Welcoming new members

Prospect is one of the country’s fastest growing trade unions. We only grow because of the hard work of reps in all our branches to recruit new members.

Once members have joined, one of the most important activities is to welcome new members to the branch.

Why do we welcome new members?

New members are often still forming their opinions of the union.

A warm welcome affirms members’ desire to be part of something positive. This initial contact is likely to give new members a good first impression, allow them to put a face to the union and to share any concerns – all of which increase the chances they will remain a member in the longer term.

Of course, building relationships offers the chance to spot members who want to do more in the union – they may be happy to share information with colleagues and that’s one of the first steps to becoming a rep in future.

New members may have valuable or new skills that a branch can use. New members are often the most enthusiastic and some bring valuable or new skills to the branch. We find that some of our best recruiters under our Member Recruit Member scheme are new members.

How can I find out who my new members are?

The Prospect eBranch system lets you generate a list of members who have joined in the last three months. You can set a reminder every quarter to generate this list.

How can I contact new members?

New members receive a welcome email shortly after they join from the membership department. It’s vital that branches welcome their new members too because:

  • Many members join to know about what is happening in their workplace. They can bring insight and influence.
  • A standard email is quite impersonal. Branches and reps can tailor their communications to local circumstances and encourage a two-way conversation.

There is no one-size fits all approach to communicating with new members. Branches develop their own approach depending on their size, the areas they work in, the number of workplaces they cover and what works well for their particular area.

Here are some ideas for how you can get in touch with new members:

Personalised email

An email to introduce yourself, thank them for joining and asking their views can work really well. It’s best to send separate emails to each person as this feels more personal. However, it is slightly more time consuming. If you need to send a group email always make sure you use the BCC function.

Face to face

Introducing yourself as the union rep and thanking them face to face is very powerful. Remember though that some members might not be comfortable with others knowing they have joined and that union membership is protected under the Data Protection Act – so been discrete.

Drop in or coffee morning

In person or virtually. Some branches have organised these drop ins for new members. Coming along to something for the first time can be a little daunting, so make sure you emphasise that no prior knowledge is needed, and it is a chance to find out more with their colleagues.

New member webinar

Branch officers can share information using a platform like Zoom and members can join from various workplaces or home. Make sure you leave plenty of time for new members to speak and ask questions.

Social media

We always try and amplify when someone says on their social media account that they have joined.  Reps and branches can do the same by ‘liking’ or replying with a welcome message –  be sure not to identify someone as a member if they haven’t done so themselves.

New member welcome pack

If you have a lot of information to share, you could create a branded a welcome document in Word or Publisher – various templates are at prospect.org.uk/ambition -to send alongside a welcome message.

What can I say to new members?

Here are some topics you could cover in your communications. You don’t want to overwhelm the new member so choose the right topics depending on the circumstances in which they joined:

  • Say thank you for joining, we’re delighted to welcome you to a branch with (INSERT NUMBER) members

If they’ve joined from a workplace with no apparent issues then:

  • talk about some of the areas or issues that the branch is working on at the moment
  • if you’re face to face, on the phone or text you can ask open questions about why the member joined – there might be a reason so there might be potential for further new joiners.

If they’ve joined from a workplace with known issues then:

  • ask open questions about their experiences of the workplace
  • talk about how the branch is working on these issues at the moment.

You can cover the following points as a face-to-face conversation unfolds, but limit yourself to the most important ‘ask’ or share of information over any other channel:

  • Let them know what communications they can expect from the branch and how often.
  • Let them know how they can get in touch locally and nationally if they ever need any help.
  • Mention any branch activities coming up – for example a social meeting.
  • Encourage people to come along to social or branch meetings, but don’t make this the only way to become involved. Some people may find a meeting difficult but it doesn’t mean they wouldn’t want to do something else to help out.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask if a member can do something to help, but start small, putting up a poster maybe or wearing a union lanyard in the office. Even if someone is enthusiastic don’t try to make them become branch secretary right away.
  • Tell them about the member benefits and the Member Recruit Member scheme and that they can use them straight away.
  • You might want to include details of how the branch works and the key officers. Avoid too much detail about the branch rules or constitution.
  • If you need to share a lot of information, try following up with the key points in an email, and point to further content on the website or other documents.

Model email to new member

Here is some model text. Obviously if you know the new member directly you may wish to make it more personal – but feel free to copy, paste and edit the template below:

Dear XXXXX

I am emailing to introduce myself as the <INSERT POSITION> of the Prospect union <branch/section> at <organisation>. I also work as a <JOB TITLE> in <DEPARTMENT/TEAM>.

It is great to see that you have joined our Prospect branch, you’re now part of a group of HOW MANY members working together to o. make <ORGANISATION> as good as possible for you and your colleagues.

I wanted to make sure you had my contact details in case you ever need them. The details of the main Prospect reps (including mine are):

  • <INSERT DETAILS OF REPS HERE – YOU MAY NOT NEED TO INCLUDE EVERY REP, BUT NORMALLY BEST TO INCLUDE MORE THAN ONE IF POSSIBLE, IN CASE A MEMBER NEEDS TO GET IN TOUCH AND YOU ARE ON LEAVE ETC>

From time to time, we’ll send you details about our Prospect meetings which offer a great   opportunity to talk to other members and feedback about working here.

<IF YOU HAVE A PROSPECT CHANNEL ON THE INTRANET OR SIMILAR HERE IS A GOOD PLACE TO ADD THE DETAILS>

There is also a lot of information and support available from the Prospect website nationally.

If you need to get in contact with Prospect nationally – for example to change you address or if your earnings change – then you can email, web chat orphone: prospect.org.uk/contact-us/

Lots of members like to get more involved in the branch, from updating notice boards through to working on issues like health and safety and the environment. Iif you can  spare a little time, please   let me know.

Yours

XXXXXX

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