Let Your Membership Software Do The Work

Jan 5, 2021

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been collaborating with Alex Sirota from NewPath Consulting on a content series for the podcast focused on using technology to grow in the “digital age”.

One of the tools that has come up repeatedly because Alex and I both use it with our association clients is Wild Apricot. Obviously, there are many association management software products on the market and Wild Apricot is merely one of them, but it’s proven to be a great time-saving and resource-saving option for many associations, trade groups, chambers, and clubs.

I’m often telling clients to “let Wild Apricot do the work”… but this advice should apply to ANY membership software.

Today, I’d like to share with you my Top 10 very specific ways that a great membership software can make your job easier, while helping you deliver a better membership experience. I have more than 10 ways on my list, but I’ll save the rest for another day. 

  1. Use the database as a “single source of truth”. There is no reason any organization should be playing the “Is This The Latest Version?” game as spreadsheets are emailed around between people.

  2. Automatically keep your membership directory up-to-date. If you’re still publishing a manually constructed directory, you know that as soon as you print it, or as soon as you push send on an email, someone is going to tell you that they’ve moved, or a contact person has changed, or they got a new email address. Instead, use your membership software to produce an electronic directory that is instantly updated as soon as you (or a member themselves) makes a change.

  3. Save searches for information you need to reference often. I love the way Wild Apricot lets you “stack” search criteria to create a perfect list that always stays up-to-date. You just have to set up the search once and then you’ll always have it accessible within a couple of clicks.

  4. Let committee chairs update their own committee pages. Giving others access to update specific pages on your site is not only a great way to offload some of the work from your shoulders, but it also provides another mechanism for meaningful engagement. Wild Apricot, in particular, lets you set up website editing privileges at the single page level without being able to access any of the other administrative capabilities.

  5. Make documents automatically accessible to the right people. How much time do you spend emailing documents around, updating drafts, or resending documents that people can’t find? It could be “zero” time, if you set up pages that only specific groups of people can access. Simply put the documents on the page instead of sending via email and people will always know exactly where to look.

  6. Put reminders on auto-pilot. There is NO reason that any membership organization should have to manually create invoices and chase payments. Your software ought to be doing that for you!

  7. Automatically give access (and revoke access). You shouldn’t have to spend your time tracking who has joined and who has left in order to adjust their access – and it’s always a good idea to give members access to their benefits as instantly as possible when they are super excited about making the joining decision.

  8. Open up opportunities for non-dues revenue. If you’re using an all-in-one membership software like Wild Apricot, there are all sorts of creative ways to raise money that isn’t tied to dues – events, merchandise, sponsorship sales, etc. (Wild Apricot recently added support for sales of digital products, so this opens up even more possibilities!)

  9. Eliminate duplicative data entry. Beyond just the time that it takes to redo data entry in multiple places, every time you – or someone else – has to enter information somewhere, you increase the chance of error or having information that is out-of-sync. I teach my clients to use “tags” on events to show the right information on specific pages, and to display committees and special interest groups with directory gadgets that tie directly into the database, so that accurate information is always displayed anywhere that it needs to be.

  10. Automate personalization. If you’ve known me long at all, you know that I’m a big believer in personalizing the member experience as much as possible. You can start this right away just by automatically providing a welcome message that is specific to a member’s situation. Leverage your membership software to send warm, welcoming, and unique emails that are pre-filled with exactly what a member needs to know. 

Listen in on the final episode in my collaborative series with Alex Sirota here!

I’d love to hear from you about ways that you let your membership software do the work – any shortcuts or lessons learned you can share?

Considering a Tune-Up in 2021?

Paying attention to the member experience that you’re delivering is so incredibly important in today’s noisy world… and a lot about what your members are dealing with has changed in the last year.

If you’re feeling like it’s time for a tune-up, I invite you to consider hopping into the Member Experience Makeover Program in 2021. This is my signature program for diving deep into your member experience and sort through what’s working and what’s not… what’s valuable and what can be trimmed out. 

The program is designed so that you can move at your own pace and you have access to me at built-in checkpoints all along the way.

You can find full details about the program here! And, of course, if you have any questions at all, I’m just a quick email away.

Let’s make 2021 the best year ever for your members!

Hey there.  I’m Joy Duling, Founder and CEO of The Joy of Membership.

Clients hire me to help them design and deliver exceptional member experiences. If you lead an association, trade group, or membership-based nonprofit, you can find FREE resources to help you run and grow your membership organization by visiting here: http://joyofmembership.com/help

I look forward to connecting with you there.