Step 10: Spreading the Word and Training
Congratulations, your painstaking planning and collective efforts have finally come to fruition!
By now you should be confident that everyone who has worked with you to this point has a stronger understanding of:
- How to clean up and migrate your member and contact database into Wild Apricot
- How to plan, design and create a Wild Apricot-powered website
- How to configure, test and launch your Wild Apricot website
With every well-functioning system comes a plan to keep it running smoothly. As you settle into using your new membership database day-to-day, you will enjoy the benefits of having chosen Wild Apricot.
To complete our 11-part series to membership management success, here are some best practices for keeping your Wild Apricot running smoothly. These tips include knowledge transfer to other staff and volunteers, training and an ongoing support model to ensure your prospective members and current members continue to receive value from your website.
Invite people to your new ‘home’
Letting members know about your new website is a key step to generating initial excitement. Begin by creating a launch email that introduces your new website to your members. Wild Apricot has created a New Member Guide that you can reuse and tailor for the website announcement and future communications.
You can send password reset instructions in your new site announcement email blast, so members can easily log in and set up their own passwords. For example, you can create a short video featuring your executive director or a volunteer member to explain how simple the website is to use. Featuring your own members really grabs attention and gets the message across!
Keep everyone on the same page – start an operational manual
An operational manual is important to document for all organizational staff and volunteers. This document will help all administrators and volunteers maintain and improve your system. Long-term marketing and improvement of the website content will ensure your members stay engaged and continue to value and become aware of your organization's benefits. You will get the greatest benefit from Wild Apricot when there is more than one person involved in managing the system, just in case someone decides to retire, switch jobs or stops volunteering.
This is also a good time to decide which administrators will be assigned to your site. One of the hardest things to do is to find unpaid volunteers to maintain technology systems. Your organization may need to incent volunteers to do this maintenance. Some organizations decide to allocate a few thousand dollars per year and outsource the maintenance of Wild Apricot. This may include populating the event system or helping with email marketing campaigns.
Administrators will have ability to make changes to contacts, members, administrate website pages and send out email to your database. You should assign your account administrators and their roles and provide some training to them. Here is an ideal set of administrative roles:
- a primary and backup full-access administrator
- a primary and backup website and membership administrator
- an event and email newsletter administrator
In many organizations, there will be at most one or two people who will provide ongoing administrative support. NewPath Consulting estimates that at least 5 to 10 hours per month should be spent managing Wild Apricot, and in some larger organizations this role could be a part-time job.
If your business has only one person managing your account(s), make sure you have a plan for how these critical tools will be managed when and if that person is suddenly unavailable.
|NewPath Consulting offers concierge-level support for Wild Apricot customers under our Bronze customer care plan. You may choose to do this rather than depending on your volunteer base.
Managing security and credentials
As part of your operational plan, your staff and volunteers should setup a password manager like LastPass or 1Password to securely record all passwords. You should include all:
- Wild Apricot administrator accounts
- domain name control panel credentials
- payment system credentials
- email inboxes configured on the account
- test Wild Apricot member accounts
Expand your reach …
Now that you’re up-and-running, it’s time to engage your community.
Even though you’ve launched, during these first few weeks, you can start recording feedback and take care of crucial issues, too!
You can use the new poll or survey gadget or set up a contact form on your website to collect comments. Then, prioritize what you think should be fixed right away and what wait until later.
It’s not all about fixing problems. Start reporting on your successes as well -- to your members, your board, your volunteers and other supporters. Discuss with them how to use what your new system offers to execute your organization’s strategic plan.
Extend mobile access to members and administrators
Now that you’ve established your site and system administrators, you can give the Wild Apricot admin mobile app a try for a more flexible option. There are iOS and Android apps that can make it quite easy to send out email blasts to members and maintain your Wild Apricot website on the go.
Want your members to reach you more easily, too? Post a link to Wild Apricot’s members-only mobile app on your website and an email blast.
You’ve made it!
Increase Your Skill Level
Thank you for reading our 11 Steps to Membership Management Success. We hope you’ll feel that you were able to follow along with and learn all the key things you had to do.
You should now be able to keep your new membership management system running in a way meets the needs of your board, your members and prospective members for a long time to come! You’ve built your new home and opened the door up wide … but if you missed any part of the foundation, you might risk something falling through once people start coming in to have a look around.
A complete Wild Apricot migration that includes all 11 steps you’ve completed usually takes 2 to 5 months and between 100 and 200 hours to complete. The work requires equal commitment on the part of the organization’s project committee and the consulting vendor if applicable.
NewPath Consulting provides a fixed cost package to migrate to Wild Apricot. And if you’ve gotten all the way to this step on your own, you may only need a few pieces to complete the puzzle, we offer hourly Wild Apricot coaching services.
|Do you need help maintaining your Wild Apricot system now that it is running? Get in touch with us to find out more about your pro-level options!