SET A BUDGET.
Statistics show that it costs 7x more to obtain a new member than to retain a current one, and that first-year members have the lowest renewal rates. New-member onboarding is a process that is clearly worth investing in, and with some planning and organization, it will make a big difference in an association’s success.
The above-referenced research shows that organizations that earmark as little as 1% of their budget for onboarding have higher renewal rates. Bigger organizations tend to set aside more. Regardless of size, associations should commit something. After all, something is better than nothing.
CHOOSE AN ONBOARDING LEADER.
Delegate a specific staff member to oversee the onboarding process and ensure they are actually given the time to do it right.
SET A TOUCHPOINT SCHEDULE.
It is the foundation of the onboarding process. Be sure to set a timeline. Statistics from the study show that a 12-month schedule yields the strongest results. The argument can be made that the second half of the schedule is more important than the first. When the new-member glow fades, keeping the association top-of-mind can make all the difference in retention rates. Consider a 2- to 3-year schedule. Why not?
Associations are composed of people. People interact with other people. Be a person, not just an organization to members. Even mass communications should have a human touch. Keeping things conversational and maybe even informal can convey a more personal feel.
Check back soon for the next post about avoiding Member Onboarding Pitfalls.