For the last year, I have been saying that members who engage with the association within the first 3 days to 3 weeks of joining become more engaged through the life of their membership. I have been shouting this from the rooftops because members have told me this in interview after interview.
The link between each new member’s experience and overall engagement is significant news because increased new member engagement does not just benefit the small segment of new members. Increased new member engagement over time, improves all member engagement. We could guess then that new member onboarding, orientation, and welcoming programs are the key to better member engagement. But, are they?
Today I come to you with more big news.
New member engagement programs do work! On average these programs increase new member renewal rates by 9.7%! I know this because we are sifting through the results of the New Member Engagement Study right now and we can give you an early peek behind the curtain.
Can I guarantee that if you implement a new member engagement program today that your new member renewal rates will rise by 9.7% tomorrow? No, not exactly, your mileage will vary. Some associations had modest gains, and some had significant boosts. But, and this is a crucial finding, the super successful associations were not necessarily large or more well-funded associations.
In fact, the association’s budget size, staff size, location, or type had no impact on the results. This surprised us. Before conducting this study, we wondered if perhaps large associations with their bigger budgets had an advantage? Or maybe it was just the opposite, smaller associations with fewer new members could reach each new member personally so they would be more successful. The research shows, however, there is no link between association demographics and improved new member renewal rates.
We found that no matter whether your association is a trade or professional, large or small, national or local, a new member engagement program can increase member engagement for you! What matters a great deal is how you implement the program. The planning method you use, how you define a new member, and the tactics leveraged all play a role in success, and the study is packed with these insights.
The report will be coming out in January. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get your hands on the data today. Log into the platform and answer the survey (it will only take you about 20 minutes) and you will have immediate access to personalized comparisons and peer data. By taking the survey, you will also be put on the list to get a copy of the study’s report the moment we publish it.
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