The first interactions with your organization make a long-lasting impression on a new member and provide the foundation for you to build a relationship that continues for years to come.
Your new members will begin forming their opinion about the value of your association the minute they hit the “join” button on your member form, so the way you welcome them is critically important. Take some time to think about your new member welcome process to ensure you’re getting each member off on the right foot.
By Tirrah Switzer, Product Marketing Manager, Community Brands
Here are two areas to consider:
How are you thanking new members?
Thanking new members for joining your organization can go a long way to making them feel welcome right off the bat. At the very least, be sure to provide a “thank you” confirmation page and auto-email once they sign up online to acknowledge their new membership. But why stop there? Some other ideas for thanking new members:
Send a personal email or hand-written note (or even take a moment to call) to thank each new member for joining your organization.
- Send a new member “welcome” gift or packet. This could include a logo item from your organization, or maybe a book or a professionally printed copy of a key resource that your organization provides its members.
- List new members in your email newsletter under a “Welcome new members!” heading to make them feel appreciated.
- The message is always different when it comes from a member as opposed to staff. Have a member of the membership committee or board of directors reach out to say thanks and see how they can help provide resources, knowledge or ideas.
Are you making new members feel at home?
Help new members feel comfortable right away by letting them know how your organization works, what to expect next, and where to go for information. Some examples of what information to include in your “welcome” packet:
- Remind them of the value of membership and the benefits they will now receive as a member of your association.
- Connect each new member with a volunteer member ambassador, or “buddy,” through your online community to help them get to know the organization and feel more welcome. “Buddies” can also give a “shout out” to new members within your online community.
- Direct them to online resources, such as a calendar of events, your career center, or your online member community. Provide a walk-thru video that takes them on a tour and includes instructions about how to log in and how to set up any user profiles.
- Address their reason for joining. For example, if they joined for continuing education, present them with information about upcoming education opportunities and how to register.
- Let them know what communications they can expect to receive from you and how often they’ll receive those communications.
- Ask them to add you to their “safe sender” list so they won’t miss an update from you.
- Make sure they know who to contact at your organization or where to go online if they have questions or would like to give feedback about their member experience.
These may seem like simple gestures, but people can decide if they’re going to participate in your organization long-term within the first days, and even minutes, of joining your association. Key to onboarding success and member loyalty is to keep up the welcome train. Don’t go cold on new members after the first 30, 60 or 90 days of their membership. To a new member, the first year of membership is an unknown journey, so make sure you are reaching out for the first year and beyond. Make sure your members feel welcome and the love from your organization starting right off the bat, and you’ll keep them around for the long haul!