Finding diverse new members and being inclusive
By Alison Rogers, EcoNetwork Port Stephens.
Climate Action Port Stephens (CAPS) held a New Years Picnic in January. Quoted across local newspapers and social media, CAPS president Alisha Onslow encouraged locals and visitors to bring a basket and blanket and enjoy a picnic with live music in the park. The weather was glorious and CAPS was thrilled that it signed up new members and added more email addresses to the mailing list.
CAPS provides a great example of how occasions such as end of year or new year celebrations can be the time to engage and recruit new members. Understanding how the new members found out about the event, their personal preferences for receiving communication and asking them how they see themselves contributing to the group were all part of the initial interactions that occurred between existing members and the new recruits on the day.
According to the Port Stephens Council our region is expected to grow in population by 1.4% per year and that means new people are arriving in Port Stephens every year who will be looking for volunteer opportunities. As people relocate from the city following the burst in flexible work options, this population growth will be made up of people from all ages and backgrounds.
Inclusive Australia is encouraging organisations and groups around Australia to reduce social exclusion of individuals who may experience discrimination and do more to promote the values of fairness and respect. The movement is designed to improve societal attitudes and behaviours between people from different backgrounds, perspectives and circumstances.
In practice here are a few things that you could consider incorporating into the way your group operates so that all the individuals who want to contribute are able to:
- Is the physical premise of the building or space accessible to all?
- Is there an action plan to make the organisation open to all?
- Are people made to feel welcome?
- Are the customs of people from diverse cultures encouraged and incorporated?
- Are the traditional owners of the site acknowledged and welcomed?
- Is the website accessible for people with disabilities?
- Are people from the LGBTIQ+ encouraged and supported to participate?
- Is information available in a variety of formats to suit different levels technological access?
- Are information shared with networks of hard-to-reach community groups?
Just acknowledging how hard it is, particularly as adults, to make new friends, move to a new town or join a different social circle is a great mindset to hold as you work towards being more inclusive.
If you have enjoyed this segment in Get Involved keep an eye out for next month’s topic ‘Supporting members and keeping people.’ Send comments, feedback or ideas for new topics to firstname.lastname@example.org