Today I chatted with a president from a local League in Virginia about a new member orientation she was planning for November. My discussion with her prompted some thoughts. I am sure you can share yours ideas on this discussion list too!
Integrate the member as soon as possible into the League process.
Call the member to welcome him/her. Having the president call is very effective.
Put the person’s name on the bulletin mailing list (or emailing list) and send the name to the state and national Leagues so he/she starts to receive the mailings.
Make a good impression by sending the new member a larger packet of materials including:
a welcoming letter from the local League president,
a board list,
a membership list,
and a “Welcome to the League” booklet.
a calendar of the year’s planned activities, a small League item (pin, lanyard, bumper sticker), the operating rules (bylaws) and decision making procedures and a brief history of the League with a list of current action items
Send a questionnaire to find out about the member’s interests and time availability. Follow up to assure this is completed. Try to assign the new member to at least one activity upon receipt of the questionnaire. Many will participate if asked!
Think of specific tasks particularly suited to new members.
- Provide orientation in a variety of formats to suit the availability of the new member. Don’t be afraid to try new things and make sure there is time for them to ask their questions about the League. Provide concrete examples of the League’s work/successes, and share individual, personal stories about the League.
- Consider assigning a seasoned “mentor” to the new member who will keep in phone contact throughout the first year and give first-hand insight and advice about League practices and actions and provide them with valuable history. Consider pairing people based on similar backgrounds or interests.
- Some leagues designate one member or a committee of “new member ambassadors” This person would welcome the new members, send them their packet of information, set them up with a mentor, answer any questions they have and keep track of their interests.
- New members should be introduced at their first meeting and recognized by the whole membership at annual meetings. The local League president should make a point to reach out and call them when they join and thank them for becoming a member. This is another good time to ask what their interests are and to inform them about upcoming events.
- A “satisfaction” survey after six months may help you identify any problems a new member may have as well as serve all members better.