Let’s face it, we live in a tech world. Technology is so ingrained in our daily lives that it is nearly impossible to function without it. When was the last time you paid a bill by check, or bought something in store instead of online? For many of us, doing everyday things online has become the norm. However, as someone who isn’t naturally computer savvy, I know the constant frustration this reality can be. Truth be told, those who are adept at computers often fail to realize that it isn’t always a quick study. So if you haven’t quite given tech trends a thought, this is a great place to start – because it’s bound to affect your members! Here are four member management tech trends of 2017, and what it means for you as a group leader.
1. Get ready for automated everything!
According to Forbes.com this year will also see an huge increase in automation.
“Marketers will be (mostly) pleased to learn that automation will become a bigger mainstay in and throughout 2017, with advanced technology enabling the automation of previously human-exclusive tasks.”
This means that your existing members and new members will come to expect their payments to be exclusively online and automated. memberplanet users: If you haven’t done this yet, try setting your dues payments on a set-it-and-forget-it basis. Less work for you and your members, and a more productive way to collect funds. Everyone wins.
2. Social Media: Your friends list will keep on growing
It’s no secret that social media is a powerful marketing tool for your group. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram offer boundless access to free advertising for your group’s events and goals. These outlets also provide the ability to share this content with everyone’s personal network of friends. In 2017 social media’s use is only slated to expand, which gives your group all the more opportunity to harness its advantages. Take a look at these stats from Hubspot, and work on incorporating more social media marketing tactics into your group’s promotional strategy.
3. More visuals and videos are on the way
We are a visual society. With visual learners making up 65% of the population, it is not surprising that pictures and video are among the most popular posts on social media and blogs. As a group leader, your content should be visually appealing. Everything from your website to your social media posts should be visually stimulating to your audience. Member management software arms you with tools and templates to create streamlined sites, fundraising campaigns, and emails that can easily include photos and videos. If you’re using memberplanet, we recommend sharing those out to social media with our built-in URL shortener. Here are some pretty eye-popping statistics from HubSpot to keep in mind when creating your next flyer, event site, or social media post:
4. Group creation and involvement will increase
A quick survey around our office confirms that people are now involved in twice as many clubs and social groups than they were five years ago. It’s no secret that this trend of increased social involvement is likely to continue. This means great news for growing your membership. People are looking to get involved, connect with others, and be part of a cause that’s bigger than their individual selves. Help your group stand out by showcasing your group culture and personality. Take advantage of every event you plan to introduce your group to potential members, or highlight the work you’re doing through a donation site or email newsletter. Keep in mind though that more groups means your members’ attention and time will likely be divided among several different places, so be sure to focus on retaining and engaging your members as well.
What are some other tech trends you think will make a huge difference in member management? Let us know if we missed any.
Ready to see for yourself how memberplanet can help you take advantage of these tech trends? Try it and create a group for free.
To start the new year off right, we’re sharing our list of shiny new features now available on the memberplanet platform. We took into account a ton of user feedback and got busy all through the holiday (and still managed to put on a few pounds because of one too many office potlucks).
Check out our tech updates, and let us know how else we can make this year a great one.
Targeting your communication to specific recipients makes a greater impact, and Smart Lists is a feature that allows you to do exactly that. Segment your contact list using data, such as member levels, and tailor your message to that audience. If, for example, you want to send an email to those who didn’t RSVP to an event, you could use Smart Lists to filter those contacts for you. Then craft a message to those recipients reiterating the value of attending your event.
Copy an event
Have you ever created an event page you liked so much that you wished you could make a copy of it and use it as a template? Voila! Your wish is our command! This is an easy way to copy and rehost without the setup time.
We don’t think printing out membership cards should be a pain in the derriere. (That’s French, for ass.) Admins can now take advantage of our Avery standard business card size – easy for printing on perforated cardstock. Your members can view their cards by logging in to memberplanet on desktop or mobile app. And once it’s viewed on the mobile app, it’s stored for offline viewing thereafter.
Record event RSVP
Admins can now record an event RSVP on behalf of someone – particularly useful if you’re recording offline payments on-site to a ticketed event. They can add to the RSVP list for other attendees to view, or keep impeccable records without the need for guests to RSVP themselves.
Any time you create a form (such as a survey) or event, you can now use our built-in URL shortener if the amount of characters is a concern when sharing the link. No need to venture outside of platform for this!
Drag-and-drop image uploader
You can now drag and drop images using our image uploader for emails, events, donation sites, forms and photo albums. Sexy, isn’t it?
Chances are, this wasn’t on anyone’s wish list, but we want to inform you that we’ve updated our legalese. Don’t worry – we’ve written it with non-techies in mind, so if you got through this blog, you’ll most likely understand the language we put forth regarding use of our services.
We’re always looking for ways to simplify your life and make member management as easy peasy as possible. So you can approach admin tasks like this:
And NOT like this:
What else we can do to help simplify your life? Email us and let us know at email@example.com.
The new year is here and that means food, family, and, if you're following a calendar-year contract, member renewals. While holiday breaks and transition periods are often a great time to tie up any loose ends within your organization (thank you, extra time off!), people tend to have extra busy schedules during this time.
As a leader of an organization, it’s very possible that you’ve seen a drop in member retention and engagement rates during this time of year.
So the question is how do you retain members and keep them engaged during a period of transition, whether it be the new year or end of a quarter?
We’ve talked to a bunch of group leaders who’ve successfully battled the member retention issue. How did they do it? By focusing on many of the same best practices they focus on during the rest of the year: showing members the value of being part of the group and keeping them interested. That was made a whole lot easier by using memberplanet, and we’ve compiled their tips and best practices below.
Here are four ways to ensure your members remain loyal 'til their dying day.
1. Make it easy to stay a member
We go shopping online, look up cooking recipes, and even date online. It just makes sense to simplify membership by making it easily accessible online as well. If you aren’t doing this already, offer online dues payments with automatic or early membership renewal. Think of it this way: Every time you send your members looking for their checkbooks to mail in a payment, you’re creating a hurdle (and it’s an especially bigger one during a time of transition). Renewing membership should be as easy as a click of a button, and automatic online renewals means members don’t have to think twice about making a commitment to your organization. Providing them with mobile access is even better. (We have a custom mobile app for that!)
2. Offer incentives
The holidays present the perfect time to introduce an opportunity to give free gifts, whether it’s branded swag, an extra raffle ticket for a gift card giveaway, or discounted rates for membership renewals. We love free stuff, and your members are the same way. Your incentives can vary, but showing your members how much you appreciate their involvement is essential. Consider membership length and added value for members who have been with your organization for a certain amount of time.
3. Round up the troops
Everyone loves a good gettogether — it's a great way to show appreciation to members. Make it fun, invite family members, and encourage people to branch out and meet people they've never spoken to before. Bottom line: Show them the love. Sending out invites and allowing your members to RSVP online is one of the easiest ways to get them to come. Want to send out a quick reminder before the par-tay? Our built-in Broadcast feature allows admins to draft a message once and send it to their group via email and text message simultaneously. Extra pro tip: After the event, update your event page with photos and videos, and share it with attendees so they won’t have to hunt for pics.
4. Re-engage your members with a philanthropic cause
Giving back to the community is a great way to re-engage your members, because the entire year is ripe with occasions for giving back. It's also a great bonding experience to do so as an organization. Giving makes people feel good, so facilitate the process. Hold an annual charity drive, or get all your members together for a charity experience. Doing little things like this will show your members that you care about the bigger picture and are willing to put in the work to make the world a better place.
5. Communicate your group’s impact to your members
Whatever good you end up doing, inform your members through multiple channels (email, text, social media). Send thank you emails to your members for participating, and share your post campaign results. For example, if you reached your fundraising goal for a holiday toy drive for an animal shelter, let your group know, and send them pics of the furry friends the toys went to. Effective communication, in turn, will drive home the message that your members are significant in making an impact.
memberplanet makes it easy to do all these things mentioned. Log in to get started.
Here we are again. It’s the time of the year when we have to start setting goals for our organization.
When it comes to goals, there’s one key question we need to ask ourselves: Can this goal be told in a story?
You’ve heard the adage: Facts tell but stories sell. It’s true in marketing and advertising. It’s equally true when it comes to setting goals for an organization. That’s because setting a goal is just the first step in the process.
After we’ve developed a goal for our organization, we have sell it to the troops. Convince folks that this is an endeavor worth pursuing. And that comes down to good communication skills. It’s a fact. People make decisions based on emotions rather than logic. Whether we’re trying to accomplish a specific task or raise funds, we have to be able to communicate our goal clearly and emotionally to our members and other stakeholders.
We have to bring people on board. Rally our members to our cause and lend their support. Y’know, herd cats.
If we want others to join us on our quest, we have to be able to show our members why ours is a worthy cause. The more enthusiasm we can generate about our goal, the easier it will be to accomplish.
How do we inspire the type of passion that we want from members, the type of enthusiasm that’s going to carry us through good times and bad until we cross our goal line?
With a good story.
Whether our objective is a one-time, standalone goal (think sponsoring a clothing drive for hurricane victims) or part of a larger, long-term initiative or mission statement (think serving the needs of children with disabilities) a good narrative helps us communicate more persuasively with our members.
The more we can connect with people on an emotional level, rather than a purely rational one, the more excitement we’ll generate for our cause, the faster we’ll achieve it … and the more fun everyone will have.
According to Joseph Campbell, one of the world’s foremost authorities on the significance of myths and storytelling, “Everything starts with a story.”
“Everything starts with a story.” – Joseph Campbell
Great stories touch us on an emotional level and teach us universal truths about human conduct. Think about it: Every story we’ve ever been told has had a point to it, a theme. The theme is a lesson about life. Something to which humans should aspire. A goal.
Consider your goal from a storyteller’s perspective
As we set a goal for our organization, let’s take time to consider the goal from a storyteller’s perspective.
Every story has a hero. In our case, the hero is our organization. Every story has a conflict. There’s something wrong that needs to be fixed. Perhaps we’re trying to raise money to send kids to camp. The conflict is, some children can’t afford it and our organization wants to fix that. Every story also has a resolution. In our case, it’s our objective. Accomplishing our goal will resolve the issue at hand and bring the story to its close.
Can we incorporate these elements into our goal and use them to weave a compelling story that captivates our members? The truth is, people have a fundamental need to connect with something larger than themselves.
A good story about our organization and its goals will help bring more people into our tent and enfold them into its larger mission.
As organizational leaders, we must be able to find the narrative within our cause, capitalize on our natural storytelling strengths, and express our goal with clarity, creativity and conviction.
Embrace the conflict
Oh, yeah. There’s one more thing to remember, too. By definition, great stories involve a journey that is rarely easy. In fact, as is often the case, the more conflict, the better the story. So let’s approach our goal with the same mindset. It won’t be easy to achieve (and, if it is, perhaps we’ve set the bar too low).
In most narratives, the hero has a long-term goal that is fed by a series of short-term goals. Accomplishing our short-term goals are the means by which we eventually achieve our ultimate mission. We can think about our organizational goals the same way.
Our long-term goal is usually provided in our mission statement. It is our story’s theme. As you know, our long-term mission is achievable, measurable and time-specific.
Our mission (not an impossible one) then must be broken down into shorter-term functions and operational initiatives. Short-term goals are great ways to identify specific functions that need to be undertaken, and offer measurable results that allow us to chart our progress, feel a regular and much-needed sense of accomplishment, and move us further along the narrative toward our ultimate goal.
And it’s that sense of accomplishment – of fighting for a cause, righting a wrong, creating a better tomorrow – that creates the pride and emotional connection that will keep our protagonists (members) coming back for more.
So when it comes time to set a goal for your organization, be bold, creative and inspiring. Identify the story inherent within your mission and use it to assemble your short- and long-term goals. In the end, the goals you set today will become the stories your members live tomorrow.
Let’s make them exciting ones!
Have a goal in mind? Our event and donation sites (templates included!) make it easy to tell your story.
Life can be a bit ruff! This holiday season, we want to spread a bit of cheer (with cute animal pics!). We are collaborating with Pawsitive Friendships for a very special cause -- animal-assisted therapy. The purpose of this type of therapy is for children with special needs to reach their personal therapeutic goals by establishing animal-human friendships.
Founded in 2014, Pawsitive Friendships was the brain child of Tosha Tharp. After her son was diagnosed with autism at the age of 4, she was having trouble getting him to complete his at-home therapy exercises. One day he asked if their dog Zoe could join him on the swing, and she saw a complete change in his behavior. A light went on in her head. Tosha began incorporating Zoe into the other exercises, and the results were amazing. Zoe became trained as a therapy dog and Pawsitive Friendships was formed.
To spread some holiday cheer, we would like to introduce you to a few of the paw-sitively amazing animals who are helping to make an impact on countless children’s lives.
Zoe is the French bulldog who helped inspire Pawsitive Friendships. She puts her best paw forward and breaks the ice with the children. Zoe loves to play with kids and always patiently waits her turn for dog treats.
Clancy’s hobbies include long trots, horsing around, and telling tails of his adventures as a mini horse. Children love to ask him questions like, “Why are you so small?” The kids learn to properly approach him along with how to groom and feed him. For kids with autism, this helps with their self-regulation, self-awareness, social skills, and speech.
For Penelope, every day is a chance to pig out. In her spare time, she likes bakin’ (not with bacon!), and is currently learning to fly. The children love to feed Penelope, brush her hair, and of course give her kisses. She’s a bit of an attention hog. Penelope helps the children with sensory issues, motivation (for kisses!), and social skills.
This may seem a bit farfetched, but Filbert really is a catch. He's a golden Lab mix who plays flyball and is also part of a crisis-response team. Filbert keeps the kids on their toes by always playing ball, running through obstacle courses, and doing tricks. No day is a dog day with this playful pup.
Check out our social media pages each day for a new animal picture, and feel free to send us some of your own adorable animal photos. If you are feeling a bit generous this holiday season, be sure to visit the Pawsitive Friendships donation page. They are gearing up for its second annual “Rev’d Up for Autism Car & Bike Show.” All of the proceeds from the event will go to Pawsitive Friendships.
The holidays are here! It’s hard to believe that we’re wrapping up 2016. This season is a great time to celebrate with friends and family. Planning celebrations can be overwhelming, but good news is we’re here to help! memberplanet has the tools you need to plan your New Year’s Eve party, or any festivity you choose to celebrate. Let the countdown begin to your next great event.
Less time making an event will result in more fun for you and your guests. We hope you have a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year. Cheers!
Happy Giving Tuesday! During our #12DaysofGiving campaign to gear up for Giving Tuesday, we spotlighted a few amazing groups that are raising money for charitable causes. Now in its fifth year, Giving Tuesday kicks off the charitable season fueled by social media and collaboration. Last year, more than $118 million was raised online through this effort. Our campaign focused on spreading awareness through social media to champion each organization’s philanthropic goals. Along with spreading awareness of these donation campaigns, we also decided to give away some awesome prizes in the process - 12 of them to be exact! We recognize that each of these campaigns continues to make an impact just by participating in #GivingTuesday, and to further commend their efforts, memberplanet is donating to the fundraiser with the most social engagement per day on average.
And the winners of the $20 gift cards are… *drum roll please*
Carol-ina, iiamrachelle, Mariana, Anthony Chinni, Jacqueline Collins, Kate Dodge, Natalie Hess, Kate Moreles, Therese Quattrociocchi Longe, Lawrence J. Burns, Shakeera Collins, and Toni D. Postell
Congratulations to everyone who participated! Winners, be on the lookout for a direct message from memberplanet to claim your gift card.
The grand prize winner of the #12DaysofGiving campaign is…
BANA International United - This organization based in South Korea works together to promote B1A4, OMG, and WM Entertainment and complete projects for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and other charity projects that they inspire.
Here are the organizations that participated in our campaign. It isn’t too late to donate to these wonderful causes:
Neville Alumni and Friends Association - NAFA to provide supplemental funding for programs and projects to enhance the quality of instructional delivery and student life, and to promote excellence in higher education at Neville High School.
United Way of Hudson County - UWHC is a community-based nonprofit organization that focuses on improving the lives of the most vulnerable residents in Hudson County, New Jersey, for 76 years.
Children's Hospital of Michigan Foundation - This foundation supports pediatric research, education, community benefit programs, and other initiatives that improve the health of children in Michigan.
Delta Gamma Foundation - The Delta Gamma Foundation fosters lifetime enrichment for members, promotes Service for Sight, and partners with the Fraternity to ensure the future of its sisterhood.
Zeta Phi Beta - The sorority was founded in 1920 at Howard University and continues to create a lasting impact on the community through its charitable efforts.
Dual Sport Ride for ESA - Robert Reger is individually raising funds for Theta Eta Chapter of Epsilon Sigma Alpha International, and completing a daring motorcycle adventure for this effort. The 3rd annual "2016 Dual Sport Ride for ESA" is a back-country adventure ride inspired to help the Colorado-based Epsilon Sigma Alpha Sorority in its efforts to raise money for the Denver Rescue Mission. This year he will be completing the 850-mile Arizona Backcountry Discovery Route (from Utah to Mexico) back-to-back for seven days. He will have no modern accommodations to signify his identification of the efforts in overcoming physical and mental challenges the homeless face every day as they overcome obstacles in life.
Along with the organizations we worked with, many groups around the world are raising funds for #GivingTuesday. Here are some other groups making a difference in their communities. Check out these wonderful organizations and consider making a donation to their cause.
Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity works to provide a superior collegiate and lifetime fraternal experience and a focus on making young men better leaders in their chapter, better servants in their community and better contributors to society. Donations go to leadership programming, academic and leadership scholarships, and support to undergraduates and alumni.
This group works to provide animal-assisted therapy to help children with special needs build animal-human friendships and works on a child’s individual therapeutic goals.
Delta Chi LFC
Delta Chi Fraternity at Lake Forest College is raising money for The V Foundation for Cancer Research. The V Foundation has raised more than $100 million in honor of the award-winning broadcaster and basketball coach from North Carolina State Jim Valvano who battled cancer. 100% of all new direct cash donations support cancer research.
Center for Transforming Lives
This organization provides safe housing for mothers and their children who are facing abuse at home. Along with providing shelter, the center connects women with education, job training and employment opportunities while providing affordable, high quality child care, and financial coaching.
Giving Tuesday is just the beginning of the charitable season of giving. We at memberplanet encourage you to find a cause that is close to you and we hope you’ll consider giving, whether it’s making a donation, volunteering, or spreading the word of a fundraising mission. Happy Holidays!
An incredibly useful – yet irritating – part of our daily routine is email. The average office worker sends or receives 121 emails per day, according to technology market research firm The Radicati Group – a number projected to hit 140 by 2018. And the McKinsey Global Institute estimated that the average knowledge worker spends 28 percent of their day managing email. It would be one thing if all of those emails were useful, but in all honesty, only a small fraction falls into that category.
The time spent sorting, skimming, reading, and deleting emails amounts to about 13 hours per week, which is an especially troubling statistic for businesses and organizations that use email as one of their main tools for communication.
Electronic newsletters can be an excellent way of providing customers and members with information and keeping them up to date on what’s going on. But they only work if people actually see, open, and actually read them. So, how can you increase the odds of that happening? Try these tips:
Improve HOA communications with a single management solution
Managing a Homeowner’s Association (HOA)’s communication can be complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. In today’s technology-driven economy, if you’re not using the Internet to manage communications, you’re not working efficiently. You might employ one or more single-feature tools like Gmail, EventBrite, Survey Monkey, or Constant Contact, and therefore understand that while these tools are useful, they are not made to work together and do not provide member engagement. However, with management software like memberplanet, designed specifically to help organizations such as HOAs, you can simplify life by having all the tools you need in one place.
1. Collect online payments
With memberplanet’s HOA solution, you have the ability to send out an HOA payment form in an email or website link. All members will need to do is click on the link and pay online–from any device. What’s more, members have the option to create recurring payment for dues if there are monthly fees. This way, your members don’t have to worry about paying on time because it’s automatically done for them.
2. Communicate with members
Send out monthly or bi-weekly email newsletters letting your affiliates know what’s going on with the association, when the next meeting is, and when their HOA fees are due. With memberplanet’s email campaign capabilities, you can see who opened the email, opened the link, and which emails bounced.
3. Get member feedback with surveys
Get more in tune with your member’s needs and concerns through online surveys. Easy drag and drop creation features enables you to have a survey sent out in minutes and start receiving instant feedback from your members.
4. Give members access to one another
With memberplanet’s interactive directory, affiliates can log on to search and contact one another directly via email or social media. Members have complete control over what information is shared and direct emails are always kept secure. By providing simple access to this information, HOA's encourage members to communicate with one another and provide value.
5. Communicate events and spread the word
Boost the participation of your community events with memberplanet’s easy event sites. Send email invitations, allow members to register, manage RSVPs, and utilize social sharing capabilities to encourage your followers to help get the word out. You can customize your event page with photos, videos, and other interactive features.
memberplanet was created with the purpose of making life easier for group leaders. Our team has created all the tools you need to communicate with your members across all mediums.
Most importantly, memberplanet allows you to conduct all your business needs in a single, trusted, and secure environment. That’s why Capterra named us one of the top HOA software products. To learn more, schedule a call with us today!
For nonprofits, getting donations shouldn’t be about asking for cash
Asking people for money, whether they’re friends or strangers, can be incredibly daunting. It’s intimidating to ask people to hand over their hard earned dough for your cause. The less painful, more effective way to collect donations is by indirectly asking for contributions. The heart of fundraising is to help others connect a passion or memory with a cause. It’s about making your cause theirs. Here’s how you can lead them there:
Tell your story
Ask for advice
Engage on social media
Make it easy and personal
Asking for donations can seem a lot less overwhelming when you view contributing as more of a privilege. You’re not asking – you’re inviting people to take action and participate. You’re selling significance and purpose. Lead them through constant communications to tell your story. Lead them with memberplanet!
We have all the tools your nonprofit needs to expand reach and manage your donations in one spot. See what our other nonprofit customers are saying about how memberplanet aids and improves their communications.