Your association is an important part of the fabric of your industry, and it's a great way for industry professionals to make connections. When new members join, it can be hard for them to get involved and feel like they're really part of the community. That's where your onboarding process is key to success.
Not sure where to begin? Think about what kind of experience you would want as a member. Do they need training on how to use all the features of their membership? Do they need help setting up their profile? Do they need help navigating our website? It's important to know what kind of support your members need so you can tailor your onboarding process accordingly.
You can also incorporate some (or all) of the following tips into your onboarding process:
- Association overview: It's important to provide new members with an orientation to the organization. This should include an overview of its history, what the association stands for and does, why it exists, who is involved in the organization, and how it works together as a whole to achieve its goals.
- Let them see behind the scenes: It's helpful for new members to meet other key players within the association. Give the behind-the-scenes footage that most individuals aren't privileged to. What makes your association tick? How does everything come together to serve your mission? What goes on in planning your annual meeting, sending out communications, getting new policies into place? They'll appreciate the insight and know that their dues are going toward something meaningful.
- Keep communications flowing: Outside of the welcome letter that should let your new members know what to expect and how to get involved, you should keep them in the loop with weekly emails. These emails should include any important information about your association, updates on upcoming events, reminders and deadlines for committees, policy work, etc., and industry news. Anything to keep them abreast of the current topics and trends within your association and industry.
- Create a networking event: It's imperative that your members get to know their industry and like-minded professionals. Setting up an event for new and tenured members will give them the opportunity to connect and grow professionally. They'll learn why tenured members have been a part of your organization for so long, and why their membership is crucial to the success of the organization.
- Customer service: Just as important is your association’s customer service to both your new and tenured members. This is what leaves a lasting impression. If someone has questions about how everything works, they'll be able to get answers quickly and easily without having to wait days for someone to respond with an answer. And, of course, it’s important that they're friendly when responding.
- Repeat steps 1-5: New members are only new for so long, but that doesn't mean that the customer service, communications, and networking should stop. Continuing the success of your onboarding process throughout the entire membership is key to member engagement and retention.
A good onboarding process focuses on helping new members feel welcome and supported while providing them with information about the organization's mission and resources. Focus on thorough training and open communication to make members feel knowledgeable about the association and give them a sense of belonging.