How to integrate new and existing members
The first initial experience a potential member has of your club or society may determine whether they join or look for alternatives. This first interaction could be before they have even attended a session and could be through messaging the student group or viewing the promotion of your student group. Especially in this new climate where there is going to be online activities, it's more important than ever to support the integration of new members with existing members to make sure no one feels unwelcome or out of place within your student group. Consider looking at doing the following;
1. Before your first session
- Discuss with your committee how you would like to welcome new members.
- Promote information about your club or society.
- Ask people to let you know if they have any special educational needs, supports or questions. If so, Inform the people involved in welcoming new members.
- Don’t just use social media to promote activities. For those that are not on social media, they may miss important information and potentially feel like an outsider.
- Plan a welcome event to integrate members.
2. During your first session
- Get the new member involved in an activity as quickly as possible. This will assist the transition and help break the ice. This also shows the new member what your club is all about.
- Introduce the new members to other people in the club or society. Including all the committee members and what each one does.
- Create a welcoming environment.
- Don’t let anyone be isolated or no one speaking to them.
- Ensure someone from the committee is there to greet new and existing members. This also works online as you could have someone welcoming everyone that joins the call.
3. After your first session
- Follow up. This could be a mixture of general statement after the first session or sending some individual messages. It is important to ask the member how their first session went and find out if they need any additional help to settle in. This shows that you care and increases the likelihood of the individual becoming a member.
- Involve your members in some of the decision making. E.g. Polls for the best time for a social event.
The benefits of all of this;
- Increased membership for longer.
- Open doors to students who may not have thought to join your student group.
- Continue to make your club or society welcoming and inclusive for all.
- More engagement in your social events.
- Tackle isolate and loneliness.
What is a clique?
A small close-knit group which tends to exclude outsiders from joining.
We all fall into the trap of being comfortable and sticking to our small little groups. Whether this is your committee or your friends- it happens to all of us.
For example, at society meetings, all the committee members usually sit next to each other and don't integrate with members. This can be seen as cliquey by new members of society and make it seem like you don't want to include them.
Of course, this is not the intention of the behaviour, but it can still prevent new members from coming back.
Read this document to find out some tips and tricks to avoid a clique!
Find out how cliquey your group is here!