Our customers know that Wild Apricot can be used for a variety of things...our range of services is wide, and since all functions can be highly customized, they can be used for many different purposes.
A great example of Wild Apricot at work for something a little out of the ordinary was shared by Joan Orr, who serves as the President of Doggone Safe, a Southern Ontario-based non-profit dedicated to dog bite prevention through education and dog bite victim support. Doggone Safe has been using Wild Apricot since August 2009, when they switched from their old system based on a recommendation from the Association of Professional Humane Educators where Joan is a member.
The International Dog Bite Prevention Challenge
From May 15 - 21, Doggone Safe is coordinating the International Dog Bite Prevention Challenge, which aims to educate 50,000 children in one week about safety around dogs using the Be a Tree educational program, and will hopefully earn a Guinness World Record doing it!
The Be a Tree program is a dog bite prevention seminar for school age children, focusing on fun and interactive activities to teach children how to read dog body language, and how to act safely around their own dog and strange dogs. With presenters in 17 countries, 10 Canadian provinces, one Canadian territory, and 43 states in the USA (where they are registered as a 501(c)(3)), they are sure to reach their goal!
Using Wild Apricot to Coordinate the Aspiring World Record-Setting Event
In response to our March newsletter, Joan wanted to let us know how Doggone Safe is creatively using their Wild Apricot system to manage the many aspects of their Dog Bite Prevention Challenge.
"We have set up a website section within our Wild Apricot site for the Challenge, and we are using the event function to enable schools to register. We are also using the event function for volunteer registration. We have created new fields in the contacts database for presenters, and we will use this data to create a status thermometer and a map showing the locations of our presentations."
By integrating third-party widgets to their website,
Doggone Safe uses their exported membership data
to keep their progress up-to-date online.
"I have found a clever way to keep track of the number of kids that our presenters have estimated they will educate. I added 2 fields to the member database: 1) how many kids do you expect to educate and 2) how many kids did you educate. They will use the first field for their estimate and the second for the actual count, after the fact. I set up a saved search under the Members (not Contacts) tab that looks for when field 1) is not empty. This gives me all the people who have put in an estimate. I created a custom view so that I can easily see who is doing the challenge, where they're from, and how many. When I want to analyze the data, I export to a spreadsheet, and then use a mapping application to generate the map. The approach is easy for the members, because all they have to do is log in and put in a number. They don't have to put in their name or any additional info so it takes them 10 seconds."
Not only is it easy for members to update their progress with the Challenge -- it's also easy for Joan to keep track of it, and report it back to the folks at Guinness World Records!
Participating is also easy. Schools interested in joining the Challenge are able to register on the Doggone Safe website using a Wild Apricot event registration form, and qualified Be a Tree presenters are listed using Wild Apricot's online directory function. Doggone Safe also has promotional materials available for download through their website.
If you think you might want to get involved with the International Dog Bite Challenge, visit their website for more information on registering your school, becoming a presenter, sponsoring the Challenge, or volunteering!
Joan's Advice for Other Non-Profits
Doggone Safe has done a great job at fully utilizing their Wild Apricot account to help them achieve great things in the community. I asked Joan if she had any advice for other non-profits using Wild Apricot, to help them get as much out of their system as her organization has.
Her biggest piece of advice? Use Wild Apricot to maintain and grow your membership.
"Take advantage of the email reminder feature for membership renewals. We send out 7 emails: 3 in the weeks and days approaching the due date, one on the due date and 3 more after the due date, culminating in the 'sorry to lose you, hope you will be back' email after which their membership is terminated. Many people wait until the very last email before renewing their membership. This ability to send out multiple automated reminders has saved us countless hours of time and has increased our member retention significantly."
Retaining membership is key to helping non-profit organizations succeed in their work. For more discussion about membership renewals, see our past blog post, "Recalibrate Your Association Membership Renewals".
Joan's greatest advice, however, is this:
"Take the time to explore all the features of Wild Apricot -- there is probably a lot more you can do with it than you first thought!"
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Write us a recommendation on LinkedIn or Capterra...just like Joan did!