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Share your ADA story, recruit colleagues through Member-Get-A-Member program

March 16, 2015
Dr. Durbin
After the Washtenaw District Dental Society board printed out a list of nonmembers in the Ann Arbor, Michigan-area and asked its members to reach out to anyone whom they may know, Dr. Dan Edwards realized he personally knew about 10 nonmembers on the list.

“I wrote them emails and invited them to attend our meetings,” he said. “I also tried to cater the email by focusing on a specific member benefit that would hit home with the colleague.”

Of those he contacted, three became members, including a University of Michigan dental school faculty member who had sought to publish her research in the Journal of the Michigan Dental Association.

“To be published in the journal, you have to be a member,” said Dr. Edwards. “She came to me and said ‘thank you’ for reaching out to her because, otherwise, she would not have been published.”

Dr. Edwards
Dr. Edwards’ three recruits were among the over 160 new members the ADA welcomed in 2014 through its Member-Get-A-Member program. This was up from 119 recruits through the program in 2013.

The Member-Get-A-Member program rewards members with a $100 gift card for each new, active member they recruit (up to five members), or recruiters may decline the incentive and the ADA will make a donation to the ADA Foundation.

“Peer-to-peer communication is the most effective way to recruit dentists into organized dentistry because we are telling nonmember dentists that we want them to be part of the team,” said Dr. Michael Durbin, ADA Council on Membership chair. “Membership in organized dentistry has so many advantages, and a brochure or email can’t fully express the impact that membership in the ADA has on our professional lives.”

Dr. Durbin said the personal connections he formed with leaders from the Chicago Dental Society and Illinois State Dental Society solidified his decision to join the ADA after dental school.

“The Member-Get-A-Member program gives us the same opportunity to influence nonmember dentists to join the ADA,” he said.

Although he said luck played a part in his recruitment of three new members, Dr. Edwards said he also credits “a little bit of strategy” in his success.

“As members at the local level, we know what our colleagues’ needs are,” he said. “It might be difficult for me to recruit someone from the other side of the state.”

Along with the Member-Get-A-Member incentive, members are provided with a set of tools such as printable promotional materials and recruitment tips to help the ADA grow.

Recruitment tips include:

  • Tell the story about why you’re a member. Why did you join?
  • Provide examples. A positive testimonial can be a strong tool when recruiting new members.
  • Focus on their needs. Ask questions about their career goals and, based on their answers, identify and highlight the benefits of greatest value.
  • Close with a plan of action. Offer to email them instructions for joining online or give them a hard-copy membership application.

The Member-Get-A-Member program was the outgrowth of conversations in the ADA Council on Membership where members realized how many of them were encouraged by an ADA member to join the organization.

For more information on the Member-Get-A-Member program, including downloadable promotional materials and tips, visit