17 Nov 2020
It’s so important to make newcomers feel as welcome as possible, to build positive relationships with them and make sure they come back!
1. Connect with new members
Spend the first five minutes of your meeting introducing newcomers to the rest of the group, and giving them space to speak about themselves if they're comfortable with it.
You could even trial a "welcome half hour" before your meeting starts to give them a quick overview of the group, form a personal connection with other members and, crucially, listen to what they want from the group.
2. Welcome buddies
Assign a designated group member to welcome and support newcomers. They can act as their point of contact and make sure meetings are friendly spaces for them by acting as a "jargon monitor" (stepping in to make sure terminology is explained). This is a really important part of building a group so it could be one member’s only role.
3. Positive influence of newcomers
New members are a sign that you’re building a movement and your influence is growing. Make sure you point this out to them and use it in your own communications. Local decision-makers will sit up and take notice when people who've never campaigned before get involved in climate action.
4. Write a welcome email
Follow up with personalised emails to newcomers, especially if they don’t come back to your next meeting. If you have their number, asking for a quick chat can be a good way to build a relationship too.
Working effectively as a group
People in your group will have a range of skills. It’s important to make use of these talents while ensuring everyone enjoys what they’re doing.
1. Getting the most out of people's skills
Find out what each group member wants to do. This is a key principle of organising. Ask people about the skills they have and create roles that suit them, eg social media management, research, design, or crafting.
Others are happy to follow and help in any way they can. Make sure these people have tasks to do and aren't left feeling redundant. There's always an important behind-the-scenes job someone can do.
2. Set up working groups
Try to strike a balance between people's self-interests and collective causes. Set up working groups to allow people to engage with their particular passion within a team environment.
3. How to reduce burnout
Don't take on too much yourself and be sensitive to what your fellow members can and can’t do. Watch out for burnout and encourage people to take time off if they need to. Take a look at our tips on managing your time to work more effectively.
4. Build it together!
People can do great things on their own but they can achieve even more as a group.
Create a fun, inclusive environment that encourages positivity and productivity. If you do that, more people will stay involved and make their communities greener, fairer places to live.