Here are some dos for your first new member event:
• Consider the location of your event. For example, some local associations describe their new member event as a required part of the district’s orientation program events. Then, members receive a pleasant surprise: lunch or dinner provided by the association! Instead of calling it a “New Member Orientation” or “Workshop,” it could be referred to as a “Welcome to the Profession” event. Think outside of the box and plan a picnic, if you like. Remember, events such as this qualify for partial NJEA reimbursement. Contact your NJEA UniServ Field Rep for more information.
• Greet new members at the door and welcome them when they arrive.
• Introduce yourself.
• Give them a name tag.
• See that everyone has a name tag.
• Introduce them to others.
• Show them where to sit.
• Show them where the refreshments are.
Introduce the new members to the group
• Do it at the beginning of the program so everyone knows they’re new.
• Give folks some background on the new person – it gives others conversation starters with them.
Use clear language/ terminology
• Speak in terms the newcomer understands.
• Be conscious of acronyms and abbreviated terms. Give members a glossary or list of acronyms.
• Give them an organization chart with names so they know who’s who and how the organization fits together.
• Give them a list of committees or subgroups within the organization and what each does.
Share the agenda and a calendar of events
• Let members know the order of business and the purpose of how you function.
• Give them the long-term picture so they know what’s coming so they can plan ahead too.
• Tell them what kinds of things they need to plan for at what times in the year.
Tips and advice
• Let members know the dos and don’ts.
• Caution them about gossip.
• Let them know if they have a school board member’s child in their room.
• Let them know of potential political hot spots or hot button issues.
• Assign an association buddy or mentor separate from the formal mentor.
• Let them know who to call for various types of information.
• Show them where to get supplies.
• Give them copies of forms they will need to use.
• Share form letters they could use.
• Ask them if they need anything else
• Touch base with them periodically to see if they need anything.
• Let them know they haven’t been forgotten.
After they’ve settled in, arrange another event
• Offer coupons for local businesses.
• Staff members could offer coupons for helpful services such as two hours of cleaning or checking papers, putting up a bulletin board, sharing a lesson plan, etc.
If you want them to come back, ask them!
• The number one reason people don’t join an association or get involved is because no one asked them personally.
• Share the member benefits information and explain how the discounts are a way to recoup their dues dollars.
• Have an induction ceremony at one of your meetings to introduce them and let others know they’ve joined. Give them an NJEA unity pin.
• Feature new members on a staff room bulletin board so others get to know them.
If they’re moving into the neighborhood, tell them the best places to shop & eat
• New members may be new to the community and could use help with finding a place to live, and knowing what’s available – restaurants, shopping, libraries, school supply stores, etc.
• New members unfamiliar with the area may need to know directions to meetings.
Help them to get involved
• Provide social outlets.
• Hold monthly information meetings and have other members close to their age participate. Provide them with information about the association a little at a time so as not to overwhelm them.
• Ask them what they want to know ahead of time and come prepared with answers.
• Ask them to be involved in association projects.
• Offer to fund their attendance at regional or statewide workshops or meetings.
• Take them to dinner with a few other members to share your local’s history.
• Listen to their concerns.
• Talk to them about the role their association plays in their professional life.
Field Representative ~ Membership & Organizational Development
New Jersey Education Association