Growing membership is an important ongoing challenge for most residents’ associations. In this regard, one of the most successful associations in the province is the Don Mills Residents Inc (DMRI) in Toronto. F.U.N. interviewed its President, Terry West in 2011, to learn more.
F.U.N.: Terry, can you give us a little thumbnail sketch of your association?
T.W.: DMRI has about 1200 members. There are approximately 9000 households within our boundaries. We have a broad mix of housing forms including apartments, condos, townhouses and single-family homes. We have had good success getting strong representation from each corner of our territory. The key to our success is keeping our community well informed on the issues of localinterest.
F.U.N.: How do you keep them informed?
T.W.: We deliver comprehensive newsletters four times a year. The community looks forward to these and is happy to join our association in order to receive them. The newsletters are critical for to solicit and retain members.
Note from F.U.N.: See the Summer 2017 DMRI newsletter and visit the DMRI website.
F.U.N.: So, what is your technique to solicit members?
T.W.: The first Newsletter in March is delivered to all households in the community, indicating that only members will receive the next three. We send a copy of the June Newsletter to members who have not rejoined with a covering letter and a renewal form. We send our September one to those members who have still not rejoined along with a renewal letter and a stamped return envelope and offer that the renewal will be good for 15 months. We usually get a very high return rate. We also try and do a house to house membership drive in either April or May. Most of our newsletters to members are delivered by volunteers.
F.U.N.: How do you recruit volunteers?
T.W.: We have divided our territory into 11 Areas (note: now 13 areas as of 2020) with each headed by a Coordinator who serves on our Executive. The Coordinator keeps the association informed of local matters and ensures we have good coverage in their area. With strong representation in each member`s neighbourhood, the level of interest is high and this helps to keep people involved.
F.U.N.: Thank you for sharing this information with us. How can our members learn more about DMRI?
T.W.:They can get more information by visiting our website at: dmri.ca