Sharing Best Practices – Welcoming New Members

By Wendy Frattolin, Communications & Membership Director

As you know, Dining for Women’s goal is to grow to 20,000 members by the year 2020. Some people have asked how we plan to accommodate 20,000 new members into our nearly 400 existing chapters! Clearly, this is not possible. We know that, in order to meet our membership target, we will need to significantly increase our number of chapters. Promoting new chapters throughout the U.S. will be the main focus of our growth strategy over the next five years.

At the same time, we know there will be individuals who wish to join an existing chapter, rather than start their own. We will continue to make every effort to match these individuals with an existing DFW chapter. That is why it is so important that you make your chapter preferences (i.e. open or closed to accepting new members) known to your volunteer Regional Leader or Mentor.

As we generate increased interest in DFW – through our Peace Corps partnership and other initiatives – we need to welcome potential new chapters and members in a timely and consistent manner across our organization. Recently, we have taken some steps to streamline and standardize our responses to individuals interested in joining DFW. As we grow, we will continue to look for ways to improve this process and make it more efficient and responsive.

Our process for welcoming new members is largely dependent on our incredible team of volunteers in our regions: Regional Leaders, Mentors, and Chapter Leaders like you. We greatly appreciate all of the volunteer hours that are put into this process.

Since you have an important role to play in welcoming potential new members to your chapter, we thought it would be helpful for you to understand how the process works:

Step-by-Step Guide to Welcoming New Members

  1. An interested individual visits the Join Us page on our website and selects the region where they live. The individual then completes and submits the form (called a Member Interest Form or MIF) which tells us how they would like to get involved. (They can choose one of three options: join an existing chapter; learn more about starting a chapter; or register a new chapter.)
  1. The MIF is automatically directed to the appropriate Regional Leader.
  1. The Regional Leader forwards the MIF to the appropriate Mentor for the state or area where the individual lives. If there is no Mentor in that area, the Regional Leader responds directly to the inquiry.
  1. The Mentor sends an email to the individual, using responses that are consistent across all regions.
  1. If the individual wants to join an existing chapter, the Mentor will provide the Chapter Leader name and designated email address for open chapters in the area. If available, the Mentor will provide additional information on the open chapters, such as meeting dates or demographics.
  1. The Mentor encourages the individual to contact the Chapter Leader directly. Where multiple chapters are available, the individual will be encouraged to check out more than one chapter in order to find the best fit.
  1. The Mentor will copy the Chapter Leader(s) on all emails to potential new members in their area. The Chapter Leader is encouraged to reach out to the individual as soon as possible with information about the chapter’s next meeting.
  1. The Mentor follows up in about a week’s time to ensure the individual gets connected with a chapter.
  1. If there is no chapter in the area, the Mentor suggests that the individual start their own chapter and offers to tell them about what is involved.

This process is currently being implemented across all our regions. If you have any questions or need further clarification, please contact your Regional Leader or Mentor.