There’s nothing quite like a new member. In fact if you could, you’d probably give all of your members a shot in the arm with that “new member” spark. And why not? They’re excited about your association! They’re charged up and motivated to improve their lives and careers with all you have to offer! They’re ready to write events on their calendar in pen! They’re anxious to spread their professional network by socializing and meeting people! Most of all, they want to volunteer, help out, and serve on committees!
A new member is an engaged member more often than not. Engaged members are the gold standard for association leaders.
So how about you help those members along with their first few, energetic months with the association and capture their engagement more long term? Two little words will go a long way: welcome packet.
Here are a few questions you’ll probably have when considering starting a welcome packet program for new members.
What should be in a welcome packet?
It’s tough to include all of the information you need without getting boring and wordy, so here are a few suggestions. Of course all associations are different, so you’ll have to figure out what works for you!
- A quick reference sheet with contact information and who’s who for questions they may have. This includes (but may not be limited to) officers, board members, and committee leaders. If he or she wants to jump on a committee, here’s the chance!
- Pamphlets, swag, and maybe a few extra for their friends. Engaged members are looking to share their experience with friends and coworkers. Make it easy for them by including the necessary materials that they can quickly and easily hand to their pals.
- A calendar with upcoming events for the coming month (and next month if it’s past the 15th)
- A welcome letter, personalized and signed if possible. This personal touch can go a long way in making a member feel welcome.
- A small card with your association’s website and perhaps a quick guide to logging into and using your AMS.
- Membership benefits such as perks, discounts, and offers
- Dues information, due dates, and an invoice or instructions as to how to access a receipt
That seems like a lot of work. Why should I bother again?
It is a lot of work. Some things you can print off ahead of time, though, and have a supply ready in your office. Some you probably already have laying around. Remember that even though this is a relatively low cost to you, your member will see this as a gift! Not only are you thanking them for their time and money, but you’re handing them, right out the gate, tools to be successful.
What if I don’t have the money even for the printing and shipping?
The expense is relatively low, but many small staff associations don’t have any wiggle room at all in the budget. You can still effectively use welcome packets! Simply carry them with you to the next event to save on shipping costs. Some of the personal touches may have to drop out, but having a couple in your car or with you at big events for new members who sign up on the spot is instant gratification for the new member. If you run out or forget them at recruitment events, bring them to your next meeting or event, and take the opportunity to introduce new members and thank them publicly and giving them welcome packets in person.
Our materials and swag are outdated. It’s embarrassing. Can’t I just skip that part?
You can do whatever you want! But remember just because you’ve been looking at a t-shirt design for the last three years and are sick to death of it doesn’t mean that your new members have even seen it before. It’s new to them! As long as your pamphlets don’t have misinformation or errors in them and as long as you’re not handing out branded VCRs or 8-track players you are probably ok!
I missed the welcome packet opportunity for several members or simply can’t swing it. Can I still engage my members right off the bat?
Sure you can! It might just take a little more effort. Reaching out via email or phone can get the same information across and keep communication lines open. All it will cost you is your time.
Remember it’s rarely the packet itself, but more the symbolism of the gesture and the information inside.
Need other tips on member engagement, maybe for members who have been around a little longer? Download our free guide!