In the last installment of our series, we taught you how to attract younger members to your association, which is great! But, what should you do once younger members have joined your association? Don’t worry, we won’t leave you in the dark to welcome these members to your association all on your own. You need the best advice in order to create the ideal new member onboarding experience for everyone involved. If members are the lifeblood for associations, then new members are the backbone. They support your membership and bring a breath of fresh air into your association. So, you need to make sure you provide them with a proper onboarding service. In our second installment of our Membership Monday series, we’re going to focus on the dos and don'ts of any association’s new member onboarding process. Let’s dive right in and see how you can create success for your new members! DO Provide a new member welcome packet With every new membership, a new member welcome packet is a must. Why is this? Well, you never want your new members to be confused about your association, their member benefits, or other aspects that could affect their member experience. So, providing new members with a packet that includes any information they could be searching for can combat their confusion. But, what’s the best way to make sure your new member packet is the perfect welcoming gift? There are a few things that every new member welcome packet should include. These are valuable information must-haves for every membership level. The first is a warm welcome. After all, this is a welcome packet! Invite your new members into your association and congratulate them on making a decision they won’t regret. Once you’ve welcomed members to your association, you can then get into the informational content of the packet. You need to include membership essentials - things like an event schedule, a list of member benefits they can easily reference, any discounts they can use, and other exciting perks. You also need to give members a rundown on how paying membership dues work. You never want your members to be left in the dark when renewal time comes around! Make paying dues easy by giving a short guide on how payment processes work. So, DO always give your members a new member welcome packet once they join your association’s membership. DON’T disappear after the first outreach Too often, associations do send a new member welcome email (and/or packet)...but then that’s it. They kind of fall off the grid and leave it up to new members to get involved and take advantage of their member benefits. This is a major DON’T. To boost new member engagement (and by extension, long-term retention), you must stay in contact with your new members. Consider setting up email campaigns exclusively for them: inviting them to new members-only events (which we’ll get to next), encouraging them to like (and engage with!) your organization on social media, reminding them about your organization’s blog, online social community, and/or various publications, etc. In an age of information overload, one welcome email simply won’t do the trick. Do plan for multiple touches, especially in the first three months. (Tip: If you can squeeze in a phone call - to introduce yourself, check in, answer any questions, etc. - that’s even better!) DO coordinate “new members-only” events Going off what we mentioned above, coordinating new members-only events is an onboarding must. Why create events exclusively for your new members? Well perhaps the biggest reason is they’re less intimidating than your standard events. Think about it: Have you ever been to a party or event where everyone seems to know each other and you know absolutely no one? You usually can’t get out of there quick enough! Your new members are the same way. To make them feel more comfortable, let them know in advance that it is a new members-only event - to ease some of that initial pressure. Now if you don’t have the budget to coordinate new members-only events in addition to your regular events, consider adding in new members-only segments to your existing event schedule. For example, at your annual meeting, consider offering a new members-only happy hour. This is a way to keep expenses down while still producing the same results. DON’T forget to provide contact information You absolutely never want to leave members without a way to contact you. If they have a problem, they’ll be lost without a way to reach your association. It’s important to leave multiple methods of contact. Whether it’s via phone call, email, or even social media channels. There should always be more than one way for members to get ahold of you. Your contact information should be provided from the very first communication with members. In that case, it’s extremely beneficial to include a section in your new member welcome packet that lists out every form of contact for members. You can keep this general, or list out multiple departments in your association. You can also provide contact opportunities through social media. Allow members to chat with your association through LinkedIn messaging, Facebook comments, Twitter replies, and any other channel you can think of. This is a great way to keep in touch while also boosting up that member engagement! Don’t leave your members without a way to communicate. Always provide contact information! DO ask for feedback after the first six months Feedback is the fuel for membership retention. If you’re able to meet (and better yet, exceed) member expectations, renewal rates will undoubtedly rise. That said, do ask for feedback six months after a new member joins. Why six months? Well, that gives new members enough time to get involved/get the lay of the land when it comes to your association, but also, if you’re on an annual dues renewal cycle, it gives you enough time to make changes should a new member not be satisfied. Tip: When it comes to collecting new member feedback, start with a simple email survey. Keep it short and simple and definitely send reminders to those who haven’t filled it out. Questions you may want to ask include… What meetings or events have you attended since joining organization XYZ? What do you like the most - so far - about being a member of organization XYZ? What do you like the least? How often do you login to your member portal? How likely are you to renew your membership in the following year? You put a lot of time and effort into recruiting new members, so you absolutely want them to stay. That’s why a well-thought-out and efficient onboarding process is key. By following these dos and don’ts, the likelihood of renewal (and really, just general engagement) will likely jump. Want more tips for onboarding your association’s new members? Check out our free guide below!