Welcome Wagon!

WHY THIS ACTIVITY?

With the arrival of summer, many groups have plans to host Pride, Juneteenth, or a summer barbeque. Others are setting up a booth at the county fair or local farmers market. Summer is a great time to meet new people, add them to your cleaned-up county database (if you missed last month’s KTA, check it out here), and invite them into meaningful roles with your group!

Just finished up a tough election push? Many new members of school and library boards and others elected in the special district elections will be inaugurated in July and will be needing a supportive and watchful presence in public meetings. Let’s have some fun and make some new friends this summer!

WHAT IS THE ACTIVITY?

A “welcome wagon” is a group role that can be played by one or many of your team members. This month’s activity is to welcome new people into your human dignity group by harnessing the power of the welcome wagon!

A welcome wagon team lead could coordinate communication with supporters to make sure folks are hearing from the group consistently and being invited into meaningful roles. Additionally, they coordinate welcoming new people into your group, such as strolling around events to chat with people and following up with new contacts via phone, mail, or email to share more information about the group and learn their interests.

We know that if we aren’t growing we’re shrinking as people get busy, take on new responsibilities, or need to move out of state. Make a plan with your team for who you want to reach and how, and make it fun! 

HOW TO COMPLETE THE ACTIVITY:

1. Sit down with your leadership team and make a plan:

  • What are your goals in bringing new people into your group? Are you trying to grow your list of general supporters who get your emails and show up with big calls to action? Are you trying to get people who are already in your sphere to take on greater leadership roles within the campaign you are running?
  • Where are you excited to meet these new people? Are there community events where you want to have a booth? Do you want to throw your own barbeque? Are you already hosting a Pride or Juneteenth event this month? Did you meet a bunch of interesting people while you were door-knocking for the special district elections but didn’t catch their contact info?

2. Print your sign-in sheets! You can use this template sign-in sheet as a starting point. A clipboard and a bunch of spare pens are great to bring too!

3. Practice as a team! After many years of social distancing, meeting new people out in the world can feel awkward. Do a run-through with everyone at a pre-event meeting so folks can shake the cobwebs off. How do you want to present your group to new people? What are you most eager to ask your neighbors about when they approach you to chat? Practice asking folks to sign up so you can stay in touch.

4. Go time! Greet everyone who comes to your event or booth with a warm welcome and an invitation to sign up! That way you can keep in touch with people you meet after the event.

5. Update your database. Last month’s KTA encouraged groups to clean up their database so it’s ready for use. Keep it updated every month to make sure it stays a useful tool!

6. Follow up with the people you met! To keep people engaged we need to continue talking with them! You could send everyone you met an invitation to your next meeting or event. You could split up the list amongst your teammates and invite each new person to coffee to discuss how they would like to be more involved. Or you could send them a quick thank you card for coming to your barbeque, and share your contact information.

7. Let us know how it went so we can share your experiences with folks across rural Oregon! Send us a note, a photo, or a voice memo to emma@rop.org. We’d love to hear from you!

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