How much time does your membership department devote to the “onboarding process” of new members? We spend so much energy recruiting, assuring them how different they’ll be treated by this organization and how much value they’ll receive through their affiliation – then, what happens after they actually join?
We put them on a list. And, we just send them a bunch of stuff.
Onboarding is one of THE MOST IMPORTANT parts of the membership cycle. If you don’t establish that close relationship through an effective process of integration within the first 60 days of membership, the risk of losing them goes up dramatically.
In 2015, we were recruiting members for a client organization – and, in year 2 of the program – they asked us to develop a member retention and onboarding program. We put together a fantastic onboarding process, which included a monthly webinar for new members. During that webinar we essentially introduce them to the basics of membership and helped them to navigate the website. Small details like logging into the members-only part of the site as well as what to do if you forget your password – go a very long way, folks.
Following the webinar, a dedicated series of “handshakes” occur from our staff, the association team and volunteers to connect the new member to their association. The response by these new members has been overwhelming. They want to be assured they are getting the most out of the purchase they made. The retention rate of these first-year members and the time-frame in which they pay early has been through the roof compared to previous years. We believe this strong on-boarding program is the reason. In fact, the more we communicate on the retention side, the more familiar we become with the industry… and, the recruiting side is better.
Your top action item today is to develop a specific onboarding program for your first-year members. It will the #1 thing you do on behalf of your association this year.