Did you know that the median age for someone to enter the fundraising field is 27 and the average age is 30? According to a study by the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 1997, the average age was 33, and only 15 percent entered the fundraising field as their starting career.

This reality means that people are joining the nonprofit sector, or at least fundraising, earlier. We also know that Millennials represent a significant portion of the workforce, but also management.

While the youngest Millennials are now approximately 21 years old and the oldest about 36, many in their 20’s and early 30’s are becoming first-time managers. When I started in business, I had to have someone model and teach me how to become a manager and then eventually a leader.

Recently, I was made aware of a new manager on a nonprofit team that was 25 years old, and he was asking for advice on something that I thought was interesting. This person was looking for information on what other managers in the industry did to welcome team members.

I see a bright future for this young leader because he understands that culture and relationship building is essential. The best leaders and managers know that it’s incumbent on them to create a positive work culture. And, the experience of a new employee within that organization–particularly when they begin employment–gives them a frame of reference, proper dosage and hint about the culture of the team beyond what they experienced during the hiring process.

Setting the tone is critical and if you’re new to management, or even if you’re looking for some fresh ideas, here are some that might make a good welcoming for your new team members:


A simple and yet warm touch to welcome a new team member is just to have the words “Welcome” somewhere they can see it. You can have it on a monitor of a television screen, their computer screen, a party decoration “Welcome” sign, or even a card signed by everyone on the team

Preparation is Key

One of the best ways to demonstrate to your new team member that you’re ready and excited for them to get started is to have their computer set up, credentials and passwords all done. Send them a welcome email. In the welcome email, include a comprehensive list of everything else they need to do to get set up and processed (e.g., payroll, team contact list, etc.).

Onboarding Agenda

The reality is that people are creatures of habit and while some people do well with the unknown and thrive, others do not. Something thoughtful you can do for them is to send the new employee an onboarding agenda in advance of their first day so they can see what they’ll be doing. If you give them a heads-up about the first few days or week, it will ease the unexpected.

Who Is?

An excellent team ice-breaker, but also something to do with someone new is to have a factoid about each of the current team members that are not apparent. For instance, perhaps someone on your team is also a musician at night, or a person is a horseback rider. A way to encourage the new person to engage is to ask him or her to let you know who represents any of the factoids as they come up. Make a game of it over the course of a week to encourage relationship building.

Lunch Team Meeting

Set up times for one-on-ones with team members. If you were to ask your team to gather and have a pizza lunch in the conference room, you might end up with some groans (although, who doesn’t love pizza?). However, one of the best relationship building experiences you can create is to add the human touch, and a great way to do this is to have lunch and conversations.

A Cup of Java

Here’s something that I know has happened to many new people: they want a cup of coffee and have no idea where the machine is, or if they happen to discover the coffeemaker, they have no idea how to use it. Remember, some new team members may be a bit shy about asking how to make a cup of coffee because they don’t want to bother their peers with “silly” questions.

I Have No Idea

Remember when you started at your organization or one of your first jobs and had “no idea.” Don’t assume that someone just starting out, or even a seasoned professional knows everything. A great way to help them realize they can ask anything is to have a sheet or small pad with the words “I Have No Idea.” They can then write in their questions as they come up and share them with their manager.