I do think it's partially a sign of the times. So many people are in a fast-paced world where they aren't taking time to form relationships, chat, share in depth, etc. Sort of like when email killed snail mail.
Some people go on Pinterest, make something, post it on their Facebook and go about their day. Wam, bam and done.
We are definitely still get new members, though. There are those of us that will always
be community and support-focused. We love the feedback, sharing, tutorials and more. It's so much more than just projects, right?!
I like the referral idea! I'm not sure how true verification would work in that someone could just make a duplicate account and pose as a new member. I'll chew on that one for a bit, though. I really like the concept of that.
We're always working on new ideas to continue the flow of new members and keep our oldies coming back. We recently joined Instagram to share project love there. We've had an influx of traffic from there. Our Mod Squad does fun little weekly challenges to help with all of these things, too. We each choose an old school member to message, we welcome new members with a reply or message, etc. It really is the little things like that which makes Craftster something special. Everyone is welcome to do the same! We have a lot of fun with it.
When possible, we have sponsors for the challenges (like Martha Stewart, book authors, etc.) and cross promotions. We noticed there was a decrease in entries in challenge, so we're testing the idea of having a new challenge only every other month & extending the crafting period (feedback from members said they need more time).
Keep the ideas coming! They're very helpful.