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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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How to Make Your New Members Feel Welcome

Posted by Colleen Bottorff

how to make new members feel welcome

Joining a new organization is intimidating for a lot of people - especially if they don’t know any current members. Flying solo can make it extremely difficult to find the motivation to go to events, attend meetings, and, in general, engage.

And even if they do know some folks, well, you still want to start their membership experience off on the right foot! That’s why it’s SO important that your association is very intentional with making new members feel welcome and see the benefits of joining right away. Doing so will go a long way toward increasing that retention rate!

Here are a few ideas for making your newest members feel a part of the group from the beginning:

Say “welcome” in a few different places

Social media, your newsletter, at meetings, etc. - make sure you give your new members a big ol’ public “WELCOME!” You want them to know that you see them and are excited they’ve decided to join the organization.

Not only that, including a welcome to new members in multiple places accomplishes a few things. Thinking about the above examples:

  • By posting on social media, you’re showing the industry that your influence is growing. (And, you’re showing prospective members what they’re missing.)
  • Your newsletter is likely the best place to get new member names in front of all of your current members at once.
  • Calling out new members during meetings (and, depending on your organization, having them introduce themselves a little) will help break the ice and put a face to the name.

Assign new members a membership mentor

Solicit current members to volunteer as mentors who will show your new additions the ropes! They can attend events together, sit down for coffee to talk about membership, introduce them to other members with similar roles or challenges, etc. - whatever the specific activities may be, the point of a membership mentor program is to make your newest members feel comfortable.

Now, your mentors shouldn’t be just anyone. You’ll want your new members to spend time with people who’ve been loyal to your organization and happy with their membership. Choose mentors who will treat new members like VIP, inspire them to engage, and (most importantly) help them understand the value of their benefits - and how to use them!

Start a welcome committee

Similar to the one-on-one approach above, create a committee whose sole purpose is to watch out for your newest members. Not only would this committee be responsible for spending time with new members, but you could also ask them to help come up with ideas to welcome them! Getting members themselves in on the welcoming action is truly the best way to know exactly what will make new members feel at home.

These are just a few ideas, but there’s a LOT you can do to make new members feel welcome at your organization! So many, in fact, that we put together an entire guide: Download your free copy of 7 Musts for New Member Onboarding below!

7 Musts for New Member Onboarding  How to make your new members feel right at home Download this guide

Topics: member engagement, Small Staff Chatter

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