February 2020 – Lauriane Lebrun, Marketing & Communications Coordinator

How happy does it make your board of directors when a new member joins your organization?  For most small nonprofits, each and every new member is a reason to celebrate – you’ve just gained an important supporter!

But it’s not just the board who should be feeling celebratory.  Your new member’s decision to join the organization should be reinforced with an enthusiastic welcome letter, package, email, and/or phone call to make them glad to have signed up.  Consider this story from Wild Apricot’s Terry Ibele:

“When I joined, I expected the association to be excited to meet me.  I expected them to reach out and connect me with other members.  Plus, I was looking for some positive reinforcement, since I’d just forked out my money to join.  Unfortunately, [their welcome] email looks like it was written by a robot.  My excitement and impression of the association dropped to zero.”

Not a great way to start off what ought to be a mutually-beneficial relationship. 

So, how should you go about offering the warmest possible welcome to your new members?

  • Get Personal.  New members should be welcomed by name and provided with personalized information like their account login and renewal date.  You should also provide your contact information so that they can get in touch with someone at your organization with any questions.  You can provide a general office email/phone number, or the contact info of a specific board member, such as your Membership Chair.   
  • Reaffirm the Decision to Join.  In last month’s Lexian E-News, we discussed the issue of donor remorse and how to avoid it.  One key tactic is to immediately counter a donor’s doubts by providing answers and gratitude.  Make them know they’ve made the right decision before they have a chance to regret it.  Thank them sincerely for their contribution—in this case, their new membership—and give them a tangible sense of how their dues payment will be used.  You can also remind them how they will benefit in return.  What resources have they gained access to with their membership?  What networking or volunteering opportunities can they take advantage of right away?
  • Give Them the Grand Tour.  As first-time visitors to the member-exclusive side of your website, your new members will appreciate some help finding their way around.  Provide direct links to the login page and the various members-only areas of your website.  Also share a copy of your calendar to make sure they are aware of any upcoming meetings and events.
  • Last But Not Least: Make Them Feel Special.  Whether this comes in the form of announcing their names on your Facebook page or as a shout-out at your next event, it’s always worthwhile to do a little something to make your new members feel recognized and important.  Show them your organization cares, and your members will be eager to demonstrate the same level of appreciation in return.

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The Lexian Management newsletter is for informational purposes only.

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