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Use your data to communicate with first-year members differently

Long ago, I was a membership director in a couple of different trade associations. And as any membership professional knows, the most difficult members to retain are first-year members, those who have joined in just the past year.

The reasons should be obvious. Unless you have several programs designed especially for first-year members, most first-year members don’t have a lot of ways to immerse themselves in your association.

And to top it off, we tend to communicate with first-year members in the same manner we communicate to long-term members. And that’s a mistake.

The good news is, you can use your data to communicate with first-year members differently. Here are just a few ideas:

  1. When you’re doing an “all-members” communique of any kind, segment out the first-year members and alter the message to fit them. Even something as simple as “Since you’re a first-year member we wanted to point out some important news in this message especially for you.”
  2. Create a separate set of messages that are designed only for new members. Each message can begin with a note that says these messages are specific to them.
  3. If you’ve collected any data about the members (e.g., demographic information) use that data to tailor your message. “As a first year member interested in X, you should be aware of these programs that address X.”
  4. Create an internal report that identifies all first-year members within 90 days of expiration and shows all of their engagement the past year, and make sure you’re communicating with any members showing low engagement.

With today’s technology, identifying who first-year members and communicating with them is easier than ever. You just need to take a little time to tailor your messaging.

 

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“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

“We came to Wes because we were very frustrated with our existing AMS and we wanted to improve our capabilities as soon as practicable. Wes very quickly helped us through a process of identifying our needs, identifying potential vendors, and selecting a new system that we’ll be able to move into very quickly. I especially appreciated Wes’s candor about our processes as well as the systems we were looking at. He was a great resource to have in a period of high anxiety for our organization. I would highly recommend Wes for any similar project.”

Jack Chiasson, CMP Executive Director
National Association of Life Brokerage Agencies

“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

Mary Pat Paris
International Registration Plan

“This is the second database implementation we’ve done since I have been at Western Arts Alliance (WAA). The first I did on my own. This time we engaged Wes Trochlil as our database planning consultant. Let me tell you, this process is a whole lot easier having Wes on your team! For a small association like WAA, it’s tempting for board and EDs to question the justification and expense of a database planning consultant. But it’s the small associations that need Effective Database Management the most. Wes strengthened our planning process, clarified our needs requirements, helped us steer around solutions that couldn’t meet our objectives, and saved us money in the long haul.”

Tim Wilson, Executive Director
Western Arts Alliance

Tim Wilson
Western Arts Alliance
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