You don’t need me to tell you just how important new member onboarding is — but it’s not just important, it’s *exciting*! You get to welcome a whole new crew of members, and they’re getting their first look at what membership has to hold.

One way to amplify that buzz? Live webinars!

And Associations Now has the case study to prove it: in a recent article, they highlighted the International Coach Federation (ICF) and how hosting live webinars as one of the very first touchpoints in their onboarding process has boosted first-year retention.

Four things in the article stood out as reasons why any member-based organization should incorporate a live webinar in its new member onboarding process:

    1. It makes the process more personable. Onboarding is all about forging relationships with your newest members, and that’s hard to do on paper or over email. Getting everyone together in a live setting (even if it is online) gives you a chance to better showcase your organization’s and your staff’s personality.

    2. It’s an opportunity to explain complicated parts of membership. Are there things that a lot of members just *don’t* get? Questions they ask staff over and over again? Overcome that obstacle early with a whole group. That way, by the time they get to that point in membership, they’ll already be equipped with the knowledge to handle it.

    3. It encourages an organic conversation about membership. While you’ll certainly plan to cover specific topics, we’re willing to bet your new members will ask questions and bring things up that you won’t have planned for. And that’s ok — great, even! You want to allow the group to guide the discussion, to some degree. They’re the ones being onboarded after all!

    4. It’s a way easier format for showing them how to access members-only content on your website. Don Whittle, Director of Member Experience at ICF, noted specifically that it’s a great solution for less tech-savvy members. But even for those who are, they’ll still have to take the time to figure it out — and knowing exactly where and how to access important resources can make all the difference in engaging them quickly.

You may be worried about being able to schedule a webinar for a time when everyone is free, but the ICF has a way around that: just share a recording of the webinar with anyone who can’t make it. (And we 100% support that recommendation.)

Now, all of this to say, you should definitely still incorporate written communications and other tactics in your new member onboarding strategy. Need some help? We wrote a guide all about it: