Onboard new members properly



Why is onboarding important?

First impressions count.

An onboarding process that greets new members with open arms sets the stage for their future involvement.

It’s about making them feel seen, valued, and informed.

This crucial step ensures that members aren’t just names on a list but are part of something much more exciting, where it’s worth their time to get involved.

If you have a solid onboarding process you will turn new members into loyal, active participants. If it’s not solid, you will cause them to drift away.

If you’re struggling with new members logging in once and then never coming back… then it’s time to improve how you onboard them.

How to have a solid onboarding program

Know your goal and execute the right way.

What do you actually want from new members? Here’s some common goals:

New members know what to do & where to go (Level 1)
Create their own profile, introduce themselves, understand house rules and culture (how to engage)

New members get involved (Level 2)
Ask questions, react/comment to others, attend events, provide feedback

New members add value (Level 3)
Help/educate newer members, create and deliver valued content for other members, become ambassadors to help you recruit and engage other members

Execution Strategy

Onboarding can be split into two categories: on platform and in person. It’s best to have a combination of both of these.

Successful onboarding of new members (to go from newbie to active) relies on the following:
  • Easy access to important information: clear path to getting involved

  • Solid support structure: feeling understood, heard and comfortable

  • Plenty of engagement opportunities: making it easy to get involved

Ensure new members have easy access to essential information like the community’s mission, house rules, what they should do first.

This information should be stored somewhere in your community where it is easy to find and access – such as a dedicated channel.

The “culture” of your community should be embedded in all this information provided (language, tone, design).

Solid support structure involves ensuring new members feel that their needs are properly understood, they feel safe (like walking in a room and knowing where to go/ who to chat wtih) and ready to get started.


To achieve the above I highly recommend:

1) Collecting information on new members before they have joined the community.

Learn how Tom Ross transformed his community by improving the onboarding process using application forms.

2) Personalised outreach via DMs, hosting small groups etc to welcome new members

Use the intel you have gathered in the application form, along with 5 minutes of additional research into each new members(look at their Twitter accounts, websites, projects etc) before you send them a personalised DM welcoming them to the community and how you think they’ll gain the most value.

Most importantly you should treat your community members’ time with respect. 

You want to identify ways you can connect with them – and how you can connect them with each other.

It is such a value add and worth your time.

From experience, I can tell you that those who actually get to know their new members on a personal level tend to have higher quality engagement later on.

People connect with people.

The initial up front additional work and time put into this step will reap rewards in the future.

Also make sure you establish clear channels for support, answering new member questions promptly and creating a safe space for questions, no matter how simple they might seem.

Encourage participation & engagement by leveraging what your community does best.

Whether it’s through creative contests/games, themed discussions, or interactive events, find ways to spark that initial engagement.

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