Epsilon Sigma Phi
The Extension Professionals' Organization

Guidelines and Best Practices for Chapter Membership Recruitment and Retention Committees

ESP Chapters are encouraged to have a Membership Recruitment and Retention Committee or an individual designated to lead their membership campaign.

Suggested activities for the membership committee or chairperson are:

  • Set a membership goal each year (ex: increase membership by "x" %) • Conduct an annual membership drive to collect dues for new and renewing memberships. Submit dues to the National Office by Feb 1st each year.
  • Build an informed, participating chapter membership, familiar with the objectives, policies and programs of ESP.
  • Work with chapter leadership to submit nominations for the Achievement in Chapter Membership annual recognition to the ESP national office. These forms are found under the Forms Tab and then under the Chapter Reports Tab.
  • Each chapter’s membership recruitment and retention efforts can be evaluated using the  Achievement in Chapter Membership Recognition criteria. 


To identify potential ESP members chapter leadership should:

  • Review their constitution and bylaws for membership categories and requirements.
  • Work with their Extension administration at state, regional, and county levels to identify Extension professionals who qualify for membership.
  • Be alert at all times for potential or prospective members--not just at the beginning of the membership year 
  • Be aware that ESP membership is transferable from one chapter to another. Identify Extension professionals who move to your state from another state to determine if there are already members of ESP. Work with the National ESP office to transfer membership. 


  • Be visible.
  • Develop newsletters and publicity regarding your ESP Chapter. Share ESP news with your administrators and through their usual communication channels to all Extension employees. 
  • Invite potential members to join ESP. Explain the purpose of ESP and benefits of membership. 
  • Invite potential members to attend your chapter meetings to learn more about your chapter and its members. Make them feel welcome with name tags, introductions, etc. 
  • Involve all current ESP members in recruiting new members. Use personal communication and follow-up frequently with potential new members. 
  • Welcome new members with a letter or note from the Membership Chair and/or Chapter President. Initiate or officially welcome new members to your chapter during a chapter meeting or event. 
  • Provide new members with a membership certificate, the Extension Professionals' Creed, and/or books or resources. 
  • Invite new and renewing members to become involved in committee and project work. 
  • Assign a "mentor" to new members or encourage experienced members to support and guide new members as they become involved in committee work, projects, etc. 
  • Spotlight new members. Do a write-up in your newsletter about each new member. 
  • Communicate with ESP members immediately upon their retirement and invite them to become Life Members. 
  • Follow up after 6-8 months if they did not join upon retirement. 
  • Keep in touch with all retirees who are Life Members. Share information about chapter activities and get them involved.


  • Provide consistent communication with members through newsletters, e-mail, social media, face to face, blogs, etc. and keep them informed of chapter and national ESP activities and opportunities.
  • Involve members and encourage participation in meetings, activities and chapter and national committees.
  • Inform members of ESP membership benefits including recognition programs, grants and scholarships, participation in conferences, etc.
  • Keep your dues system organized, simple and efficient. Remind members of cost and due date.


  • Maintain communication with Life Members using e-mail or alternate methods.
  • Encourage life members to serve on committees and in leadership positions in the chapter and at the national level. • Highlight Life Members activities’ in your chapter newsletter.
  • Build relationships between Life Members and soon to retire faculty and staff.
  • Provide workshops and/or activities especially for retirees/Life Members.
  • Involve Life Members in chapter projects where they can take leadership roles such as advocating for Extension, training or mentoring faculty and staff, service to others abroad or at home, developing a fund campaign for an extension or ESP need.
  • Plan a Life Member/Retiree track at your statewide Extension Annual Conference or ESP meeting.
  • Provide financial assistance to Life Members interested in attending ESP’s National Conference.
  • Institute an ESP "Retiree of the Year" award at the chapter level and compensate with a reduced rate conference registration.
  • Publish and distribute state directory of all retirees (not just life members).

Epsilon Sigma Phi is a
501(c)3 non-profit organization.

55 Walton Place Drive
Newnan, GA 30263

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