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Welcoming new members into your organization is more than just a formality; it’s an opportunity to create a lasting impression that can shape their entire experience. Beyond the initial handshake lies the potential to forge connections, build camaraderie, and set the stage for a vibrant, inclusive community.

In this guide, we invite you to explore innovative and impactful ways to make new members feel not only welcomed but truly valued. Whether you’re leading a community group, a professional association, or a nonprofit organization, these insights will take your welcoming efforts to new heights.

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Beyond “Hello:” 10 Memorable Ideas for Welcoming New Members 5

FAQs About Welcoming New Members to an Organization

Before you welcome new members to your organization, review these frequently asked questions to build upon your foundational knowledge.

Why is it important to welcome new members?

If your organization is like others, you may be experiencing an increase in new membership, meaning now is the time to develop an efficient welcome strategy. New members bring fresh ideas, viewpoints, and experiences to your organization, all of which are crucial to its success. Making them feel welcome can lead to improved:

A graphic that lists the reasons to welcome new members, detailed in the text below.
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  • Inclusivity: Welcoming new members creates an inclusive and friendly environment. It sends a message that everyone is valued and their presence is appreciated, which promotes a sense of belonging.
  • Integration: People may feel anxious or uncertain about joining a new organization. A warm welcome can help them integrate more quickly and comfortably into the group.
  • Retention: Making new members feel valued increases the likelihood that they will stay committed to your organization and become active participants.

The initial interaction with new members sets the tone for their entire experience with your organization. A positive reception can solidify their continued support.

When is the best time to welcome new members?

As soon as a new member joins your organization, send a welcome message to acknowledge their presence and thank them for making the decision. This initial contact sets a positive tone and shows that you value their membership.

The orientation and integration phase can extend over several weeks to a few months. During this time, new members should be given opportunities to learn more about the organization, get involved in activities, and establish connections with other members.

However, it’s important to note that the welcoming process should continue beyond the initial integration phase. Continue to nurture your relationship with members by providing ongoing support and recognition throughout their membership journey.

How to Welcome New Members: 10 Ideas

Review these ideas for welcoming new members to your organization and consider which would make the best addition to your onboarding efforts.

1. Create eye-catching eCards.

Seventy-six percent of associations say lapsed members are highly responsive to email. Not only can this medium bring members back from inactivity, but it’s a great tool for welcoming new members, as well!

eCards are digital greeting cards sent electronically via email or social media. While most organizations send a letter to new members, eCards offer a more visually engaging and efficient means of extending a warm welcome.

Additional benefits of using eCards include:

  • Personalization: With a few clicks of a button, you can customize every aspect of the greeting card, including the message, the font, and the color scheme. This personal touch will make new members feel valued and appreciated from the moment they join.
  • Instant delivery: Automate eCard delivery, so members receive a welcome message as soon as they sign up to join your organization. An immediate welcome helps create a positive first impression and demonstrates your organization’s professionalism.
  • Analytics: eCards have tracking capabilities that allow you to see when the card was opened, how many times it was viewed, and whether any links were clicked. Use this data to gauge the effectiveness of your welcome messages.
  • Interactive: Add interactive elements to the eCard to capture the recipient’s attention and make the welcome message more engaging. For instance, you can also add animated details like Teremana did for its Valentine’s Day cards.

Watch the following video to learn how you can welcome new members with eCardWidget, the leading software provider for digital greeting cards:

As you’ll see, creating an eCard is a quick and easy way to make a stellar first impression.

2. Host an orientation session.

Orientation sessions are an opportunity for new members to learn about your organization’s history, mission, values, and how they can get involved. As you prepare for the presentation, be sure to cover the following topics:

  • Background information: Explain what your organization stands for and its primary objectives. Highlight any notable achievements, projects, or initiatives that you have been involved in.
  • Member benefits: Outline the benefits of becoming a member. Explain what new members can gain from joining the organization, such as access to resources, networking opportunities, professional development, or community involvement.
  • Expectations: Specify the expectations and responsibilities of members. This may include attendance at meetings, participation in events or projects, adherence to a code of conduct, or paying membership dues.
  • Engagement opportunities: Showcase the various ways in which new members can get involved and engage with the organization. For instance, you may highlight your online community, volunteer programs, events, or leadership roles.

Additionally, provide an overview of the resources and tools available to members. Introduce them to the organization’s website, member portal, or any software/tools they will use and explain how to utilize these resources effectively. Offer guidance on where to find important documents, event calendars, communication channels, and any online forums or discussion boards.

3. Add new members to your online community.

An online member community or directory is a digital platform where members can connect, interact, and access resources. It also serves as a hub for members to network and stay engaged with the organization.

As you prepare to add new members, be sure to:

  • Send instructions. Notify members about their new online community account. Include instructions on how to log in, set a password, and navigate the community.
  • Highlight features. Provide an overview of the features and benefits of the online community, such as discussion forums, resource libraries, event calendars, and networking opportunities.
  • Encourage engagement. Encourage members to participate actively by making posts, joining discussions, and exploring the community’s offerings.

Consider creating a dedicated support team that can assist members in case they encounter issues with their accounts or have questions about using the online community.

4. Spotlight new members in your communications.

As an extra gesture of appreciation and to encourage other supporters to become members, spotlight new members in your communications to your community at large. Feature new members in your:

  • Email announcements: Send out email announcements to your organization’s existing members to introduce and welcome new members. Include a brief profile or introduction of each new member, highlighting their background, interests, and any notable achievements. Attach a photo of the new member to put a face to the name and make the introduction more personal.
  • Social media posts: Create posts that introduce new members, sharing their bios, photos, and reasons for joining. Encourage new members to engage with these posts by tagging them and inviting them to share their thoughts or experiences.
  • Membership spotlights on your website: Feature new members in a dedicated section of your organization’s website. Write brief member spotlights that highlight each new member’s background, interests, and how they contribute to the organization. Include quotes or testimonials from new members about why they joined and what they hope to achieve as members.

Keep in mind that some members may prefer to stay out of the limelight. On your membership sign-up form, add a field that asks for their permission to be featured in your communications.

5. Invite new members to an event.

Invite new members to a series of events to engage them in your mission. Some ideas for welcome events include:

  • Welcome mixers: Welcome mixers provide a relaxed and friendly environment for new members to meet existing members. Activities may include icebreakers, games, and opportunities for one-on-one or small-group interactions.
  • Community service projects: Hosting community service projects as part of a welcome event demonstrates the organization’s values and commitment to making a positive impact. New members can participate in hands-on activities that benefit the community while bonding with existing members.
  • Leadership meet-and-greet: As a special welcome event for new members, host a gathering with some important or key leaders from your nonprofit. Allow attendees to ask questions to get insight into the inner workings of the organization.
  • Member workshops: Offer workshops or training sessions specifically designed for new members. This can include skill-building sessions, leadership development, or industry-specific knowledge.

Add a virtual component to each of these events to accommodate members who have scheduling conflicts or live outside your area. Create personalized online invitations to ensure that these members still feel special and connected to your organization.

6. Assign new members a buddy or mentor.

Pair new members with an experienced member who can guide them through the initial stages of their membership and help them feel at ease in your organization.

Depending on your goals, you may choose to structure your program around:

  • Interest-based pairing: Pair new and existing members based on shared interests, goals, or roles within the organization. For example, if a new member joins with a specific interest in fundraising, connect them with an existing member who has experience in that area. This ensures that the pairing is not only about social integration but also about professional or skill development within the organization.
  • General mentorship: Establish a more relaxed mentorship program in which experienced members are randomly paired with newcomers. These mentors can provide general guidance, answer questions, and offer support as new members acclimate to the organization.

To develop a structured and productive program, define how often mentors and buddies should meet and what topics they should cover during their interactions.

7. Deliver new member welcome kits.

Welcome kits are a tangible expression of your appreciation and acknowledgment for new members. Depending on the proximity of your members, you may choose to hand deliver or mail a welcome kit that includes the following items:

A graphic that lists the items that should be included in a new member welcome kit, detailed in the text below.
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  • Welcome letter: Start with a personalized welcome letter or note from the organization’s leadership or president. Express appreciation for their membership and enthusiasm for their involvement.
  • Membership card or certificate: Provide a membership card or certificate to formalize their membership status. This can add a sense of belonging and pride.
  • Organization information: Create a brochure or booklet with detailed information about your organization, including its history, mission, vision, values, and objectives. Provide an organizational chart or hierarchy to help new members understand the leadership structure.
  • Event calendar: Include a calendar or schedule of upcoming events, meetings, and activities. This helps new members plan their involvement and participation.
  • Discounts or special offers: If applicable, include discount cards or special offers as a token of your appreciation. For example, a museum might offer new members discounted admission tickets for themselves and their guests, access to exclusive exhibitions, discounts on museum store purchases, and invitations to members-only programs.
  • Merchandise: Throw in some branded merchandise like T-shirts, pens, stickers, or other promotional items that showcase the organization’s logo or slogan.

To cut down on the cost of your welcome kits, incorporate digital materials wherever possible. For example, you could transform the discount cards into QR codes and the welcome message into an eCard to reduce printing costs while maintaining a personal touch.

8. Send new member surveys.

Send surveys to understand new members’ goals, expectations, and interests. Use this information to tailor their experience and recommend relevant activities or committees.

Here are some example questions you can include in a survey for new members:

  1. Demographic Information:
    • What is your age?
    • What is your gender?
    • Where are you located (city or region)?
    • What is your educational background?
  2. Interests:
    • How did you hear about our group/community/organization?
    • What motivated you to join?
    • What are your main interests or reasons for joining?
  3. Experience and Expectations:
    • Have you been part of similar groups or communities before?
    • What are your expectations from being a member of our organization?
    • Is there anything specific you hope to achieve or experience by being part of this organization?
  4. Communication Preferences:
    • How do you prefer to receive information and updates from the group (email, social media, newsletter)?
    • Are there specific communication channels you would like to see more of (i.e. forums, webinars, chat groups)?
  5. Involvement and Participation:
    • Are you interested in taking an active role within the group (e.g., volunteering, leadership roles)?
    • What types of events or activities would you be most likely to participate in?
  6. Additional Comments:
    • Is there anything else you’d like to share or any questions you have for us?

These questions can provide valuable insights into the new members’ backgrounds, expectations, and preferences, helping your organization better tailor its offerings and support to meet their needs.

9. Film a welcome video.

Seeing and hearing a real person deliver a welcome message can be more engaging than text or static images. And, you don’t have to be an expert in video production to film compelling content. Simply follow these steps:

  • Plan your content. Create a script or a detailed storyboard that includes a warm and friendly introduction, an overview of your organization’s mission and values, a brief history, and an explanation of what new members can expect.
  • Choose the right location and lighting. Select a well-lit and visually appealing location for your video shoot. Natural light can work well if it’s consistent, but you may also consider using soft, diffused artificial lighting to ensure everyone is well-lit and easily visible. Pay attention to background elements to ensure they are tidy and relevant to your organization’s identity.
  • Engage with your audience. Speak directly to the new members, use a warm and welcoming tone, and maintain eye contact with the camera. You can also include visuals or testimonials from existing members to showcase the sense of community within your organization.

To maintain the viewer’s attention, keep the video between two to three minutes. If you have more information to share, create multiple videos that align with different stages of the onboarding process.

10. Host a tour of your facility.

Take new members on a tour of your facility to help them feel more connected to your organization. Ensure that knowledgeable guides, such as staff members or experienced volunteers, are available to lead the tour.

Encourage engagement by allowing new members to participate in hands-on activities wherever possible. For example, you might create an interactive scavenger hunt in which new members work in teams to solve clues and explore their new environment.

A Final Note About Welcoming New Members

Remember that the process of welcoming new members is ongoing. It shouldn’t stop after the first day, week, or month. It’s a continuous effort that involves everyone in your organization, from leadership to peers.

By fostering a culture of inclusivity, support, and growth, you’ll not only retain new members but also strengthen your organization’s overall success.

If you’d like to learn more about engaging members, take a look at these resources:

Ready to engage and delight your members from day one? Click here to use eCardWidget to create and send welcome messages.
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