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Boosting Membership Retention from the Start: Your Members’ First 3 Months

Does membership retention really begin the second a member joins your association?

It should! The better you onboard, the more likely your members are to renew.

So the question then becomes...how do you effectively onboard your new members? What should you be doing in their first few months? Here’s a breakdown:

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3 New Member Engagement Myths Busted

Posted by Callie Walker

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It’s no secret that engaging new members early is the key to retention. But the real trick is how? It’s a question association professionals have been asking for years.

If you’re one of those people (who’ve been pondering this topic year after year), good news! Amanda Kaiser, CEO and Founder of Kaiser Insights, LLC., and Dynamic Benchmarking, a software company that delivers real-time benchmarking and data analysis solutions, teamed up to produce an official New Member Engagement Study. They interviewed more than 160 association professionals about what’s working, what isn’t, and what’s needed in the world of new member engagement.

The results? Fascinating! In fact, here are a few things you may have thought to be true about new member engagement, but in reality, aren’t…

1. To successfully create a new member engagement program (one that actually works), you need a pretty lofty budget.

Nope! According to the New Member Engagement Study, most associations do have a pretty small, total budget ($750 - $15,000). These funds are typically spent on items such as postage and various promotional materials.

In fact, most associations spend less than one percent of revenue on new member engagement programs (and yes, they’re still effective). That’s good news if you’re a cash-tight association!

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2. Once you have a new member engagement plan in place, you’re all set. Just follow the tactics, month to month, and you should be good.

Most people think when you create a plan, the next (and often, only) step is to follow it. Well that’s true, but only to an extent. Plans should be revised (based on new ideas, what’s working, what isn’t, etc.).  

How often should a new member engagement plan be updated? Well, it depends. But the more often you’re able to update your plan, the better. In fact, according to the study, most associations update their new member engagement plans at least once a year, if not continuously every time there’s something new.

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3. A good new member engagement plan should really center around the member’s first six months.

I’ve heard this myth a million times (and then some). The first six months are crucial, right? Of course they are! But check this out: According to the study, while most associations have plans that span 5 - 12 months, plans that span 7 - 12 months are actually best (in terms of renewals).

That’s incredibly important to know and factor in as you create and revise your new member engagement plan.

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See, we told you this info was fascinating! For more insights and takeaways, check out the New Member Engagement Study here!

And for a few best practices regarding new member onboarding (so your new members WILL stay), check out our free guide below!

6 Tips for Onboarding New Members

Topics: association management, member engagement, membership management, Association Views

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