5 Ideas to Welcome New Members to Your Association

April 24, 2020

When onboarding new members to your association, it’s critical to create a positive and memorable experience. Not only does it set the tone for future interactions, it can encourage a long-term membership and healthy renewal rates. We’ll explore a handful of new member welcome ideas, from time-tested methods to fresh approaches opportuned by the digital age. 

Here are 5 ideas on how to welcome new members:

Put Together A Welcome Packet

Branded welcome packets are a common but effective way to orient members. Presenting them with a comprehensive package lets them know that your association is organized and eager to onboard. 

A welcome packet should include all necessary documentation and information, including:

  • A warm, personalized welcome letter that congratulates and reinforces their decision to become a member
  • Dues information, including due dates and accepted methods of payment
  • Important member support contact information
  • Web address and set-up information for the member portal, if applicable
  • Overview of benefits they’ll receive
  • Information on downloading your association mobile app and all of the features it provides
    • In the event they lose the packet, they can always refer back to the association app to find the same information

Wherever possible, personalize the contents and design of the packet to leave a lasting impression on the member. In a survey, 87% of consumers say that personalized content positively influences their feelings towards a brand. Think about ways you can customize the welcome letter, or even incorporate the member’s name into the design elements of the packet or outer packaging.

Announce and Highlight New Members on Your Association App and Social Media 

Give new members a brief spotlight by announcing to the community that they’ve joined. Depending on the volume of members you onboard, you may want to announce them on your:

  • Dedicated association mobile app
  • Social media channels, or
  • Association newsletters

In addition to their name, you may want to include a short bio, picture or blurb on the member and why they chose to join. People often join associations because they want to network within their industry or discover like-minded individuals; they’re looking to make connections. Announcing them on your mobile’s networking interface can expedite this process. Not only does it help  inspire a sense of belonging in newly initiated members, it creates transparency and keeps your existing member base updated on potential new connections.

Give Them A Gift

Gifts are an obvious choice when you want to create a warm new member welcome experience. The type of items gifted might vary greatly between associations, but there are a few rules of thumb to follow regardless. You’ll want to break away from traditional gifts like discounted membership dues – they aren’t memorable, and won’t help you make an impact. Branded pens, mugs and other association merchandise are not necessarily a bad choice, but are best when coupled with other more original ideas. 

Here are some creative offerings that leave a good impression:

  • Signature/famous food items from local eateries (non-perishables)
  • Gift cards from association sponsors
  • A bottle of wine, box of chocolates or gift basket
  • Products that relate to the purpose & theme of the association
    • For example: A tennis-focused association could gift new members with a branded racquet.

Put On A Welcome Event

Your association has likely allotted a portion of your budget to events. With those funds, consider hosting a monthly or bi-monthly welcome event that embraces new members of the community. 

These can include:

  • Meet and Greets
  • Happy Hour Networking Events
  • Luncheons
  • Integrate a welcome section into any existing events your association is hosting

Use your association mobile app to send out event notifications and increase member turnout. You can also leverage your app during the event. One way to boost engagement is to have event competitions, then create an in-app leaderboard that members can regularly check.

1:1 Membership Set-Up

According to the Harvard Business Review, one-on-one meetings help reduce disengagement levels by as much as 67%. This also establishes a point of contact for the member, whom they can return to with any questions or concerns after initial set up.

Use the opportunity to brief them on upcoming events and help them navigate the payment portal for association dues. You can also use this time to introduce them to your association app, an exceptionally useful tool for keeping members engaged long after the meeting ends. 

Guide them through the app’s features and benefits, such as: 

  • User-friendly interface for mobile payments and donations
  • Digital membership ID card
  • Association event calendar
  • Sponsorship directory with member-exclusive discounts and perks
  • Discussion boards with fellow members
  • Newsfeed aggregating all the activity of the association
  • Resource library with important member documents and forms

You can also use the meeting to have them fill out forms and surveys on your association mobile app. This allows you to collect their opinions while interacting with them first hand. 

Prioritize Member Engagement

MobileUp‘s customizable native mobile apps are proven to increase engagement three times over. A native mobile app’s customizable settings also make it a smarter choice than mobile responsive sites

Mobile apps play a key role in welcoming new members and enliven their experience with your association. MobileUp’s cloud-based platform and SaaS technology allow you to create a custom-branded app at a much lower price point than custom developers.

When you’re ready to enhance all facets of your member experience with a mobile app, let MobileUp lead the way.

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