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Roles & Responsibilities: Professional Chapter Membership Recruitment Leader

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Job Description

As your SME professional chapter's membership recruitment leader, you have been called on to identify, target and recruit SME's future leaders and stakeholders to expand your chapter's size and influence. Your work directly impacts the vitality of your chapter and represents, in most cases, "the face of SME" for new and prospective members.


  • Work with the chapter chair to set and/or update member recruitment goals.
  • Coordinate the membership recruitment committee and its subcommittees.
  • Plan and execute yearlong membership recruitment programs that satisfy your chapter's recruitment goals.
  • Encourage current members to take ownership of recruitment efforts and join you in identifying and recruiting prospects.
  • Participate in SME Headquarters-sponsored membership recruitment programs.

Getting the Job Done: Tips and Details

Quick Tips

SME chapters are invited to recruit year-round to strengthen their own ranks and to enhance worldwide membership resources. As your chapter's recruitment leader, your efforts are critical to the vitality of your chapter and SME. Your chapter's growth, influence and stability are tied to your team's endeavors and, additionally, those undertakings serve SME extremely well. By bringing in new "blood," you and your team ensure the growth of SME and its future offerings because, with the addition of every new member, you broaden SME's valued knowledge base. You'll need more than luck to get results.

  • Take time to study the SME Governance Document. This information will be helpful because it provides important background information relating to SME membership and covers topics such as membership dues rates, instructions for completing and submitting membership applications, requirements for membership grades and details about how SME issues membership certificates, cards, pins, etc.
  • Get familiar with the Volunteer Leader Toolkit. There you will find an array of helpful tools and "must-know" information.
  • Call your chapter's membership consultant whenever you need additional assistance or further information. If you do not know who your membership consultant is or how to reach him/her, contact SME Customer Care at 800.733.4763 or e-mail
  • Be familiar with the many benefits SME offers its members. Learn about member benefits.
  • Practice and teach effective recruitment "etiquette" and tactics:
    • Recommend SME to your colleagues. Show your enthusiasm for SME and tell firsthand accounts of how your membership has been a great investment in your career.
    • Provide new recruits with SME's URL — — so they can join online.
    • Personally deliver new member application forms and SME member benefits brochures to your recruits.
    • Follow up with prospective members and see if they have mailed in their applications or joined online. Remind your recruits of the many SME benefits that await them.
    • As soon as convenient, send an email or handwritten note thanking prospects for considering membership in SME.

Recruitment: Bring Local Manufacturing Together

Good planning and execution is the key to recruitment results for your chapter. Plan as far in advance as possible because it will help if you try to identify and contact the members you are going to recruit long before they receive any recruitment mailings. This personal contact will go a long way toward building relationships between your chapter and its potential members, making it harder for them to say "no." To really make this work, you will need a good plan with dates, assignments and goals. Contact your membership consultant if you need assistance putting your plan together.

Goal Setting: Charting Your Path to Success

You may be setting new goals or updating existing ones, but make certain you have a set of clear-cut, attainable and measurable goals to work from. They will prove vital to your success directing the planning and execution of chapter recruitment activities. Goals should be:

  • Realistic: Do your goals take the current status/organizational health of your chapter into consideration? Were they formed with the growth potential of your technical community in mind? Are they reasonable, considering the resources you will have to draw on when executing recruitment-related activities?
  • Challenging: Were you too conservative in setting your goals? Do your goals demonstrate that you and your committee are striving for improvement over the chapter's current status? Are you focused on stabilizing and growing your chapter's current membership numbers?
  • Specific and measurable: Avoid generalizations, being as specific as possible. For example, your goal could be to:
    • Increase the number of members from small companies (500 and fewer employees) by six percent over the chapter's year-end total by:
      • Making personal calls to 10 local companies each quarter.
      • Arranging follow-up meetings with at least two of the companies during the year.

Making the Grade: Learn Different Member Levels

SME offers five types of membership that are designed to recognize a member's level of achievement in the field of manufacturing engineering. Based on an applicant's years of experience, educational background and engineering involvement, members are automatically assigned at membership inception, with all applicants given highest grade for which they are eligible. The membership recruitment committee will target potential members, as a rule.

Click here to view the types of SME members and requirements.

Better Together: Coordinating Recruitment Committee

When organizing the team of volunteers that will assist you in growing SME's local membership, consider as many factors as possible (size of the chapter, number of general prospects, number and complexity of activities needed to meet your goals, etc.) to determine the number of volunteers you'll need to engage. Include members with little or no history of chapter involvement as well as experienced members; their fresh perspectives could inspire new ideas.

Create subcommittees to help you handle major recruitment activities, making certain not to burden one person with most of the responsibilities and ensuring that each member of your team is clear on his or her task-at-hand. Delegate and work together for the best results!

Helpful Materials: Free Advice When You Need It

SME Headquarters can provide you with promotional materials, applications, solid recruitment incentive programs for your members, and even prospect lists and mailing lists for them. To access this assistance, send an email to

Marketing Standards: Using the SME Logo

SME encourages you to make use of its proudly displayed and widely recognized logo when creating chapter recruitment tools of your own. Guidelines for usage include that:

  • Only chapters may sell or give away items emblazoned with the SME logo.
  • Logo t-shirts, plaques, jewelry, etc., may not be marketed by commercial enterprises on the chapter's behalf.
  • All use must comply with the SME Logo Standards; only current, approved SME logos should be used.
  • Use of the logo along with any company name or logo is strictly prohibited, even if the company is an affiliate member of SME.

Download rosters, forms and templates from the Volunteer Leader Toolkit.