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September 5, 2015 | 21st Elul 5775
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Creating a Welcoming Atmosphere

Take these Important Steps To Ensure that Your Congregation is Welcoming

  1. Ensure that your congregation has created a welcoming atmosphere. Your synagogue may be a very warm and wonderful place for established members, but how is it perceived in the eyes of the uninitiated? Our questionnaire, Putting Out the Welcome Mat, will assist you in evaluating how welcoming your congregation really appears to prospective members.

  2. Help your administrative staff to see themselves as ambassadors for your congregation. Front office staff members have a critical role in synagogue life. As gatekeepers and ambassadors, their actions have impact on the public image of a congregation and sometimes even Judaism as a whole. Beyond Shalom was designed as a training manual for staff and volunteers on "the front lines" of synagogue life.

  3. Avoid misunderstandings about dues. The URJ offers an important resource, Money Matters which was developed to assist congregations in handling financial matters with prospective and current members in a sensitive, caring manner, while meeting the financial needs of the congregation in a responsible way.

  4. Make sure you have informational brochures on hand. Our publication, What's Missing from Our Congregation? You!, can be included in new member packets and displayed in your synagogue lobby. It was created to examine the value of belonging to a synagogue and to dispel myths about synagogue membership.

  5. Get to know your new members. Conduct a new member interview for the dual purpose of learning about incoming members, and affording new members face time with leaders in your synagogue. Involve longtime members in the process. They can be excellent inteviewers and become re-engaged through this process!

  6. Offer a new member class. Help your newcomers to acclimate to your synagogue and make new friends in the process.

  7. Understand the Life Cycle of Synagogue Membership. A newly revised and expanded resource, The Life Cycle of Synagogue Membership, helps congregations to reach out to the unaffiliated more effectively. It contains tips on welcoming and integrating new members, as well as retaining members throughout the lifecycle of membership.



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