LinkedIn after briefly working at the same company 10 years ago. It was a chance for Siano, president of the Middleton Lions Club in New Jersey, to catch up with an old acquaintance, and an opportunity to pitch his passion—Lions. “She lives 45 minutes south of me, so I said, ‘You know, there’s a great club in Bricktown that’s close to you,’” Siano recalled. “A month later I got a message back from her through LinkedIn. ‘Hey, this is really great,’ she said. I don’t think we ever would have touched base again if it weren’t through that LinkedIn connection, and that club wouldn’t have had her as a member.” That simple connection on LinkedIn is representative of a Lions recruiting trend that Siano hopes will grow. Using social media services like LinkedIn, MySpace and Facebook is a new, fast and effective way for clubs to recruit members, as more people worldwide turn to the Web for personal communication. For Nicoline Deen, social media services hold vast potential for clubs looking to bolster their club roster with an influx of new members. Being able to communicate your message and your impact instantaneously to a large audience takes much of the labor and frustration out of recruiting, says Deen, president of the Easton Lions Club in Connecticut. “We have a lot of new faces coming to our events, which to me is the first step,” according to Deen. “We have great club members who are active, but this is a way to bring our message and talk about what we do to an entirely different audience. And that audience is always growing.” Getting started is as easy as creating a profile and exploring what each service offers. And expanding your club’s recruiting horizons may save a lot of headaches when planning the next recruiting drive. “Social media is all about empowering people at the bottom, which sits very well in tandem with Lions clubs, because they are ‘bottom-up’ organizations,” Siano says. “Networking sites like LinkedIn and MySpace are excellent tools, and in some professions, they’re absolutely essential. In clubs, why should the membership chairpersons be pulling their hair out? Any member can get on. Any member can post their club’s event on the page and send that message out: ‘Hey, we’re having this golf outing in a few weeks. Meet me out there, and I’d love to tell you about what we do.’ It’s that simple.” While social media isn’t the recruiting fountain of youth, Siano says the Web can help clubs seeking a younger dynamic. “I’m 53, so I’m not a young guy. But I know that if you want to get younger members, you have to go where they are,” says Siano. “Facebook, My Space, YouTube—trust me, that’s where they are.”
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.