Looking After Newcomers

Newcomers to orienteering events need to be looked after, to ensure their experience is a good one. They also need to be provided with encouragement and information so that they can experience the sport again. This section provides resources relating to both looking after newcomers at the event, and steps to follow-up their attendance.

  • Overviews of programs resulting in increased membership
  • Event features for newcomers
  • Event material for newcomers
  • the Follow-up process

As part of this page, included are ideas from Orienteering Australia, State Associations and its clubs (any information that may add to this contents - contact Director Development). Thanks to the kind offers of British Orienteering, we are also able to share ideas that have worked in the United Kingdom. Not all of them may work of course. If you want to read more about British Orienteering and its development than is here, you should browse the British Orienteering webpages, specifically their Good Practice section.

We thank British Orienteering for their support.

Successful programs - increasing membership

The HOC - MADO Project

UK Based club HOC - ran a project termed MADO - designed to increase participation and membership. The very successful program targetted school children and their families. Read more about the program here.

Quadrupling membership in mid-Wales

A small UK club based in mid-Wales was able to quadruple their membership over a few years, thanks to the efforts of just a couple of families. Read about their success here.

UK Club Junior Development Plan

Junior Development can make a big difference to a club. This is another success story from the UK, of a club linking itself with schools and a university in their Junior Development Plan.

Event Features for Newcomers

  • Appropriate events (proximity, ease of access, terrin appropriate for newcomers)
  • Easily disinguishable registration
  • Registration to record newcomer details for follow-up
  • Helpers to assist newcomers with registration and coaching tips
  • Appropriate courses (technical committee)
  • Acknowledgement of first-time run in results (perhaps marked with a star)It needs to be a good experience.

Event Material for Newcomers


Everyone loves to walk away from a new experience with something to show for their efforts. In orienteering we are lucky, people get an event. Their winnings or luck draw prize is even better (if we are fortunate enough to be in a postition to offer it). Further orienteering information - event schedules, newsletter, magazines, membership material, coaching tips is even better!

Newcomers Pack (example)

  • map
  • sheet with information on where to find the results online
  • event schedule (VIC example below)
  • most recent state newsletter
  • issue of a previous Australian Orienteer
  • general orienteering brochure
  • membership material
  • a page of coaching tips (see coaching resources)

The Follow-up Process

Following-up newcomers is an important step in a strategy aimed at optimising participation and membership.

Follow-up may include:

  • personal contact at time periods after first participation
  • inclusion in state e-newsletter
  • mailing of newsletter and event schedules for a set period

Clubs (or state associations) may become further involved through activities such as:

  • contact by a club
  • support getting to events
  • mentoring system
  • coaching tips