Group of Diverse Hands Joining together. Concept of boosting long-term membership retention rate.

Newbie No More: Hooking New Members into Long Term Members

Belonging. Many of us have a little fear of missing out (FOMO). I have a need to feel a part of or belong to several communities. Whether it’s being a part of Netflix to watch “the next big thing”, receiving the latest happenings within my child’s sport team, or recalling an invitation to present on a topic I was described as an “expert”, I want to belong. Cue the association’s new member! Turning new members of an association into long-term members requires strategic engagement, value delivery, and relationship building.

The Welcome

What type of association welcome will bring the industry-appropriate warm and fuzziness needed to the member?

Onboarding session within a week of joining: Send a welcome “package” with personalized messages or short video from the board or staff, branded association merchandise, and detailed information about the benefits and services offered throughout the year. Offering an orientation session or webinar to introduce new members to the association’s mission, goals, activities, and key contacts can provide the needed jump start feeling they belong to the organization.

Member Experience or Mentorship Programs: Have experienced members – Member Experience Committee perhaps – be paired with new members to guide them, answer questions, and help them integrate into their new community.

Consistent and Valuable Communication

Immediate gratification can be achieved when new members start receiving the regular newsletters highlighting upcoming events, recent achievements, and opportunities for involvement.

Personal Touch: Reach out personally through phone calls or personalized emails to check in and gather feedback to

Member Involvement Opportunities

Volunteer Opportunities: Chances are the membership application asked how they wanted to be involved or the reason for joining. Offer various micro volunteer roles to plug in the new members based on their application or registration fee. Allowing new members to contribute their skills and feel more connected to the association’s mission at the start of their membership journey can expose them to different types of roles and responsibilities – short and long-term opportunities.

Committees, Task Forces and Special Interest Groups: Encourage new members to join committees or special interest groups that align with their professional interests and expertise. These committees can enhance the networking opportunities specifically for new members to facilitate connections and engagement.

Regular Feedback and Adaptation

Surveys and Feedback Forms: Regularly solicit feedback from new members to understand their needs, expectations, and satisfaction levels.

Adaptation and Improvement: Use the feedback to make improvements in services, programs, and communication strategies to better meet members’ needs.

Recognition and Rewards: Recognize and reward active participation and contributions from new members to encourage continued engagement.

By implementing these strategies, associations can create a welcoming and engaging environment that encourages new members to remain involved and invested in the long-term members.

Picture of Lisa Moore

Lisa Moore

As Executive Director, Lisa incorporates her 20+ years of expertise in higher education and fraternal organizations to manage a broad range of association and membership services. She spent majority of her career providing leadership at Indiana State University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and University of Southern Mississippi. Her higher education career focused on communication, marketing, student success services and alumni association. She is also a member of the Memphis Area Alumnae Panhellenic Association.