A remarkable aspect of Military Wives Choirs is that new singers are made to feel welcome and part of the community as soon as possible.
Why is this?
Military families are accustomed to moving every two years or even more frequently. The women I know from military families are among the most caring, warm, and embracing people I have ever met. Being a part of a community and helping others become a part of it too is important to them. Despite a highly transient environment, they understand the importance of creating a sense of belonging and stability…and quickly.
As a result, unlike many established community choirs, new members do not need to belong to the choir for many years before they feel like they belong.
They belong right away.
But why is this important anyway?
Research shows that if someone feels that they have made a connection with a group, enough to feel like they have achieved something or feel valued, within the first few weeks, then they are more likely to stay for a longer time.
Therefore, if we can create the right onboarding experience for our new singers, not only will we retain them, but we will also grow our choir through higher retention rates.
In the event that someone leaves your choir due to moving away, what are they most likely to remember about your group? Music, events? Of course! But they probably stayed because of the friendship and connection with the choir community itself.
Taking all of this into account, if we intend to successfully onboard our new singers so they feel valued and welcomed, what are some of the easiest and quickest ways to achieve this?
Here’s 10 ideas that you can try out:
- Send a welcome voice message in Facebook Messanger – it’s just long enough recording time to say hi and welcome to the choir!
- Send a welcome email.
- Directly introduce them to other members or have ‘welcomers’ whose have the responsibility to embrace new members. The latter is especially useful if your choir is large.
- Directly introduce them to people in their voice part or section
- Add them to your social media groups/ community forums, even before the first session.
- Write a welcome post in your Facebook group, naming your new members and welcoming them, inviting the other members to welcome them.
- Give them a welcome present – choir badge, pencil, t-shirt, tote bag.
- Set up a new members session to help them onboard with any shared resource areas eg. choir website area or Dropbox folder.
- Ensure your members are set up with all their membership perks within the first week, if not immediately when they sign up.
- To introduce or not to introduce – round of applause at the end of the session ‘for our newest members”
Plus 3 extras….
- Find out why they joined your choir and see how you can help them with this.
- Get them on board with an upcoming event.
- Have a refreshment break or a trip to the pub or cafe after your session and offer to by them a drink.