Building Your Program, One Youth at a Time.

Building Your Program, One Youth at a Time.

Members are the lifeblood of our organizations. Without them there wouldn’t even be a youth tobacco prevention movement. Youth bring a different perspective, ideas and energy to state and local tobacco control efforts. But, where do you find them and how can we get them to join?

Below are 5 strategies to successfully locate and recruit new youth members.

1 – Engage Youth

Youth, who are already involved in tobacco prevention, are the BEST recruiters. Challenge (with incentives if you can) the youth who are already involved to bring a friend to the next meeting. Friends recruiting friends has been one of the best ways to increase membership.

2 – Youth Presentations

Presentations, led by youth, not only allow members the chance to deliver your program’s message, but recruit as well. As a bonus, youth members gain confidence along with valuable communication and public speaking skills.

3 – Partnerships

School and community partnerships go a long way with recruiting new members. They open the door for you and your group’s members to a wider variety of youth-serving clubs and organizations. These partners can provide access to the youth they serve. In exchange, your program can offer skill building that is transferable to their other current leadership roles along with their future education and career goals. Who knows, you might even recruit an adult or two to join the adult tobacco-free coalition as well.

4 – The Power of Food

Food and beverages will bring youth to your meetings. Many meetings take place during lunch or after school. Provide a snack for them and you’ve given them a simple reason to check out what the group is all about. Once they are there, make sure your members make the new youth feel welcome and engaged.

5 – Host a Recruitment Event

Have your current members plan and host a recruitment event. Whether you join a preexisting event such as freshman orientation day, a wellness fair, school club registration or create your own, the more current members you put in front of other youth, the greater the chance you’ll increase your membership.

Extra Recruitment Tips

  • Focus on what your program can offer youth. Make it worth their while to join.
  • Use youth-led advocacy activities as a way to have new youth volunteer and help out.
  • Go where youth are in your community and recruit there.
  • Ask your current youth members how and why they joined and repeat those ideas.
Luke Witkowski is the Youth Programs Coordinator in Wisconsin and supports the FACT Movement. Luke has been involved in fighting tobacco since 2001. In his spare time, Luke focuses on being the best father that he can be and enjoys photography and vegan cooking.


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