A few weeks ago, I was at lunch with a client discussing upcoming projects. Next up—their membership kit. We recently overhauled their member recruiting collateral, as the previous materials were not only outdated, but not very effective.  The new brochure was a hit and effectively created a new look for all of their membership outreach.

When discussing the membership kit, I first got stuck on the word “kit.” It kinda makes me cringe. Who really wants to receive a “kit”? (Unless it’s a kit to fix your iPhone, like my husband just did!) Typically these kits are a stack full of paper – brochures, catalogs, manuals, letters, etc. When associations send a big chunk of paper via mail, they’re making a few assumptions:

1)      Members have time to read through everything they are sent

2)      Members have a perfect place to put said-chunk-of-paper

3)      Members will refer again and again to this kit and continue to glean information/things to do from it

Those are just a few of the starting mistakes I think associations make when determining what goes in the kit. But, probably the biggest mistake is to assume that your new members get excited about their new membership while going through the kit and thus starts the beginning of a beautiful relationship between association and member.

Julie Senter, an association guru, said it perfectly in her blog post, “It’s important to think about how the member is feeling after they join an organization.  I say feeling because that is what membership decisions are made on – feelings – even if the underlying reason behind the new member joining is financial.  The new member wants to feel special.  They just invested money in you, and they want to know you care and value that investment.  They are eager to start building their network and getting a jump on their competition. Call it the new member afterglow.

Sometimes I find that when we (agency OR client) approach a project, we get so bogged down in content – what do we want to say? How should we organize all the points we want to make? I think a better approach is to start with a creative brief and take your time on the objective section. Here are some questions you can ask:

  • What are we trying to achieve by sending a new member a “kit”?
  • In 1 sentence, what is the key takeaway for new members?
  • What type of effect should the member kit have new members?

This will help you focus on the outcome, so that you can work your way to backwards to how to execute (creatively). Stay tuned for an update on the development of our client’s new-new member kit.