Customer Interview: Anu Yogeswaran - Canadian Tamil Professional Association
Anu Yogeswaran, Director of Membership and Administration
Technology services: WordPress, Wild Apricot, CSS and SSL
Who is CTPA?
The Canadian Tamil Professional Association (CTPA) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization focused on developing career opportunities for emerging and established Tamil professionals through professional networking, professional development and mentorship. They serve Tamil professionals in all industries, empowering them to understand their options for career paths and job prospects, and helping newcomers to Canada navigate work life and immigration issues. Director of Membership and Administration Anu Yogeswaran has been with CTPA for two years. She tells us that close to 1,200 people have subscribed to updates and events from the site, with their Facebook page drawing more than 3,000 followers and lots of engagement.
CTPA is actively growing their base of paying members, and working to help people understand the benefits of membership. That was one of their main reasons for seeking technology support. When Anu began in her position, she and her team had the mandate of implementing an application that would help monitor people’s event attendance and engagement. They had been using Eventbrite, but decided to invest in Wild Apricot, a cloud-based software designed to manage membership, events, websites and other activities.
While CTPA had a volunteer set up the software, that person moved on and after trying on their own for 18 months Anu felt they now needed an outside consultant. She found NewPath Consulting on the Wild Apricot partner directory. While she interviewed other consultants both on and outside the directory, she was impressed by Alex’s consulting skills.
Even in their preliminary conversation, Alex took a great deal of time to ask questions and understand what Anu and her team at CTPA wanted to do with Wild Apricot. “He explained the bigger picture,” she noted. He wasn’t just trying to solve an immediate problem and move on, he seemed to genuinely care about their current and future needs.
As with any non-profit organization, budget was a big concern and Anu had to show the rest of the board how addressing their technology needs would also further their overall goals. “The board didn’t necessarily see technology as a priority,” Anu said, though she knew that “if we need to evolve into a bigger and better organization we can’t just be working with Excel spreadsheets.”
Using the full power of technology
Before working with Alex, when challenges or limitations with Wild Apricot arose, Anu’s volunteer team did their best to “hack” the Wild Apricot system. Unfortunately, this created new problems. Cleaning up the hacks was one of Alex’s first tasks.
They knew they wanted to launch their membership portal and draw new members, and they would also rely on Alex to show them all that Wild Apricot could do for them. Without a technology partner like NewPath Consulting, Anu fears they either wouldn’t have launched their membership application (certainly not as quickly), or they would have hacked their way into creating a poor user experience that would have turned people away instead of drawing them in.
Previously CTPA contacted Wild Apricot support or tasked volunteers to find technology solutions, but Anu definitely saw a difference having a dedicated professional like Alex on board. “Alex is quite passionate about helping his clients,” she said.
The NewPath Consulting difference
Anu noticed a big difference between Alex and some of the other consultants she contacted. “Some didn’t even respond!” Some may have charged less, but they were only looking at the current problem and not the bigger picture. Alex offered the flexibility of a reasonable monthly service plan.
“Alex started the relationship on Day One and that really helped. He emailed, followed up well after that initial conversation, and gave a high-level overview of things.”
How did Alex go above and beyond their expectations? “What I loved about the whole experience was that Alex recorded the meetings so I could share with my team and get their contributions.” Each time they gave feedback, Alex would go back and push the boundaries of the Wild Apricot software to try and get them what they needed. He even reached out to Wild Apricot directly on their behalf.
Time saved? Priceless!
With Alex’s help, the Canadian Tamil Professionals Association achieved their vision of launching their membership site on time for their big event, instead of postponing to the next year.
Other benefits of Alex’s changes were the improved user experience and professionalism of the membership area of the site. For example, they were collecting too much information from people who were signing up. Alex guided them to make it easier for people to make that initial connection. “We want these people to eventually become members, but now it’s easier for them to come in initially.”
“We send feedback forms to ask if people had any issues signing up, and 90% of people reported no problems.”
Non-profit organization? Go for it and work with Alex!
“Alex is a big picture person; he’s definitely with you in this whole game. He’s there, rolling up his sleeves and making sure he supports you. There was no time I wondered where he was or why he was not responding. Alex was very likable throughout, very easy to get along with. You can throw surprises at him but he doesn’t get flustered or say, ‘that’s not part of the project.’
Alex is accommodating and takes on challenges really well. He has a really great work ethic, and he really cares. He’s willing to teach, so your organization won’t be reliant on him forever. I appreciate the way he cares about us, and I’m sure he is the same with all of his clients. I highly recommend him.”
"With Alex’s help, the Canadian Tamil Professionals Association achieved their vision of launching their membership site on time for their big event, instead of postponing to the next year."Anu Yogeswaran, Director of Membership and Administration, CTPA