What Message Does Your Association's New Member Packet Send?
Monday, October 26, 2009 at 2:41PM
Julie Senter in Associations, association, new members

Having worked for associations for more than seven years, I strongly believe in joining professional associations and taking full advantage of all the amazing networking and professional development opportunities they provide.

That’s why one of the first things I did when I started my own company was to join a few – both in my profession and in those within my intended markets.  All in all, I’ve joined half a dozen associations (local, state and national) in the past few months.  That means a lot of new acronyms – and a lot of new mail in my mailbox.

One of the things I look forward to the most is receiving the new member packet.  This is one of the most important touches an association has with its members, but unfortunately many associations miss this valuable opportunity.  Instead of feeling like a valued, welcome addition to the organization, the new member feels like an afterthought, or, worse, an ATM.

It’s important to think about how the member is feeling after they join an organization.  I say feeling because that is what membership decisions are made on – feelings – even if the underlying reason behind the new member joining is financial.  The new member wants to feel special.  They just invested money in you, and they want to know you care and value that investment.  They are eager to start building their network and getting a jump on their competition.

Call it the new member afterglow.  Take advantage of this honeymoon period with a personal phone call to new members within 10 days!  Make them feel extra special!  Only one association I joined called me, and guess which one I’m most involved with now?

Additionally, take 10 minutes this week to audit your new member packets.  What does it say about your organization?  Do you even know the last time the packet was reviewed?  In the packets I received, it was very clear which associations were eager to get me involved and which ones were just mailing it in. 

 Make sure at the very least, your packet includes these items:

Want to make the member feel extra special and ensure they get involved quickly?  Include a coupon good for free registration for the next membership meeting or luncheon.  They get an immediate return on their investment, and you get a more active member.

Here are more tips to think about as you audit your packets:

Finally, ensure that all of your departments are contributing to the new member packet.  Send the current packet to all of your department heads and ask for comments.  Is there anything they want to add?  You may be surprised that your government affairs department would include a registration card for the association’s grassroots advocacy program, or that your PAC has scholarships for new members to attend the association’s annual legislative visits.

Be creative!  And remember:  it’s all about thanking your new member for joining your organization and showing them their investment is sound.

Article originally appeared on Senterline Communications (http://senterline.net/).
See website for complete article licensing information.