GLTF Stretches to Record Memberships

Like an old can of tennis balls, membership at the Gay and Lesbian Tennis Federation (GLTF) was flat. For the entirely volunteer-run group, the challenge was to increase membership subscriptions and renewal rates without asking even more of its board members.

Mr. Kelliher, President of Ignition Point Consulting and former Board President of the GLTF, recalls, “When we analyzed our membership data, we were surprised that we had added 100 new members the previous year, yet our net new growth was zero.”

It turned out that most first-year members were not renewing. A survey of members and non-returning members revealed that it was difficult for new members to “break into” the community of over 350 players who had been with the club for years.

The board decided to add a “New Member Welcome” component to the key events that were already on the calendar. For instance, events designed to attract new subscriptions were also used to connect first year members to each other, to the group of long-standing member volunteers and to potential new members.

The result was two-fold. Renewal rates skyrocketed. As did brand new subscriptions. Two years of stagnant growth was replaced with two consecutive years of double-digit growth–more than 3x the national average according to the United States Tennis Association.

Did these new members feel more connected?

As one member put it, “Before I found you guys, I didn’t think it was possible to participate in a sport I love, while being so free to celebrate who I am as a person. I am so thankful that the GLTF exists.”

To learn more about the GLTF, visit,


The Bottom Line

“We’re serving up membership growth rates at 3x the national average”

John Kelliher, Past President of GLTF

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