How to Improve Member Onboarding in Association Memberships

How to Improve Member Onboarding in Association Memberships

Joining an association is an exciting opportunity. The initial onboarding and welcome experiences will shape their first impressions of your association. Based on these perceptions, they will immediately judge whether the membership offers value and is worth continuing. An ineffective onboarding process means members may lose faith in your association. In the worst-case scenario, they may choose not to renew their membership for another term.

To inspire and engage members, optimized onboarding is necessary. Here is how to improve member onboarding in association memberships.

Explain Your Values

You can introduce your association to new members during onboarding. Inform them of who you are, what you do, and how you will support members. Be clear and direct about your organization’s philosophy and why it exists.

Prepare Detailed Materials

Welcome emails should be short and direct. At the same time, have detailed articles, booklets, or videos to share with those interested. Most onboarding messages should be quick and straightforward. However, the welcome packages should contain a link for anyone interested in reading more or learning about the association’s policies.

Use Association Member Management Software

Membership platform software helps with onboarding tremendously. It should make a noticeable difference. Many software programs contain automation tools. These tools allow you to create sign-up forms, send automatic emails on a schedule, process dues and donations, and auto-generate reports for you.

Identify How Member Perks and Benefits Apply

It is not enough to describe membership benefits. It must also explain how those benefits impact a member’s life. Humanize the benefits. If a membership includes specific resources, consider how they can make a difference in a person’s life.

Personalize the Onboarding Process

Make onboarding interactive and personalized for the member. Personalize messages as much as possible, including the member’s first name. Vary the content of your communications to keep members engaged and interested.

Onboarding should inspire members to get the most out of their membership. It’s all about tone, language, images, and overall presentation to get someone excited and engaged.

Welcome Them to Your Next Association Event

The faster your new member is embedded into your association’s community, the less of a newcomer they will feel. Associations do this differently depending on who they are. Some welcome the latest members on social media, while others spotlight new members in emails or orientation events. The best onboarding strategies ensure members are included in the subsequent association networking event.

Let Members Know What to Expect from Membership

In addition to stating where, when, and how to use member perks and benefits, you will also want to explain what to expect from the association. How often can they expect communication? What events will they be invited to? What networking opportunities are there? Set these expectations from the onset.

Connect New Members with Current Members

During onboarding, welcome new members by letting them know how to connect with others. Facilitate meaningful connections by inviting them to an online portal or assigning them to a team. Also, match them with an existing member to offer peer-to-peer support or answer questions. With someone they know as a buddy, a new member will also be more likely to attend the next event you host.

Create a Welcome New Member Email Plan

New members should be automatically enrolled in an onboarding email series. The first email is sent minutes after becoming a member, confirming payment has been received and membership is active. From there, more emails can be sent once per week to familiarize new members with how things work. These communications ensure the latest recruits are fully welcomed into the fold.

Ask for Onboarding Process Feedback

Another way to improve member onboarding is to inquire how you can assist. Ask for feedback directly from members a few months after they join. Send them an online survey or interview. Ask for feedback often. If they don’t renew, see if they can participate in an exit interview. Their feedback will help you better understand how to tailor memberships based on what members want.

Track The Onboarding Journey with Analytics

As you guide each member through onboarding, track activities and communications. Some steps may receive little response, while others may be clear favourites. Improve members’ onboarding by tracking email open rates, event attendance, and engagement levels. Utilizing the right association management software can streamline the entire onboarding process, from sending welcome emails to tracking member interactions, ensuring that every new member feels valued and engaged.


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