Have you ever been thrilled to become a member of a group, only to feel ghosted and lost after signing up? This doesn’t exactly create the best first impression. One major mistake that associations make is neglecting a comprehensive onboarding process for members. There are many steps your association can take to prioritize the new member onboarding process, with the first being a friendly and informative welcome letter.
The new member welcome letter may be the first piece of direct communication your members have with your association. Though it’s a simple letter, this piece of content is critical for increasing the odds of retaining them in the long run. While the messaging of your new member welcome letter will vary depending on your organization, these are a few “must haves:”
Always be sure to include a personalized greeting in your welcome letter, as opposed to a generic one like “Valued Member.” Using a first name in your greeting fosters a friendly and caring atmosphere for the new member to feel comfortable getting to know you more. Being called “valued member” will make them feel significantly less valued!
Let your new member know how much you appreciate them joining your organization — after all, members keep you running! The earlier you can thank a member, the better they will feel. This is a positive step in building a long-term relationship.
Show your members how to get engaged right from the start! Include brief, easy-to-understand instructions on how to access their member portal inside the welcome letter. The earlier this is done, the more likely your new member will dive into all of the resources you have available.
In the same vein as providing access to a member portal early, you want to make sure to highlight any benefits your new members may want to use immediately. This is also a great way to remind them why they decided to sign up.
Remind members that there’s more to their membership! Let them know what to expect next from you, whether that is a new member packet in the mail or a full onboarding series of content. Let them know of any upcoming events that they may want to attend.
Pro tip: if you know their specific interests, tailor this list to events that you think would be of particular interest to them. You may also want to tell them about special committees or councils they might be interested in joining.
Give your new members a roadmap to becoming an informed, established member. However, be sure to keep this list of resources short to avoid overwhelming them.
In case your new members hit any snags while looking through the resources you provided above, provide an easy, straightforward process for where to go for help to avoid any early frustrations with members. You want your members to feel like your association is easily accessible and always there for them.
Now that you’ve provided value to your new members early, take this opportunity to remind them to white-list your domain so they won’t miss any future emails! Many associations’ emails get blocked by email firewalls, so requesting they save your email address as a contact can help improve email deliverability.
Just in case there is any pertinent information that your email didn’t cover, invite members to ask you questions directly. This is also a good opportunity to ask them to share why they joined your association!
Need some help getting started? Here is a template for a new member welcome letter you can tailor for your own association or membership-based organization:
Dear [new member first name],
Thank you so much for joining [your association’s name]! We’re so excited to have you on board and can’t wait to get to know and serve you.
We invite you to log in at [website URL] to complete your membership profile with the following information:
Once you log in, you’ll be able to access these exclusive, members-only resources!
[list top resources available in member portal]
To help you get involved, here are a few upcoming events we think you’ll enjoy. Attending our events is a great way to learn, meet other members, and have fun!
[list upcoming events here]
In addition, we want to make sure you’re taking full advantage of all the membership benefits now available to you! Here are a few other things you can get started with right away:
[List primary membership benefits]
We’ll be following up next week with our full membership welcome package, so keep an eye out for that! Be sure to add this email address to your contact list to avoid missing out on any important messages and exclusive content!
Should you need any assistance or have questions about your membership at any time, please feel free to contact us at [phone number] or email us at [email address].
Got everything you need? We still welcome you to reach out and let us know your thoughts on your experience so far!
Best of luck to you, and thank you for being a part of the [association name] community.
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Emily Herrington is a New Orleans-based digital marketer specializing in SEO, content, and pay-per-click advertising. She can usually be found at her desk obsessing over data and rankings, or in the kitchen covered in flour.