Membership Advisory Group

Best Practices for Welcoming New Members

Date of session: July 15, 2015

How does your organization welcome new members?

In this Membership Advisory Group session, we spoke to organization leaders and managers on their best practices for welcoming and engaging new volunteers into their organizations.

Special Expert Guest: Barry Altland

(Heads, Heart and Hands Engagement

For this call, we were joined by volunteer expert and author, Barry Altland, who recently published "Engaging the Head, Heart and Hands of a Volunteer". Barry offered some key insights into our discussion from his new book. For instance, Barry suggested having "Discovery Talks" with new volunteers to find out what truly resonates with their passion and creating a "Culture of Welcoming" with all your staff, not just board members and designated people.

Barry E. Altland is a thought leader, writer, speaker, organizational partner/consultant and expert in the areas of leading and engaging volunteers.

Barry’s forthcoming book, “Engaging the Head, Heart and Hands of a Volunteer,” is a simple guide for leaders of volunteers. 

Key Challenges from Participants
  • New members feel disconnected to the rest of the organization
  • Virtual welcomes (ex. automatic emails) are easy and fast, but lack personal touch
  • Existing members tend to stay within their comfort zones and let new members fend for themselves
  • Understanding member’s motivations and keeping them engaged 
Solutions and Ideas Discussed
  • Quickly Establish a Connection: Create a welcome package and supplement it with additional tools such as a video message, personalized email, or phone call 
  • Nothing Beats Face-to-Face: Use technology to support personally welcoming new members, not to replace it
  • Build a Welcoming Culture: Designate members to be responsible for identifying new members at meetings and showing them around. Embrace the idea that it’s everyone’s responsibility in the organization to welcome new members 
  • Understand Member Motivations: Discover why someone is interested in joining your organization and place them in a position that feeds their passions

Audio Recording

Additional Resources