As a group leader, one of the highest mountains you’ll need to climb is reaching your fundraising goal. Whether you’re planning for a big Greek Week event or something small for a local nonprofit, running a successful campaign requires organization, dedication and clear definitions of your goal. Combining our fundraising features with these simple tips will help optimize your donations and reach that mountain’s peak.
1. Take advantage of online convenience
The whole point of fundraising online is to make it as easy as possible to meet your goal, so we’ve cut out a few steps to not only give you a head start, but also rid you of paper work.
Search for a charity using our platform.
When you create a donation campaign through our platform, you have the option to search more than 1.7 million 501(c)(3) charities and raise funds on their behalf. Any individual or group can raise funds to benefit the charity selected through this feature, and the funds will go directly to them – no accounting or transfers required. Donors will automatically receive email receipts, and donations made directly to qualifying 501(c)(3) charities may be tax deductible (check with your accountant).
1. Hover over Donation Sites on the left navigation sidebar
2. Click Create Donation Site from the submenu
3. Select the Find a Cause module
4. Follow the rest of the prompts to create a donation campaign
Offer electronic payment methods.
Making the most of digital fundraising techniques can help you reach a larger pool of donors, not just the ones who are willing to pay by check or cash. Offering electronic payment methods gives members the option to donate by their preferred payment method, use their phone, and sign up for automatic, recurring donations.
Optimize your page for viewing on any device.
Online fundraising also allows you to share information quickly to a large audience, so make sure your fundraising page is design responsive for optimal viewing on any device. (If you’re using memberplanet, we’ve got you covered).
2. Use visuals to appeal to your audience
Incorporating visual elements, such as video and photos, is an effective way to create a voice. It’s important to not just think about your plan for obtaining your goal, but to also focus on why it’s important. Conveying the “why” to potential donors deepens their connection with the cause and appeals to their emotions, which translates into more money for your organization.
To add photos and video to your Donation Site, select a template to edit, or select the existing campaign you want to edit.
Click the photo icon to upload photos, or copy and paste a video URL in the Add Videos field.
3. Reach out to your inner circle
4. Adopt a social media strategy
We see social media as part of a larger multi-channel communication strategy, which is to communicate with members using the channels (email, phone, social media, etc.) they prefer. One third of online donations come from peer-to-peer fundraising, making it a vital market to access. By 2018, 2.4 billion people will be social media users. If you’re still not using social media to fundraise, you’re missing out on a great tool for spreading the word about your campaign in a fast, cost-effective way. Figure out which social media platforms your target demographics are using, and start by engaging them on those platforms.
memberplanet users: As soon as you publish your donation campaign, you can share your site to social media directly from the platform, mobile app, or the page itself.
Use our built-in URL shortener if you’re on a character limit, or customize the full URL.
To customize the URL or get the short URL, click on the campaign you want to manage.
6. Follow up
Set up an automated thank-you email to your donors to go out immediately after receiving funds. In it, you can encourage them to spread the word about your campaign. Go the extra mile and share the impact of your campaign with donors, staff, and volunteers. Leave them feeling a genuine sense of gratitude from you. This encourages them to participate in upcoming events and fundraisers from your organization. You can easily send an email to all your members and participants, but it’s better to tailor messages to target specific recipients, such as generous donors and key players of your team.
Our platform features were created to help you build a great campaign and maximize donations. Now that you know some excellent ways to reach your fundraising goal, you can focus on getting to the top of that mountain.
Originally published March 28, 2017
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!
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
Are your current methods of engagement helping you reach your membership goals? By promoting the value and benefits of your association’s membership through engagement, you can position yourself to attract new members while also maintaining and interacting with your existing membership base. Here are a few tips to showcase your value and increase your network:
1. Engage on social media
LinkedIn and Facebook are two of the most useful networks for growing your platform. Both social media channels allow you to create your own membership page and maintain constant communication with your members, followers, and viewers.
Update your members with upcoming meetings and events while keeping them engaged with questions and surveys to collect feedback. Being present on these platforms also helps potential members preview membership, understand your association’s mission, and see the kind of work you’re doing.
2. Invite potential members to events
Host an event where each current member invites a non-member. During the event, encourage these non-members to join by offering a discount only during that time. Hosting events for both current and potential members is a great way to get everyone involved in the recruiting process. It also gives non-members a chance to ask questions and see what the group is all about before committing to membership. Asking your members to engage non-members will give your association the opportunity to grow exponentially.
3. Offer seasonal memberships
To attract those who had been considering membership but either were not ready to commit yet or were deterred by the fees, waive application fees for a certain window of time. Announce this offer in your newsletter and on social media. Your potential members might see more value in joining during this time because of the slight price break. You’ll additionally want to make sure your membership fees are competitive with other associations’, so as not to deter interested prospects.
4. Track and measure your engagement efforts
Finding a way to manage your marketing and your membership base can seem rather difficult. That’s why we created memberplanet: to simplify admin tasks, including member communication and engagement. Our platform’s membership functionality also provides tools for events, membership, email marketing, surveys, donation campaigns, and more.
If it can’t be measured, it can’t be managed. There is no way to know if your strategy is bringing you new memberships if you’re not tracking the success rate. memberplanet provides optimum analytics for member activity, event participation, and email marketing. Schedule a demo and discover how memberplanet can help you grow your membership.
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!
Great trainers are naturally great leaders. And by definition, great leaders are those who inspire confidence, strength, and optimism. They are the folks who can motivate their group administrators to reach their fullest potential (and be just as powerful as dragons).
The term admin can be applied broadly – it can mean your committee heads, officers, or anyone you’ve put in charge of tasks that keep your organization running smoothly. As far as training the best admins, a great trainer/leader uses methods that can be boiled down to a few guiding principles, known here simply as 5 Keys to Training Your Group Admins:
For every specific skill or task to be instructed to your team admins, explain first what it is you’re about to share. More importantly, explain why it is important for your group. How does it work in its specific scope? How does it affect the overall team? It’s important to give a sense of the overall flowchart of the group and the admin’s role within it.
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”
We are all individuals in the world, and personality will eventually be revealed, especially in the course of training. Make time to discover your admins’ own skills and experience. But be sure to recognize their different ways of learning, and be open to adapt to give each of them the answers they’ll need ongoing.
Grow your team admins. Assign sample scenario tasks (e.g. an upcoming social event, or a fundraising campaign or a yearly calendar of projects) and see how they deliver. Let them own it. It’s like the bonsai trees in Mr. Miyagi’s workshop. You have strong roots, and all kinds of cool branches.
Provide support and feedback. Work with each team admin to set up short- and long-term goals for themselves and the group and make sure they know how to use the memberplanet tools available to them. On the feedback loop, too, show them what’s been done previously by the group. Encourage them to find ways to innovate and improve efficiency while building on past successes and the great work that’s already been done.
As well, seek out your group admins’ feedback and listen to their perspectives. Learning is a two-way street, and hearing from them will bolster your own knowledge and help you further educate them.
When your admins are confident that you as their trainer/leader have their back and their interests at heart, they’ll operate at peak productivity, and they will lead the rest of the group way they’ve been instructed. It’s the best way to build a lasting team and community.
“Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community.”
Whether you’re the leader of a fraternal group, a religious group, a nonprofit, or any other type of organization, there’s a good chance that the beginning of the quarter or the change of seasons will mean a time of transition in admins to a new guard. Or, it could just mean that the calendar will be a lot busier, and extra hands will be needed to execute your group’s plans. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for the departure of your current group of seasoned officers, or the necessary addition of other capable personnel to the mix – but really, all you need to do is remember a few important things.
1. Plan ahead, and then plan earlier
As any good recruiter will tell, the first step to give your group the most optimal chance of continued success is to give everyone the widest possible space and time to not be caught by surprise. Observe who’s currently doing what for your group at each level of the organization, and then project into the future who’ll be serving in those functions in both the short and long term. While there’s a good chance that folks will already be chomping at the bit to volunteer for new positions of responsibility, you should always be ready to actively look for someone to fill the spot(s).
Recruitment-wise, build in enough time to find and prepare your successors before they’re on the job. Whatever time you think will be necessary to cover the basics and beyond, add in a bit more of a time buffer to the duration just in case.
2. Know the idea, and the ideal
Use your own experience to guide the creation of your own actual list of requirements – yes, a written down list – of what’s needed for the position.
What’s worked for your group in the past? What hasn’t worked? What do you wish you would have known before starting your role? As the person who’s been performing these functions over time, you’re really the best suited to know the “idea” of the role.
Keep in mind, too, your sense of the “ideal” candidate. While no one may completely fit that bill (truth be told, probably no one does, or should be expected to… but they can come in varying degrees of close), you should seek someone who possesses the key traits. Are they good verbal and written communicators? Are they timely in performing tasks? Are they problem solvers and innovators? Do they understand the group’s immediate and future goals?
3. Choose players who’ve played, and played well
The best lead players for your group’s game likely already exist in the group. They understand the dynamics from the inside out, and they’ve also seen how your leadership has played out and helped further the group to reach its goals.
Using your group’s own members and many of the functionalities on the memberplanet platform, you’ve also got some key advantages. You can gauge who’s interested in assuming a leadership position via volunteer sign-up. You can launch an email campaign to announce positions that will be vacant. You can also survey your members about their interest in upcoming leadership positions.
And just as importantly, you can analyze your members’ involvement through the group’s activities, such as who RSVP’d to an event. Chances are high that the best next officers for the organization are members who have been involved in a lot of the group’s efforts, and that will be reflected in a concrete way in their participation.
Log in to check it out.
We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback from PTAs using memberplanet, and decided we’d combine it into an open letter to yours truly for our own Valentine’s Day fun.
Hello, my dear memberplanet,
This isn’t how we normally communicate with one another, but I had to write this letter because I simply couldn’t contain my excitement any longer. I have a confession, and I’ll shout it from the rooftops: I love you, memberplanet, and I don’t care who knows it!
I must admit, at first I was a little embarrassed. I never really saw myself falling for a software company. I mean, it was a little unexpected. Me, a PTA volunteer and mom, and you, a tech company? I didn’t think I could ever understand you. I tried you on a whim, but sometimes love is just meant to be star-crossed, I suppose.
You have the flexibility and openness to be everything my admin self needs: online dues collection, event sites, a mobile app – I’m getting dizzy just thinking about all you have to offer! *Swoons* I could stare at your (inter)face all day. So intuitive and easy to use. I feel like I really know you, which is a first for a software platform. Normally you’re all complex, and in the past I liked being with someone more old fashioned, more pen-and-paper type. Then you were so welcoming and accepting all my friends in the PTA. You were also so attentive, coming to every event with me to scan and collect last-minute payments and check member cards.
It meant a lot to me that I was able to share my life with you by collecting photos and keeping them on a shared album for everyone. Your generosity is astounding. You helped me create a donation site to collect money for new school computers. And thanks to you, we raised double the amount in donations from last year. It’s clear we’re just a match made in heaven. From that day on, you were my everything. I feel like I couldn’t even begin to imagine me without you. One day, I’ll have to pass you onto the next PTA president, but I know that you’ll be just as welcoming to them as you were to me. For now let’s enjoy our time together.
All my love,
A Head-over-heals PTA President
Check out our Social Media category for more ideas (and a little bit of silliness).
Originally published 2/13/17
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.