We’re always trying to better help groups achieve their membership goals, and with that comes new additions to our favorite glossary terms. Take a look at our updated glossary and see how these normal terms take on a whole new life here on our ‘planet.'
What it normally means: The circle in which members stand.
What it actually means: A type of membership level that allows administrators to create subgroupings within your organization and allows one person to manage the membership account for a group of people such as a family or company account.
What it normally means: A business strategy of offering different prices at different points-of-sale.
What it actually means: The ability for admins to assign special pricing for event tickets based on member levels rather than a flat price.
What it normally means: The ranking of an individual’s membership.
What it actually means: Member levels define each member’s benefits within the group. Examples include paid or free membership, or levels that feature tiered ticket pricing for events and merchandise.
What it normally means: A dreaded school project on a topic you’ll likely forget once it’s turned in.
What is actually means: The section on the platform where admins can view the membership history of a group member. This allows admins to easily see what that member has participated in, what member levels they’ve been and are at, as well as other related membership information.
What it normally means: The list of people in your mobile phone, most of whom you’ve probably forgot about.
What it actually means: People you’d like to keep in the loop on the happenings of your group. They aren’t actual members and can’t log into your group’s member portal.
What it normally means: Any application on your phone.
What it actually means: A free custom-branded app, specific to your group, that facilitates communication and allows for on-site payments. You can also upload photos, share updates, and view member activity.
What it normally means: Being practical and writing down a list.
What is actually means: Smart Lists let you generate distribution lists for specific subsets of people based on member status or other variable data (Example: You may want to send a message targeted to everyone who donated over $100 to your fundraising campaign).
What it normally means: A transmission via radio or TV.
What it actually means: Simultaneously draft and send a text message and/or email communication blast to all members via desktop or mobile app.
What it normally means: A website charities use to collect donations.
What it actually means: A custom-branded interactive giving site to raise funds online for your group. Our variety of templates makes each Donation Site easy and fast to create.
What it normally means: A file cabinet where you keep important papers.
What it actually means: Use cloud software to upload and share documents and files with admins and members. Send emails with file attachments.
What it normally means: Creating a survey on a word document.
What it actually means: Create branded forms with unlimited flexible fields that makes it simple to gather and compile online feedback from members.
What it normally means: A huge amount of printed paper copies stapled together.
What it actually means: All of your group’s mandatory forms and surveys assembled in one place electronically.
What it normally means: A huge album that sits on your bookshelf filled with old photos.
What it actually means: Seamlessly collect and share photos. Crowdsource photos with email and mobile uploading.
What it normally means: The work done by a newspaper journalist.
What is actually means: Real-time online reporting generated on demand for everything on the platform, including membership stats, email tracking, funds raised, and RSVPs.
What it normally means: An ID for a gym or club.
What is actually means: Digital E-cards can be accessed online or via the mobile app. For some groups a member card even allows access to special perks.
Want to learn more about the ins and outs of memberplanet? Check out our platform.
Originally published 2/28/17
If you did something great with your group on memberplanet in 2017, we applaud your success! Whether you raised funds, got volunteers together to do philanthropic work, or sent out a couple newsletters, it all adds up to accomplishing your mission. We at memberplanet are thrilled to be part of that. Take a look at our key platform stats for 2017. Click the infographic below to view the full-resolution image. We look forward to your continued success!
There are many different ways to tackle the role of leader. It’s the first down at the big game and you’re in charge of it all. How do you maneuver your team to victory, and what strategy do you use to make sure there aren’t any fumbles? Take our quiz to find out what type of leader you are. Whether you’re scoring a touchdown in the end zone, or rushing your team on a two-minute warning, we know you’ll go for it on and off of the field. (View full-resolution image.)
Originally published 1/28/2017
Dealing with member management tasks is your biggest headache. Why? Admin work takes a ton of time, and it further complicates life. When you effectively manage members, then you’ve got more time to do what you’re passionate about. At memberplanet, we believe that our platform simplifies membership management, which in turn, simplifies life.
Whether you’re new to a leadership role or a veteran admin, any transition period is a great time to reflect and learn how you can save time on membership management tasks. (Click our member management infographic to view the full-resolution image.)
When you effectively and efficiently manage members, you solve membership and reap awesome benefits. A leading software research company reports a 70 to 80 percent renewal rate with automatic recurring membership! Solving membership frees up your most valuable commodity – time. That means you have more time to accomplish your group’s mission or cause, more time to engage your members, and more time to actively recruit – which leads to growth.
Browse our articles about membership management to learn more.
Q1 2018 Tech Update: Membership Features, Event Ticketing, and Payment Functionality All Get Upgrades
We’ve kicked off the new year with some fresh tech updates to help make managing your members and growing your group even easier. All through the holidays, we’ve kept busy to enhance event management, improve our member database, and more. You gave us suggestions on how to update the user experience, and we’ve been listening! Check out what’s new and improved.
Improved member database download
New variable pricing for event tickets based on member levels
Simplified process to add payment method
Easier access to membership cards
New auto-populating member distribution list
Improved member database download
Admins of groups of any size, even those with more than 100,000 members, can now easily download their entire member database. The whole process runs behind the scenes, allowing admins to continue working on the platform without having to pause so the database can download. A notification email is sent to the admin when the download is complete. Learn how to download your member database.
New variable pricing for event tickets based on member levels
Admins can now assign special pricing for tickets based on member levels rather than a flat price. For example, the price of an event ticket can be different for each membership level in your group, allowing you to give discounts and create added value for long-standing members. Here’s how to create event ticket prices based on member levels:
1. After you create an event, click Tickets & Payment Items in the RSVPs & Tickets section
2. On the Basics tab, fill out the information fields to create a ticket for the event, and click Save
3. Select the Special Pricing tab
4. Click the Edit button for the event ticket you wish to create special pricing for
5. Select Set Custom Pricing
6. Click Save
Simplified process to add payment method
We’ve made it even easier for your members or donors to make online payments. When users add a new payment method, they now have the option to add this payment method to any already active recurring payment schedules. This improves the user experience by limiting re-entry of information (because no one wants to update payment info twice), as well as making sure they don’t accidentally miss a payment.
Easier access to membership cards
We’ve cut down on the number of clicks it takes to download a member’s card from desktop, and membership cards are even easier to access from the mobile app. The next time Jim and Pam show up to an event or meeting without their member cards, simply have them pull up their cards from their smartphone. Learn how to access and download membership cards.
New auto-populating member distribution list
Sending a customized message to members who’ve renewed their paid membership just got easier. (And you should absolutely do that to make your renewing members feel valued and special!) Admins can modify settings in paid membership levels to automatically sort those who join or renewed their membership into a distribution list. It’s a great way (and best practice) to connect with members by tailoring your message to specific recipients. For example, if you have monthly announcements for those on your top membership level, you can email them without manually updating a distribution list before every send. This feature works like our Smart Lists, and best of all, it’s free! (Before you start, make sure you’ve already created the distribution list you wish to auto-populate.)
1. Click Membership on the left navigation bar
2. Select Membership Levels, Sign-up and Renewal in the Joining our Group section
3. Click the gear icon on the member level you wish to edit
4. Scroll down and click Edit on the Sign-up and Renewal section
5. Select the Add Member to a Distribution List checkbox
6. Select the distribution list you wish automatically add members to
7. Click Save and Close
We exist to simplify membership management, and for you and your admins, that means simplifying life as a leader. Share your thoughts with us on how we can further improve the customer experience by emailing email@example.com.
Northern California Contest Club (NCCC) is a group of radio operator enthusiasts and is an affiliate of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), the national association for amateur radio operators in the United States. In the world of ham radio, amateur refers to operators who must pass an exam to communicate non-commercially over the radio frequency spectrum. The contest-oriented club relied on manual processes to record and track membership, which was time consuming and resulted in inaccurate record-keeping. With members demanding transparency and online payment options and access to information, NCCC needed a system that members could use to view their own membership status and payments.
Since teaming with memberplanet, NCCC has maintained accurate records (in less time) and provided a dedicated, online membership portal for its members to view payment history and stay updated with club activities. As a result, NCCC has enjoyed a 57% increase in paid membership and 37% boost in dues collected in just one year.
Small Club, Big Challenges
For a club whose members are mostly over 50 and involved in a hobby that includes a fondness of Morse code, attracting younger demographics and recruiting new members in order to thrive may seem like a unique struggle. There are many small social clubs, however, that have fallen behind on meeting the demands of a new generation of members, including providing access to information online, offering convenient payment methods, and effectively communicating updates. Clubs that still heavily rely on paper filing systems and manual processes face the time-consuming challenge of keeping accurate financial records and managing members.
It became clear to NCCC that it needed to upgrade its manual processes and combat its dwindling membership – or face radio silence.
Manual Processes – Over
In 2016, NCCC began using memberplanet to keep its database organized and up to date. “We really didn't know how many members we had prior to memberplanet. It's sad, but true,” Ian Parker, NCCC’s Secretary, explained. The club’s manual reporting processes included interactions between the secretary and treasurer, a lot of paperwork, and time. Sometimes members who missed payments went undetected. “We now have a good grasp on the number of real members. With memberplanet our data is kept accurate – and timely.”
Club admins have enjoyed the platform’s turnkey features, such as automated membership reminders and convenient payment options. “We also have more up-to-date member information and auto renewals. These were the primary reasons for moving to memberplanet, which has been one hundred percent successful,” Parker said. The membership insights available in the support site and the time freed up from admin tasks are now directed to engaging members.
A Closer Look at NCCC’s Online Results
Admins have used the platform’s event sites and RSVPs to manage and track attendance. Parker believes that memberplanet’s payment reporting, event invite templates, and email campaign features have dramatically improved their efficiency. Members can log in to a dedicated portal, view club announcements, connect with other members using the interactive directory, and update their own profile. “We have received many positive comments,” Parker continued. “Overall, it has been a huge plus and now folks can also see when they last paid!”
When NCCC started using memberplanet in 2016, it had 100 paid memberships. That number rose to 157 by the end of 2017 – a 57% boost. The club also saw a 37% increase in membership dues. Parker noted how more members are engaging with the club, converting to paid membership status, and how the hassle-free process of joining the club is contributing to an increase in membership overall. As of January 2018, NCCC had 350 members total.
Broadcasting a Bright Future
Parker reveals NCCC has recently obtained 501(c)(3) status for nonprofits, and plans to fundraise and open an online NCCC store are in the works. Growing paid membership and engaging members remains a focus for the club, which was founded in 1970. Now that NCCC personnel find it much easier to manage and interpret data, communicate with members, and increase engagement, they expect that their club for radio aficionados will remain on the air for much, much longer.
Contact memberplanet today to learn how the platform can help your organization simplify membership.
You’re trying to keep things running smoothly for your association (or your chapter), but are spending too much time keeping track of spreadsheets, finances, and events. If you feel like you’re running in circles, you’re not alone. If you’re ready to pull all your hair out, read this for some membership-management relief.
1. Start by organizing your members
Use membership levels to organize your members. Membership isn’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all option, and that’s okay. Associations often collect more if they allow members to pay their membership dues and give a donation at the same time. The generous guy or gal willing to pay a couple grand (and then some) can be part of one membership level (a really fancy one), while folks with a smaller budget may be able to access basic membership for $20. Some associations even offer free memberships in the hope that these upgrade to paid status later on.
Give the option to automatically renew membership. It’s great to have different levels, but you still need members to renew – and they won’t always remember (or want) to manually take money out of their paycheck. No matter how much they love you and your cause, making it inconvenient for your members to part with their money is painful, so give them the convenient option of an automatic payment plan.
For members who opt to pay manually, or those who are past due, send reminder emails to keep them informed. Communicate to members using the levels, types and auto renew statuses. Your messages should be targeted to specific recipients, whether those are your top-tiered members, lapsed members, or another list based on variable data.
2. Get mentally organized to save time and sanity
First, set realistic goals. Make them ambitious but practical; define targets that you think your team can actually achieve with hard work and dedication. How many members can you obtain, retain, or connect with in a realistic timeframe?
Now that you’ve got some targets, recognize the fact that you’re not likely to hit them unless you use a calendar. Whether it’s a smartphone app or a physical appointment book, a calendar is great way to get organized and hit consistent deadlines.
Set your priorities at the beginning of each day. List them in order of importance. Priorities help you finish what you start, which is always a good thing to do in business (and in life).
Review each of your goals at the end of each day. See what you achieved, what you need to achieve, what you did well, and what you could do better tomorrow.
Finally, clean up your dang office. Many leaders find it difficult to organize a schedule if their workspace isn’t squared away. An office should help improve productivity, not serve as a nesting place for small rodents. So, throw away that stack of unused lunch coupons, sift through the mound of papers, and set traps, if necessary.
3. Delegate the right tasks – and know which ones to do yourself
Delegation is simple – but if you’re not doing it right, you could be wasting even more valuable time. First, you need to identify the tasks you should delegate and the ones you shouldn't. Here’s some of the best stuff to pass off:
It’s important to let go of some of these jobs, even if you love or have gotten used to doing them.
Whether your association has 20 members or 20,000, it pays to stay organized, as well as to make sure the memberships you offer are flexible and diverse enough to attract new members and retain existing ones. Managing membership can be tough, but it doesn’t have to be a hair-pulling experience. With our tips and tricks, memberplanet will help you through your member management troubles.
Schedule a demo today to explore new ways to help your association succeed.
How the Epsilon Rho Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Uses memberplanet’s Events Features to Boost Revenue by 247%
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. is one of the nation's largest African American women's organizations. The sorority is predicated on the ideals of scholarship, service, sisterly love, and finer womanhood. The Epsilon Rho Zeta chapter of Zeta Phi Beta is the Northern Delaware Graduate Chapter, and has served the New Castle County area since 1955. Despite the chapter’s support of Zeta Phi Beta’s work on prominent community initiatives, Epsilon Rho Zeta struggled to raise the funds needed to efficiently plan its own events. Its administrators spent too much time chasing after bounced checks and outstanding dues. Since partnering with memberplanet, the chapter has streamlined processes, improved fundraising transparency, and increased online revenue for its top three events by 247%.
Epsilon Rho Zeta was actively involved in prominent initiatives on headquarters’ level, including March of Dimes and American Cancer Society. However, chapter administrators found it challenging to raise the funds needed to support their own operational functions. “It was difficult to plan events and fundraisers as we never knew exactly what resources we would have available — only what we expected to have,” Michelle Mack-Williams, the chapter’s First Vice President, said. New and existing members paid their dues by check or cash, which created a number of hurdles. “We’d have to keep manual records of who paid and who hadn’t, so we could follow up on outstanding dues.” Time that could be spent fundraising or planning events went to chasing down members with an outstanding balance. Bounced checks led to uncomfortable conversations and funding delays, Mack-Williams admitted.
Members and donors expect line-item transparency for financial transactions, and Greek organizations that have fallen behind on technology often struggle to help members and supporters understand how and where their dues and donations are being used. Not only does this impact people’s willingness to give, it also affects an organization’s ability to understand the effectiveness of its initiatives, making it difficult to determine what events are most successful in raising funds.
Once the chapter teamed up with memberplanet, the ability and convenience of making donations and paying dues electronically, rather than only accepting checks or cash payments, drastically boosted event revenue. Chapter administrators could easily promote and manage events online with mass emailing and tracking tools, online RSVPs, and the mobile app. In fact, revenue for its three most significant annual events has increased a combined total of more than 247% since 2014.
Increase of Efficiency Leads to Reduction of Cost
Mack-Williams and the executive board of Epsilon Rho Zeta originally chose memberplanet to streamline fundraising for its youth and chapter activities.
“I am always looking for new ways to stay organized, and when I first found memberplanet, that was the driver,” Mack-Williams said. “We have been able to streamline our processes, and this has yielded time savings in both manpower and efficiencies. Having the ability to track payments for individual youth activities and to export those reports for reconciliation was a huge bonus. We recently implemented online registration packets, like our youth application and debutante application, which are completely electronic. This has allowed us to get everything completed in one shot.”
Promoting the chapter’s up to 11 annual fundraising events online has improved the chapter’s reach and member engagement, resulting in both increased collections and reduced costs for the chapter. And memberplanet has allowed the chapter to go completely green for dues, event tickets, and applications.
Improvements in Transparency and Reporting
As Epsilon Rho Zeta’s fundraising initiatives have increased, so has its reporting requirements. At first, the sorority only used the platform for a few events. As it ramped up on activities, administrators also increased their use of memberplanet. Mack-Williams lauds memberplanet for its scalability and credits the support team for getting to know the chapter’s unique needs.
“I believe improved transparency and reporting accuracy have allowed us to track our data more efficiently,” Mack-Williams said. “We are a more agile chapter because of the technology that is at our fingertips at any given moment, and that is satisfaction that you cannot measure in dollars and cents.”
A Closer Look at Epsilon Rho Zeta’s Online Results
An All-in-one, Scalable Fundraising and Membership Solution
The Epsilon Rho Zeta chapter of Zeta Phi Beta implemented memberplanet at the end of December 2013. Since then, the platform has helped the chapter to increase revenues, cut costs, and has provided transparency into its fundraising efforts. The platform’s regular tech upgrades and enhancements have aided the chapter in meeting its increasing needs – and Mack-Williams sees the platform as a toolkit that’s integral to Epsilon Rho Zeta’s continued success and growth.
Contact memberplanet today if you would like to see how the platform can help your organization succeed.
Now that you’re done wrapping gifts, it’s time to wrap up 2017! This year we’ve seen a lot of trends come and go. (Fidget spinners anyone?) Tech trend-wise we’ve seen automation and video content blow up this year. As a group leader, it is important to be aware of the tools that help you keep up with these trends, as well as the impact they have on how you manage your organization. You know what trend never goes out of style? Engaging your members and donors. We’ve put together the top 3 engagement trends that will be a big part of marketing in 2018. We’ve also included surefire ways to help you take your engagement strategy to the next level in the new year.
1. Social media will focus on Generation Z
Prominent business sites, including Entrepreneur, predict that the next generation to enter the labor force will have the attention of brands, and they will shift their social media strategies accordingly. Gen Zers love Snapchat and Instagram, but if that’s not your organization’s target audience, you should refine your social strategy to match the demographics of your group. Instagram is great for showcasing your group’s photos, events, and culture, however it’s not the best place to share longform announcements. If you’re just starting out with social media marketing, take some time to research and think about which social platform would be the best choice for your group. If your organization already has the gambit of social media pages, work on devising a post strategy for each platform with unique goals. Investing in the right social platforms will help to better engage your audience and increase awareness of your group and your group’s mission.
2. Content marketing will focus on stories
Content creation should feel authentic and necessary in promoting your group’s mission. Too often, groups attempt to drive traffic and engagement with content that feels inorganic and salesy. Get creative! According to Forbes, content from the heart will be much more effective. Think about what your members want to see. And what information do they need to know? Your content is how you tell the story of your group, so keep it a good representation of what your organization is at its base. This content should also have a narrower focus and be aimed to accomplish your engagement goals, not just viewership. Likes are great, but individual interactions are more personal and therefore more likely to result in a new member signup or a donation.
3. Email newsletters become the best way to promote your group
According to content marketing firm Brafton, email marketing is still king when it comes to communicating with your members (so make email your new best friend). Long-form announcements about the group are best shared via email. Be sure to avoid overly salesy jargon or repetitive spamming. A few emails are fine, but if members feel bombarded they will likely pull away. Figure out a realistic timeline for sending emails based on your or your admin staff’s bandwidth. When crafting the newsletter, focus first on sharing the most relevant group information at the top. Then work your way down in terms of priority. Structure is important, so ask yourself what do your members want and need to know? Keep your message authentic and your readers will eagerly await your next newsletter.
Get a head start on 2018!
Here we are again. It’s the time of the year when we have to start setting goals for our organization.
When it comes to goals, there’s one key question we need to ask ourselves: Can this goal be told in a story?
You’ve heard the adage: Facts tell but stories sell. It’s true in marketing and advertising. It’s equally true when it comes to setting goals for an organization. That’s because setting a goal is just the first step in the process.
After we’ve developed a goal for our organization, we have sell it to the troops. Convince folks that this is an endeavor worth pursuing. And that comes down to good communication skills. It’s a fact. People make decisions based on emotions rather than logic. Whether we’re trying to accomplish a specific task or raise funds, we have to be able to communicate our goal clearly and emotionally to our members and other stakeholders.
We have to bring people on board. Rally our members to our cause and lend their support. Y’know, herd cats.
If we want others to join us on our quest, we have to be able to show our members why ours is a worthy cause. The more enthusiasm we can generate about our goal, the easier it will be to accomplish.
How do we inspire the type of passion that we want from members, the type of enthusiasm that’s going to carry us through good times and bad until we cross our goal line?
With a good story.
Whether our objective is a one-time, standalone goal (think sponsoring a clothing drive for hurricane victims) or part of a larger, long-term initiative or mission statement (think serving the needs of children with disabilities) a good narrative helps us communicate more persuasively with our members.
The more we can connect with people on an emotional level, rather than a purely rational one, the more excitement we’ll generate for our cause, the faster we’ll achieve it … and the more fun everyone will have.
According to Joseph Campbell, one of the world’s foremost authorities on the significance of myths and storytelling, “Everything starts with a story.”
“Everything starts with a story.” – Joseph Campbell
Great stories touch us on an emotional level and teach us universal truths about human conduct. Think about it: Every story we’ve ever been told has had a point to it, a theme. The theme is a lesson about life. Something to which humans should aspire. A goal.
Consider your goal from a storyteller’s perspective
As we set a goal for our organization, let’s take time to consider the goal from a storyteller’s perspective.
Every story has a hero. In our case, the hero is our organization. Every story has a conflict. There’s something wrong that needs to be fixed. Perhaps we’re trying to raise money to send kids to camp. The conflict is, some children can’t afford it and our organization wants to fix that. Every story also has a resolution. In our case, it’s our objective. Accomplishing our goal will resolve the issue at hand and bring the story to its close.
Can we incorporate these elements into our goal and use them to weave a compelling story that captivates our members? The truth is, people have a fundamental need to connect with something larger than themselves.
A good story about our organization and its goals will help bring more people into our tent and enfold them into its larger mission.
As organizational leaders, we must be able to find the narrative within our cause, capitalize on our natural storytelling strengths, and express our goal with clarity, creativity and conviction.
Embrace the conflict
Oh, yeah. There’s one more thing to remember, too. By definition, great stories involve a journey that is rarely easy. In fact, as is often the case, the more conflict, the better the story. So let’s approach our goal with the same mindset. It won’t be easy to achieve (and, if it is, perhaps we’ve set the bar too low).
In most narratives, the hero has a long-term goal that is fed by a series of short-term goals. Accomplishing our short-term goals are the means by which we eventually achieve our ultimate mission. We can think about our organizational goals the same way.
Our long-term goal is usually provided in our mission statement. It is our story’s theme. As you know, our long-term mission is achievable, measurable and time-specific.
Our mission (not an impossible one) then must be broken down into shorter-term functions and operational initiatives. Short-term goals are great ways to identify specific functions that need to be undertaken, and offer measurable results that allow us to chart our progress, feel a regular and much-needed sense of accomplishment, and move us further along the narrative toward our ultimate goal.
And it’s that sense of accomplishment – of fighting for a cause, righting a wrong, creating a better tomorrow – that creates the pride and emotional connection that will keep our protagonists (members) coming back for more.
So when it comes time to set a goal for your organization, be bold, creative and inspiring. Identify the story inherent within your mission and use it to assemble your short- and long-term goals. In the end, the goals you set today will become the stories your members live tomorrow.
Let’s make them exciting ones!
Have a goal in mind? Our event and donation sites (templates included!) make it easy to tell your story.
Originally published December 16, 2016, updated December 21, 2017.