memberplanet is thrilled to be attending the 2019 Associations Component Exchange (CEX) forum organized by Billhighway on Friday, October 18th, in Washington, D.C. CEX is the only conference designed for component relations professionals. This event is a one-day forum for association professionals who manage, nurture, and work with components or chapters to share successes, struggles, and strategies.
Cassie Braun and Chris O’ Meara from our team will be there to participate in educational sessions and collaborate around chapters. #LeverageChapters!
memberplanet helps components stay connected with association leaders - The platform is designed for a multi-level association with components. The AMS provides visibility over all chapters with consolidated, customizable reporting. Everything – from public-facing features to chapter website templates – adopts a nation level’s look and feel to maintain brand consistency.
Build your online presence - Provide streamlined chapter websites with a member login and personalized member dashboard. Chapter-based associations can maintain branding consistency and control messaging with content management system (CMS) features for all their chapter sites, while empowering chapters to produce their own engaging content.
Engagement. While the term means different things to different organizations (we have our own definition, too), you’re probably reading this because you understand how essential it is. Broadly defined, engagement is activity, and for your association, the activity between your organization and the member, as well as the member-to-member interaction your association provides that drives membership value.
When it’s time for a member to renew, engagement can mean the difference between leaving and staying. An engaged member is an active member, and the effort to keep members active is ongoing and ever evolving. Every organization is unique, so we’ve put together six different tactics any organization can try to ensure members don’t become stagnant.
Engage their brains
Discovering ways to engage your members in the electrical synapses of their brains isn’t as challenging as you might think. Members are already interested in going beyond their day-to-day activities since they’ve been moved to join your association.
1. Host a Ted Talk-type event
This can involve reaching beyond the normal social circle of association leaders as you look for engaging speakers on a local level. You don’t have to book a professional speaker to create an engaging event. The primary aim of a Ted Talk is to spread ideas, and your association’s membership is an excellent resource. Consider using your members and their social circles when searching for speakers. You can even create a spotlight on a featured member series. This type of event is great for sparking inspiration and thought-provoking ideas among your members. Your local library or civic center is another resource for potential speakers – check recent events for special guests.
2. Host a partner event
Another way to engage your members’ brains is to host an event where your association and a partner or like-minded organization combine efforts. You can celebrate a milestone, a recent launch, or host a fundraising event. An example is a medical association partnering with a children’s hospital for an ice cream social. Think about other local organizations whose missions are similar to yours and reach out to them. These shared events are great ways for like-minded people to network and socialize, while also learning what other organizations are working on. Perhaps your members will discover new reasons to be dedicated to your mission, or maybe you’ll add some new members, but either way, everyone will feel engaged and a little more supported.
Engage their hearts
Speaking to the core values of your members is a tactic for engagement that can work wonders.
3. Organize philanthropic activities
Volunteer opportunities can increase member interaction on several levels. Association leaders can utilize heavily involved volunteers with the opportunity to organize the event. Taking on a leadership role deepens their connection to the association. Philanthropic activities don’t have to be fundraisers. Options like organizing a trash cleanup at a park or a care package drive for soldiers are excellent examples of philanthropy that bring members together for a cause larger than any single person. The kinship members experience after being part of something unerringly good will resonate amongst them long after the event has ended.
4. Let members host a social media takeover
On a more direct level, each of your members has a personal journey and perhaps a strong reason for connecting with and joining your association. Increasing interaction by allowing them to share and promote those personal stories through a social media takeover for a day. This provides them with a way to feel the impact of their role within the association, as well as simply having fun controlling the messaging. Human interest stories are the most compelling, and there may be members who are unaware of each other’s story. Creating more natural bonds within your membership provides value in letting members connect with each other. This is a wonderful chance to mix the heart and humanity of your members with the mission of the association to create something long lasting.
Engage their fun side
Everyone wants time to kick back and relax. That may mean something different for each of your members, but there’s almost always fun angle. Create some icebreaker activities that make it easy for members to interact in a group setting and let the good times roll.
5. Host a book club or game night
Book clubs are often successful among members because they create a goal and a deadline while building itself into the routine of the participants. They also offer the added benefit of creating an online discussion. Members can interact via a forum or discussion board about each book. You can facilitate book selection using online polls. It’s an activity with multiple opportunities for engaging members. If books aren’t a good fit, try a local game night (or day). Members can vote on a game, or you can have a selection of classic games available like Pictionary and Trivial Pursuit that don’t require a lot of rules learning time; even charades are fun for keeping the entire group entertained or fostering team building. A variety of games that have broad appeal, like Jenga and Apples to Apples, are a blast for when splinter groups want to play on their own. Looking for something outdoors? A scavenger hunt during the day creates the perfect opportunity for members to interact in teams.
6. Offer members-only giveaways or awards
Spice up those game nights or any other event by including members-only giveaways and contests. Association leaders can gamify initiatives with awards and friendly competition. For example, a member is awarded for being the first to reach a goal for volunteer hours. If you really want to do something special, host an awards show with customized award names to speak to your membership. Volunteer Hero and Donation Champion are sample award ideas. You can choose to hand out awards for all membership activities during an annual or quarterly meeting to highlight the period.
We know there are many more tactics that lead to improved member engagement. Let us know what’s worked for your organization in the comments below!
Alumni chapters and associations help maintain a vital connection between graduates, undergraduate members, and the university. It’s how those lifelong relationships are tended to and grown; they’re where opportunities can come from. However, if your daily tasks as an alumni chapter leader involve chasing down individuals for payments, searching through spreadsheets to check off who’s paid in a seemingly endless circle, it’s time for a dues program.
The world itself is nearly automated, and your alumni chapter should be the same. Committing to and selecting the right dues program should be easy – features are built in and turnkey, allowing alumni leaders to get started on Day 1. No longer having to do everything manually does more than save time and frustration, it allows you to focus on more vital goals of your alumni chapter, such as leadership and philanthropy. Check out these key benefits.
Integrated payments technology
A comprehensive dues program is much more than just money collection because it utilizes an integrated payments solution that ties together your online payment processing, your membership data, and administrative tasks – to get them working autonomously and in sync. This creates a more enhanced membership experience including a frictionless join and renewal process, which are critical to the year-over-year success of your alumni association.
A major benefit is flexible collection periods. Alumni chapter leaders can select how often they collect dues online based on what works best for their chapter. Your chapter may prefer an annual collection, or your alumni association might require you to collect dues monthly; either way, you have the option to choose the frequency that best suits your chapter.
Members benefit from the convenience of paying dues based on their join date. You no longer have rigid limitations of enrolling new members on a specific date, and a dues program can automatically send email reminders and bill everyone on schedule. Staying organized is a given. Administrative users can easily see which of their members have paid, check payment schedules, and identify those who are past due. Since membership data is synced and admin tasks can be automated, members who have missed the grace period for making a dues payment can be automatically made inactive or unable to receive member benefits.
A modern and frictionless membership experience
A dues program that really works will aid in the success of your alumni chapter. At every turn it provides options to help you grow, help you automate dues collection, and help you save time. Setting up multiple tiers of membership and varying prices is a standard feature. For example, leaders can offer a discounted rate for new graduates, as well as different prices for membership levels. Robust functionality makes it easier for you to manage membership, and in turn, allows you to offer flexibility and more options to attract new members.
We have all grown accustomed to the convenience of subscription services in our everyday lives. Almost everything we pay for (Amazon, Netflix, cell phone, etc.) has an auto-pay option. Your alumni chapter should be one of them! The success of your alumni chapter increases greatly when the membership renewal experience is frictionless. A dues program allows you to offer auto-pay solutions, such as recurring payments and online payment options. Administrators can also expect to customize automated payment reminders with messaging and branding.
As with any professional subscription service, a comprehensive dues program puts members in control of their own accounts with self-service tools. Members can set and forget payments with a credit card or choose to securely make payments directly from their bank account. They can also view their payment history, see scheduled payments, manage payment methods, or pay early.
One of the less discussed but equally vital benefits of a dues management program is a credit card account updater service. This automatically prevents payment interruptions and minimizes declines, because the service updates your members’ card information on file. This helps maintain continuity of payments by staying on top of credit card changes due to card expirations and other occurrences.
The technology of a dues program has positive effects on marketing – something alumni chapter leaders should take advantage of. Alumni chapters can place a link for members to sign in and complete payment on their website, social media, or anywhere else. More advanced programs simplify dues collection with multi-channel communication and feature-rich marketing tools. Alumni leaders can get the word out on multiple channels using email campaigns and group text messages; targeted distribution lists allow you to reach everyone on a particular membership level with one mass email that can be personalized for each member. The fact that the tools are integrated with membership allows admins to further segment and target members based on platform data.
Integrated marketing tools should help leaders appeal to prospects as well in effectively communicating the value of joining the alumni association. A dues program’s broader benefits include bolstering engagement opportunities and philanthropic support for the university.
Simplifying dues and membership is memberplanet’s specialty. While alumni chapter leaders have many dues programs to choose from, our integrated payments technology offers a more customized, automated, and seamless experience for every level of your fraternal organization. Our technology works behind the scenes, so all communications and even the member portal can be tailored to adopt your organization’s branding. Members see your message and brand front and center – not a third-party payment processor, which may come across as unprofessional. For more information on memberplanet’s dues program, please schedule a demo with the team.
About Matt Arnold
As our Vice President of Business Development, Matt is dedicated to serving member-based organizations and small to mid-sized associations. With over 10 years of experience wearing various leadership hats as an Alpha Tau Omega alumnus, Matt specializes in all fraternal organization matters. Whether a group is challenged with growing membership or struggling to engage members, he's got a solution.
memberplanet to Exhibit at the North American Interfraternity Conference Annual Meeting and Foundation for Fraternal Excellence's Seminar
memberplanet will be exhibiting its membership management software and fundraising solutions at the North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) Annual Meeting of Members and Foundation for Fraternal Excellence's (FFE) Seminar, Aug. 11-14, 2019, in Indianapolis, IN.
Why Fraternal Foundations and Organizations Choose memberplanet:
We solve challenges for the fraternal community and empower them to manage members, engage supporters, and grow membership. Our 30+ national partnerships help us provide dynamic solutions for fraternal foundations and organizations:
The Hub – provide a home for your members with easy-to-maintain, memberplanet-powered websites. The Hub maintains brand integrity across chapter templates, and members can log in to access self-service tools.
Funds Multiplier – reach more people and raise more funds for any type of campaign. Fundraising and event microsite templates are easy to customize and promote with feature-rich marketing tools.
Alumni Access – the platform provides both chapter and alumni leaders with the tools they need to grow membership. Promote networking, fundraising and events, and simplify dues collection to keep members active even after graduation.
Fraternal leaders at headquarters can conveniently manage chapters, maintain brand consistency, gain financial transparency, and empower chapter and alumni leaders for success, all from the same platform.
Visit the memberplanet booth or schedule a call with our team to learn how the platform can help your organization succeed.
memberplanet is exhibiting our association management software (AMS) at the 2019 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition August 10 - 13 in Columbus, Ohio!
Why associations choose memberplanet: Manage, engage, and grow your association with memberplanet’s powerful AMS. Track activity, view reporting, gain high-level organizational visibility – all in one spot – so your staff can spend less time on admin tasks and more time growing your association and driving value.
Save time and resources, increase productivity, and maintain brand integrity. Gain visibility over you entire organization with an integrated, cloud-based AMS!
Come to Booth #1550 to learn more!
About 90 percent of text messages are read within three minutes, and the open rate for SMS text is as high as 98 percent, according to Gartner. This is probably common knowledge if you’re a marketer or communications professional, but those who are in charge of day-to-day membership operations, communications, and events should also take advantage of this.
While there’s no shortage of mass text messaging apps in cyberspace, the main benefit of using an integrated platform is that you get the metrics you need associated with membership. There’s no wasted time in exporting contact lists, uploading to a separate text messaging app, then downloading and filtering data based on opens and responses. A true membership management solution houses all of that functionality in one system, making multi-channel communication more efficient, convenient, and productive.
Group text messaging can be incredibly useful, but it can also be overused. Here are four main guidelines to stick to when deciding whether or not to email or text members or other administrators in your organization.
1. You have an urgent announcement
Before you send your mass text message, ask yourself: Is this urgent? The reason SMS open rates are so high is because the majority of people, including your members, have their phones close by. It only takes a few non-urgent messages before they’re annoyed with the frequency of your sends. Just like mass emailing, consumers have the capability to opt out of mass text messaging – so text sparingly and only when there is real urgency. If you think your message can wait to be read, use email.
2. Your message is short
Even if you have an urgent message that you need to broadcast, it’s still safe to say the average person doesn’t want to scroll through paragraphs in a text message. A good rule of thumb is keeping within the character count of a Twitter post. You can always send a detailed email, then if necessary, send a text that mentions the subject line and to check the email for full details.
3. You need an immediate response
When you are looking for a quick turnaround on responses, text messaging is the way to go. Viable mass text solutions differ from regular text messages and group chat apps – even if you text multiple contacts, only you will receive their responses (unlike those annoying text chain messages).
4. The time is right
Lastly, it’s common courtesy to send and schedule texts during regular business hours, unless you’re running a widely publicized event or campaign and your contacts expect messages from your organization. I can’t speak for anyone else, but my Saturday mornings are pretty sacred.
Stick to the best practices above, use common sense, and you’ll be golden. memberplanet’s Broadcast feature lets administrative users send SMS text messages and email simultaneously, from a custom text number (so your members or constituents can tell it’s coming from your organization). You can learn more about this feature and our fully integrated membership management platform by scheduling a demo with our team.
Membership is an organization’s most valuable asset. Without loyal members, your group will cease to exist. That is why it is so important to allocate a significant portion of your budget, time, and focus to retaining existing supporters while also adding new ones. Every expert has tips for success, but these are by far the best ones I've seen organizations make use of in spanning my 20 years of experience.
1. Define your value proposition
Your organization’s value proposition can be defined as the answer to the question: Why should I choose this organization over another? It’s your key differential, your competitive advantage, and what members should refer to when they explain why they chose to join. Being able to identify and drive value will help you build the foundation for your marketing strategies and materials – it should be front and center on your website. In order to sell it, you need to make sure all of your staff, volunteers, and members know and understand what it is – if they can’t, then what you consider to be your organization’s most unique quality might not actually be all that unique.
2. Market where your members are
This doesn’t just mean in physical location sense. The key to gaining and retaining members is to stay constantly visible, including digitally. Be present on the social media channels and online groups they’re in. Advertising in industry-specific publications and participate in industry-related events. As a leader of your organization, you should be viewed as a credible source in the space. If you’re not constantly marketing your group on and offline, how will your members know who you are?
3. Leverage a member referral program
No marketing strategy can beat personal recommendations and word of mouth. Great referral programs leverage members who are advocates of your organization. Your advocates should be willing to promote all the benefits they’ve gained by being a loyal member. If you haven’t pursued this before, make sure the process is simple and easy for your members to recruit on your behalf by providing relevant materials and incentives for doing so. Incentives can come in the form of free entry to an event or a discount on their membership.
And if you are already utilizing this strategy, track its success and seek ways to continue to improve it. Always keep in mind that your constituents are your greatest assets. Make sure they are well equipped with training to answer questions and positively represent your organization.
4. Keep your existing members happy
Retaining your current members is even more important than obtaining new ones. Nothing defines a successful organization more than loyal supporters. The fewer you lose, the easier it will be to reach your growth goals and the less resources you’ll have to spend to do it. The key to maintaining your current membership base is to always drive value. Secondary to that is making it convenient to remain as a member of your organization. It’s critical to continually communicate your value to members, whether it’s through marketing automation, event notifications, email campaigns, or social media posts. Listen to your members as well – get feedback and their thoughts on how well you’re providing value. Take that information to further improve your value proposition and stay relevant in our ever-changing technological and social landscapes.
These four tips can help an organization not just stay current in appealing to younger demographics, they also ensure that it continues to excel and deliver membership that is valuable and accessible. To learn more about how memberplanet can bolster membership for your organization or association, schedule a demo with our team.
The days of cash being king are over. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple decades, you’ve noticed a societal shift toward electronic payments. What does this mean for you and your organization? Ignoring this trend can seriously hurt the future growth of your organization, whether you’re managing a local nonprofit, chapter of a multi-level association, golf club, or any other group. Credit card processing fees may seem like a deterrent, especially if your group consists of volunteers, but the benefits are enough to outweigh whatever costs you incur – and we have proof. Check out these five payoffs of accepting electronic payments.
1. Appeal to a wider audience
Studies indicate that more than 70% of Americans have at least two credit cards. 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 members or donors who find electronic payments more convenient. You can connect with a larger audience to recruit and build your group, reach more donors for your campaigns, and increase ticket sales for your events.
2. Increase revenue
Appealing to a wider audience translates into higher 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 cites 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. Direct deposit increases cash flow
If you’re paying out of pocket to reserve a venue for your organization’s event because members couldn’t pay in advance, that’s a cash flow issue. Accepting electronic payments increases cash flow by limiting the time it takes for money to appear in your account. Instead of waiting for members or donors to mail a check, then depositing the check, and then waiting for it to clear, funds can be deposited directly into your account and processed quickly. This also removes the burden of holding onto large cash sums until you can make a deposit.
4. Build credibility with credit cards
5. Simplify recurring payments and donations
Group members and donors can set up recurring membership payments and donations. memberplanet makes this easy by allowing you to accept electronic payments that will be 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 for collecting donations during fundraising season.
Accepting electronic payments simplifies 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 product or service your offer. With an evident shift from cash to credit, it is essential to offer a variety of payment methods in order to retain members, grow your organization, and maximize potential contributors to your group.
Ready to get started? Log in to memberplanet and set up your account to collect electronic payments.
Updated since original publication on 05/20/17.
There’s no question about it – you need to collect online payments and give your staff the tools to do so as well. But how you do that can affect the membership experience, efficiency of administrative operations, and your financial transparency.
Integrated payments technology provides a solution that ties together your online payment processing, your membership data, and administrative tasks – to get them working autonomously and in sync. The result is a more seamless experience for your members and efficient workflow for your staff.
Take for example these benefits that integrated payments can provide to your organization, and further elevate its performance.
Enhanced membership experience
You’re always striving to provide your members – your customers – a secure and modernized payment experience. An integrated payments solution can connect your member database with online payment processing functionality. Your members benefit from convenient options to pay how, when, and where they want. Your organization can offer one-time payments, recurring and installment payments for dues, fundraising, event ticketing, or anything else – and your organization’s branding stays front and center on every form or website page.
Bank-grade security features keep your member data uncompromised, ensuring that your brand remain trustworthy. Payment and personal data are tokenized and encrypted and can only be deciphered by the issuing bank during authorization.
When combined with a members-only website, you have the ability to give members the customized view they’ve come to expect. Upon logging in to your website, they can manage their account and view personalized info that matters to them.
Frictionless join and renew process
Do you make it easy for people to join your organization? Is it as frictionless as possible for existing members to renew? The right integrated payments solution supports your member onboarding and application process and simplifies it. Whether new members need to go through a complex approval process or are systematically approved, you can capture the member data you need from one place. The technology can employ integration points on the back end for a dynamic approach, so those looking to join or renew can access the same URL – even if you offer multiple types of memberships at various prices.
Integrated payments technology also contributes to increasing member retention rates with features such as auto-renewal, saved payment methods, and card updater services, which automatically replace an expired credit card on file for uninterrupted recurring payments.
Eliminate inefficiencies for your staff with a solution that streamlines and automates administrative operations. Manual data entry, correcting human errors, and downloading info from one program to upload it to another can take hours out of the work week. Integrated payments technology consolidates the tools you need – email marketing, text messaging, online events management, fundraising capabilities, and financial reporting – on one platform. All that time spent on managing multiple programs, which also incur additional expenses, would be better spent on providing the best value to your members.
The memberplanet solution
Our payments technology is fully integrated with a suite of membership, communication, fundraising, and event tools on our platform. You and your staff gain actionable insights with real-time reporting and a centralized database of membership for both your members and potential members. A third-party payment processor won’t consolidate your data for you, which is why memberplanet’s integrated payments solution reigns superior. Streamline operations, spend more time on your mission, and keep a better pulse on your organization – schedule a demo with the memberplanet team to learn more about how we can help you manage, engage, and grow.
Autumn is a great time; the leaves are changing, the days are growing shorter, and for many PTA leaders, that means fundraising events. From PTA-only events to community-wide fundraisers, you want them all to be as successful as possible. Managing and promoting your event online is the surest way to boost your turnout. It allows you to track RSVPs, collect funds, and follow up; you can also share an event page on social media to increase its visibility, and have your members do the same on their social media. It’s time to stop using Excel spreadsheets to track RSVPs, emailing maps and directions to attendees, and hoping that your flyers are seen. Follow these instructions for setting up your next fundraising event online, including personalizing it to your needs, adding RSVPs, and sharing it via social media.
Create an event on memberplanet
3. Click Save & Customize
Personalize your event page: Adding a personal touch to your upcoming fundraising event is a great way to boost excitement, and better establish a connection to your group. The more engaged members are in an event, the more successful it will be.
4. On the Event Page features list, select Customize With Videos, Images, & Other Content
From here you can customize the following:
5. To edit each section, simply click on the section and make desired changes
6. When finished, hit Save & Close
7. To publish your event site, click the Publish Now button
Here’s how to create a clickable button to your event site, which you can share on an external site:
A shaded box will contain the HTML code for your button.
3. Copy the entire segment, and paste it into your website
Send thank-you messages - they’re the cherry on top
The thank-you message, regardless of its iteration, will always have a more powerful reach than fathomed. Volunteer leaders can create a personalized thank-you message that they set and forget, and it will automatically send when members RSVP to events. It’s worth spending a few minutes on this because it will consistently resonate with members and deepen their connection with the group.
This is where admins can craft a custom thank-you message.
4. Select the Save & Close button
These event site features are designed for PTA leaders to make the most of their next PTA event as well as their time. Create larger turnouts, take advantage of simpler event management, and then reap the rewards, which will be passed directly to those who need them most: the students.
PTA Simplified is a series of tips for PTA and PTO leaders to get the most out of a powerful association management system – to manage, engage, and grow their membership all year long.
Updated since original publication on 10/20/17.