02 Dec 2022
It’s so important to make newcomers to your group feel as welcome as possible, to build positive relationships with them and make sure they come back! After a big recruitment drive or global events like the UN climate talks, people will be feeling motivated to take more action to tackle the climate emergency. Here’s how you can harness that energy to grow your group and make your campaigning more impactful.
1. Connect with new members
Hold an event for new members twice a year at least. Try and plan a social, fun activity like a picnic or coffee morning. Interaction with people is one of the biggest reasons why we get involved in something. Newcomers to the movement might be nervous or unsure of how they can contribute so you’re more likely to get more people along to an event where they have a chance to get to know your group alongside other newcomers rather than your regular meetings.
At these events, provide a clear explanation of how you are planning to change things and how they can get involved.
You should also spend the first five minutes of your meetings introducing newcomers to the rest of the group, and giving them space to speak about themselves if they're comfortable with it.
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. Arrange a welcome phone call
Arrange a 1:1 phone call with newcomers to help build relationships. This can be a chance for you to tell them more about the group and for you to find out about them, their skills and expertise and how they could get involved in your group. This script is a great guide for these conversations.
Have some clear, tangible tasks that they could take on like helping collect petition signatures or attending a local demonstration with your group. You’ll ideally want to agree a plan of what they will do next, having taken on some kind of responsibility.
Follow up with a personalised email to confirm what you agreed and to invite them to your next meeting.
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. Get 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. 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.