Membership Hack: Onboarding Webinars

The International Coach Federation onboards new members using a live webinar to introduce them to key benefits and services. This early engagement opportunity also helps boost first-year retention.

How to hack it? One of the first touchpoints that Don Whittle makes with new members as director of member experience at the International Coach Federation (ICF) is via an onboarding webinar.

“Videoconferencing helps our large organization feel smaller and more personal,” he says. “Our members value that personal touch, and it helps make our global community feel much more tangible.”

During each webinar, Whittle reviews member benefits and services, demonstrating how to find and use key online tools and resources. “Most of our members aren’t digital natives,” he says. “It’s wonderful to show them the ins and outs of our site and answer their questions in real time.”

And for new members who can’t view the webinar live, Whittle posts a video recording of the conversation to ICF’s website for playback.

Why does it work? The webinars help Whittle and his team to streamline customer service for new members. And ICF has seen a correlation between webinar participation and higher retention rates. Last year, live attendance totaled 1,770 members, with an additional 3,190 viewing the recording. That combined viewership represents 49 percent of new members. In 2018, first-year member retention increased by 6 percent.

What’s the bonus? ICF uses the webinars as an opportunity to explain the ICF credential to new members. That promotion has paid off: ICF has seen a 39 percent increase in first-year members applying for the credential.

(vladwel/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Tim Ebner

By Tim Ebner

Tim Ebner is a senior editor for Associations Now. He covers membership, leadership, and governance issues. Email him with story ideas or news tips. MORE

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