Comfort Level
By Dave Twit Linberg 

Any member old or new, will not stay with an organization or group unless they are comfortable inside the fabric of the group. To feel comfortable with a group you need to feel a part of the group. So how does that happen? It's something you and every other member of ABATE of Wisconsin can help newer members with; some people call it mentoring and here are the basics. I hope everyone reads this, because this month we have two excellent opportunities to mentor other members at: Officers' Training and Lobby Day.

Introduce the new member to other members. Simple but true. The more people within the organization the member knows the more likely they will feel a part of it. The other members that they are introduced to will also help with the mentoring process every time a conversation occurs. And they in turn will introduce the new member to more members and we continue to add more value to the ABATE membership.

Get to know the new member. Asking a few simple questions will go along ways towards giving you more tools to make the new member more comfortable. By knowing what they like, you have a better idea of leading them towards ABATE activities that they will enjoy.

Simple questions like--"what do you ride? Do you like to ride in small groups, large groups, or by yourself? Just thought I'd ask, we have a couple of different rides set up for this summer ... "

"Would you be interested in jumping on a free bus ride and going to Lobby Day with me? I've been there before and can help you through the day ... "

"Ever been to a swap meet? Want to check out the swap meet next week? We have a group going over, you'd fit right in."

Point out what's going on. You can see some examples of this in the last section, but there is more to it.

ABATE can be pretty confusing to a new person. ABATE of Wisconsin has only one mission: to protect the rights and safety of motorcyclists. Because we go after this mission from many different angles and methods, it can be hard for a new member to grasp all that is going on at once.

You can't just ask, "Do you have any questions?" Because most new members won't even know what questions to ask at the beginning. Do what you can to help them through the maze.

Show them one of our newsletters and point out which regional report(s) cover your area. Turn to the calendar of events and let them know if you're going to any of them and invite them along. Offer to attend a meeting with them and introduce them to the regional officers. Offer to be at their side at their first Lobby Day.

When you introduce them to the regional officers would be a great time to explain, "Yup. These are the volunteers who keep things going in this area. These guys report to a District Director, who then reports to the board of directors that we elect every two years ... the board of directors and the State Officers you see in the newsletter are the people who "run the organization" with everyone else's help."

Sound like a mouth-full? Yes it is, so break it into small chunks. Just by working ABATE into conversations, they'll catch on ... If they have a question that you can't answer, help them out by finding someone who can (like your regional rep or district director) and you'll learn more in the process too.

Being a part of it--the Upgrade Process. By upgrade I mean that they have the opportunity to be invested in the group through activity.

Something as simple as buying a couple of 50/50 tickets can be a start--or better yet ask them if they'd help you sell the 50/50 tickets at the meeting.

Ask them their opinion--but be careful not to be judgmental of whatever opinion they may present. Thank them for their opinion and move on.

Include them in the discussion of the next event. If they join the discussion, they may even join the event team.

All of these little steps together will form into what smoothly looks like routine contact, because that's what it is. It's not calculated to "trap them into membership". It's a group of polite and welcoming steps that will validate the initial decision of the member to join ABATE in the first place. It's simply saying, "You joined and you are welcome here, and we invite you to grow with us." When we can say that, we have done our job.

This routine contact helps to build solid relationships so that when it comes time to ask for the renewal check, the member feels like they are not just a funding machine, but rather, they are a partner with the whole group. This is far an away the best part of getting them to Lobby Day - they get to see first had exactly what their membership funds - a very talented and dedicated group of VOLUNTEER Motorcyclist Grassroots Lobbyists.

Looking forward to seeing many of you at Officers' training and at Lobby Day!

Linberg, Dave Twit. "Comfort Level." ABATE of Wisconsin Newsletter Feb. 2017.

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