Your association works hard to attract and secure new members. But without a proper first interaction, you could lose the interest of your new members right from the start! Attracting new members is only half the battle when it comes to building up your membership. You need a strategy to engage with those new members and get them excited about the months to come with your association. But a process like that may seem easier said than done.
So, if you’d like to learn how to properly interact with new members in order to increase the chance of them sticking around long term, we’ve got some tips for you. Let’s learn some best practices that will keep your new members on board and ready for anything your association has to offer them.
1. Answer all questions
Becoming a new member of anything can be overwhelming. Just as nerve racking as it is to join a new company or a new learning environment, joining an association and getting to know a brand new organization isn’t exactly a walk in the park. This is why it’s important for your association to be open to any questions and/or concerns new members may have when getting adjusted to membership.
Think about it from the shoes of your members. If you were a new member to an association, there are going to be many questions that are running through your head and will need answering. Some questions a new member might have are: How do I get involved? How do I pay my dues? How do I renew my membership? And even simple questions, such as, what’s the next move?
In this case, sending out a new member packet can mitigate any questions new members might have. Your association can automatically send out both an email packet and physical packet via mail so that a new member can sit down and take the time to learn what it really is like to be apart of the fun.
2. Create a new member packet
Let’s face it, there’s a lot to know about your association! From events, to paying dues, to all of the valuable benefits you offer, your new member packet is going to be jam packed with useful information. However, you don't want to overwhelm a new member with facts.
An overwhelmed member may give up learning about your association altogether, making your new member packet counterproductive. Instead of a direct approach, try to make the information friendly and inviting. For example, it may be a good idea to start off with thanking the new member for joining the association. Then, provide the new member with a page of frequently asked questions by other members who have been in their shoes.
This ensures that the member will not feel alone; They will know that others have felt the same way he/she felt when diving head first into your association, building a sense of security and comfort. Other information that should be included in your welcome packet are an organized calendar of upcoming events or activities that the new member can get involved in to meet other members. You should also consider including any contact information new members will need to get ahold of you in case they have questions or concerns in the future.
Create a page of contact information that will help satisfy all the needs a new member might be. You can also include any social media platforms your association uses to update members- both giving new members another way to reach you and promoting further social media engagement. Once you get through the basics of a new member packet, feel free to add in any housekeeping information necessary and send your members’ way!
3. Make time to get personal
As a new member, there are many benefits for joining an association. Some of the benefits of joining an association can include new training and knowledge, access to membership job boards, and one of the most important benefits of all- making connections. Making connections with your association or other members provide new members with an excellent opportunity to network with other professionals in their industry.
With making connections being one of the most important reasons a member will join an association, it’s time to get personal with your new members and reach out via phone call. There are many reasons a phone call to new members is a beneficial move. To start, it allows you to establish a good first impression with your new members. It also lets you engage with them on a more intimate level than an email allows. And you also get a sense of what your new members are like and how their personality could affect the way they interact with your association in the future. This phone call should be done in a reasonable amount of time after a new member joins. Try not to make the member feel like the purpose of the phone call was just to provide information, but let them know that they are valued and appreciated in your association.
Lastly, ask them to explain to you their reasoning for becoming a member, as well as what they hope to get from their member experience. This information can help you in the long run with marketing to other potential members. A simple personal touch goes a long way in making new members feel welcome into an association.
4. Assign mentors
As said before, it can be overwhelming to join a new association. A new member may feel shy, and might not want to attend events alone. Even valuable events such as networking and volunteering can make the new member intimidated.
An easy solution to this problem is assigning a new member a mentor. This can be optional to a new member, but can benefit their experience by making it more comfortable and welcoming. It makes a personal connection between two members of the same association. A mentor could be greatly beneficial to young millennial members who have no connections in the association. These younger members can be guided by mentors in ways that can enhance their professional experience, something all young professional seek in organizations. A mentor is an easy way for a new member to feel comfortable with attending events, resulting in the member renewing their membership and staying in the association.
5. Focus on member satisfaction
As an association, member happiness keeps everything running smoothly- so you want to make sure everyone is satisfied, especially new members. Member satisfaction is something that all associations need to focus on in order to promote membership success. But with new members, you want to make sure they start off on the right foot, hopefully keeping them satisfied throughout the entirety of their time with your organization. Holding a reception for new members twice a year can keep a member content and engaged. New and current members can learn more together about the association over great food, guest speakers, and other planned activities. It’s also a great occasion for mentors to get together with their new recruits and introduce them to other members, promoting networking in the long run. A reception will help build up your association’s community and show new members that satisfaction is achievable.
6. Ask for new member feedback
Members opinions matter- even members who have just joined the party. The opinion of a newly introduced member can help an association. Collecting feedback from new members will let your association get insight on how audiences view the benefits and experience you provide. This information will then give you a place to start when making improvements for future new members. A few months after a new member joins your association, send out a member survey asking for input on their experience so far.. You can ask questions related to new member activities, such as “how well do you feel valued as a member?” or “What are you looking to see in a continued membership with us?”
Asking for this type of feedback right away can make a member feel appreciated and wanted in the association. As an association, you put in a lot of time and effort to gain members. Guaranteeing satisfaction for members, new and old, and having a good first interaction will help your association retain them.