The Essential Guide to Doing Transition. The Essential Guide to Doing Transition. - Page 56

Skillfully managing new members and volunteers

One of the concerns we often hear from Transition groups is how hard it is to keep new members and volunteers, that perhaps they come for a few meetings and then drift away again. We’ve given some thought to why that might be, and so here we’d like to offer a few suggestions for how you might best keep them engaged:

You could give them an induction pack that explains the basic structure and procedures of the organisation, and includes:

The basic structures of the organisation

• Who is in what role and what they do

• How finances are dealt with

• What form of structure the organisation is,

i.e. charity, social enterprise etc.

• How decision are made and recorded and

followed up

• How meetings are run, including agenda setting, ground rules, roles, location etc., and who to approach and talk to if you have concerns about group or relationship dynamics

This can really help people to orient themselves and to feel clear about how they can best contribute.

Some other things that might help are:

• Having a someone whose role is to greet and meet new volunteers initially and act as a contact for them

• This person can answer any questions they may have and explain how things work outside of a general meeting and support them into the group

Transition Kensal to Kilburn (London, UK) harvesting fruit from their local fruit trees. Photo: Jonathan Goldberg.


If possible, produce a volunteer description document for the role. You can do this for trustees, core group members, volunteers, helpers as well as paid roles.

So here is a sense of the kind of sequence that might happen when someone stands down:

• The person holding the role gives notice they will stand down

• Define as much about the role as possible when this happens

• It may take more than one person to replace them, sharing out the tasks

• Then invite others to step into some or all of the role

It is important to remember that bringing new people in takes time and that in the long run new members is the only thing that makes a group sustainable. Also, don’t let the pressure of “doing” stuff get in the way of supporting new people to be effective and happy.

We have a guide for helping with this, find it here:

When new people take on roles, it can really help to be clear about:

• What role is needed or being handed over

• The skills and time commitment

• How the handover will happen