Our blog provides technology-related ideas and advice for small non-profits — professional and business associations, clubs, charitable organizations, churches, activist groups and communities. Many subscribers are also Wild Apricot software clients, so we do occasional blog posts about our software updates.
Wild Apricot smart software simplifies life for people in associations and non-profits. It replaces 5 separate systems — public website and private websites for board and members, contact database, event registration system, member database and e-newsletter tool. This saves thousands of dollars and many hours of work copy-pasting data between different systems. Wild Apricot automates tedious administration tasks and provides online self-service for members — freeing up time for your board, staff and volunteers. If you want to check it out, feel free to open a free 30-day trial.
First of all, we would like to congratulate two of our clients who've been profiled recently in various media publications — Calgary-based Meals on Wheels and Mamapreneurs out of Portland.
Calgary Meals on Wheels is using Wild Apricot to reach out to volunteers and donors while reducing the time needed for many administrative functions. "With Wild Apricot we've been able to centralize a number of functions using one easy-to-use system," Communications & Development Manager Kathryn Robson explained, in Top Five Ways Technology Can Help Non-Profits Survive - and Thrive - in an Economic Crisis: "It's allowing us to focus on delivering meals, not technology." They have been filmed and are about to be profiled on CTV Calgary.
Mamapreneurs Inc. — a resource and support organization for women who want to build a better business while also raising a family — was featured in both Capitalist Chicks and The Mom Entrepreneur this month. Mamapreneurs owner Marlynn Jayme Schotland switched from "tedious self-management" of her fast-growing membership website to the Wild Apricot system, freeing her to focus on her mission "instead of micro-managing every little detail."
These are are great organizations and we are very proud that Wild Apricot software is helping them to achieve their goals.
We would love to hear more stories about your success — and how Wild Apricot is serving you. Also, if you have any interesting initiatives planned around Christmas, please let us know. We are planing a blog post to share ideas and best practices and would love your input. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wild Apricot software updates
Our latest update was released on November 11th. It was not all smooth sailing — we were very ambitious, putting in more user-requested enhancements and changes than in any other release this year. Our QA team requested extra time for testing and we moved the release from the original date of November 6th to November 11th. Even with extra testing time, we ended up with a number of bugs we had to release on the fly, after the official release. Apologies to the clients affected!
As I write this, we are finishing the development of our next update, 2.38, which should be released by Christmas. It will bring numerous improvements our clients have been asking for, including the following:
- Dynamic 'flyout' menu — the kind that shows child menu items when you place your mouse over it.
- Ability to save email drafts (including auto-saving drafts of emails you are working on). Now you can stop and resume your work at any time.
- Custom reports on member database, giving you the ability to run searches on your member database and select which particular fields you want to see in the results list.
- Dynamic pricing of new member applications (based on user selections). Up until now, the pricing of each membership level was fixed. With this functionality you can add selections to your membership application which will determine the final price. For example, you can use the same membership level but set different pricing based on company size. Or offer subscriptions and special membership paraphernalia to be purchased together with the application. Many of our clients have been asking for this — they had to resort to workarounds that unnecessarily proliferated the number of membership levels. Dynamic pricing should make all this much easier to setup with our new update.
- Discount coupons for member applications. Now you can create an unlimited number of discount coupons and let people use them when they apply for membership. Each coupon can be defined as a specific amount or a percentage of total, and can be limited by date range, maximum number of uses, and specific membership levels. Among other things, discount coupons can come in handy to track your affiliate sales — give each affiliate a distinct coupon code, and then track membership applications for each.
- Report on selected registration options for events. In prior versions you had to go into each attendee record to view all the selections from the event registration form. To view all the selections for all records, you had to export the attendee list into Excel. This update introduces a new report which lets you see all selections for all attendees right in the system.
- Google Checkout (BETA) — adding another payment processing option.
- Online self-service for Wild Apricot clients to update their credit card details and billing plan — instead of having to fax it to us or email plan change requests. (Note that, initially, this will work only for clients who upgrade to a paid plan after this release takes effect. We do not have a way to automatically extract and transfer recurring billing already setup through our old payment processor.)
And there are many other changes, too — from simple things like paging in the forum module, to new sections in 'Point and click' customization page so you can control colors and styles on functional pages (such as blog, forum, membership applications), which used to require CSS customization.
After this release we will be taking a short pause, working on small polishes and fixes — and letting our development team enjoy some well-deserved R&R time. We do have lots of ideas and plans for our next release — and we are taking the opportunity of winter holidays to step back and reassess our priorities for Q1 2009, as well as for the coming year as a whole.
Stay tuned for further updates — and be assured that Wild Apricot will keep evolving and growing to better address your needs and automate tedious administration tasks.