The National Association of the Remodeling
Industry (NARI) is the voice of the remodeling industry, representing 7,500
contractors who are members of 61 local chapters throughout the United States.
NARI members are small business owners, typically operating with few - if any -
support staff. The carpenters, plumbers and other remodeling professionals join
NARI to help them improve their knowledge and better market their services to
homeowners and businesses within their local communities. As a service to its
members, each NARI chapter host its own web site that features a member
directory for consumers to easily connect, learn about and hire NARI members.
Since leaders of NARI chapters are
volunteers running their own businesses, it's been a challenge for them to keep
their web sites current. Doing so required devoting extra time to create member
profile pages as well as carry out mundane tasks such as staying on top of
membership expirations, renewals, dues collections and event fees, etc.
Each chapter was responsible for creating
its own web site, which made it difficult to harmonize NARI's national
membership database, housed at its suburban Chicago headquarters, with member
information and profiles housed on the chapter web sites.
NARI's web infrastructure also lacked the
ability for members to update their own web page profiles or membership
accounts. Local chapter content often turned stale or out of date when chapter
leadership changed hands or when volunteers responsible for content left the
Even worse, NARI volunteers and chapter
leaders found that tedious administrative tasks were eating into time better
spent helping members promote their businesses and expanding their knowledge
base. NARI's head of Chapter Services,
Phil Stratton, sought a low-cost technology solution that reduces the time and
resources spent on these mundane tasks and found Wild Apricot.
"We began working with Wild Apricot in 2009 because we needed a low-cost, easy-to-use member-management
technology that could be adopted by all 61 of NARI chapters and coalitions,"
"We needed a web site template - something
already created for each local chapter, to save them money and time. Our web
site had to communicate with our members to keep track of their membership,
renewals, dues, etc. Equally important, the web site had to market member
services to consumers shopping for remodeling contractors in their area. Wild Apricot does all that and more,"
Stratton is now overseeing the rollout of
Wild Apricot's platform to all 61 NARI Chapters. Currently, one-third are using
the integrated membership software program, which serves as the chapters'
all-in-one "Automated Assistant."
"We've been uploading members' data from
our main database, and chapters simply contact me when they're ready to make
the switch and I'll populate their member data onto their own website and
notify them when they're ready to go live. The entire process can be done in
just four hours. That alone is amazing because I am not a technology geek, nor
are the chapter leaders - that's how simple Wild Apricot is to use!" said
He says chapter leaders are pleased with
the easy-to-manage membership software, and its secure and private entry point
for members to update their own profile pages and keep them fresh and current.
The automated renewal and recurring dues-payment functions also mean that
volunteers aren't on the phone tracking down members.
Stratton estimates that he'll spend most of
2010 rolling out the Wild Apricot member-management platform to the remaining
40 or so NARI chapters around the country. Stratton says NARI made a strategic
decision to provide this service free of charge to each chapter, because
offering Wild Apricot's tool plays a huge part in growing the national group.
"We presented the Wild Apricot program as a
benefit to our chapters to help them grow. NARI's leadership believes that if
we can provide chapters with a polished, affordable website that requires
little-to-no admin resources, we'll reach our goal of growing the organization
and offering uniform benefits across the system," he said.
"Wild Apricot is indeed making that
happen," added Stratton.
Originally posted by Jay Moonah