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Engaging First-Time Conference Attendees

Engaging First-Time Conference Attendees: 4 Tactics to Try

Of course you want to provide an exceptional experience for ALL of your conference attendees, but ensuring that happens for your first-time attendees is particularly important. Their decision to attend future events (and possibly even renew their membership) depends heavily on that first experience, so going the extra mile for those folks, in particular, is certainly worth it.

What does “going the extra mile” for your first-time attendees look like? Here are a few tactics worth trying:

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Getting Started with New Member Welcome Packets

Posted by Callie Walker


There’s nothing quite like a new member. They’re excited, and more often than not, engaged. They want to see what all your organization has to offer, they’re ready to attend events, and they’re excited about socializing with others.

So how can you help those new members along in their first few energetic months? Well, four little words will go a long way: new member welcome packets.

We understand that new member welcome packets can spark a lot of questions, so to help you out, we’ve put together a list of commonly asked questions regarding new member welcome packets and, more importantly, a few answers for each.

Why do I need a new member welcome packet?

New member welcome packets go a long way. Not only do they help your new members get up to speed, but they make your new members feel wanted and relaxed. Sure, new member welcome packets might seem insignificant to you, but your new members will see them as a gift. Not only are you thanking your new members for their time and money, but you’re handing them the tools needed to be successful right out the gate.

What should I put in a new member welcome packet?

While every organization’s welcome packet will vary, there are seven basic items you don’t want to leave out:

  • A welcome letter, personalized and signed if possible. This personal touch will really make your new members feel welcome.  
  • Membership benefits, such as perks, discounts, and offers. Remember, just because someone joined your organization doesn’t mean they’re familiar with all of the resources you have to offer.
  • A calendar of upcoming meetings and events. The sooner you can get on people’s radars, the more likely they are to attend.
  • Pamphlets and swag - and maybe a few extra pens. You see, new members like to share their experiences with others, so make it easy for them by including the necessary materials they can quickly and easily hand to their pals.
  • A quick reference sheet with contact information and a “who’s who” for questions your new members might have. This could include your officers, your board members, and your current committee leaders. (Hey, if a new member wants to join one of your committees, this could be the perfect opportunity!)
  • A small card with your association’s website and perhaps a quick guide to logging in and using your AMS.

What if I don’t have the money for printing and shipping?

This is an extremely valid question. While new member welcome packets are fairly inexpensive, some small-staff associations simply don’t have the money - or at least not yet. If that’s the case, not to worry. You can still effectively use new member welcome packets. If you can’t afford printing, try sending your members an electronic version. If you can afford printing but shipping’s a little questionable, try carrying them with you to your next meeting or event. That way, you can introduce yourself and welcome your new members in person.

I missed the welcome packet opportunity for several of my new members. Can I still engage with them?

Sure you can! It might take a little more effort, but it’s definitely doable. Try reaching out to them via phone or email. You can relay some of the same information and let them know how excited you are to have them on board.

When it comes to onboarding new members, welcome packets are just the start. There are several other steps you should take to ensure your new members are happy and engaged. For a full breakdown of those steps, check out our free new member onboarding guide below!


Topics: association management, association leadership, member engagement, Small Staff Chatter

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