67 posts categorized " Training"

11/21/2018

11 Steps to Membership Management Success - Planning Your Database I - Managing Membership Levels and Bundles

Step 2 - Membership Levels and Bundles
Step 2 - Membership Levels and Bundles


In Step 1 of “11 Steps to Membership Management Success,” you read about planning and managing your membership database. In Step 2, you’ll learn about preparing your data for migration to Wild Apricot: managing memberships grouped around common elements.

One of the most important features of any membership management system is configuring membership levels (or tiers) and renewal policies. Membership management can be a complex topic, with several things to consider. We are going to try to make this topic easy to understand.

What are your membership levels and renewal policies?

A membership level is tied to one or more of the benefits your organization offers, and membership levels can be free or have a cost. Membership levels also have an optional renewal policy that specifies when members will have the option  to renew. As you assess your renewal policy, ask these questions:

  • How are your membership levels currently advertised, and how do you wish to implement these features into Wild Apricot?
  • What will your membership renewal policy be -- monthly, yearly, quarterly, or no renewal at all?
  • Do you want to take advantage of offering paid options or collect specific information for each member who signs up or renews at a particular level?

Do you offer membership bundles (such as a family or group plan)?

Membership levels can be configured as “individual” or “bundle” membership levels. The type of membership level will identify whether an individual can only renew their own membership or if they can renew on behalf of a group of others through membership bundle. All of this is easily configurable when setting up membership levels.

A membership bundle is a collection of members who are linked together under an “umbrella” membership managed by a bundle administrator — the lead member of the bundle.

Your organization can use membership bundles to offer group memberships to companies, teams or families. A membership bundle enables a group to renew together, rather than requiring each individual to sign up or renew on their own. Each bundle member receives the same access to benefits as the bundle administrator.

Read more on membership bundles from Wild Apricot

 

Priorities for a membership bundle

Members in a membership bundle share several important attributes:

  • a common renewal date
  • a common membership status
  • a common membership level

The entire bundle is charged a single membership fee, paid by the bundle administrator. That’s why identifying the bundle administrator is critical.

If you plan to use membership bundles, your database must be set up to support the “bundling” process during the database import. For example:

  • All members in a bundle must have a database field unifying them together into the bundle: in Wild Apricot, this is the User ID or email address of the bundle administrator.
  • You will need to decide whether you will bundle using the email address of a bundle administrator or whether you will use the unique number (aka User ID) of the bundle administrator.
  • To create the membership bundle, you will need to assign the  bundle key of the bundle administrator (email address or User ID) to each member of the membership bundle in the import file..

 

An simple import file will illustrate this process. In this file we are designating Sarah as the bundle administrator, using Sarah’s email address as the bundling mechanism.

 

Email Address

First Name

Last Name

Member Bundle ID or Email

sarah@gmail.com

Sarah

Bundle Admin

sarah@gmail.com

jim@aol.com

Jim

Bundle Member 1

sarah@gmail.com

liana@outlook.com

Liana

Bundle Member 2

sarah@gmail.com

 

Note that each membership level can be designated with a maximum or unlimited number of bundle members. This business rule will be enforced during the contact import process or when you are adding or removing bundle members.

 

Critical input to the planning process


In one popular CRM system, CiviCRM, the bundling mechanism is called a “household” and can be exported as part of the membership record. Other systems may have some other indicator of a membership bundle. In some systems you may have to create the membership bundle manually if there was never a bundling mechanism in place.

This can be a complex, iterative process — in fact, it’s usually one of the most complex and somewhat abstract parts of getting started with Wild Apricot.


We can help you navigate this key planning process — Contact NewPath Consulting for a free consultation.

In the next chapter in this series, you’ll look at some final considerations in preparing your data for migration to the Wild Apricot platform: Step 3 – Tips and Prep of Your Master Import File.

10/17/2018

11 Steps to Membership Management Success - Planning Your Database I

Staff sitting around a table deciding on database
Planning your membership database helps you pull together your data to create one source of the truth about your contacts and members.

Step 1

Now that you’ve gotten set up and familiar with Wild Apricot in Step 0, you’re ready to start planning how you’ll set up and manage your membership database.

In these next three articles in this series, you will complete Step 1, which will help you:

  • understand how and where your information about contacts and members is organized
  • understand membership bundles and when they can be used
  • make decisions about archiving and cleaning up your data

Your database plan will help you create your master import file, which will contain all the information you will be adding or migrating into your membership management system. The database plan and related considerations are key to the process of defining your database and help work toward full membership management system implementation.

We’ve broken Step 1 into three parts, to give you time to think through and carry out this critical first step in the process.

Let’s start by understanding what your organization’s data looks like now. 

What’s the current state of your organization’s database?

From the wide range of organizations we’ve worked with at NewPath Consulting, we have found a small to medium-sized organization’s data is usually “organic” in nature. That’s a nice way of saying it has evolved and passed through many hands. It is also possibly quite disorganized, potentially lacking important pieces of information. In short, it’s probably useful for people—but not for computers.

So answering the question about what your database looks like now involves doing some digging and housekeeping.

  • Do you know where all of your data about members and contacts resides? Can you easily collect, understand and use this information?
  • Do you already have your data stored in a database system, or is it spread across multiple systems or storage methods?

Sometimes when volunteers manage a database, they make it useful for themselves, but not easily accessible for your members or your systems. When volunteers change, the integrity and accuracy of your database may suffer.

If you do use a system, is it:

  • a spreadsheet?
  • a commercial or open source database like CiviCRM or Salesforce.com?
  • one or more custom, legacy databases?

Even if your contact management system comprises a drawer full business cards and sticky notes, the starting point is the same – establishing what you have now, and deciding which fields you’ll want to use in your new set-up. You will also need to establish the “business rules” around certain fields in terms of what is allowed in those fields.

If your information is coming from different places or systems, you want to anticipate the issues that might arise with exporting or manipulating the data. Knowing what you want to keep, what each field means and what data needs to change to conform to Wild Apricot will help you manage this process more seamlessly.

Think of it as paving a smooth and manageable path to creating one "source of the truth" where everyone – your contacts and members, your stakeholders, your staff and volunteers – will be fully and accurately described.

Do you know how to export data from your current systems, if necessary? If not, do you have the documentation or access to the people who can help get access to your data?

NewPath Consulting can help with this part of the process. We have experience with all sorts of complicated and “messy” systems.

The steps and estimates in this series are based on our experience migrating diverse customer groups to Wild Apricot. We believe these steps have an intrinsic order, so it’s important that you follow the steps in the order we’ve described in this series. If you can’t finish one before we publish the next, you can always come back to it when ready.

Watch for the next chapter in this series, in which you’ll start the second step in preparing your data for migration to the Wild Apricot platform: Step 2 – Managing Membership Bundles.


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

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.

08/11/2018

WordCamp Niagara 2018 - Managed WordPress Demystified

In an updated presentation called Managed WordPress Demystified, Alex Sirota, wowed the WordCamp Niagara audience with an updated talk on selecting a managed WordPress host. The video (coming soon!) and the presentation is below.

05/09/2018

Hide the Search in Member Directory Gadget

The search function on a Wild Apricot member directory gadget is really handy. It allows you to search the member directory by keyword. Unfortunately when a page loads, the search box receives the browser focus and the page scrolls automatically to wherever the search box is on the page. Sometimes that is near the bottom of a page, scrolling the page below important content. There is a simple fix: hide the search box or use JavaScript to disable the focus.

JavaScript to disable the focus. This keeps the search box on the screen and available without scrolling the window. You should insert this into the Global Javascript under Settings > Site > Global Javascript

<script type="text/javascript">
jq$(function()
{
function noFocus() {
console.log('nofocus here');
if (jq$('.WaGadgetMemberDirectory').length) {
var refreshId = setInterval(function() {
if (jq$('.WaGadgetMemberDirectory table#membersTable').length)
{ document.activeElement.blur(); window.scrollTo(0,0); clearInterval(refreshId); }
}, 50);
}
else if (document.activeElement && (document.activeElement.tagName=="INPUT")) {
document.activeElement.blur();
window.scrollTo(0,0);
}
}
BonaPage.addPageStateHandler(BonaPage.PAGE_PARSED, noFocus);
});
</script>

 

Or you can use the CSS below to just hide the search box. Place this code in the raw headers of each page where you want to hide the search box on. Note that the styles affect the IDs of the elements separately.

 

/* search box */

<style>
#FunctionalBlock1_ctl00_ctl00_search {
display:none;
}
</style>

/* search label */


<style>
#FunctionalBlock1_ctl00_ctl00_searchLabel {
display: none;
}
</style>

/* advanced search link */
<style>
#FunctionalBlock1_ctl00_ctl00_advancedSearchStatusPanel_advancedSearchLink {
display: none;
}
</style>

02/19/2018

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Wild Apricot: May 25, 2018 is GDPR Deadline

On May 25, 2018, the European Union will begin enforcing a new set of data protection regulations, known collectively as the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). The GDPR regulates the collection and storage of personal data for EU residents (including UK residents), regardless of where the organization doing the collecting is located.

The GDPR replaces and expands upon the 1995 Data Protection Directive. The biggest change is the extended reach of the regulations, now applying to all organizations that collect the personal data of European residents, even if those organizations are based outside of Europe.

Consequently, Wild Apricot and any of its clients with members in Europe need to understand the requirements of the GDPR, and set up procedures for complying with them.

If your Wild Apricot database contains information about any European Union residents, please let us know and we can help you identify whether your organization is compliant with GDPR. Wild Apricot has begun auditing their processes and software for GDPR compliance, but as of February 2018 Wild Apricot staff have not completed the audit or any remediation actions. Organizations in breach of the GDPR can be fined up to 4% of their annual global revenue or €20 million (whichever is greater). There is a tiered approach to fines, whereby an organization can be 2% for not having their records in order, 2% for not notifying about a data breach, and so on.

 

02/16/2018

VIDEO: Using CSS to Customize the Main Menu System in Wild Apricot

The Kaleidoscope theme in Wild Apricot is beautiful! Changing the main menu design though is not something that can be done by pointing and clicking. You need to use CSS to modify the menu. This snippet of CSS code will help you modify the main menu in Kaleidoscope and Bookshelf, two themes that share the same menu styles.

Step 1. Download the CSS code

Step 2. Use the Website > CSS  option to copy and paste the CSS code, or use the WebDAV approach to create or edit the user.css file.

Step 3. Modify the various color and background options to your heart's content until you have the menu working just like you would like.

Hint: Popular colors are available online at W3Schools. You may wish to use your own hexadecimal colour values that start with #.

02/13/2018

VIDEO: Managing your Wild Apricot files using WebDAV

Your Wild Apricot account includes space to store files such as documents, pictures, and videos. Normally these are managed in the Files Manager. You can also edit user-defined CSS in the Website > CSS screen. To manage your files – upload, download, organize, delete, or rename them – you can go to the Files screen within Wild Apricot, or you can use WebDAV to  edit your files without touching the web browser. Using WebDAV allows you to copy multiple files or folders at the same time, and it is a much faster mechanism to edit your CSS. 

If you do a lot of CSS editing in Wild Apricot, you use your favourite editor (ours is Notepad++), make changes and refresh them instantly in the public view of your website. No more going into admin to tweak a bit of CSS and back into Public View. Check out the short video below for a real time saver!

02/12/2018

VIDEO: Using the Wild Apricot Sample Excel Spreadsheet

There is an alternative way to export all membership fields, contacts and members from Wild Apricot directly into Excel. Wild Apricot has created an Excel spreadsheet that access the Wild Apricot API to extract any piece of information from the Wild Apricot database. Currently the Excel spreadsheet only provides you instant access to the membership fields and all contacts and members. Check out the video below on how to configure and use this spreadsheet.

NOTE: The current documentation points to an older version. Here's the latest version from Wild Apricot's github repository.

02/02/2018

VIDEO: Setting up a custom domain with Wild Apricot: what can go wrong?

Setting up custom domains in Wild Apricot can be tricky. If all goes well you're good, but what if you don't know where to start? This video will show you how to find your registrar, which domain name settings you need to update and some final steps on what you can do for a successful launch.

A short recap:

  1. Setup DNS records you must have access to your control panel (GoDaddy, Wix, 1and1, etc). Use reset password if necessary to get access.
  2. Use WHOIS to check the registrar if you don't know where your domain name is registered
  3. Login and adjust the DNS records as per the Wild Apricot docs. The A record is absolutely critical to successfully launch under your domain name. If the DKIM records are not set your email may end up in your members junkmail folder.
  4. Wait for an hour or two for DNS records to propogate.
  5. Go to Settings > Site > Domain Name Management and click the Check... button. You should see this. If not continue to check your DNS settings or wait a bit longer.

05 Custom Domain Settings Checked

 

Once verified, set your domain as the primary domain name.

Note that the From email address has changed. Make sure the From: and Reply to: email settings are set to a real mailbox that can send and receive emails. Your emails will be addressed by default with these settings! 05 From Email Settings

Send a test email campaign to check your email settings are correct.