Effective Ways to Improve New Member Onboarding Process in Associations

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Effective Ways to Improve New Member Onboarding Process in Associations

Last Updated: May 03. 2024


Building a good onboarding plan is essential to make new members familiar with the benefits of joining an association and involving them in the process of fulfilling its mission.

Getting new members and engaging them are critical components to organizational success but have been challenging since the beginning of the pandemic. When you welcome professionals to your group, ensure them that they made the right decision and that their time and money will not go to waste.

If you are looking for ways to enhance your association’s new member onboarding process, you’ve come to the right place.

This article will enumerate the best ways to conduct member orientation, which is critical to showing the value of your association and making individuals feel appreciated in the group that can even encourage future member renewals.

Key Takeaways

  • Send a personalized welcome email to new members within 24 hours of membership approval. Include the association's background, member benefits, and contact information.
  • Organize informative and social new member orientation events, such as webinars, local meetups, or conferences. Invite veteran members to share success stories and facilitate networking.
  • Create an engaging onboarding video that showcases the association's website, member portal, resources, and office culture. Compile navigation tips and important information into one video.
  • Engage with new members on social media by announcing their membership, tagging them in posts, and suggesting relevant groups or lists they can join to feel valued and heard.
  • Collect feedback from new members 6 months after joining and immediately after orientation events through phone calls, online polls, or surveys. Use insights to refine processes, identify motivations, and improve member satisfaction.

What Is New Member Onboarding?

New member onboarding in associations refers to the process of welcoming, orienting, and integrating new members into the organization.

It involves introducing them to your association's mission, values, benefits, and resources, as well as helping them understand how they can actively participate and contribute to the community.

Effective onboarding is crucial for engaging new members and ensuring their long-term commitment to the association.

A successful onboarding program typically includes elements such as welcome packages, orientation sessions, mentorship programs, and ongoing communication. It makes new members feel valued, connected, and empowered, ultimately leading to a stronger community and higher retention rates.

Why New Member Onboarding Is So Important?

Additionally, associations that engage with new members effectively during their initial membership period can significantly enhance member retention and satisfaction (Associations Management Online).

New member onboarding is crucial for associations because it sets the tone for your member's entire experience with the organization.

It's during this initial period that new members form their first impressions, develop a sense of belonging, and begin to understand the value of their membership.

A well-executed onboarding process can lead to higher engagement, increased retention, and a more committed membership base.

Onboarding also plays a vital role in the following things:

  • Helps new members navigate the association's resources, benefits, and opportunities.
  • Provides a clear roadmap and support system for new members.
  • Empower new members to make the most of their membership from the start.
  • Enhances the overall member experience.
  • Contributes to the strength and success of the association.
  • Encourages new members to participate, volunteer, and advocate for the organization.

To streamline your new member onboarding process, consider the following strategies:

1. Send a Welcome Email to New Members

welcome emails

Great relationships will serve as the foundation of an association. A welcome email is a good way to build rapport when developing meaningful relationships with new members.

Studies have shown the importance of welcome emails. In fact, they have an average read rate of 34%, which is 42% higher than the average read rate of other types of emails.

A new member welcome email sets the tone of your association and motivates individuals to interact with you. Therefore, it’s essential to be mindful of what to include in the first email.

Start with a well-crafted and personalized email to improve member experience and to show how much you value them. Include the association’s background, information on member benefits, and direction on how they can reach out to you.

Once memberships have been approved, you can send emails to primary new members and other important contacts within 24 hours.

When you receive a positive response from recipients, you can expect them to be more receptive in the future.

2. Organize a New Member Orientation

Member orientation is one of the onboarding ideas that can help new members learn more about your organization, find their way easily, and meet new people they can get along with.

The orientation process should be both informative and social. Besides providing them with important details about your group, discuss the different opportunities you prepare for them to meet and engage with each other more.

Whether it’s a virtual event, a local meetup, or a general association conference, mentioning these occasions can give them an idea of the value your organization offers when facilitating valuable conversations.

Organizing a speed networking event with other professionals is also a good idea to foster relationship building among old and new members.

Invite veteran members who can talk about their success stories and how the association has helped reach them. Real-life stories create meaningful narratives that can get others’ interests and keep their attention than formal PowerPoint presentations.

You can also opt to host a webinar orientation since it’s a feasible, affordable, and effective way to communicate the key association facts.

However, keep in mind that you need a solid strategy for these webinars to succeed when improving member engagement.

Glue Up’s Webinar Engagement Solution lets you run webinars and provides your attendees with a premium and seamless membership experience.

Attendees can easily access the association’s agenda and presentations. Additionally, they can exchange business cards, request meetings, and engage in one-on-one chats.

With a reliable network, attendees can speak clearly and share their insights with panelists safely and securely in real-time during webinars or conferences.

3. Present an Onboarding Video

Welcome new members with an onboarding video as you incorporate technology trends in your association to stay ahead.

Create a new video that is both informational and engaging. Begin with your association’s website through a walkthrough video that shows navigation tips and important pages to check.

Come up with a video that explains your association’s mission and vision. Next, show them the member portal login, content resource center, and the other benefits they can have online.

You can compile all clips into one video and send them to new members. This can provide them with more information on the association’s principles and give an idea of how the office looks and the kind of culture you have.

a. "How-to" Onboarding Videos

Create a walkthrough video guiding members through your website, highlighting important pages and navigation tips.

b. Webinars

Produce a webinar explaining your association's mission, vision, and impact, featuring interviews with key stakeholders.

c. Demonstrations

Include demonstration videos showcasing member benefits like the portal, resource center, and exclusive tools.

Aim for an informative yet entertaining tone, using visuals, animations, and narratives to engage viewers. Incorporate glimpses of your association's culture and environment. Send the comprehensive video to new members as an introduction to your principles and offerings.

4. Engage with New Members on Social Media

Social media engagement measures member interactions on social media accounts and content. According to Facebook, creating human interactions online can promote a greater sense of well-being.

Most people are on social media these days. Other than offering support, your members expect you to reach out as well.

Therefore, engaging with new members is a must, especially if you have millennials in the association.

To begin, post an announcement on social media that welcomes new members to your group. It will make them feel good about their decision to become a member of your association.

You can also include the link in the updates if you have a webpage that introduces new members. Feel free to suggest a Facebook group, a Twitter list, or a LinkedIn group that they can look up and join.

Regardless of the social media platform you use, you can reach out to new members by searching for their handles and tagging new people in the post.

Monitor the new ones and boost member engagement to show that you continuously stay on top. It’s also a great way for the new members to feel valuable, heard, and respected.

5. Utilize Newsletters for Member Outreach

Your newsletters provide a valuable channel for consistently communicating with new members during the onboarding process.

Sending tailored newsletters packed with helpful information, event updates, member spotlights, and association news keeps new members engaged and informed.

Furthermore, customized newsletters ensure you facilitate a smooth transition by addressing their common questions, highlighting member benefits, and fostering a sense of community right from the start.

With Glue Up's CRM for associations, you can now create customized newsletters for your members using the integrated expert AI Copilot.

6. Be Open to Asking for Feedback

member feedback

It is important to get feedback from new members to ensure that the onboarding process is gaining the desired effect.

You can use it as a basis for improving existing methods and offerings. If your new member orientation didn’t work out as expected, you can determine what was inefficient and make some adjustments to improve its chances of success.

The ideal time to collect feedback is 6 months as it would give more time for members to adjust to the process and make new connections.

In the same way, getting information about their reactions right after the event is also advised. But make sure to actively ask and listen to fresh ideas.

There are different ways to collect member feedback. It’s no secret that reaching out to new and first-year members through a phone call is an effective way to gain valuable information on an association’s performance.

On the other hand, an online poll or survey can help quickly gather member feedback to better understand them, improve association decisions, and increase member satisfaction levels.

Moreover, you can refine your existing processes and identify what motivates your members to develop member engagement strategies.

Here at Glue Up, we make it easier for you to create and distribute a survey that collects the information your association needs to make confident choices.

Our Surveys Solution lets you create polls, surveys, and quizzes in a few clicks. You can customize a survey from scratch or choose from our pre-made survey templates in minutes.

Furthermore, you can collect data automatically and generate insights that can help you make better, data-driven decisions.

Top New Member Onboarding Ideas

Once you have streamlined your new member onboarding strategy using the steps outlined above, it's time to explore some ideas.

Many of your members might hesitate to interact, and therefore, they need an extra push. If you're thinking of some fresh ideas to engage them and enhance their participation or involvement, consider the member onboarding ideas provided in this blog.

Onboarding New Members Through Technology: Some Tips

Onboarding new members is a critical process for any association, as it sets the foundation for a long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationship.

With advanced technology like AI and automation, you can streamline the entire process and engage your members more effectively. These include:

Building Platform Competence

One of the first steps in onboarding new members is to familiarize them with your association's platform and tools.

Provide clear, step-by-step guides and tutorials to help them navigate your website, member portal, and any other relevant systems. Consider offering live training sessions or webinars to walk them through the platform and answer any questions they may have.

By building platform competence early on, you empower your new members to take full advantage of the resources and benefits your association offers.

Using Automation and AI

ai and automation

Streamline your onboarding process by automating key tasks and communications through Glue Up’s AI-powered AMS.

Use email drip campaigns to welcome new members, share important information, and guide them through the initial stages of membership. Automated reminders can help ensure they complete essential steps, such as setting up their member profile or accessing exclusive content.

Automation allows you to provide a consistent and efficient onboarding experience while saving your association staff time and resources.


An effective onboarding process will help new members learn more about the association, feel more valued, and increase their engagement.

Since onboarding is correlated to the membership strategy plan, you should begin by planning a checklist for effective new member orientation.

Now that you know how to nail the new member onboarding process, we hope that you get a stronger member experience, higher attendee engagement, and better member retention with the strategies we have provided.

Are you looking for innovative ways to provide your members with a better experience? Book a demo of our all-in-one membership management software, and we will show you the Glue Up platform and the robust association management tools we have to automate and simplify the entire process.

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