It’s no secret (or surprise) that the better you onboard, the more likely your new members are to stay with your organization. But what constitutes as an effective new member onboarding process? What should you really be doing? We’ve identified three musts:
1. Send a new member welcome packet...STAT
As soon as a member joins your organization, it’s crucial that you reach out and welcome them. Because time is of the essence here, email is really the best channel to use.
That said, once you’ve sent out a new member welcome email, you’ll also want to send out a new member welcome packet, which you can either send via email or regular mail depending on what your members respond better to. (Every organization is different.)
What should go in your new member welcome packet? Well think of it as a launchpad for your new members to reach success. What information do they need? What do you want them to know about your organization? A few resources we recommend including are…
- A list of membership benefits, such as perks, discounts, and offers
- A calendar of upcoming meetings and events
- A quick reference sheet with contact information and a “who’s who” for questions your new members may have
And if you do go the traditional mail route, fun little swag items, such as stickers or magnets, are ALWAYS appreciated!
2. Keep the communications flowing
Too often, associations send a new member welcome email and/or packet...and then that’s it. They kind of drop off the radar and leave it up to their new members to get involved (which often, doesn’t actually happen).
To boost engagement from the start (and build the habit of engagement), it’s important to have a schedule of communications lined up. You can’t assume that just because you tell your new members something once, they’ll remember it. The second (or third) time’s the charm.
To make sure these communications actually happen (especially given how busy you are), we recommend setting up an automated email marketing campaign targeting your new members exclusively. (Note: With something like an association management system in place, this type of campaign is extremely easy to set up.) Email topics could include upcoming event reminders, benefit reminders, volunteer opportunities, special discount codes, etc. (Remember, the earlier you can engage these members, the better!)
3. Host a new member orientation webinar
Sending your new members a welcome packet full of information about your organization is great (and necessary!)...but sometimes, they just don’t read it. (Or, not all of it, at least.) To really get that information across, you may want to host a new member orientation webinar. You could host these quarterly or once every few months to ensure all new members have an opportunity to attend, regardless of when they joined.
Now these webinars don’t have to be long and you can cover the same information that’s in your new member welcome packet. But the benefit of doing it in a webinar format is that you’re bringing your new members together, getting them to actively engage with your organization, and giving them an opportunity to ask questions - all crucial for onboarding success.
When it comes to new member onboarding, these are really just the basics. But to really have an effective process in place, there are a few other tactics we highly recommend. Check them out in our free guide below!