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.
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.
Originally published: 7/01/2017
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.
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.
Originally published: 7/01/2017
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. Scrap that address book -- welcome to the future of networking.
Our most recent launch of memberplanet includes an updated member directory that features a full library of your group’s members, their profiles, and their personalized information. Each member’s data is private to your group, and displayed information settings are custom and 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, social media account links, and contact information. Set custom fields for your members to fill out as uniform response requests across every profile.
But wait, there’s more - when you take advantage of the many perks of the Pro or Premium subscriptions with memberplanet, you’ll be able to query the directory beyond first and last name. Select the Smart Search option within the search bar to look up members by any field of information your group collects. Your members can also network with and search other members in your group using custom field data. They can search for who’s attending your organization’s events or who lives in the same city for example.
For more information on how the directory can give your members a truly interactive experience, visit our Support Center.
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, please fill out our support form and submit a request.
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:
If you need assistance gaining access to your account, please fill out our support form and submit a request.
Strategy advice: Successteam@memberplanet.com
Originally posted 7/27/2017
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.
The Pennsylvania Society of Radiologic Technologists (PSRT) is an affiliate of the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT), a professional association for people who work in medical imaging and radiation therapy. As the world’s largest radiologic science organization, ASRT guides policy and public awareness to promote patient safety.
PSRT offers significant value to its members, but the process of joining the association was inconvenient for prospective members and cumbersome for administrators. Even processing renewals for current members was tedious, and contributed to the association’s declining membership. Once PSRT switched to memberplanet, membership began to pick up – it boosted paid membership by 91% and membership revenue by 55% in just one year.
New Challenges for a New Generation
Millennials are the first generation of digital natives, and their expectation to access information online and via mobile quickly and easily poses significant challenges for membership associations. Many associations do not have the recruitment, retention, and engagement tools that can meet the demands of the new generation of members. According to the Brookings Institution, by 2020, millennials will comprise more than one in three of adult Americans, and by 2025 could comprise 75% of the U.S. workforce.
Associations need to recruit, retain, and engage members locally to thrive. Members seek a community, as well as information about developments in the industry and exclusive access to conferences, events, and other networking opportunities. Expecting administrators to provide all this with limited time, staff, and budget is a lot to ask.
Streamlining Group Registration Leads to a Boost in Membership
At the start of PSRT’s new member and renewal cycle in September 2016, it had just 165 paid members and 852 general (free) memberships. Interest in the association is high among schools and medical offices – they frequently request to have students and staff register for PSRT’s events as a group. However, PSRT’s inability to streamline group registrations made it difficult for groups of students and active professionals to join the association. The inconvenient registration process was a major deterrent to membership. To prepare for its 2016 membership and renewal cycle, PSRT began to utilize memberplanet’s member management features to process and track group memberships. By the end of the cycle, paid membership had increased 91% and general membership saw a boost of 23%. Membership revenue jumped by 55%.
More Features and Better Benefits
The ability to process group invoices has been particularly beneficial to PSRT, which looks to attract both professionals and students as members through its events.
“Using memberplanet, we were able to register members and event attendees so easily. It took virtually no time for us to set up, and we received great feedback letting us know how easy it was for a group to register together instead of individually, and pay on a single invoice. Members really appreciated the convenience,” Max Maxwell, PSRT’s Treasurer, explained.
Additionally, the platform made it easier to manage event RSVPs and attendance records. “Keeping track of new members, event registration, and attendance was greatly simplified and much easier to manage with memberplanet,” Maxwell continued.
The ability to schedule email and text message reminders to the entire member roll also simplified communication tasks for administrators. Before, PSRT had multiple distribution lists that required frequent updates. Now they can create dynamic distribution lists and send email and text communications to all members from one platform. PSRT administrators are also able to track how their members engage with emails and have maintained an impressive average open rate of 44%.
Members increasingly expect easy access to and quick dissemination of association information. PSRT’s board decided to address this requirement by utilizing memberplanet’s engagement, communication, and payment processing functionality.
Using the platform’s invoice feature allowed PSRT admins to send invoices via email for any type of charge, including group enrollment fees. Members have multiple convenient payment options that can be accessed directly from a link in the email. Staff can promote recurring payments, log offline payments, and process payments on-site, such as at an event.
The platform has reduced administrative overhead and streamlined PRST’s processes while providing utility and flexibility in the association’s communication, payment processing, and member management.
A Solution for Future Growth
When PSRT’s executive board was looking for a membership management solution, they evaluated several providers before choosing memberplanet. The board believed that the platform’s functionality would be easily understood by administrators, and the SaaS-based, all-in-one solution would also be the easiest to implement. “We contacted many membership management solution companies, but ultimately chose memberplanet because they were the most informative and clearly explained the features. I’ve been surprised and pleased by just how easy the software is to use. Their customer service is great. Any time I’ve had a question they’ve been extremely helpful,” Maxwell said. Maxwell knows PSRT is just getting started with memberplanet. There are features, such as the mobile app, that they haven’t yet utilized. He and the other admins look forward to learning more and exploring how else the platform can support PSRT’s growth.
Contact memberplanet today to see how the platform can help your organization grow.
We at memberplanet take security seriously. Protecting your data – both personal and payment information – is our top priority. We continually update our security measures to ensure that your information is kept safe against loss, misuse, unauthorized access, unauthorized disclosure, manipulation, or destruction. In addition to trusting us with your data, you should feel that you have complete control over the information you provide online, and so should the people in your group. The GDPR – a term you’ve probably heard before – is meant to empower European Union citizens, but we see this as being relevant to all our customers, regardless of where they reside. Here’s what you need to know, the choices your members have, and what to expect.
What is the GDPR?
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new set of data procedures designed to protect and empower all European Union (EU) citizens’ data privacy. UK residents are also included. The GDPR replaces the 1995 Data Protection Directive and is arguably the most significant change in data privacy regulation in 20 years. It’s meant to boost consumer confidence and data transparency in our digital economy and in turn business.
When will the GDPR be enforced?
On May 25, 2018. The EU is already implementing the GDPR, but at the end of May, organizations found in non-compliance risk significant fines.
Whom does the GDPR affect?
The GDPR applies to organizations that collect, share, and/or store the data of EU citizens. For example, if there’s a chance your U.S.-based organization collects personal data of EU citizens, you may need to adjust and demonstrate that your methods of collecting, sharing, and/or storing that data is compliant to the GDPR by May 25, 2018.
These terms define whom the GDPR affects in relation to the data collected:
Personal data: any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (‘data subject’); an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person
Controllers: people or organizations that determine the purposes and essential means of the processing of personal data
Processors: people or organizations that process personal data on behalf of a controller
Processing: any operation or set of operations which is performed on personal data or on sets of personal data, whether or not by automated means, such as collection, recording, organization, structuring, storage, adaptation or alteration, retrieval, consultation, use, disclosure by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making available, alignment or combination, restriction, erasure or destruction
In relation to the GDPR’s definitions, memberplanet is considered a processor – we process personal data on behalf of controllers, which are our customers, groups, clients, and organizations that use memberplanet even on a free subscription plan.
What is the penalty for non-compliance?
The maximum penalty for organizations in breach of GDPR is up to 4% of annual global revenue or €20 million (whichever is greater). There is also a tiered approach. For example, a company can be fined 2% for not having their records in order, not notifying the supervising authority and data subject about a breach, or not conducting impact assessment. At the EU level, Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) are empowered to monitor compliance. Fines apply to controllers and processors, so this is something you don’t want to ignore.
How does the GDPR affect memberplanet customers?
The GDPR details the following key procedures and rights of EU citizens, and if you collect their data, you are obligated to comply with these:
Get clear consent to process data. Terms and conditions must be easily accessible with the purpose for data processing attached to that consent. Use clear and plain language. Also, permit withdrawal of consent. It must be as easy to withdraw consent as it is to give it.
Right to Be Forgotten (Data Erasure)
Erase personal data if the data subject asks. Data subjects are entitled to have the controller erase his or her personal data, cease further dissemination of the data, and potentially have third parties halt processing of data. Exemptions include if the data is needed to exercise freedom of expression, a legal obligation to keep that data, and reasons of public interest, such as public health research purposes.
Right to Access
Let people access their data and receive confirmation as to whether or not their personal data is being processed, where and for what purpose. You’re obligated to provide an electronic copy of their data to them -- free of charge.
Data subjects have the right to receive their personal data in a common machine-readable format that allows them to give it to another company.
Inform people of data breaches if there is serious risk to them. You must do this within 72 hours of first having become aware of the breach.
For more details on exemptions and key changes to the previous directive, you can visit the European Commission’s website.
What choices do my members have regarding their personal data?
Members may request to view, update, or delete their information by submitting a request for info or deletion or emailing us at email@example.com. Please note that some information may remain in our records, for example in our archives, after a request for deletion of such information. We may use any aggregated data derived from or incorporating members’ personal information after they update or delete it, but not in a manner that would identify them personally. Please also note that comments posted publicly on our website properties, such as comments on our blog posts, will remain visible to the public.
What to expect:
Check back for updates.
The information in this article is not meant to be a substitute for legal advice. Only a licensed attorney can provide legal advice appropriate for your organization’s particular situation.
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 have a hunch about how your group is doing, but a gut feeling is not going to cut it. You need to look at specific data to see what's working and what isn't. Don't just jump in and start measuring absolutely everything; instead, first focus on these three crucial reports: email tracking, invitation history, and levels reports.
1. Email tracking report
Even the busiest group leader needs to track ─ at the very least ─ email rates. With all the email campaigns you create, it’s helpful to see whether the messages are benefiting your members or … not.
Here’s a look at three email rates to keep your eye on. These key performance indicators (KPIs) will let you know whether folks are actually receiving, opening, and reacting to your emails:
Based on a recent email benchmarking report, the average open rate for nonprofits and associations ranges from 19.32 - 26.4%.
The report indicates that a clickthrough rate for nonprofits ranges from 2.76 - 8.00%.
One report sites a 0.47% bounce rate for nonprofits, although a popular email service provider reports a 9.78% bounce rate for its nonprofit customers.
To view opens, bounces, and clicks to your email campaigns on memberplanet, hover over Emails in the left navigation sidebar, then click Email Tracking Report in the submenu.
For the date range selected, your email campaigns will be displayed with corresponding metrics.
2. Members invitation email history
You've worked hard to boost membership. After your membership drive, you probably emailed prospects to join your group. Did you have positive results? View your membership email history to track who was invited and how they responded. At memberplanet, we consider it a best practice to periodically send out invitations to non-members. To become members, recipients only need to make a membership payment or provide info to sign up for a free membership, if you offer the option.
A membership invitation history report shows which admin sent the invitations and when, who opened it, and if the member accepted the invitation. To view your group’s member invitation history:
On the left navigation sidebar, hover over Members and click Invitation History in the submenu.
3. Membership levels report
Sometimes, in a rush to drive membership, group managers and admins forget to look at overall membership levels activity. You just might be looking at new prospects who signed up for a free membership level, and you might not quite get the complete picture.
Most groups have different levels of membership, including free and multiple paid levels. By viewing a membership levels report, you’ll gain a bird’s-eye view of not just who makes up your group, also the history of each member level. This should give you a better idea of how you can target members on a specific level and influence activity by creating events and content to keep members engaged.
2. On the levels tab, click the gear icon for the membership level you wish to view
3. Select View Members from the dropdown menu
All this business intelligence will help you become a better, more informed group admin. You also can look at other metrics, such as survey results, donations, payments, events, RSVPs and so much more – we have reporting for just about everything on the platform.
Sign into your memberplanet account today and get down to reporting!