Amazon is making a killing with their membership program – and other retailers have discovered they can ride the Prime wave. Since Amazon has raised the price for Prime membership, other companies can successfully do the same. The American Society of Association Executives’ (ASAE) Associations Now blog has given this a catchy name – the Prime effect.)
For the association industry, we can steal a page from Amazon’s playbook – while the membership model is nothing new, the way your association approaches the membership experience constantly needs to be kept top of mind. It really is all about the member experience. Amazon and other service giants, such as Netflix, have learned to cater exclusively to their members through complex algorithms – gone is the “one size fits all” mantra. Woven into the member experience is value. Membership-based organizations need to remember their value proposition, and they must deliver on it. Try not to get too wrapped up in dues payments and donations. Focus on the value your association can offer your members.
Convenience is also key. Your association may drive value, provide the best and most comprehensive solutions and benefits – but are they easy to access? Are your members spending too much time on painstaking tasks that provide no value to them? Do your members have a clear picture of the benefits you provide? Amazon and Netflix have seen sustained success not only because of their innovation, but because their services are easy and fast to utilize. Customers know exactly the benefits of being a member, and it’s easy to access those benefits and manage their own accounts at a time when it’s most convenient for them.
Something that we must also consider – which is outside the scope of Amazon and Netflix services – is the impact your association has on constituents. More often than not, the value of an association goes beyond transactional services. Associations provide education, advocacy, community, and more to their members – but it doesn’t stop there. Those members in turn provide value to their industries, constituents, and societies to which they belong. If you want your association to experience longevity, embrace your role in providing value that goes beyond membership.
Contrary to popular belief, you really don’t need a big budget or a celebrity cameo to successfully market your event. Save the big bucks for other areas of your event planning and hosting – you can still effectively get the word out with an impeccable, multi-channel marketing strategy. Read on for suggestions on how to ensure your next big event is well promoted and attended.
Reach out to your social networks on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with engaging content. Create posts that will create an emotional connection with your audience. Now’s the time to be bold, exciting, and buzzworthy. This is where quotes from your speaker interviews and videos can be repurposed. If you don’t have a graphic designer, Canva is an easy and free tool to use to put together digital posters and flyers. A social media scheduler like Buffer can also help you plan posts in advance.
Another way to elicit engagement is to post polls and surveys pre- and post-event. You can get feedback on venue suggestions, what type of upcoming events your followers are looking forward to, and awards-related topics – nominations, recognition, and prizes.
Additional tip: When you publish your posts, don’t forget to use appropriate hashtags and actively like, comment, and share others’ posts. Doing this helps boost your own posts’ visibility!
Take advantage of paid promotion on social media. Running a pay-per-click ad on Facebook or LinkedIn is an affordable way to reach your target audience, and you only pay when users take action. Before doing this, set up an event landing page where visitors can find out all about your event and purchase tickets. Aside from social media, don’t disregard creating paper flyers to distribute in your community as well as traditional advertising with your local radio, TV stations, and newspapers. If buying an ad isn’t an option, send a press release with details on how your event can be covered with a free press pass or two to your event.
Email and Text
Email marketing is still one of the most efficient and cost-effective channels to reach a target audience. If you have an email newsletter, give your upcoming event prime placement. Or, set up a separate email campaign solely dedicated to sending event invites. Craft attention-grabbing subject lines, and keep an eye on email stats such as opens and clicks so you can further optimize each email. Most email marketing systems provide these standard metrics so you can track what’s working and what isn’t.
Pro Tip: Email event reminders and invites three times (on different days of course). The average office worker receives 121 emails every day. Because emails are so disposable and we’re all easily distracted due to multitasking, everyone needs multiple reminders.
Sending text messages is by far the most effective means of communication. According to Forbes, 95 percent of all texts are read within three minutes. If you want to make sure your members are aware of your event, text them. Keep in mind that SMS marketing is heavily regulated to protect consumers and marketers alike (users can opt out). Use common sense, send messages when appropriate, and don’t sound spammy.
Marketing is just one component of orchestrating a successful event. The right tools can help you effortlessly plan, promote, and manage an event for your association. Our online membership platform is fully integrated with event management, communication, and social media tools and features, so tracking member activity, participation, and financials can be done in one place. Streamline online event management and let your staff and volunteers spend more time on your mission – contact memberplanet to learn more about how we can help you manage, engage, and grow.
Updated since original publication on 1/19/18.
Are your current methods of engagement helping you reach your membership goals? By promoting the value and benefits of your association’s membership through engagement, you can position yourself to attract new members while also maintaining and interacting with your existing membership base. Here are a few tips to showcase your value and increase your network:
1. Engage on social media
Update your members with upcoming meetings and events while keeping them engaged with polls and surveys to collect feedback. Being present on these platforms also helps potential members preview membership, understand your association’s mission, and see the kind of work you’re doing.
2. Invite potential members to events
It also gives non-members a chance to try before they buy – ask questions and see what your association offers before committing to membership. Asking your members to engage non-members will give your association the opportunity to grow exponentially. (Learn more: Promote your next association event with an impeccable marketing strategy.)
3. Make an offer they can't refuse
Advertise and announce the offer in your newsletter and on social media so prospects become aware they’re getting a great deal. When you convey a sense of urgency (Act fast to take advantage of waived membership fees!), your potential members will see more value in joining during this time. You’ll additionally want to make sure your membership benefits are competitive with other associations’, so as not to deter those who are comparing.
4. Track and measure your engagement efforts
Most marketing and membership software offer standard tracking, but it can be a difficult and time-consuming task to tie your data together if you’re not using the right tools.
Our engagement solutions are fully integrated with a full suite of membership, communication, and event management tools on the memberplanet platform. You and your staff gain actionable insights with real-time reporting and a centralized database of membership for both your members and potential members. Maximize your engagement efforts and get a high-level view your association’s health – contact memberplanet to learn more about how we can help you manage, engage, and grow.
Updated since original publication on 2/20/18.
Facebook and Instagram polls are great for social engagement, but don’t quite cut it for official voting functions. Our new polls tool is useful to all organizations by allowing them to facilitate secure, professional voting for officer elections, awards, or other ballot and election-oriented tasks. We offer much more customization and useful features – such as the ability to include more than one question – than polls on social media. Administrators have the flexibility to customize who is qualified to take a poll, start and end times to access the poll, as well as the data displayed in real-time results.
Note: If you are on an Enterprise plan, or belong to a chapter or club whose national or headquarters level has a partnership with memberplanet, you will have access to the polls feature.
To get started, log in to memberplanet and follow the steps below to create, share, and view results for a poll.
How to create a poll
3. Create a title for your poll, and answer the questions about what type of poll you’re creating:
Note: Private polls can only be viewed by invitation. Those who are not on the participant list will not be able to view the poll, even if someone attempts to share the URL.
4. Add any specific messages or instructions for the following:
5. Click Next to continue
6. Enter your poll question
7. Select the question type from the dropdown menu:
8. Create the poll answers for the type of question you’ve chosen
Note: You can create as many questions for your poll as needed. There is no limit.
9. Click Next when you’ve completed adding questions/answers
10. Preview your poll and select either Save Draft or Publish when ready
How to share a poll or invite participants
3. Click Share
4. Copy and share the URL or click Invite Your Members to select one of three options:
Add Manually: Enter the name and email addresses for those you want to share the poll with.
Choose From Group: Share the poll with either all your members, your group's contacts, or both.
Choose From List: Select members individually from your roster to share the poll with.
Note: If your poll is private, you cannot share it via the URL provided. Only those invited to participate can view and take your poll. Anyone who attempts to view the poll outside of your participant list will receive messaging that they do not have access to view the poll.
You can easily toggle a poll from public to private by clicking on the lock icon beside the poll name
How to view poll results
Admins can view poll results in real time without the hassle of waiting for tabulation. The data is presented both as a list of individual responses and as a pie chart for better graphical interpretation of the data.
3. Click on Results
4. Click on any of the question groups displayed or the + symbol to view the poll results for each question
5. Depending on the configuration to create a poll, your results will show:
There is also additional polls functionality that allows them to be paused or deleted, and poll results can easily be exported as an Excel file. View the full polls documentation in our Support Center.
If you would like to take advantage of this feature on our Enterprise plan, please schedule a chat with me.
Member participation is a keen indicator of an organization’s overall health. The memberplanet participation tracker provides administrators a transparent and accountable way to record or award credit (or points, hours, or any other type of format) to members for their involvement in your activities, such as attending an event, completing study hours, or volunteering their time. This is an excellent tool to recognize and reward active members, monitor overall event attendance or track volunteer hours, and learn which activities are actively engaging your members.
From a reporting perspective, there’s no need to keep clipboards or spreadsheets on file to log member participation. Your tracker data is securely recorded and tracked by date and time in a customizable reporting format. You’ll be able to see who received credits and which admin awarded participation, as well as make any edits without navigating away from the report.
Participation tracker is available to organizations on an Enterprise plan. Get started by logging in to memberplanet and following the steps below to create, add member participation, and view the data in a tracker.
How to create a participation tracker
Admins easily get up and running by creating a tracker from our pre-set templates to track hours or points, but for full customization, these steps allow you create a tracker from scratch.
2. Click on Add Tracker in the upper right corner
3. From the tracker menu select Create From Scratch
4. Enter a name for the new tracker and what format you’re tracking, such as credits, hours, or points
5. Click Save to complete the process, and you will receive a message that your tracker has been successfully created
How to add member participation to a tracker
Admins can add participation to any existing tracker. There are a few conditions to add participation: A tracker must already be created in order to add member participation to it, and the person you wish to add participation for must be a member of your organization.
2. In the pop-up, search for the member you’re adding participation for by typing in the member's name, then select the person from the results populated
4. Enter the participation value
5. Add any related notes you wish to attach to this member’s participation
6. Click Save to complete the process
How to view the data in a tracker
Admins can view the data of a particular tracker at any time. Each participation tracker includes the member’s name and group ID number, the participation value earned for that tracker, and who awarded or added the participation.
4. Admins can add hours while viewing a member’s participation details for a tracker by clicking Add Hours and entering participation information
View the full participation tracker documentation in our Support Center.
Admins can award participation credits for event attendance by linking a participation tracker to event check-in. Learn more: How to Add a Participation Tracker to an Event.
Gaining visibility over member participation in your organization’s activities is paramount for understanding how effective your engagement efforts are – and therefore, how successful your organization is. To learn more about how memberplanet’s Enterprise features can help your organization, please contact me.
About Matt Arnold
As our Vice President of Business Development, Matt is dedicated to serving member-based organizations and small to mid-sized associations. With over 10 years of experience wearing various leadership hats as an Alpha Tau Omega alumnus, Matt specializes in all fraternal organization matters. Whether a group is challenged with growing membership or engaging members, he's got a solution.
Coordinating a large event, such as a conference or annual meeting, where you’ve got multiple vendors, speakers, and a lot of eager attendees is plenty to deal with. While you might get a kick out of running the show, making sure everything goes smoothly (at least from the member perspective), and crossing off items on your to-do list, accurately tracking attendance is not something you need to stress over. Our recent tech update simplifies RSVP sharing and events check-in.
Enable RSVPs and let members share their event invites
Enabling RSVPs has awesome benefits – you can get a headcount ahead of time, generate event buzz by letting guests see who else has RSVP’d, and send tailored messages targeting people on your guest list based on their RSVP response. It’s a great way to promote online event registration and increase operational visibility on the days leading up to your event.
Previously, some guests would forward their personalized invite to a friend. When their friend RSVP’d using the link from the invite, it registered as an RSVP from the initial email recipient. You can imagine how that would create a lot of confusion on the reporting side. Our recent fix added an option to verify whether the person’s name matches the name on the invite. If it doesn’t, they can log in with their own credentials and continue to RSVP.
Here’s what your members will see when accessing an event invite:
When clicking the RSVP Now button from the email, the name on the invite will appear on the next screen. If it’s not their name, they can click the link to RSVP for someone else
Members who click the link will be directed to the RSVP page where they can enter their basic information and click Continue to complete their RSVP.
Record accurate attendance at your event by enabling check-in
While RSVPing lets you track attendance before your event, the new check-in feature gives you the ability to accurately track and record attendance on the actual day of your event. On a smaller scale, this is also critical if your organization requires members to be physically present for an activity, such as a community outreach, weekly membership meeting, or a study session.
Event check-in lets you:
Admins can record a check-in by requiring members to use a system-generated passcode or manually checking in attendees. Admins can also customize the start and end times of the check-in window and edit the check-in status of a member.
Follow these steps to enable check-in:
2. Click on an upcoming event you want to edit
3. On the top right of the event dashboard, click the Edit button
4. Scroll to the area below your event description, then click Yes to enable check-in
5. Select whether you want to use a passcode or manually check in attendees from the dropdown
6. Customize check-in start and end times if needed
7. Save your changes and continue editing your event details by clicking the Save and Customize button
Add a participation tracker to your event
If you are on an Enterprise plan, or belong to a chapter or club whose national or headquarters level has a partnership with memberplanet, you can automatically award and record credits for members when they check in. Admins can do this by linking an event check-in with a participation tracker.
2. Select Yes to add a tracker
3. Select the tracker you wish to add
4. Type in a Participation Label, which will appear in your records
5. Type in the value of points (or credits, hours or any other unit) you wish to award for check in
6. Click the Save & Customize button to save your changes and continue editing your event
Learn more about the Participation Tracker feature, or click to view the full support documentation for enabling events check-in.
If you would like to take advantage of this feature on our Enterprise plan, please schedule a chat with me.
You can spend 20 minutes flipping through the pages of your address book, or you can find exactly who and what you’re looking for in 20 seconds using your interactive directory on memberplanet. Welcome to the future of networking.
Our most recent launch of memberplanet includes an updated member directory that features a full library of your organization’s members, their profiles, and their personalized information. Each member’s data is only accessible by your group, and displayed information settings are controlled by individual privacy settings. Request that members showcase their education, career, member level, or group title on their profile, or alternatively allow them to maintain the mystery with as little disclosure possible (aside from required fields, of course). Networking has never been easier on memberplanet. You’re going to love this new look and feel.
The possibilities are figuratively endless with the new interactive directory layout and settings. Individual profiles share, but are not limited to, events members are attending, public social media account links, and contact information. Set custom fields for your members to fill out so that the data populates across every profile. Don’t worry – having your members fill out their profile isn’t labor intensive. Some of the data will automatically populate based on their email address (which remains private) if it is associated with public social media accounts.
Boost member-to-member interaction
But wait, there’s more – when you take advantage of the many perks of the Pro or Premium subscriptions on memberplanet, you and your members will be able to utilize advanced search features. Select the Smart Search option within the search bar to look up members by any field of information your group collects. Clicking on a member profile will show the information that user has chosen to display.
Give your members networking and mentorship opportunities, foster an online community, and improve engagement. They’ll have the ability to search other members in your organization using custom field data, such as who’s attending a specific event, similar interests, or who lives in the same city.
Note: If you are on an Enterprise plan, or belong to a chapter or club whose national or headquarters level has a partnership with memberplanet, your members can benefit from a more personalized experience. When coupled with our integrated websites, members can access the directory via secure login from your homepage. Multi-tiered organizations can allow their child groups, such as chapters, clubs, or units, to search members on a local and/or national level.
You can find out how to use these features by viewing the full interactive directory support documents in our Support Center.
If you would like to learn more about how our Enterprise features such as the directory can give your members a truly interactive experience, please schedule a chat with our sales team.
Updated since original publication on 7/19/18.
The all-new All Payments report has an updated look and feel that makes it cleaner and more user friendly. The report provides administrators with a bird’s-eye view of their organization and more detailed way to manage transaction-level data. Admins can easily view and manipulate data – without having to export to Excel (which you can still do, of course). If your organization has child groups, such as chapters or clubs, you can also see and sort transactions from your child groups in the same report. This report and its features are available on all subscription plans.
Powerful search functions
Quickly parse organization data by utilizing search options like payment amounts, partial names like a last name only, and payment source. Every field displayed is searched, so if you enter in "30" in in the search box, you can rest assured that whether it appears in the date, is part of a string in reference numbers, or is shown in any other field, it will be listed in records returned.
Enter your search terms in the search box located in the upper right side of your report, then click the magnifying glass icon to return results.
Comprehensive accounting summary and functions
The report displays all your organizations transactions, and where admins have the permissions, they have convenience of issuing refunds from the same screen. Filter by payment type, and view payment details such as schedules of recurring and installment payments by simply clicking on a record. A detail screen will appear on the right-hand side. From there, an admin can view the status of payments without having to navigate away from the initial report.
In one location, you can view complete running totals for payments, fees, and total transaction amounts for your entire organization.
Totals for your transaction data for the date range selected (not just page totals) is located at the bottom right of your All Payments report.
Improved date range search
Date parameters default to "any time," which is the time your organization began collecting funds on memberplanet to the present, so you start off by seeing the complete transaction information for the history of your group. The dropdown menu allows you to modify the date range, choose from other options, such as the last 30 days, or enter a specific date range.
Click on the dropdown menu labeled Any Time at the top of the report to adjust date range.
These filters provide the ability to display payment activity by type of payment (installment or recurring) or memberplanet service such as events, donations, membership, and more to give you specific transaction details by source.
Click on the Quick Filters dropdown menu at the top of your report to check off any combination of filters.
The column data of your All Payments report is also configurable so you can show and hide data fields according to your viewing preference. Drag and drop columns to customize your report layout, and set column data to sort by ascending or descending. You can also lock columns to make it easier to view data as you scroll horizontally.
Click on Choose Columns along the top of the report to add or remove column data, and to lock columns.
Organizations that have a child groups such as chapters, clubs, or units, can now view all data for their child groups in one consolidated report. The All Payments report default setting is Activity in My Group, which will isolate your group’s records. To view all records, including activity in your child groups, select Activity in My Organization.
If you wish to view the former All Payments report, don't worry it's still available to you. Just click on the Former All Payments report link near the top of the page and you'll be directed back to it.
Log in to check out the new report or visit our Support Center to view the full All Payments report documentation.
Updated since original publication on 8/21/18.
Remember when paper maps and Thomas Guides were the talk of the town? Throughout the last decade, the advent of GPS has all but killed the humble printed map. In fact, technological advances have executed countless products and services that, a mere 10 years ago, seemed to be the best thing since sliced bread.
However, there is one classic that has withstood the test of time. Even with all the new technology, email newsletters are still considered one of the best ways to grow and maintain relationships. According to Nielsen Norman Group, email newsletters remain the Internet’s best tool for supplementing a website.
Maybe you already have a newsletter and are looking for ways to spruce it up to reach out to members who seem to be disengaged. Or, it’s your first time to create one and you’re thinking of where to start. Whether you’re a veteran or newbie, these tips will help raise the awesome bar in sending out regular communication to your members.
1. Know your audience
2. Go easy on the eyes
You don’t need to be a graphic designer to find a compelling way of presenting content. We have a ton of templates (because who wants to start from scratch?) to help get you started. What’s important is that your message is easily digestible. Keep in mind members will view your newsletter on desktop and mobile devices, so breaking up text with lists, bullet points and pictures are a must.
3. Include impact stories or member highlights
For any group or organization, communicating how its success and efforts have made an impact encourages readers to work toward the group’s goals. Highlighting a member of the week or month for their contribution to the community or the organization promotes a sense of camaraderie as well shows appreciation for member’s efforts. Don’t be stingy with your praise – there’s always enough to go around. We agree with the late American philosopher John Dewey, who said, “…I am hearty in my approbation and lavish in my praise.” Nothing will resonate with your members more than when you emphasize an individual’s positive influence on your group and mission.
4. Give fundraising updates and milestones
5. Include membership updates
Use email newsletters to update your members on new rules, fee changes, updated responsibilities, and any additional information that your members should be aware of. Email newsletters provide the perfect opportunity for reaching your members with time-sensitive and relevant data that will directly affect their role within the organization.
6. Event updates and recaps
Your events are nothing without the support of your members. If your group has a big occasion in the works (whether internally or something that is community-involved), you could possibly dedicate an entire newsletter to featuring that event.
The focus of your email newsletters should be to provide quality content and compelling imagery that will help sustain and grow your relationships with your members. Because inboxes get crowded with emails competing for your reader’s attention, newsletters should include content that’s worth their time. Your organization can only go so far without engaging your members, and a successful email newsletter campaign should get your members excited about what’s to come, eager to participate, and interested in receiving updates on how they can stay involved in the organization.
Fortunately, you have all the tools (including templates!) at your fingertips to create an email newsletter on memberplanet today.
Organizing a successful event is never without its challenges. Lucky for you, part of being a group leader means pulling it off without breaking a sweat. Whether you’re thanking existing members, recruiting new ones, or updating your agenda, use an event as a time to showcase your group at its best. Event planning doesn’t have to be stressful. Following a few key steps (and taking a few deep breaths) can make the whole process more enjoyable.
1. Commit to a Committee
Planning an event is much easier if you have a team to support you. If your group doesn’t already have an event committee, consider asking at least one or two people to volunteer. It will allow you to delegate tasks and benefit from the input and expertise of others. Establish a committee in the early stages of planning your event. This way, everyone can be on the same page from day one.
2. Plan Ahead
Depending on the type of event you’re hosting, start planning at least four to six months in advance. If you already know you’ll be doing an annual event, put it on your event committee’s calendar. This will give you time to lock down a venue, a caterer, a keynote speaker, or any details that are critical for your event. Give yourself an adequate buffer between planning and execution. Don’t be afraid to multitask, but anticipate event overlap, so separate committees can work in tandem.
4. Make a Checklist
Once you know why you’re hosting an event, you can start planning everything else. Organization is crucial to making sure the event runs smoothly, so create a checklist before carrying out your plan, and make sure you stick with it. A discussion board can be a valuable tool because it will keep your event committee on track and informed of how plans are progressing.
Here are some basic items to help you start your list:
Creating an event page allows you to post updates and pictures as well as answer questions that guests may have. Increasing communication and member interaction is a great way to build anticipation and boost attendance.
6. Stay Organized
This is the most important thing you can do to avoid mistakes and limit the stress of event planning. Keeping track of RSVPs, their plus-ones, meal selections, food allergies, and add-ons like raffle tickets and more can be a daunting task. Member management software streamlines this by allowing guests to RSVP and purchase tickets online. Event organizers benefit by having all of the necessary information in one location that they can access from virtually anywhere. A month before your event, plan a weekly check-in with your event committee. Increase it to daily check-ins the week before the event ensure that everyone is on the same page.
7. Have Fun!
You’ve worked hard to create the perfect event, and now it’s time to profit from a job well done. Remember to make a plan, set a goal, and stay organized. Most importantly, have fun! The hallmark of a successful event is being able to enjoy yourself alongside your guests.
Our event functionality, donation and email campaign features, discussion boards, and online payment forms make it easy to plan for your entire year. Ready to get going?
Updated and Refreshed since original publication on 5/05/2017