Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify!” Yet people grow. Things change. Member details multiply. If you're an admin, you know the last part of that equation: They expect you to organize and update all that information. So, before you Thoreau that laptop straight into the parking lot, read how memberplanet makes updating your member database a breeze.
1. Eliminate inefficiencies
Technology should drive efficiency, not the user insane. When you're adding new information, or updating the old stuff, you want your process to be as efficient as possible. For example, many group leaders spend time manually logging data from difficult-to-read handwriting from sign-up sheets at events or follow-up calls to members; with memberplanet, this information can be added by your members themselves. Members have their own dashboard they can securely log in to update account info. They can control and manage their own data, edit privacy settings, update payment methods, and more.
2. Make it easy for your members to update their own account
For some members, logging into their account is a roadblock. Lucky for you and them, there’s a way to make their lives (and yours) easier. You can send a profile update request email from the platform, which allows the member to update their account information directly from the email. Whatever changes they make automatically enter the secure database – without the need to log in. Compare that to chasing members for updates in person, through surveys, or by standard email, where they don't have a fail-safe way to add information. Those options are old school and force the member to remember another password. The less hassle on the member’s end and the less data entry for you, the better.
3. Seize the ideal periods to ask for updates
There’s no particularly bad time to check up on your members to see if anything has changed for them. But there are key intervals you should use to get updates from members.
Is the end of the year approaching? Check in with your members and stay informed of their plans for the new year. Are you making a change to your membership terms or levels, or are you gearing up for a big event or campaign? Make sure your member information is current before taking the leap. Periodic check-ins to see if members have any updates to their profile information, including essential contact information, is a terrific way to keep your data current. Best practices for asking are every quarter, before graduation, and at the end of the school year.
memberplanet helps keep your database tidy
The key to any successful member communication strategy is having accurate, relevant information about your members. The software makes it easy – just schedule profile update requests at key intervals and the member will have a link that takes them straight to their profile. Simplified, simplified, simplified! Thoreau would be pleased.
Start making your database fantastic by signing into your memberplanet dashboard today.
Is there anything better than advice from mom? OK, maybe her homemade chicken soup, but other than that, nothing comes close. The wise words our mothers bestowed on us have a way of staying with us as we grow older. They also have a tendency to ring true. Turns out getting a good night’s sleep really is the key to a good tomorrow. In honor of Mother’s Day, here are a few of our favorite mom sayings that will help you be a better group leader.
“Don’t be late.”
It sounds simple, but being prompt is one of the easiest ways to stay diligent as a group leader. As the head of the group, you set the tone for how the organization is run. If you are late to meetings, or are late with deadlines, your members will likely follow suit. Also, if people feel like their time isn’t valued, they may decide to stop showing up all together. When hosting a meeting, it is good practice to be the first one present. As they say, they early bird gets the worm…and the increased member attendance.
“Sharing is caring.”
Easier said than done, right? We get it. Life is overwhelming, and running an organization can get hectic fast. Hold yourself accountable by setting a schedule and sticking to it. Even dedicating a few minutes a day to accomplish your tasks will keep your group on track and moving forward. Take advantage of automation tools that you can set and forget. It may be better to tackle everything at once, or to break down admin tasks over the week. Find what works for you but be sure to meet those deadlines. The more ahead of schedule you are, the less stressed you’ll be later on!
“The best way to make a friend is to be one.”
Keeping in touch with your fellow group members is a great way to boost engagement and foster friendships. Communication in groups can make or break an organization’s effectiveness. Try to individually connect with your members and discover the communication style that best suits the needs of the group. Some may prefer text messages and social media, while others only prefer to be reached via email -- memberplanet makes it easy for you to tailor your messages and communicate through all these channels. If you keep strengthening the connection between your group and your members, they're likely to stay active and engaged.
“Play to win.”
Always keep your eye on the prize. Moms know that it’s always good to have a little healthy competition. By setting challenging yet realistic goals for your group, you will inspire your members to aim high. Are you trying to boost engagement? Be proactive and plan an event for your group. Trying to increase donations? Set up a donation campaign and encourage your supporters to promote it with their own pledges. If you keep what you want to achieve as the main focal point of your organization, then you and your members will remain driven to reach it.
All of this is easy to do on memberplanet.
Originally published May 8, 2017
It’s a point of pride to be recognized within your own community, and that goes double for us within the tech world. memberplanet earned second place in the Tech Tribune’s 2018 top five ranking of the best tech startups in Torrance, CA. We’re proud to be recognized for our dedication to our clients’ growth and rewarded for our focus on simplifying membership management.
We strive to continuously improve our platform by utilizing input from our clients and the challenges their admins face. That enables us to deliver solutions based on real-world situations. We’re incredibly proud of the fact that our platform is customizable to your workflow processes, which allows us to serve a wide range of groups across multiple industries – it’s what makes us different. We’re excited about the local recognition and look at it as a confirmation that we’re doing something right.
Ready to take your organization to the next level?
Properly managed time is the jackpot of PTA unit leaders and members alike. Pass this checklist on to your incoming officers and help them realize how easy it is to get next year’s membership set up for success. Once complete, members will be able to make payments online as well as by check or cash, and they will have access to their member card to download and print. It’s also accessible on memberplanet’s free mobile app.
New Officers' Checklist:
Before starting on the checklist, you must first join your unit’s group on memberplanet as an admin. You probably received an email invite from your State if it teamed up with memberplanet. You’ll need to click the link in the email invite to gain access to your memberplanet account. Once you’ve completed the join process on memberplanet, select Go to My Home Page. While logged in, click Go to My Group Portal to access admin tools.
If you need assistance gaining access to your account, or if your incoming admin needs to delete the previous year's database, which is not doable on their own, please email us at email@example.com.
Now you’re ready to follow the guide below! Every time you check off a box, you’re one step closer to life. simplified.
1. Set up your PTA membership dues form online
Create a PTA membership dues form. On the left nav, click Payment Forms > Create a Payment Form.
Choose the ready-for-use PTA template. Click Use this Template for the PTA Membership form.
Modify the PTA template to reflect your unit’s membership dues. Scroll to the bottom and click Next. On the following page, hover over the $5 dues amount and click Edit. Enter the correct amount of your membership dues.
Save and publish. Scroll to the bottom of your payment form and click Save & Publish Now.
If you haven’t yet, set up your bank to receive membership funds.
2. Share your PTA membership dues form
First, get link of your PTA membership dues form. Once you have the link, you can start promoting PTA membership online – an easy way to broaden your reach and boost membership. In the features list, click Copy or Customize the Form URL > Copy to Clipboard.
Promote your membership dues form on your PTA website. Let your site visitors know that they can sign up and pay for PTA membership right then and there!
Email the membership dues form to potential members. Use email marketing to recruit more members. From your last PTA event, use a list of attendees’ email addresses to send out your membership dues form. Ask members to sign up online and forward the email to others who’d be interested in signing up. memberplanet’s email features include tracking opens and clicks!
Get the word out on social media. Use the shortened URL to save space on characters if needed, and post to the social platforms your potential members are most active. memberplanet has awesome social media tools to share your membership dues form directly from the platform.
3. Give members access to their membership cards
Export the list of members who made a payment. On the left nav, click Payment Forms. Select the gear icon next to PTA Membership Form > Form Responses > Choose Columns > select last name, first name, and email > click Save > Export Table.
Save this list on your computer.
Upload the list to the membership module. On the left nav, click Members > Add People button > Add New Members > Browse for your file > Check the box to Ignore the First Row of My File > Click Upload > Select dropdown menus above columns to only map or label first name, last name, and email address > Click Add Members button.
Invite your members to view their cards. To give your paid PTA members access to view their digital membership cards, they first need to join your PTA group on memberplanet. On the left nav, click Members > Send Invitations. You can edit the subject and body of the email by clicking on them. Here’s text that you can copy and paste into the body:
Welcome to the PTA! Click the Join Now button below to access your membership card!
Click the Send Now button. Once a member has followed the steps in the email, they will receive a confirmation email with instructions on how to access the member card.
Members can join memberplanet > log in to their member portal > click My Profile on the left nav > click Member Card in the submenu > select gear icon > View Card.
From the mobile app: Log in using the same email and password used when joining > tap the menu icon in the top left > My Member Card > tap group name.
If you’ve completed these 3 steps, you’re off to a great start for the school year! And don’t worry, if you get stuck or need a helping hand, here are a couple cheat-sheet resources:
Support team: Support@memberplanet.com
Strategy advice: Successteam@memberplanet.com
PTA Simplified is a series of tips for PTA and PTO leaders to get the most out of managing their volunteer members and growing their membership all year long.
Q2 2018 Tech Update: New Installment Payment Reporting, Membership Level Features, and Admin Permissions Make Managing Your Group Easier
Simplifying membership is what we do best – and we’ve been improving our platform’s features so group leaders like you don’t have to sweat this stuff. This quarter we’ve added the ability to further optimize how admins can utilize the tiers of membership that make up their group’s member levels, added installment payment reporting, updated the permissions admins can assign to group leaders to delegate their workload, and enhanced other useful member management features.
Automatically sort members into a distribution list based on member level
Once initially set up, this admin feature allows you to automate the process of sorting new and renewing members into a distribution list for each member level in your group. This makes tailoring level-specific communications a breeze. Now precious time won’t be lost to allocating new and renewing members into a distribution list - it’s all done automatically as new people join your group or renew their membership. Learn how to automatically sort members into a distribution list based on levels.
New report to track installment payments
The increased flexibility of installment plans for members is a feature that helps groups grow and retain membership. The ability for admins to accurately track and monitor the progress of installment plans as it relates to fundraising goals or membership dues will help you keep your group on target. Learn how to view all your group’s transaction reports, including installment.
Toggle on/off missed payment collections for lapsed group members
Members may come and go within your group, and one way to encourage those looking to re-join is to not charge them for the payment cycles that passed while they were in lapsed status. Admins can now toggle this collection function on and off, so they have absolute control of the amount a returning member owes. Admins can waive those passed payments or decide to collect every payment from the date they left up to their return date. The choice is yours. Collect wisely. Learn how to enable or disable missed payment collection.
New admin permissions to assign member levels and record offline payments
Share your workload by assigning other group leaders permission to add member levels and record offline payments. This is incredibly beneficial if you’re accepting cash or checks for event tickets, merchandise, or any other donation or payment. Assigning leaders the ability to record offline payments within the group helps avoid inaccurate recording. You also don’t have to worry about them editing any of the other group accounting settings since this permission is specific to member level settings and offline payment recording. In essence you get all of the benefits and none of the worry. Find out more about admin roles and permissions.
Updated membership level history report to display payment date and time
This is an improved visibility feature for admins. This update essentially creates a log of all the actions taken within a member’s account. For example, the history tab will show when the last payment was made. or if the member was assigned a new member level. The update includes the ability to see when a payment was made, not just when the next is due for a given member. Overall, this allows admins to see all the actions taken within a member’s account, as well as showing you the results of that action. Learn how to view member level history for all members.
To view the full release notes, please visit the memberplanet Support Center.
You can share your thoughts with us on how we can further improve the customer experience by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s hard to imagine that a casual meeting over a short stack of pancakes at IHOP turned into one of the most innovative, autistic support groups in Southern California. Or how a parent became involved with an Indiana-based nonprofit when his life changed forever following the diagnosis of his 5-year-old son.
“It’s very hard for these individuals in that they feel really isolated,” said Uttal. “They have difficulty making friends and communication struggles. By having a group, they can find each other and have a reference point that they’re not alone. By leveraging the power of many, we are able to address some of the underlying problems the community is facing and work to resolve them.”
Uttal’s journey with autism began when her son was diagnosed more than 20 years ago. At the time, there was no awareness, no support, and most schools were not properly equipped. She knows it can be scary as a parent to worry that your child might not be able to financially support him or herself.
A Long Road
The problems people with autism face range from social skills, to finding a job, and living independently after standard school years. Unfortunately, Uttal said many resources and educational needs virtually evaporate after a child with autism reaches 18. This is why OCASG works on providing support through shared experience, as well as a range of activities for members.
Activities are broken into three categories: social, educational, and support. Social activities are held to build connections and encourage organic friendships. Uttal said it is very isolating for a parent when everyone else’s child is getting invited to parties, and your child isn’t because they are different. Which makes this unique pocket of support in Orange County so crucial for children and their families.
Another activity is a monthly support meeting for parents of children with autism, and adults with autism. The group plans activities from an educational standpoint such hosting speakers who help to educate on topics like government services and qualifications. There is also a series on essential skills that will focus on three different topics throughout the year, such as moving out of a parent’s home, finding a job, and building relationships.
“It’s so hard for them to be successful in our society and to find a job, either because they don’t have the social skills, or companies don’t feel comfortable hiring them. If you think about two percent of society being un-hirable, you realize how scary that is.”
There is a lot of work to be done, and that is what Uttal focuses on. She wants to work on expanding job opportunities in her community.
She urges parents who have children with autism to find a support system. Bond with other families, lean on, share problems, and seek solutions together, but above all else, be hopeful.
Thrown for a Loop
For Arrick Garringer, autism didn’t enter his life until his youngest twin was diagnosed with autism at the age of 5. That’s when his world was thrown for a loop.
“For me personally, I didn’t know anything about it,” Garringer said. Luckily, he and his wife found Interlock, which helped put them in contact with local service providers in the area and gave them people to lean on for support.
Now, as a board member, Garringer works with the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Interlock East Central Indiana is run by parents and educators of individuals with autism. According to Garringer, Interlock’s goal is to assist and educate families in East Central Indiana who are affected by autism spectrum disorder. The group also works to aid local special education classrooms and accommodate the needs of the students. Interlock is currently working on its 12th annual fundraiser.
Its main event is an Autism Awareness Fest, which includes a 5K race and fundraiser. “We’re really excited about the 5K and acceptance walk because it helps provide resources and information to parents,” said Garringer. “Families can learn what’s available. There will be refreshments, face painting, and bounce houses for the kids. It’s really become a celebration.”
All funds raised during the month of April are spent back in the local autism community. The group has established a grant program that provides special equipment or software needed for classrooms. These tools help remove social barriers and aid children with autism in navigating the world. Another mission is to provide support and build connections.
"We go to the YMCA on special days,” Garringer said. “It may seem like a normal thing to walk into a YMCA, but for our small group it means a lot. We have trips to the movie theater, and the theater will turn down the lights and sound. We go swimming in the summer. It’s a support organization and we also try to build connections and friendships.”
Log in to memberplanet and make the most of the tools available to make a difference in your own organization.
Originally published 3/31/17
You’ve invested your time and efforts in managing your PTA, all with the goal of improving the lives of children in your community. Now it’s time to pass on the torch – and all the knowledge you’ve gained – so that the future leaders and administrators of your organization can build upon the great work you’ve done. How can you set them up for success? Our 5 Keys to A Successful Officer Transition is what you need to know to make the most of this critical transition.
1. Demonstrate value
To get someone acclimated to a new role, you’ll need to go through their necessary tasks. For every specific skill or task to be instructed to your unit officers, explain first what it is you’re about to share. More importantly, explain why it is important for your PTA. Even seemingly menial tasks (such as setting up back-to-school registration packets) have high value. How do these tasks work in their specific scope? How do they affect the overall success of the unit? It’s important to give a sense of the flowchart of the unit and the officer’s role within it.
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”
While demonstrating, use real-life examples that have been taken from day-to-day experience and practice, as well as visual references to give context. Provide simple instructions. Make it relatable and fun, and be sure to frequently check for questions.
2. Observe and adjust
You’ve provided the instructions. Now have your board show you how to do it. The “Each One Teach One” principle applies here. As you’re observing, adjust the course when necessary. Encourage and empathize with them, keeping in mind that you were once new to the role as well.
3. Tailor the training
We all have our individual quirks, and personality will eventually be revealed, especially in the course of training. Make time to discover your officers’ own skills, unique experiences, and new strengths they bring to the unit. But be sure to recognize their different ways of learning, and be open to let them take ownership of their roles.
Grow your unit officers. Assign sample scenario tasks (e.g. planning an upcoming fundraising event, a membership drive, or volunteer opportunity) and see how they deliver. Let them own it. It’s like the bonsai trees in Mr. Miyagi’s workshop. You have strong roots and all kinds of cool branches.
Provide support and feedback. Work with each officer to set up short- and long-term goals for themselves and the unit, and make sure they know how to use the memberplanet tools available to them. On the feedback loop, too, show them what’s been done previously by the unit. Encourage them to find ways to innovate and improve efficiency while building on past successes in pursuit of the mission.
Seek out your officers’ feedback and listen to their perspectives as well. Successful learning is a two-way street, and hearing from them will bolster your own knowledge and help you further educate them.
When your officers are confident that the outgoing board have their back and the PTA’s interests at heart, they’ll operate at peak productivity, and they will lead the rest of the unit in the way they’ve been instructed. It’s the best way to build a strong team and community.
“Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community.”
PTA Simplified is a series of tips for PTA and PTO leaders to get the most out of managing their volunteer members and growing their membership all year long.
Hosting a successful social function is never without its challenges. Lucky for you, we’re here to help you pull it off without breaking a sweat. Whether you’re thanking members, gathering the community, or recruiting new members, use an event as a time to showcase your club 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
Organizing club programs and activities will be much easier if you have a group of event planners. If your club doesn’t already have an event committee, consider asking for volunteers. Ask spouses, family members, and any authorized guests to join in the process. This will allow you to delegate tasks, save time, and benefit from the input and expertise of others. Establish a committee in the early stages of planning your social function. This way, your servicemen and volunteers can be on the same page from day one.
2. Plan ahead
Depending on the type of event your club is hosting, start planning at least four to six months in advance for big gatherings like Airman Leadership School graduations and dinner galas. Make sure to put all recurring annual events on your committee’s calendar. This will give you time to prepare the venue, a caterer, a keynote speaker, or any details that are critical for your event. Give yourself and your team an adequate buffer between planning and execution. Don’t be afraid to multitask, but anticipate event overlap, so separate committees can work in tandem.
3. Create a game plan
Set a goal for each of your events and clarify your intentions. Are you looking to recruit new club members? Are you organizing a membership drive? Or maybe the Cinco De Mayo party? Use each gathering as a publicity opportunity to elevate the exposure of your club if your goal is to attract new servicemen. Share your RSVP with other servicemen to generate buzz and entice them to attend. Knowing exactly what you want the event to achieve will help you plan the necessary details to attain your goals.
4. Make a checklist
Organization is crucial to making sure the event runs smoothly, so create and distribute a checklist before carrying out your plan, and make sure you stick with it. Once you’ve outlined your goal for an event, program, class, or drive, you can start planning everything else. 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:
5. Send invitations
It's important to get the word out to club members and their guests early, within six to eight weeks of the big event, so invitees can save the day and make any necessary arrangements. People are more likely to decline last-minute invitations if they don't have enough notice to set aside the time. This may also make the event seem unorganized.
Creating a web page for the event allows you to post updates and pictures as well as answer questions that invitees may have. Increasing communication and member interaction is a great way to build anticipation to boost attendance. Your event page can include: images, branding, ticketing, and a location map.
6. Stay organized
This is extremely important to avoid mistakes and limit the stress of your event planning. Keeping track of RSVPs, their guests, meal selections, food allergies, and add-ons like raffle tickets, prizes, and more can be a daunting task. Our member management platform streamlines this by allowing guests to RSVP and purchase tickets online using the events module. Event committees benefit when all the necessary information is organized in one location that they can access from virtually anywhere. A month before your event, schedule weekly check-ins with your team. Increase it to daily check-ins the week before the event ensure that everyone is ready-to-go and on the same page.
7. Have fun!
You and your team have worked hard to create the perfect function and now it’s time to profit from a job well done. Remember, in order, to make a game plan, set a goal, and stay organized. And most importantly, have fun! The hallmark of your successful event is being able to enjoy yourself alongside your servicemen.
Our event functionality, donation and email campaign features, discussion boards, and online payment forms within the event module make it easy to plan for your entire year. Let’s get going!
Effective booster club leaders focus on fundraising because they firmly believe their altruism will help not just their children, but the entire community. As a Booster Club leader, you might find it challenging to balance all your responsibilities. Taking advantage of resourceful online tools may be your best bet for success. Here’s why you should consider a consolidated platform for events and fundraising to better engage your donors:
1. Attract more donors
Every 15 seconds, a new user joins the world of social media. According to Brandwatch, there are 3.03 billion active social media users. That’s nearly 40 percent of the worldwide population.
Booster Club leaders should consider how using social media can boost fundraising by targeting specific audiences. For example, the 2016 Global NGO Online Technology Report claims that millennials prefer to donate online, and they are most often inspired to give by social media. Utilize and mobilize your social media presence to spread the word about fundraising events.
2. Increase engagement with photos
If you are looking to grab the attention of potential donors, spread the word about a cause, and/or inspire volunteerism, sharing photos online is a powerful move. Improve visibility by tagging others in your photos and opening yourself up to the photo-sharing community.
According to The Guardian, people are more likely to donate to a cause when it means something to them. Use effective imagery to connect with people, and let them get to know the cause you want them to support.
3. Collect more money
Offering online/mobile payment and donation options helps your donors help you. This eliminates the need for donors to have cash and checks on hand. Accepting online payments leverages today’s tech with potential donors -- where it’s only a few clicks from decision to completion of payment. That’s why online donation campaigns see more dollars collected overall. It’s not just easy, it’s a familiar process that donors feel innately comfortable with. According to a Cone Communications study, 48 percent of American adults are likely to use an app to make a donation. What are you waiting for? You can broaden your reach (and increase your donations) by using mobile and online payment methods.
By making the most of online tools such as social media, electronic payment options, photo sharing, and email, you can be more successful in your fundraising efforts. Keep your contacts organized to seamlessly communicate with your whole audience and track their responses. You can test and target your messages to specific recipients and optimize your fundraising efforts to meet your goals every time. These online tools offer Booster Clubs an edge that will make managing fundraising events more effective, and better yet, more engaging.
Learn more about fundraising and how memberplanet can help your Booster Club raise more donations. Get started with your free account today.
Reaching your fundraising goals is always a challenge. Whether you’re planning a big event or something small, running a successful campaign requires organization, dedication, and clear definitions of your goal. These four simple steps will help optimize your donations to reach your goal and then some.
1. Encourage peer-to-peer fundraising
Your campaign will spread like wildfire with the help of your supporters. Help donors help you by motivating them to share your campaign with their friends and family. Peer-to-peer fundraising opens your donation campaign to everyone in your educational foundation’s circle and beyond: Your supporters’ supporters will in turn become your supporters! Post content online for your donors to share on social media. Your audience is more likely to donate to your page when they see that others, especially people they know, have already donated.
2. Adopt a social media strategy
One third of online donations comes from peer-to-peer fundraising, making it a vital market to access. Social media is part of a larger multi-channel communication strategy, which is to communicate with donors using the channels (email, phone, social media, etc.) they prefer. If you’re still not using social media to fundraise, you’re missing out on a great tool for spreading the word about your campaign. Find out which social media platforms your target demographics are using and start by engaging them on those platforms.
3. Stay in touch
After receiving funds from your donors, send thank-you emails to go out immediately to encourage them to spread the word about your campaign. Go the extra mile and share the impact of your campaign with donors, staff, and volunteers. Leave them feeling a genuine sense of gratitude from you. This encourages them to participate in upcoming events and fundraisers from your organization. You can easily send an email to all your members and participants, but it’s better to tailor messages to target specific recipients, such as generous donors and key players of your team.
4. Track your progress
Set weekly and monthly goals to monitor your success. By setting timely goals, you can create a call to action for your supporters to stay on target and overcome smaller hurdles.
Now that you have some excellent tips, get out there and crush your fundraising goals. memberplanet was created to help you build a great campaign and maximize donations. Get started on our platform today.