In a way, new members are some of your best members. They’re excited about joining your association and eager to get involved.
That said, just as there are things you need - and want - from your new members, there are things your new members need and want from you. Take a look:
1. A primary contact
Your members need a point of contact they can reach out to about anything - questions, comments, concerns, etc. Sometimes associations will say, “Our Membership Manager is this person and our Committee Chair is that person.” But that can sometimes confuse members, especially if they don’t know who to reach out to about what. And if they’re really confused/unsure, they may resist reaching out altogether - not what your association wants.
Our piece of advice here: Select one primary contact for your association’s new members. Even if that contact has to forward messages along to other staff members within the organization, simplifying that process for your new members reduces the barriers to communication and eases that one-on-one contact from the get-go.
Tip: When a new member joins and you’re sending them information about who the primary contact is, if you can include a picture/headshot of that primary contact, your new members will feel even more comfortable reaching out to them - because they know exactly who they’ll be contacting. It’s a little tactic that makes your association that much more inviting.
2. Information about upcoming meetings, events, volunteer opportunities, etc.
Your new members may have joined your organization because they want to get involved, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to go out of their way to figure out how to get involved. You need to provide them with information regarding upcoming meetings, events, volunteer opportunities, etc. Think about all the ways you’d like for your new members to get involved, then make sure you’re communicating those opportunities to them - and multiple times, at that. Repetition is how you really get your messages to sink in.
Your new members want to make friends within your organization - plain and simple. No one likes showing up to meetings and events alone. They like to have familiar faces nearby.
Now while you can’t give your new members friends, you can help them make some. Consider creating an online social community specifically for your new members. There, they can get to know other new members and plan to meet up at meetings and events.
Another idea: Hold a new member orientation. Not only is this a good way to let your members know how they can get involved in your organization (see point #2), but it’s also a good way for your new members to get to know each other. And friendships/connections matter, particularly within associations.
4. A little push
Admit it - you’ve joined things at some point or another thinking you’d get super involved in them, but then never did. Maybe it was a blog you subscribed to. You signed up thinking, “I’m going to read this every day.” But then, well, life happened.
Life happens to your new members too, and sometimes, they just need a little push; a reminder that you’re still there and eager for them to get involved. If any of your new members have fallen off the radar - no sign of them at meetings and events, engaging with you online, etc. - consider reaching out to them with a phone call. Let them know that you’d love to see them around, and if they have any questions, comments, or concerns, you’d love to discuss. This act shows your association cares and opens the door for that new member to re-engage.
Want more tips for onboarding your new members and encouraging them to engage with your association? Check out our free guide, 6 Tips for Onboarding New Members!