Before a person becomes a member of a giving circle, they often start out as a guest. The power of a giving circle comes from its members, so moving a person from guest to member is very important to the health of the giving circle, and in my experience, guests are impressed by and choose to join a giving circle for two reasons: the community and the impact.
Here are a few recommendations to help your guests feel like they belong in the group and that the group is making a big impact.
1. Welcome the guest upon arriving
When a new guest arrives, they can be a little shy and uncertain about what to expect. Put them at ease and make them feel welcome by greeting them, talking with them, and introducing them to others.
You can consider designating one or two of your current members as “Guest Ambassadors” who will make sure that potential new members are greeted when they arrive.
2. Ask a current member to introduce the guest
Before the start of the meeting, introduce the guest to the giving circle and let them know you are happy they are there. Some guests can be uncomfortable standing up in front of a group of people, so I recommend taking the pressure off the guest by asking a current member to introduce them.
If the guest was invited by a person who is already a member, then that person is the perfect person to perform the introduction. Usually, I’ll ask the member to share something they appreciate about the guest or something special about the guest. It’s an easy way to make your guest feel unique and appreciated.
If the guest does not know a current member, the “Guest Ambassador” can take the opportunity to introduce the guest. Before the meeting starts, the “Guest Ambassador” could ask the guest a silly question like, “What would your super power be” or “What is your favorite, secret guilty pleasure” and use that information during the introduction. Again, it’s engaging with guest on an individual level, getting to know them, and communicating that they are part of the group.
3. Communicate the results of the giving circle’s activities
At some point during the meeting, be sure to hit on the impact your giving circle has made so far. You can do this during the president’s introduction or have a member give a report. How ever you want to do it is fine. Just make sure you are conveying the important work your giving circle is doing. People want to be involved in important work. People want to make an impact.
If you can connect with that desire, they’ll be more inclined to participate in your giving circle.
4. Invite the guest to join
Studies show that people will do more, join more when they are asked. Consequently, we should be asking our guests to join. Sometimes though we can feel awkward about asking people to join or feel like we’re pressuring people. I’ve found a way to ask people to join that for me feels like an authentic invitation and not a sales pitch. I encourage you to find a way that feels good to you.
My process is to check in with the guest before the meeting ends and ask for their feedback and impressions of the meeting. After the guest has shared their thoughts, I invite them to join the giving circle, to be a part of our mission, and let them know the next step for becoming a member.
I say something like, “Whitney, Thank you so much for attending our meeting today. We enjoyed having you here, and I hope that you will join us in mission to end poverty. Tanya (point out Tanya) is the person who helps our new members, so please speak with her after the meeting if you’re interested in joining.”
p.s. I’ve warned the guest during the introduction that I’ll ask them to share their thoughts about the meeting with us. That way they are thinking about it during the meeting and won’t be taken by surprise.
Do you have any advice to share about how to convert a guest to member? I’d love to hear it!