09/24/2018

11 Steps to Membership Management Success – Introduction

Digital_members
The types of organizations that need an association management system have widely-ranging missions: from religious and community groups to foundations and charities, to conference organizers and subscription services, to associations and clubs of all kinds.

Are you an executive or staff at an organization considering adopting Wild Apricot, or a similar association management system (AMS)? Then this guide is for you.

Associations

Nonprofits

For-Profits

Clubs

 MEMBERS Supporters of a COMMUNITY or CAUSE  CUSTOMERS Enthusiasts of a SPORT or  HOBBY
  • Professional and Trade Associations
  • Political Advocacy and Campaigns
  • Subscription Website
  • Service
  • Condominium or Homeowners Associations (HOAs)
  • Foundations
  • Support Assistance Services
  • Special Interest
 
  • Charities
  •  Event/Conference
  • Sports
 
  • Faith-based Communities
  • Education and Training
  • Singles or Seniors Clubs
     
  • Student and Alumni Clubs

Your mission might be different – but you share a common need. Your business model requires you to deliver on your mandate and become sustainable by establishing a steady flow of membership dues and event fees into your organization. But volunteers and time commitment available to is usually very limited in smaller organizations.

And, you need powerful and flexible software features that assist you in managing your most precious asset: the information about your organization’s key stakeholders – members, communities and other supporters of your mission. You also may need an online store and a secure and mobile-friendly website to provide a “front door” into your organization.

Set up your system in manageable steps

This series of articles will take you through 11 comprehensive steps that will get you up and running on Wild Apricot, even on a budget. You’ll learn:

  • how to plan, implement and administer your account, membership database and finances
  • how to plan and design your organization’s website and events pages using Wild Apricot.

And, you’ll be able to move through the steps in the order that will help you do each one right while making the best use of your time.

The time estimates for each step are based on the effort required from your employees and volunteers. We developed these steps with knowledge gained in more than 20 implementations and migrations for Wild Apricot customers all over the world. These are not “ideals” or “marketing” – the steps are based on real-world experience!

For each step, we’ll provide an estimate of the time to completion, based on our experience helping clients migrate to Wild Apricot and similar association management systems. The total length of the full set-up process might vary, depending how much time you might need between each step to manage other priorities. If you are not migrating from an existing system, you may find some steps take a drastically shorter amount of time, or you may not need to take them at all. We will identify those steps when they occur.

Whatever your setting and resources, we’re confident that with these steps achieved, you’ll benefit from Wild Apricot’s range of features. If you plan right, your organization can rely on a quality association management system to drive activities like:

  • marketing
  • revenue generation and fundraising
  • online membership and event sign-up
  • membership renewals
  • automating various business processes
This guide is not meant to be a complete all-in-one documentation of Wild Apricot (that’s available on Wild Apricot’s Help website).

What you’ll get here is an overview of what sort of work is realistically required to take advantage of the benefits of the  platform, and how long you can plan to take to get it done.

Step 0: Sign up for a free Wild Apricot Account

Before you’ll be ready to start planning your database in Step 1, you need to obtain a free trial account. Got ten minutes? You can get started right from here.

Free or paid plan? You choose

Trial Wild Apricot accounts allow up to 50 contacts or members and five administrative accounts. The free trial website also has Wild Apricot branding in the website footer on every page

Get your Free Wild Apricot trial If you upgrade to a paid plan, you get more contacts and can add your own branding elements.

Choose a subscription term

Price

pay-as-you-go

$120 per month (avg.)

prepay for one year

10% off

prepay for two years

15% off

On average, Wild Apricot costs about $120 per month, or $0.40 per year per contact. Wild Apricot’s monthly and annual fees are current as of April 2018.  As you can see, the larger your contact database, the less you pay per contact to securely and capably manage your organization's growth on Wild Apricot.

 

Set-up advice from Wild Apricot

Before you start in earnest, get a high-level overview of all the features from:

 

We’ll help you do the right steps – in the right order

The steps and estimates below are based on our experience migrating diverse customer groups to Wild Apricot. Your mileage may vary, depending on your resources, but we’ll help by breaking the steps down into manageable, logical units.

It will be important to follow the steps in the order we’ve set them up here. If you can’t finish one before we publish the next, you can always come back to it when you’re ready.

Lots of organizations fall into the trap of focusing on their website first. It’s tempting to want to hang a sign up and invite people through your front door as soon as possible.

But if your database and the content within it is in disarray, you will not get what you ultimately want in the way of concrete, usable information about your members. Following the steps in a different order can mean putting the cart before the horse – and ending up with apples all over the road!

Think about the quality of your database as directly relating with your organization’s long-term sustainability.

A quality membership management system is key to a sustainable organization

Here is a preview of the  11 steps and publication timelines that will provide the greatest long-term benefit to your organization:

 

Structure

→ Fall/Winter 2018

Website look and feel

→ Winter 2019

Test and launch

→ Early spring 2019

Planning your Database I

Planning Your Website I

Import Your Database and Complete Payment Configuration

Planning your Database II

Planning Your Website II

Test and Launch

Planning your Database III

Creating Your Website I

 

Creating a Master Import File I

Creating Your Website II

 

Creating a Master Import File II

   

Benefits will multiply!

Your organization may not see the benefits of all the features from day one, but if you use our guide to get started, we’re confident you’ll benefit from more of Wild Apricot’s features to grow your organization’s membership and ensure its sustainability.

Watch for the next chapter in this series in the coming weeks.


Do you have questions about Wild Apricot or managing your member and contact database? Contact NewPath Consulting for a free consultation.

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