If we had to guess, we’d say you probably put a LOT of time and energy into recruiting new members - and that’s completely understandable. Your members are the lifeblood of your organization.
That said, because you put so much time and energy into recruiting new members, you absolutely want them to stay! And a big part of getting them to stay is making sure they’re onboarded correctly.
Not sure how to onboard your new members? Here are a few tips:
1. Send them a new member welcome packet
When a new member joins your association, you should absolutely send them a warm, welcome email - and a personalized one, at that. But in addition to that email, you should also send a new member welcome packet. New member welcome packets help get your new members up to speed, and not only that, but they show your new members you care. You may have thousands upon thousands of members, but the fact that you took the time to send your newest member a welcome packet really says a lot.
Not sure what to include in your new member welcome packet? Here are a few ideas:
- A welcome letter, personalized and signed if possible
- 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 might have
- Fun association swag, such as stickers or magnets that are easy to mail but also showcase and get members excited about your organization
Note: If you’re concerned about costs here, just know that there ARE options for creating cost-effective welcome packets. More about that here.
2. Create an online social community specifically for new members
When a new member joins your association, you want to have a place where they can immediately go and meet people/engage - and that’s exactly what an online social community will do. By creating an online community page exclusively for your new members, you’ll be giving them an opportunity to engage with your association and meet other new (or fairly new) members. And the more friends a member has in your association, the more likely they are to stay.
Tip: To get your new member community up and running, consider selecting a few people from within your organization to act as engagement ambassadors. These individuals should post a few times per week within your new member community and seed various questions to get new members talking.
3. Create a member-mentoring program (and encourage your new members to join)
Members are most excited about your association when they first join - so take advantage of that new member spark! Create a member-mentoring program and encourage your new members to join. Then from there, pair your new members with seasoned brand ambassadors - members who are champions of your organization. Your new members will see the enthusiasm in others and be more inclined to get involved.
4. Welcome your new members at events
Events are a great way to engage any member, but they’re especially great for engaging your new members. If possible, consider hosting a meet and greet specifically for new members. This is a much less intimidating way for your new members to get to know each other.
If hosting a new-members-only event is too complicated, consider doing something as simple as offering name tags that identify new members at your next event. The benefits here are twofold. First, your new members will easily be able to identify each other, which is especially important during those first few months when networking can seem overwhelming. Second, your brand ambassadors will easily be able to identify new members, so if they see someone standing alone, they can quickly approach them and introduce them to others.
5. Check in
This is such an important step, yet one that’s often overlooked. Many associations welcome new members, but then send them on their way. The problem with that, though, is your members can become sidetracked, overwhelmed, or simply uninterested, all provoking them to leave. Not good.
To prevent that from happening, it’s important to follow up with your new members a few weeks AND months after they join. You can do this by email or by phone, just make sure to ask how they’re doing and if they have any feedback about your organization. That way, if there are any problems, you can fix them up front rather than losing that member altogether.
Want more tips for onboarding your organization’s new members? Check out our free guide, 6 Tips for Onboarding New Members, below!