CONGRATULATIONS! You got a new member! All that hard work and effort to show your benefits, to win them over and BOOM — they’ve signed up! But… what now? What do you do next? Well, member retention begins the moment that member officially becomes a member. Your onboarding process – including your new member welcome packet – is a big part of that.
What is a welcome packet?
A welcome packet is just what it sounds like: a packet you give to new members. It can be a physical packet or a virtual one, depending on your organization and onboarding process.
Different types of welcome packets
When we’re talking about welcome packets here, we mean welcome packets for new members for your association or chamber. But there are a whole bunch of different types and uses of welcome packets out there including:
- Event welcome packets
- New hire welcome packets
- Packets for event speakers or special guests
- Sponsor packets
The general idea for each of these is the same. It’s the contents and little extras that will differ between them. If you find success with your new member welcome packets and find that your members really enjoy them, you may want to look for new and creative ways to make this concept work for you.
For example, you could do seasonal “packets” with resources and tips you email to your members for the holidays or summer season.
Of course, this idea only works for certain member groups and not everyone will use or appreciate them.
New member welcome packets
New member welcome packets should provide all the information a new member would need about joining your organization in one place (usually with some added bonuses and fun surprises inside, too). Ideally, the information in it should answer every basic question a new member will have, like:
- What are my benefits of joining?
- How do I login to the website?
- How do I connect with other members?
- What can I do now that I am a member?
- Where do I go if I have questions?
- What events are happening this year?
- Who can I contact with questions?
Virtual VS physical member packets
Depending on who your members are and the type of association or chamber you run, one of these options may be better than another. Or you could have both and as your members which they prefer.
A virtual packet could be stored in a Google drive, drop box, etc. You could duplicate it, adding any personal touches to it and then share it out as needed.
If you do print out and share a physical packet, keep a virtual set for yourself. You can use it to print all your documents as needed and also gives you one place to store all your info to update in the future.
Proper organization of files like this can save you a lot of time and energy in the future.
7 things you should definitely include in your new member welcome packet
When it comes to onboarding new members, 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 welcome and relaxed about their decision to join.
While every organization’s welcome packet will vary, there are seven basic items you don’t want to leave out. Take a look:
1. A welcome letter
Make it personalized and signed if possible. Members should be treated as individuals and this extra touch can go a long way in making them feel welcomed.
2. A list of membership benefits
Be super open and obvious with the benefits. It’s probably a big reason they joined your organization in the first place. Include everything, from perks and discounts to offers and events. Remember, just because someone joined your organization doesn’t mean they’re familiar with all of the resources you have to offer.
3. A calendar of upcoming meetings and events.
The sooner you can get on people’s radars, the more likely they are to attend!
4. Pamphlets and swag
People love to represent the organizations they’re in. A few swag freebees go a long way. Make it easy for them to show off your organization by including the necessary materials to represent you and pass off information to their friends.
5. A quick reference sheet
This one sheet should have all the contact information and “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!)
6. A small card with your association’s website
Putting your web address front and center on its own sheet acts as a great reminder to actually visit your website and explore it. You may also want to include a quick guide to logging into and using your members-only portal.
If you have a learning management system (LMS) or online community for members to enjoy, be clear here too with instructions on how they can use these resources.
7. Dues information, due dates and an invoice for membership
They just joined. I get that you don’t want to talk about dues yet. But being clear in renewal dates, dues and how invoices will be handled helps to build a relationship of trust and transparency (Plus be sure to give them their first invoice for their initial registration). Your members know they have to pay so there’s no reason to hide it. You’ll want to make the financial side of things as easy as possible for your members.
That being said, this is a great time to talk about any discounts and to educate your members on employer paid membership dues as well.
Welcome packets for new members: More powerful than you think
Remember, even though a welcome packet might seem insignificant to you, 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.
Want more tips for onboarding your new members? Check out our free new member onboarding guide below!