Imagine going to a restaurant and having the hostess give you a warm welcome, quickly followed by the waiter coming over to get your drink orders and tell you all about the evening’s specials.
Now imagine going to a restaurant where the hostess throws some menus onto a table for you without even saying hi, and then you’re left wondering who your server even is.
Odds are, you’re more likely to return to the first restaurant — and a good new member welcome letter works in a similar way.
The perfect new member welcome letter onboards your members in a friendly way that ups the odds of retaining them as a member for the long haul. The format and messaging of your new member welcome letter will vary based on your organization, but there are some best practices on what to include and what not to include that can help make your job a little easier!
Creating a new member welcome email
New member welcome emails:
What you absolutely must include
Regardless of whether you’re sending out a new member welcome email or actually mailing new members a letter, here’s what you need to keep in mind.
1. Personalized Greeting
A “thank you for joining” membership letter should include a personalized greeting to the new member. Use the member’s first name in your salutation rather than a more generic greeting like, “Dear Valued Member.” This ensures they feel recognized as an important individual within your organization and fosters a friendly atmosphere for you both to get to know each other more.
2. Say Thank You
Members keep your organization running — so let your new member know just how much you appreciate them being a part of your community. Aim to be specific and authentic in your thank you, letting them know that you value their time and participation. Thank yous are best given early and often!
3. Highlight Upcoming Events
Retaining your new members starts right away by helping them get more involved with your organization so they see the value of their membership. In your new member welcome letter, include a list of any upcoming events they may want to attend. Personally invite them and let them know you hope to see them there.
If you know their specific interests, you can also highlight any events you have that you think would be of particular interest to them. This shows them that you’ve paid attention to their needs as a member and are already working to make sure their experience is the best it can be.
The Blue Bird Audubon Society highlights an upcoming event by choosing to handwrite it on the bottom of the letter, even though the rest of the letter is typed. This makes the invitation feel more personalized and also helps draw more attention to the event.
4. Reinforce the value of your association
In addition to events, highlight any other benefits your new members may want to utilize immediately. These could include things like mentorship programs, volunteer opportunities, resource libraries, or special member discounts. You want to help your new member see a quick reminder of exactly why they signed up. A quick bulleted list of all they can benefit from during their membership is an easy way to demonstrate that value.
5. Explain what new members can expect
Your new member welcome letter sets the stage for what’s next. You send it very soon after the member has signed up, but that doesn’t mean it’s all you’ll do to help welcome them. Remind them that there’s more to come by listing what they can expect next from you. This could include a new member welcome packet, a full onboarding series through webinars or other meetings, or calls from you and other support staff.
Letting your new member know what they can expect next gives them something to look forward to and helps them get their footing with your organization.
6. Share more about your organization
Orient your new member by including a brief introduction to your organization. Include things like your mission, vision and values — and maybe a little history. This helps connect your new member to your work. Just make sure to keep it short so they have time to scan the rest of your letter! You can always provide them a link where they can learn even more on your website or social media.
The Muskingum Valley Human Resources Association uses a short paragraph to reiterate its mission while welcoming new members and encouraging them to be a part of that mission through networking.
7. Less is more
In addition to keeping the background information about your organization brief, you’ll want to ensure your new member welcome letter is written in an overall easy-to-read format. Let’s face it — most of us have a lot of emails and mail to get through, so we skim. Your new members likely will, too, so by keeping your welcome letter digestible, they’ll be able to better engage with and absorb its content. This way, your welcome new members message won’t get lost in an inbox.
What Not to Include In Your New Member Welcome Letter
We’ve covered what you want to include in your new member welcome letter, but there are also some things to consider leaving out.
1. Don’t overwhelm new members – keep it simple!
Too many details in a new member welcome letter can be really overwhelming. Help your new members out by keeping things simple and letting them know where they can turn if they have any questions or need additional information on any of the topics you highlight. The aim of the welcome letter is to express gratitude, remind them of the membership’s value, and get them engaged in their first activity. There’s always time later to tell them about other things, so try to keep it focused!
2. Stay on brand
Your new member welcome letter should sound true to your organization’s brand and mission. For example, if you typically take a pretty casual tone in your messaging, you don’t want to make your welcome letter super formal. Instead, keep it light like your other communications! Your welcome letter is your first chance to really showcase the culture of your organization, so be as authentic as possible.
The new member welcome letter from the Knitters Guild uses humor to stay on brand, highlighting a few good knitting puns as it demonstrates the membership’s value.
3. Avoid upselling
You may be tempted to remind your new member that you have options for them to move into higher membership tiers or even do a soft ask for additional donations. However, the goal of the new member welcome letter is simply to welcome your new member and tell them thank you. There will be time later for membership upsells and fundraising asks, especially as you begin your membership renewal emails — so it’s best to leave it out of this one.
The New Member Welcome Email Template You Need To Try
Sometimes it’s helpful to have a new member welcome letter template to start with when creating your own. The sample new member welcome letter below shows one way you can incorporate some of these tips into your own message.
Dear [new member’s first name],
Thank you so much for becoming a member of [association’s name]! We’re thrilled to have you on board and can’t wait to get to know you.
To help you get involved, here are a few events we have planned over the next couple of months:
- [List upcoming events here]
- [Formatting them as a bulleted list helps readers skim!]
You can view our full calendar of events at [link to website with event calendar].
In addition, we want to make sure you’re taking full advantage of all the membership benefits available! Here are a few other things to get started with ASAP:
- [List primary membership benefits, i.e. networking opportunities, access to members-only content, professional development opportunities, etc.]
We’ll be following up next week with our full member welcome package, so keep an eye out for that!
Should you need any assistance or have any questions or comments about your membership or benefits at any time, please feel free to contact us at [phone number] or email us at [email address].
We look forward to seeing you at our next meeting on [include date]!
Don’t underestimate the value of a welcome email to increase member engagement
A timely, informative new member welcome letter is a great way to get your relationship with your new member off to a great start! From here, you’ll be ready to benefit from all the best practices that MemberClicks can help you with to boost your new member engagement and retention.
Want even more ways to increase member retention? Check out our free Membership Retention Kit! Here you’ll find ideas and checklists for each stage of a member’s journey to renewal, communication best practices, and email and letter templates to help automate some of those recurring tasks.