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Ways to Welcome New Members: A Brief Overview

“Most people who leave your community will do so within the first year, usually because they haven’t made a friend.” – Rabbi Arnie Rachlis

  • Compile a New Member folder with a welcoming letter and information about your congregation. Include a new member questionnaire to explore what new members want from your community and what they bring.
  • Partner veteran members with new members to keep track of them and keep in touch. Have the current member partners set up a time to deliver hallah, wine and candles to the new members’ home. 
  • Make sure that new members continue to be connected to the community – involved members are more likely to continue to be members. 
  • Create programs specifically for new members – a special service; or a brunch after Shabbat or on Sunday. 
  • Create special programs for uninvolved partners and/or families.
  • Arrange a regular (monthly) “coffee with the rabbi (or another leader)” focus group for particular constituencies in your community (i.e. seniors, non-Jews, GLBT members, singles, single parents, “class of …,” etc.). 
  • Share power and leadership. 
  • Have a committee fair to give new members the opportunity to learn about your congregation’s committees, how they work and opportunities for involvement. 
  • Write an “exit poll” to find out why people leave your community. 

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