Your hard work in membership marketing and relationship building has paid off and your association has some brand new members! Now it’s time to get your new members informed and excited about your organization. One of the biggest factors in retention is member engagement, so it is up to you to make sure you start off on the right foot helping your new members feel welcome and offering plenty of opportunities for them to get involved. If you want to make sure your members are getting the most out of their membership, consider these strategies to help new members get started.
Send Out Welcome Information
It is common for new members to feel overwhelmed with questions. What do I do now? How do I pay my dues? How do I get involved? You can answer all of these questions and more with a welcome message that includes all of this helpful information. As soon as new members sign up, send out an email or packet that includes the following:
-a warm welcome letter and thank you
-answers to the most frequently asked questions about membership
-information about how to get involved in volunteer opportunities
-an invitation to upcoming events or activities where they can meet other members
-contact information in case the member has any questions
This is your chance to take care of general housekeeping information while also getting people excited about your organization.
Make it Personal
One of the biggest reasons people join associations is the opportunity to make connections, so give them what they want by following up with a personal phone call. This should be done about a week or two after a new member joins. The purpose of a phone call is not just to provide information and let them know that they are valued and appreciated, but to listen to the reasons they joined and what they hope to get from their member experience. A personal touch goes a long way in making new members feel welcome.
Ask for Feedback
Members need to know that their opinions matter and organizations need to know what they can do to make experiences better for their members. Both of these goals can be achieved by asking new members for their input. A few months after a member has joined, send out a quick survey asking for input on things such as how informed they feel, if they have signed up to get involved, and how well your organization has met their needs. Furthermore, ask what they hope to gain from your organization so you will have a better understanding of what members want. Asking for feedback right from the get-go makes new members feel involved and appreciated.
Provide a Mentor
It’s hard for new members to dive right into an organization if they don’t really know any other members. You can eliminate this problem by assigning each new member a mentor as soon as they join. This is especially important for young professionals, who likely joined the association to advance in their career. It is the job of the mentor to personally reach out to the new member to greet them and answer any questions. They can arrange to meet in person in order to build a more personal relationship. This is an integral part of making new members feel welcome while fostering connections with current members.
Hold a Reception
It is always fun to hold a quarterly or semi-annual reception to welcome new members. People bond over food and conversation and this provides the perfect opportunity to engage new members. It’s also a great occasion for mentors to get together with their new recruits and introduce them to other members. It can be held before or immediately following an existing training or conference to build community and networking opportunities among members.