Everything you need to know to recruit new singers for your community chorus. Download the PDF to take it home with you.
Time to Read: 20 min | Goal: Grow Your Chorus | Audience: Choral Staff and Board Members | Last Updated: January 2020
Many choruses are looking to grow the organization’s membership through means of recruitment. Recruitment should have its own place in your marketing strategy and should follow marketing best practices such as identifying your target audience, determining channels for reaching your audience, and crafting communications and messaging around your intended audience.
Chapter 1: Find Your Singer Recruitment Team
If member recruitment is a primary goal for your chorus, there should be at least one person or a team dedicated to managing your recruiting efforts, such as “Recruitment & Auditions Chair” or “Recruitment Committee”.
Their responsibilities might include the following:
Attend Membership Committee meetings
Work with Membership Director and Artistic/Music Director to determine goals for recruitment
Work with Artistic/Music Director to develop an auditions process
Schedule audition dates and coordinate logistics including booking a room/piano, hiring accompanist, scheduling and communicating to auditionees, etc.
Work with Marking and Promotions Committee to develop and implement a promotional strategy focused on recruitment goals
Answer incoming inquiries about joining the chorus
Develop and maintain audition materials including initial inquiry form, chorus informational handout, instructions for auditioning, and rejection/acceptance letters
Maintain a database or list of all audition requests
Ask auditionees if they would like to be added to the chorus's email marketing list and work with Marketing and Promotions Committee to add them to email lists
Work with Volunteer Recruitment Chair to determine an appropriate way to ask potential singers about their volunteer skills and experience
Notify Membership Committee when a new member joins and ensure a smooth transition to any new member onboarding programs
Draft any documentation about your position for contingency planning
Ensure documentation is stored and filed in a secure, shared file storage environment for future reference such as Google Drive or Chorus Connection
Chapter 2: Build a Singer Recruitment Strategy
Singers don't just appear at your doorstep. It takes careful thought and a solid recruitment strategy to bring them In.
Define Your Target Audience
Before trying to get singers to join your chorus, it's important to first have a discussion about who you are trying to recruit - also known as your "target audience." Start by asking yourself these questions and draft up a document with the answers:
What is the current demographic makeup of the chorus? Are you looking to keep the same makeup or looking to change?
What types of musical experience should potential singers have? What is the audition process like (if any)?
What is your chorus’s mission and brand and what types of qualities do you expect from your singers to live up to your mission?
Which adjectives best describe the chorus culture?
What are the benefits your chorus provides its members? What can singers expect out of their experience with the chorus? What is the value for them?
What types of people will benefit from singing in the chorus?
You may also wish to survey your existing singers to help you identify your demographics, the reasons why singers joined your chorus, and the reasons why they stay.
Together with your membership team or committee, write up the definition of your target audience to use as a guideline in your recruiting efforts.
Set a Goal for Success
It’s important to identify what it means to have a successful recruitment plan - or set a specific and measurable goal. Is success identified as bringing in 5, 10, or 15 new singers, for example? Is success identified as bringing in 20+ auditionees? Whatever your goal is, ensure that your team thinks it is attainable and write it down.
You’ll also want to have a method of tracking this goal. This could mean that you count up the new members that were added to your database or that you calculate the number of audition/new member forms submitted.
Know what the goal is and how you will measure the goal after your recruitment campaign.
Identify Recruiting Channels
Think about your target audience and brainstorm the following:
Where does your target audience likely live?
What types of communities or social activities do they participate in?
What digital channels are they active in (such as social media forums)?
What are their interests/hobbies?
Are there organizations or events in your community that cater to these types of individuals?
Using your target audience, carefully think through which recruiting channels you’ll want to utilize in order to target that group. Here are just a few examples of the channels you can use in your recruiting efforts:
Email subscriber list
Social media (organic posts, boosted posts, and paid advertising)
Social media communities and groups
Networking at local events
College music programs
Digital or print advertising
Self-hosted recruitment events
Make a list of potential channels in your area that you can utilize in your recruitment efforts. Get as specific as possible - names of forums, magazines, digital opportunities, etc. And list of the ones that you want to utilize in your recruitment strategy.
From the list, map out a sample calendar for the year of various recruitment-based activities or advertisements.
Set a Budget
Next, set a budget for your recruiting efforts.
Depending on your goal, you may not need a budget, but it’s good to think through first what your goal is, which channels will help you reach your goal, and how much money you will need to invest in those channels to help make it happen.
Don’t forget to get the budget approved with the powers that be in advance!
Chapter 3: Implement Your Singer Recruitment Strategy
With a singer recruitment strategy in place, now it's time to get everything ready to bring in your new singers.
Coordinate With Your Marketing Team
Hopefully, when building the recruitment strategy you’ve already given your marketing chair or staff member a “heads up” and maybe even included them in your strategy discussion.
After your high-level recruitment strategy has been developed, the next step is to sit down with the marketing team to coordinate any materials needed and schedules for content distribution. Marketing may have other things going on such as marketing concerts, or launching the season, so it’s important to work with them to make the schedule as seamless as possible.
Here are some things you’ll want to coordinate with marketing:
Agree on the messaging for your recruitment campaign.
Agree on the design elements or branding you want for the campaign.
Determine what content or materials need to be developed and who is responsible for creating each.
Create a schedule or calendar for content distribution and determine who is responsible for the distribution of the content on each of your channels.
Depending on the complexity of your strategy, you may find it helpful to use a project management software to coordinate.
Now, it’s time to prepare all of the necessary materials for your campaign.
A few key pointers for success:
Keep the messaging and design elements consistent across all marketing content and channels.
Create your long-form content first (such as your webpage) and then you can use easily break up that content into smaller sections for channels that require shorter copy (like social media).
Keep marketing in the loop as you are creating materials - you’ll want them to have an eye on the branding, design, and copy of each piece you create.
Establish Your Auditions/Meet-up Process
You'll want to think about the path a potential singer might take in order to join your chorus. Then, establish a process that ensures that person is getting the information they need and that their experience is great.
Here's an example of what a process might look like:
Potential singer fills out the audition form on the website.
An automated email is sent thanking them for their submission and letting them know the next steps.
The recruitment chair reaches out to the singer to coordinate a date, time, and location for the meet up and lets them know what to prepare.
The recruitment chair coordinates with the music director and venue to confirm their availability.
The recruitment chair sends a reminder to the potential singer, confirms their attendance, and sends additional information about the venue location, parking, or other information required.
At themeet up, the recruitment chair greets the singer and introduces them to the music director and anyone else involved in the process.
The music director holds the audition/meet up.
After the audition/meet up, the recruitment chair thanks the singer for their time and lets them know the next steps.
The recruitment chair sends the singer the final outcome of the audition/meet up. If the singer is accepted, the recruitment or auditions chair will let the singer know next steps for their membership and introduce them to the membership chair.
The recruitment chair will then pass off the contact information and other information to the membership chair for the new singer onboarding process.
Regardless of your specific process, you’ll want to ensure that potential singers have a way to indicate their interest in joining the chorus, a point of contact within the organization, and information about how to take the next steps.
Create a Process for Collecting Contact Information
As you’re working on creating the marketing materials for your recruitment campaign, you’ll also want to finalize a process for collecting and storing potential new singer data.
For long-term recruitment purposes, you’ll really want to collect contact information and store that data in a CRM or email marketing platform.
On your auditions and/or new singer recruitment page, have a form interested potential members can fill out.
Possible form questions:
Preferred voice part
Prior choral and/or musical experience
Languages spoken (native, fluent, or conversational)
Non-musical special skills or interests that might be helpful to the chorus
An option to opt-in to email marketing
Your lead capture form should link to some data storage environment such as Google Spreadsheets, Mailchimp, SquareSpace, or Wordpress. Ideally, upon “opt-in to marketing emails” box is checked, your leads would be stored in your email marketing platform so that you can email your list of potential singers in the long-term.
Coordinate Recruitment Activities and Events
It’s important to have an opportunity for new members to get to know the chorus and its director before they join. Hosting some type of recruitment event, such as an open rehearsal or summer singer, is a great way to do this.
Whether you’re coordinating auditions or inviting potential singers to an open rehearsal, you’ll want to make sure that their first touchpoint with the chorus is a positive one.
A few tips for making these events successful:
Let your existing singers know that these events will be used for recruitment purposes. Give them a few rules to follow for the event and tips for talking with prospective members.
Utilize the contact data you've collected and stored over the years to help you market your event via email marketing.
When possible, use an online ticketing solution for registrations and/or tickets so that you can estimate the amount of people coming in advance. With an online ticketing solution, you'll also be able to check people in at the door which will allow you to know who attended the event and follow up with them after the event.
Set aside time during the event for fun and networking. If you are having an open rehearsal, perhaps use the 30 minutes before, after, or during break to have some food, drinks, and get to know your potential new members.
Have a point of contact for potential new members that can help show your prospects where to go and answer any questions they have along the way.
Give potential singers a taste of your chorus culture. Be who you are and let your prospects see that this is a chorus they want to be a part of!
Chapter 4: Utilize Marketing Best Practices
Utilize these marketing best practices with your singer recruitment strategy and you'll succeed in long-term organizational growth.
If recruiting is a main goal for your chorus, then information about joining the chorus should be listed on your website.
Once your leads are in your email marketing platform, you’ll be able to market to them from time to time. Regardless of whether they join your chorus this time around or not, you’ll want to keep them updated of any upcoming concerts, networking events, and, of course, any future auditions!
Across the board, video marketing is one of the best marketing tools at your disposal. And, yes, you can utilize video marketing in your recruitment strategy.
Try creating a recruitment video that showcases the other singers in your chorus and highlights the organization.
One great way to find singers that will fit in with your community is to highlight your existing members. A blog is the perfect place to share stories and photos of your members. You may even choose to highlight your members in video, email, or social channels as well.
Don’t forget to utilize your social channels for recruiting. Share your videos, blogs, or other spotlights on your members.
If you have the budget, consider boosting and targeting your social posts for greater reach. Here’s a great article on how one chorus doubled in size with their boosted social media strategy.
Chapter 5: Analyze Your Successes and Move Forward
After your recruitment campaign, you've hopefully brought in a few new members for your chorus. Your job now is to help ensure their long-term success with the chorus and to analyze your efforts for future recruitment campaigns.
Ensure Your New Singers' Success
After you bring on your new members, you'll want to have a plan in place for retaining them.
Ideally, there would be some sort of new member onboarding program that would help ingrain new members into the chorus culture and keep them informed.
If you have a lot of volunteer help, you may even consider having a "Membership Retention Committee" whose purpose is to help keep your singers engaged, happy, and connected.
Read more in this article about what a successful retention program might look like.
Analyze Your Efforts
After you've ran a recruitment campaign, it's important to sit down and reflect on what was and wasn't successful.
A few things you'll want to analyze:
Which channels were the most effective at getting people to fill out your auditions or inquiry form?
Which channels brought in the most qualified/best fit singers for your chorus? Which singers did you accept into the chorus and what channels did they use to find out about you?
How was the overall auditions/recruitment experience for your new members? Were there any issues in the process that should be improved in the future? Was there anything in the process that was particularly successful?
Did you meet your goals? Why or why not?
Did you stick to the budget? Why or why not? And did the money spent on your recruiting campaign show you a meaningful return? Why or why not?
To gather this data, you may wish to survey your new members. Ideally, you would have also used tracking links during your campaign to help you identify which marketing channels were the most effective at recruiting new singers. You'll also likely want to run an expense report for this campaign - think about the lifetime value that each new member will have on the organization and compare it against the money spent on this campaign.
After your analysis, write up a quick summary with recommendations for the future. Next year's recruitment volunteers will thank you!
Here are a few additional resources on singer recruitment: