New Member Buddy Program Resource
Joining a new group can be awkward if you don’t know anyone. Creating a new member buddy program for your AAUW community is one way to eliminate some of that awkwardness. By pairing every new member with a current member, you give them a connection — someone they’ll know in the group — who can make them feel welcome and part of their new AAUW community.
Serving as buddies for new members is a great way to engage all members. It’s something that any member can do, and by enlisting the help of current members to be buddies for new members, you provide current members with a stake in the growth of their AAUW community. Remember, membership is everyone’s business!
So how do you set up a new member buddy program? Follow these easy steps that can be done solely by a membership vice president or by a committee.
1. Choose a buddy for your new member.
Hold an in-person or phone conversation, or use the new member survey to learn about your new member. Find out their hometown, why they joined, where they currently live, what they’re involved in, and their interests and hobbies. Use that information to match them with a current member who will serve as their buddy.
Is your new member interested in attending one of your interest groups or working on a specific project? Match them with someone who is already involved with that group or project. Maybe they live in the same neighborhood — that’s another way to match current and new members. Shared life experiences — such as moving from a similar region — is another way to go. And of course, if your new member was recruited by a friend, ask the friend to be their buddy. Always consider what your current member is able to commit to as well. For example, if you have a new member who lives in your community part time — for instance, only during the summer months — consider matching them with a “busier” member so there is less of a time commitment.
2. Contact your potential buddy and ask if they’re up for the task.
Reach out either in person, over the phone, or through email. Explain the responsibilities of being a new member buddy: contacting the new member on a regular basis, reminding them of upcoming meetings, offering to carpool, and inviting the new member to programs and activities. Emphasize that it’s a simple way to help retain membership.
3. Follow up from time to time.
If you notice that your new member isn’t attending events, ask their buddy about their absence. Maybe they’re ill or out of town, or maybe they’re not feeling engaged with your current programming. If the latter is the case, ask their buddy for suggestions. What can the group do to bring the new member back to a meeting, program, or other event? Be proactive and open to feedback.