Elements of a Member Orientation

First Things First

When planning an orientation, the first step is to reserve a space. Without a space, nothing else can move forward!

Churches, community halls, library meeting rooms, parks facilities, colleges, and office complexes with vacant space are likely venues.

Look for free parking, access to public transit, and ADA accessibility. Consider whether you just need one large room or smaller ones, too, for break-out sessions. Also, will you need outdoor space for icebreakers or other activities?

Try to reserve your space six months before the orientation.

Experience has shown that a well-prepared orientation covers these elements (most of which are addressed in this site):

Seasoned program directors offer two succinct bits of advice for planning an orientation:

  • Start early
  • Document your process, using checklists, for example

Neil Schulman of Northwest Service Academy in Portland (Oregon) begins planning his October training and delegating responsibilities to other staff members in March?a full six months' lead time. Click here (PDF) to read Schulman's step-by-step process, including types of skills training and when to call on outside experts.


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