4 Ways to Welcome Association Members That Will Resonate

Welcoming new association members makes a good first impression and lays the foundation for a strong relationship. 

New members join your association for a variety of reasons. For some, the primary goal is to network with others in their field. Others want to develop their professional skills through your events and resources, and some join simply to continue their education and acquire certifications required for their career.

No matter their reason for joining, welcoming new members into your association is essential. Not only will you make a good first impression that will elevate their view of your organization, but you’ll also lay the foundation for long-term relationships with those members, boosting your retention rates and reputation.

In this guide, we’ll look at four proven ways to extend a hearty welcome to new association members:

1. Welcome Email Series
2. New Member Kits
3. Online Member Community Invites
4. Networking Events

By following these tips, you’ll show new members that you value and appreciate their membership in your association from the start. Let’s dive in!

1. Welcome Email Series

A welcome email series provides essential information to new members about your association. Rather than writing everything they need to know in one long email, sending several messages of 200-400 words each makes the content more digestible for recipients. Plus, if you email new members once or twice a week for the first few weeks of their membership, it’ll keep your association top of mind and prompt them to get involved.

Here is a sample structure of a welcome email series to help you get started:

  • Message #1: Simply welcome new members to your association and thank them for joining. To make these initial messages more memorable, you could send online greeting cards with eye-catching designs.
  • Message #2: Explain three to five key benefits of membership in your association, and embed a testimonial video from a longtime member if you have one to make the email more engaging and convincing.
  • Message #3: Direct new members to begin their educational journey with your association through online resources like articles and courses.
  • Message #4: Tell members about upcoming events like live webinars, local meet-ups, or your annual convention. Include sign-up links if they’re available.
  • Message #5: Send a survey asking for their feedback on your registration process, welcome series, and anything they’ve gotten involved with so far.

If you have a lot of new members joining, it can be time-consuming to send multiple individual messages to everyone. Try automating your email series so that the first message is triggered when someone submits their online membership form and payment. Then, the subsequent messages should automatically be sent on a regular schedule. However, make sure to include the member’s name in the greeting or subject line of each email to add a personal touch.

2. New Member Kits

Who doesn’t enjoy receiving free swag or a surprise package in the mail? A new member kit provides a variety of fun, curated gifts that express your appreciation to members and make them feel like part of your association’s community.

eCardWidget’s guide to welcoming new association members suggests including the following gifts in your new member kit:


  • Branded merchandise such as t-shirts, water bottles, and phone cases.
  • Other small items like a high-quality pen or a potted succulent.
  • Gift cards to popular retailers or restaurants.

Along with these gifts, include an informational booklet and flyers advertising upcoming events. That way, you can continue educating your members about your association and encouraging them to get involved.

3. Online Member Community Invites

Your association likely has an online member community, whether it’s hosted on your member engagement app, your learning management system, a communication platform like Slack or Discord, or a social media group on Facebook or LinkedIn. When new members join, promptly invite them to join this online community. This way, they’ll immediately feel like part of your association and be able to meet other members.

If you have an existing member in your online community who shares similar career interests to a new member or lives in the same area, you could send a direct message to both individuals to introduce them. This can further integrate the new member into your association by showing them that existing members have things in common with them, and it may even initiate a networking opportunity or mentoring relationship between the two individuals.

Additionally, with new members’ permission, you can present them to your existing membership more publicly. Add a “New Members” section with their names and links to their online member community profiles to your association’s monthly newsletter and the memberships page of your website (remember to update this every month to keep the list fresh). For new members who take advantage of early engagement opportunities, ask if you can spotlight them on your organization’s social media accounts, as this can encourage others to follow suit.

4. Networking Events

According to Double the Donation, events are one of the best ways for your staff to connect with new association members, either in person or in a live online setting. Plus, they help reinforce your relationships with existing members and allow members to interact with each other.

While the most effective kind of event for building relationships within an association is one focused on networking, the way you go about this will depend on your members’ preferences. For instance, you could:

  • Incorporated networking sessions into your annual conference. A welcome social, a new member lunch, or end-of-day happy hours are all great ways to do this.
  • Host localized meetups. Look at your member data to figure out which cities have the largest concentrations of members and schedule a casual meet-up at a local restaurant or event venue in each city.
  • Plan an online orientation session for new members. Personally get new members up to speed on your association with a live webinar. Then, organize breakout sessions where small groups of new members can meet each other and ask your staff questions.

No matter what type of networking event you choose, promptly send a thank-you email to every new member who attends. This is also a great opportunity to gather feedback from participants.

The ideas in this guide are just four of the many possible ways to welcome new members to your association. Which methods you choose will depend on your member base’s unique preferences. No matter your approach, track engagement data such as email open rates and event registration numbers and take the member feedback you receive into consideration to continue improving your strategy over time.

Guest Author: Tim Bandolato, eCardWidget