top of page



Pursuing New Ideas for Membership Recruitment from Games and Festivals

The Clan Forbes Society is turning to highland games and Scottish festival organizers for ideas to recruit members at their events -- without being physically present. The challenge the society faces is like most other clan and family societies: in order to host a tent at an event, the society needs local members. However, in order to recruit local members, the society needs to host a tent at local events. A classic “Catch 22” situation.

Currently, the Society participates in 15 to 20 of the approximately 90 highland games and Scottish festivals in the United States. As a result, only about 5% of the society's new members in the past four years have responded to its presence at events. While the Society would like to participate in more in-person Scottish Heritage events around the country, it's limited by the number of volunteers among our members.

Therefore, the Society is considering other options such as sponsoring ads in program books, sending a banner with a QR code, offering flyers, and other ideas. With this in mind, the Society has compiled a brief questionnaire for event organizers. So far, the Society has received 15 responses.

Of these, four produce a printed program book with advertisements: Blairsville Scottish Festival and Highland Games (Blairsville, GA); Celtic Classic Highland Games & Festival (Bethlehem, PA); Capital District Scottish Games (Altamont, New York), and Florida Keys Celtic Festival (Marathon, FL).

Nine respondents would allow society flyers and/or a small banner with a QR code at their headquarters tent. Two would allow banners with a sponsorship fee. Eight respondents would allow a society to include a link on games website, even if they cannot find members to sponsor a tent. Respondents were also asked for ideas on how to identify potential members at their events without hosting a tent. Here are some of the actionable ideas:

  • A social media shout out to potential clan/society members through the games social media channels

  • Distribute business cards with a QR Code or collect information on a contact information sheet

  • Sponsorship of events

The Society is looking for more responses from representatives from other highland games and Scottish festivals. The questionnaire is located at

The Society is also recruiting other clan and family societies to consider group advertising buys. The plan is to launch this program in January 2024 with specific games and festivals. If you are a representative of a society that would like to participate, please contact Bart Forbes at

122 views0 comments
bottom of page