A Warm Welcome: 5 Ways to Improve New Member Orientation
Starting something new can often be a daunting task. Whether it be a new job, school, or club, it can be hard to gain one’s footing and find a sense of belonging right away. This makes orientation a crucial step to make a new person feel welcome. Clubs and associations often excel at this step by utilizing their member-centric culture, and offer a great example for businesses to follow.
Why is Orientation Important?
When a new person signs up, the association has the chance to confirm that this was a great decision and make a warm first impression. Orientation keeps the initial energy and enthusiasm high, while answering any lingering questions the new member may have. It connects the new member with fellow club members and introduces opportunities to get involved. Without an effective orientation, the new member may feel isolated and have a hard time breaking the ice. They may also become confused or frustrated when trying to navigate the association’s rules and policies. Any enthusiasm they had can quickly disappear, and they may leave altogether.
Have a Welcome Packet
New club members inevitably have to take in a lot of information. To eliminate the stress of memorizing it all, a well-organized welcome packet should always be given out. This should be branded with the association’s logo and contain any information new recruits may need. Whenever possible, the contents should be personalized with the person’s name. Items in the packet could include:
- A personal welcome letter expressing appreciation and excitement for the new member
- Important contact information.
- An event calendar
- Any instructions for online registration or other setup requirements.
Give a Gift
Along with their welcome packet, many associations will offer a “swag bag” full of branded items and small gifts. These gift should have some sort of tie-in with the association. For example, if health and wellness is the central focus, some healthy snacks, a branded water bottle, and fitness gear are all fitting options to include. If the association has any “uniform” items, such as the association’s lapel pin, patch, hat, shirt, or other worn item, they could be included as well.
Take a Tour
If applicable, new recruits can greatly benefit from a personal tour around the club’s facilities. This gets them more comfortable in the space, and gives them the chance to ask questions and meet new people. It also prevents them from getting lost, or wandering aimlessly trying to find the bathroom.
Make an Announcement
Acquiring new members is always a cause for celebration. New members can be announced via an internal newsletter, social media post, or mass email. Including a few fun details about each new person can help provide conversation starters as well.
Make it an Event
If applicable, having a welcome event is a great way to celebrate new members, highlight the benefits of membership, and get everyone acquainted in a fun setting. This could be a brunch, party, or formal induction ceremony. New members could receive their swag bag here, if they haven’t already. Many associations have symbolic activity to publicly and officially welcome new members. These could be a pinning ceremony, candle lighting, pledge, or other meaningful gesture.
No matter the industry, it’s important to make new arrivals feel welcomed and confident. By providing an organized and celebratory orientation, those new people will be excited to dive in, and stay in their organization for a long time. If you’re looking for a unique way to excite your organization members, a custom pin, belt buckle, money clip, or other piece of jewelry may be a great fit. Our custom awards help to elevate and celebrate organizations with designs tailored to their needs. Start by browsing our gallery of past products, or