Here are some ways this can be done.
Associations should market themselves to attract new members and keep current members. To do this, associations should communicate the benefits of membership by answering the question, “Why should I join your association?”
Some possible benefits an association may offer include:
- Referral service for parents to find child care
- Bulk purchases of items for members such as keepsakes, supplies, toys, etc.
- Training workshops that promote quality child care
- Develop flyers: “The Benefits of Family Child Care,” “How to Choose a Family Child Care Provider”
- Approach local tax preparers who understand family child care to ask if they will offer a discount to members
- Association website that includes resources and news for members
- Newsletter, conferences, monthly meetings, mentorship, support, etc.
- Advocacy at the local, state, and national level
Associations may also want to get involved in these activities:
- Offer membership to exempt providers. Providers who are exempt from licensing are the fastest growing type of child care. Associations may want to welcome them to help them improve the quality of their care.
- Conduct an education campaign to reduce the number of illegal providers. See my article, “A Plan to Eliminate Illegal Child Care.”
- Work with local media to promote the image of family child care
- Conduct an annual survey of members to evaluate the work of the association. Ask what additional benefits and activities the association should do. Ask members to prioritize current benefits and activities.
Most family child care providers are not members of their local associations. Providers who become members do so for a variety of reasons.
Some providers are attracted to the social side of an association. It’s a chance to meet and network with others and receive support from adults.
Other providers join for more tangible, financial reasons. They are looking for a return on their membership fee.
In my opinion, family child care associations need to constantly evaluate their organization’s benefits to make sure they are meeting the diverse needs of its members.
And they need to constantly communicate with non-members to find out what prevents them from joining.
Marketing is an ongoing process aimed at producing long-term benefits for association members and their community.
Tom Copeland – www.tomcopelandblog.com
Image credit: www.metroparentmagazine.com
For more information, see my book Family Child Care Marketing Guide.