During the holiday season, everyone is bombarded with fundraising campaigns. You’ve likely taken advantage of giving season yourself, and that’s not a bad thing. To switch things up, consider also offering your members a way to give their time, and not just their money. In November, you’ve got Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday – one right after the other. To help you out during this especially busy time for your members, we have some tips to encourage volunteering. Yes, really!
Set up an incentive
Members are lot more likely to volunteer their precious time if there is a return on investment for them. Try offering an incentive that will help give members that little extra push to sign up. The incentive can be simple; for example, first dibs on fundraising booth shifts, one extra vote in a t-shirt design survey, or even a gift card. The point is, no matter the occasion these small enticements can lead to a big turnout on participation.
Plan and communicate early
Procrastination is the enemy. If you’re collaborating with a local nonprofit, have a plan in place as early as possible. Communicate clear expectations to everyone involved, including your members. Create a frictionless experience to volunteer by sending out a form with easy-to-select sign-up dates and times, so it is effortless for members to contribute their time. Once someone signs up, have an automatic confirmation email set up to include all the information they’ll need for the event. Sometimes, plans don’t pan out – and we recommend having a back-up plan if a couple volunteers need to back out. By putting in a little effort ahead of time to connect with all parties involved, you will likely see more willing, and might we add happy, volunteers.
Make your cause hit home
In addition to competing with busy schedules, there are countless wonderful causes and charities your group is up against. The more that you can personalize your cause to your potential volunteers’ interests, the more successful you’ll be in getting them to commit. Try to volunteer for causes that are local, or causes that directly affect your group – and communicate the benefits of their time. Members are more likely to be encouraged to help a cause they are passionate about, and one they know makes a difference.
We’re all guilty of scrolling through Facebook or Instagram before our heads hit the pillow at night. While social media has become a popular way to kill time, it also has many practical uses.'
As a group leader, you are already aware of the necessity of branding across various platforms, so here are our top five ways to bolster your online presence by optimizing your social media engagement strategy, first and foremost with your own members.
1. Deliver Digestible Bits
Newsletters are great for providing various bits of information to your members all at once. Social media is best for delivering a brief message to a large audience. While people average a minimum of 50 minutes of Facebook each day, they typically only spend about 20 minutes on the site per visit.
This means you have a small window of time to get users to interact with your post. Providing relevant, unique and easily digestible bits of info should be the focus of your social media strategy. Nobody wants to scroll through a Facebook post or read a tweet with three continuations. You can prompt users to click through to a website by providing a URL within your post where they can access more information.
2. Promote Your Cause
Social media is an efficient and cost-effective way to broaden the reach of your cause, mission, fundraising campaign, or any other promotion. Whenever you send emails to your members, ask them to follow your organization’s social media handles. And make sure your posts tie in the cause or mission that appeals to your followers. People average almost two hours per day checking social media, making it a great promotion tool.
Note to memberplanet users: You can easily share your event or donation site to social media directly from the platforms. Group admins and members can also do this directly from the event site, donation site, or mobile app.
3. Include Video
You don’t have to be Einstein to figure out that social media users watch A LOT of video. Our own metrics reveal that video posts on Facebook and Instagram get about double the engagement than photo posts. So consider creating a short video explaining your cause. There are a bunch of free services online, such as Adobe Spark, that pretty much put together video for you based on the images and words you choose. Live video content is also on the rise, so find creative ways to use features like Facebook Live or Instagram stories to get your message out.
memberplanet users: Adding a video to your donation site, event site, or email is also quick and easy.
4. Utilize a Social Media Calendar
Hiring a social media manager or finding a volunteer who’s up for the task is a great way to stay organized and on top of your online presence. A social media manager is responsible for curating and creating content and making sure it gets posted at the right time.
If you’re a team of one, utilize a social media calendar to minimize your time spent creating content. Hubspot has a free calendar template you can use to get started. Knowing when to post and what to post will help you strategically plan content for your members, as opposed to overwhelming their feeds or posting haphazardly.
5. Target the Platforms Your Members Use
Facebook is the most popular social media platform (1.59 billion monthly active users) but you shouldn’t limit yourself to one network. We recommend using the social media platforms your target demographics use. Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter are major players in terms of their reach. By creating a diverse portfolio of social media strategies, you are likely to connect with more members and prospects. Twitter is a great way to get out a short message and interact with a large audience.
You can provide links to your website or event page. memberplanet’s donation, event, survey, and payment form modules have built-in URL shorteners, so you don’t need to worry about going over the allowed 140 characters. (There’s no excuse for putting out an ugly tweet.)
Social media is great tool for spreading the word about events, campaigns, and general information about your organization. It allows you to interact with your members consistently and in real time without flooding their inboxes with emails. Building a strong online presence can also attract the attention of potential members while keeping current ones engaged.
Follow us on social media for more member management tips.
Effective PTA leaders have many duties. They have endless parenting obligations, and must commit to becoming a resource to other parents in the community. PTA leaders focus on fundraising because they firmly believe their altruism will help not just their children, but all the children of that school community. As a PTA leader, you might find it challenging to balance these responsibilities. Take the time to understand the online tools at your disposal, and you’ll reap many exciting and lucrative benefits.
Social media reaches more people
The number of social media users is growing exponentially. According to TrackMaven, by 2018, the population of social media users is projected to reach 2.44 billion, or 33 percent of the world population.
It makes perfect sense for PTA leaders to 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 give 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.
Mobile and online payments simplify the process
A philanthropy study conducted by Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis projected the vast majority of giving would come from individuals and households, contributing 71% of total giving in 2017. And giving to support education at all levels is projected to rise 6.3 percent in 2017. No matter how much these number grow, it won’t benefit your PTA unless you have an easy and convenient way to collect payments and donations.
Offering online and/or mobile payment and donation options do more than just help you broaden your reach. They remove 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 overall dollars collected. 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.
Photos improve engagement
Email drives donations
Email is a powerful tool for driving PTA social media presence and donations. Just ask the people behind the M&R Benchmarks Study who found that for every 1,000 fundraising emails delivered, a nonprofit organization raises $44. When you make emails engaging and fun, you might even pick up some email subscribers.
Keeping your email contacts organized in an online platform makes it seamless to 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.
Beyond emails, organizing your contacts on the platform into customized distribution lists drives engagement in a specific way most suited to your needs. Set them up to send thank-you messages anytime someone donates, or send donation campaign details to any new contacts. Your options aren’t limitless, they’re better: They’re specifics built exactly for you and your group.
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. These online tools offer PTA units an edge that will make managing fundraising events more effective, and better yet, more engaging.
Learn more about fundraising.
memberplanet continues to define the member management space by offering the best software to manage and engage members. To finish off the summer, we’re turning up the heat on your favorite features. We’ve developed new enhancements for the mobile app, membership cards, recurring payments, reporting, and more. Check out our exciting additions:
Improved search for membership cards
Offline access to membership cards through the mobile app
Recurring payment enhancements
New member level history report
New Member Circle member list and Member Circle custom fields report
Improved search for membership cards
Digital membership cards are one of our most used features, and we’ve made them even easier to access! As most members know, cards can be accessed through a desktop or can be downloaded via our mobile app. Admins can now search for a member card by member instead of going through the whole member directory. This will save time accessing member cards for both admins and members at meetings and events. Learn more: How to download membership cards.
Offline access to membership cards through the mobile app
Need to access your membership card on the go but don’t have Wi-Fi? We’ve got good news -- you can now access your member card offline. Once you download your member card via mobile app, it will automatically save to your phone. Easily access your card, with or without internet! Learn more: How to download membership cards via the mobile app.
Recurring payment enhancements
Recurring payments is an essential set-it-and-forget-it feature for all member-based organizations. When it comes time for your members to renew their membership, they shouldn’t have to think about writing another check or pulling out cash from their wallet. Recurring payments allows for a more frictionless experience. We’ve streamlined our recurring payments functionality to make it easier for users to opt in and select the frequency, as well as stop recurring payments.
Installments, which we’ve also streamlined, are a great way to increase your fundraising dollars. Some people are more willing to donate a higher amount if they can pay in installments – and it’s a best practice to always give them the option. Learn more: Manage recurring payments on a Donation Site.
New membership levels history report
Our reporting features are great for keeping a bird’s-eye view on your group and to target and track member activity. With our new membership levels history report, admins can look at the history of each member level. The membership levels report can be found under the membership tab on the left navigation sidebar. On the levels tab, admins can click on the gear icon that corresponds with the membership level they want to view, then select View Members in the dropdown menu.
Admins can also level history by member. On the Members tab, select the gear icon next to the member name you wish to see the history for, then select Level History in the dropdown menu.
New Member Circle member list and Member Circle custom fields report
In addition to the member levels report, we’ve added new reports for Member Circles, which serves to give admins a more in-depth look at data collected for each subgroup. The Member Circles feature is an easy way to create a small grouping of individuals in your organization, and is a type of membership level that allows one person to manage the membership account for a group of people (such as a family or company account). Circle Member reports will list each Member Circle by members. The Member Circle custom fields report allows for the admin to view each response. These reports can be found under the members tab on the left navigation sidebar. Learn more about Member Circles.
What other features would help you simplify your life? Email us and let us know at
Life is full of opportunity and endless options for new experiences. A bucket list is the perfect way to log and catalog all the stuff you want to do before you, well, kick the bucket. Along with getting in all the fun things, it is a good idea to make a list of things you want to accomplish for your group. We created a memberplanet bucket list challenge to inspire you to make the most of our platform and take your organization to new heights. Can you complete them all? We think so!
1. Define your group's aesthetic and personalize your page
Photos, videos, and other visual images are a key element to your group site. However, creating the visual tone for your group site can be a challenge. Start by thinking of what makes your group unique and what aspects you want to highlight. Think of your Facebook newsfeed -- what catches your eye? Try to use a mix of photos and images that are visually pleasing and fun. Listing group events will help highlight the culture of your group and entice new members to join and greater engagement from existing members. Also, adding personalized touches like group logos and photos also gives your group a sense of professionalism and credibility.
2. Phone it in with cash and check payments
Our mobile app is free and can help when you or your group are on the go. Through the app, group members can take and upload photos to a shared event album, making it easy to capture important memories. Member cards can be accessed through the app and used for entry to group-sponsored events. Payments can also be accepted through the app -- no extra hardware required. This means never missing out on a donation or merchandise sale if a member or donor isn’t carrying cash. Finally, if you want to shoot out a quick Broadcast you can easily send a message to your group. Reach your members through the app anywhere, anytime.
3. Life’s a celebration! Create an event that’s worthy of it
Planning a group event can often be a hassle, and we bet you aren’t using our event features to their full potential. Emailing event invitations alone is not enough to reach your attendees. Facebook is another useful tool, however it lacks more robust functionalities, such as syncing to your member database. Our event module allows you to send invitations, set up an event site, sell tickets or merchandise, and track RSVPs. Once you have created an event, you can share it to your members – both through email and social media – directly from the platform. Have your members share it on social media to spread awareness through their network. We challenge you to use as many items in our event feature as you can and plan your groups best event yet!
4. Keep your members in the loop
Our lives are always changing; we move, we get married, etc. To keep on top of important member information, and to make sure your members are receiving your group’s communication updates, we recommend sending profile updates requests from your group at least twice a year.
5. Finally, we challenge you to make your group the best it can be!
Use another feature not mentioned here. Some of the best ones include creating a donation campaign, email newsletter, and survey. Here at memberplanet, we are passionate about helping groups reach their full potential. This bucket list will help take your group to the next level, and hopefully have a bit of fun in the process.
So, think you can finish the bucket list challenge?
It’s not about bragging rights, but it sure does feel good to be noticed. In addition to stacking up stellar reviews on Capterra, we’ve now been noticed as a market leader by SoftwareAdvice.com. Its annual Frontrunners Hub is a 100% data-driven assessment of the most capable and valuable products for small businesses, and the scores are largely based on end-user reviews of software. This year, memberplanet was recognized as a quadrant leader.
We’re incredibly excited to be included in this year’s hub. Our philosophy of simplifying life for our clients remains our goal. We are equally proud of not only our software, but the reviews from customers who need it for their group or organization to thrive. However, the work is not done. We continue our mission to be the absolute best software platform for groups of any size to manage their members, process payments, and communicate.
Ready to take your organization to the next level?
Congrats! You’re on your way to managing your PTA online and offering your members a convenient way to pay membership dues. When you’re finished, your members can make payments online in addition to cash and check. They can also access their own membership cards anytime online and via the mobile app.
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, email use 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 account 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
The days of cash carrying are over. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple decades, you’ve noticed the societal shift toward electronic payments. What does this mean for you and your PTA? Let’s get schooled on payment methods. The reality is that ignoring this trend can seriously hurt the future growth of your unit. The benefits are enough to outweigh whatever costs are incurred – and we have proof. Check out these five payoffs of accepting electronic payments.
1. Grow your membership
Studies indicate more than 70% of Americans have at least one credit card. Even more compelling is that 60% of consumers pay with credit cards instead of cash. This means that accepting credit card payments increases your ability to attract potential PTA members who find electronic payments more convenient. You can connect with a larger audience to recruit members, reach more donors for your campaigns, and increase ticket sales for your events. It’s simple math – when you broaden your reach, you also increase your chances of boosting membership.
2. Increase school and PTA revenue
Research shows that people are willing to spend more on their credit cards than when making cash purchases. This has obvious benefits for fundraising campaigns, as it can lead to bigger donations from individuals. The New York Times sites several studies that demonstrate the increase in spending with credit versus cash of at least 5-10%. In one study, graduate students paid nearly double the price for a sporting event ticket when paying with a credit card!
3. Ease the burden of holding on to large sums of cash and checks
Unit leaders don’t need to be carrying members’ cash and check payments with them. By accepting electronic payments, you make it more convenient for your members to pay by their own method of preference, and you’re likely to save yourself a trip to the bank. Direct deposit also removes the inconvenience of paying out of pocket. Accepting electronic payments increases cash flow by limiting the time it takes for money to appear in your account. Instead of waiting for PTA members or donors to mail a check, then depositing the check, and waiting for it to clear, funds are deposited directly into your account.
4. Simplify recurring payments and donations
Unit members and donors can set up recurring membership payments and donations. memberplanet’s electronic payment feature is built in, easy to use, and features advanced encryption to ensure payments are securely processed and deposited directly into your designated account. Simplifying the payment process makes it easier to collect membership dues and retain current members, and is beneficial when collecting donations during fundraisers.
5. Build credibility with credit cards
Accepting credit cards is particularly helpful because it adds credibility to a PTA’s operation. When your members and potential members see that you’re accepting credit cards it increases the legitimacy of your unit. Furthermore, limiting your PTA to cash transactions can seem unprofessional given the rise of electronic payment options.
Accepting electronic payments facilitates the exchange of money for you and anyone you collect payments from. This is beneficial and convenient for collecting membership fees, receiving donations, and selling event tickets or any other PTA product or service your offer. With an evident shift from cash to credit, it is essential to offer a variety of payment methods to retain members, grow your organization, and maximize PTA contributions.
Ready to get started? Log in to memberplanet and set up your account to collect electronic payments.
The constant pull of activities, to-do’s, and work for your PTA can leave you and other unit leaders with little time to focus on the vital task of boosting membership. On the flip side, parents and those you want to recruit to join your PTA are already time-deficient between their work and their children. These two hurdles however, don’t stand a chance with the memberplanet toolkit at your fingertips. memberplanet is like your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, here to ensure you’re maximizing your efficiency while attracting more members to your cause – without creating a supervillain amount of work.
1. Make it easy to become a member – offer electronic payment methods
The first step to growing is to make it as convenient as possible for new members to join. A best practice for any organization is to make it easy for people to pay for your services. Offering electronic payment methods is the first step toward offering a convenient and modern membership experience, which is what everyone in today’s society has come to expect. Instead of forcing people to pay by cash or check, you’re giving them the option to pay by their preferred payment methods. Learn more: How Collecting Funds Online Benefits Your PTA in 5 Big Ways.
memberplanet’s payment process is simple and direct. A few clicks, some basic information, and new members are in. Unit leaders can even set up automated email reminders to notify members when it’s renewal time, so it’s not only easy to join, it’s easy to stay a member. Check out our three-step checklist to get started.
2. Use multiple forms of communication to reach potential members
To describe the header above, which is quite a mouthful, we frequently use the term multi-channel communication. Simply put, it’s using all different methods, mediums, and platforms (preferably the ones your prospects are using) to get the word out. That way, even if your potential members “change the channel” they’ll still receive your message.
You can still distribute paper flyers, send snail mail, and yell through a megaphone to communicate (whatever works, right?), but we recommend also using more cost-effective digital forms of communicating: websites, e-newsletters with tracking, email and group text messaging, and social media. memberplanet's platform is equipped with tools to efficiently and consistently use multi-channel communication, and the best part is you don’t have to use multiple programs.
3. Blast out your benefits
Telling recruits what they have to gain by becoming a member of your PTA seems like a no-brainer. It’s surprising though, how that message can get buried under the guise of free incentives. Let’s be honest – offering free food, t-shirts, and other giveaways are great for getting people at the door/sign-up table/website, but when it comes to sealing the deal, there’s no alternative for communicating the true benefits of your PTA – your mission of positively affecting the lives of all children and families. That’s a wonderfully amazing cause, and one that should come across consistently in every explanation of your benefits. Give your prospects the feeling that by joining, they’d be participating in something that’s bigger than themselves – something that makes a difference.
You have all kinds of options on memberplanet to optimize your message, from adding images and videos to using responsive design and targeted, dynamic distribution lists.