Bobbleheads Create Membership Buzz

  • Oct 11, 2005

Can bobbleheads attract new members to an organization? That's what The Association Forum of Chicagoland (AFC), an association of over 1,500 businesses, charities, civic and professional organizations in the Chicago area, set out to find when it recently launched a new membership campaign.

With a goal of recruiting 200 new members and boosting current ones, they selected a direct-mail campaign featuring bobblehead dolls of Forum CEO Gary LaBranche and Board Chairman Pamela Williams. The accompanying literature explained, “association work can make your head spin so much you feel like a bobblehead”

Included with the dolls were a care/feeding guide, two postcards featuring them at noted Chicago locations, an AFC lapel pin, magnets, passes to an AFC event and membership forms. The kits went to 50 of the groups’ most active members, with a note from LaBranche and Williams welcoming them as “buzz ambassadors.”

The campaign, which cost $10,000 total, was an across-the-board success. The program led to 228 new members, representing $342,000 in new member dollars. At first glance, this may have looked like a fun and frivolous promotion — but that's what we call a serious return on investment!


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