In this video we’re going to walk through the key functionality of Wild Apricot software.
Wild Apricot is web-based software that helps you manage your website, and it includes an easy editor as well as website hosting.
It also allows you to provides online self-service for your members, simplifying the process of membership application, renewals, event registrations and other administrative tasks. All contact information and transactions are kept in a secure online database that designated administrators, staff or board members can access from anywhere using a web browser.
Let’s begin by looking at Wild Apricot’s website builder.
When you first begin a 30-day free trial account, you select your password then begin with the visual design wizard, to customize the look of your site using a number of different built-in website templates, or themes. You can do more extensive customization later on, but the themes allow you to have a good-looking website right away.
For this example I’m going to select the Keynote theme.
Now I can customize the header and pick a background, for this example I’ll use the default background.
I can upload my organization logo to put in the header, and change the title.
And with just those steps, my initial site look and feel is done.
Now I can edit the individual pages. This is the website home page which has some sample content. I’m going to edit this content, and as you can see, the interface is similar to Microsoft Word or other word processing programs.
I'm going to change the page text by deleting this sample content and replace it with my own text.
When I’m done my changes I hit the Save button at the top of the screen, just like I’d save a document on my own hard drive.
Now that we’ve seen how easy it is to edit a page, let’s move on to web Page Management.
This includes adding or deleting pages, or moving them in our site navigation.
This is the Page Management view. You can think of this as being similar to a directory or folder view on your own computer.
Here I can rename a page – for example I’ll rename “Home” to “Main.”
Page management is also the area to add or delete pages. In Wild Apricot we have two different kinds of pages: Content pages, which are static pages with text and images, and Functional pages, which are things like Member applications, Event calendars, and any pages that are in some way interactive. You can also create sections that are just for members by adding a functional page called Restricted access content. On my site I already have a page called Members-only content, which we’ll look at more closely later.
Page management is also the place to change the order in which pages appear in the navigation menu. For example, if I move the Sample pages to be after the Member application, we’ll see that change in the navigation of the site.
Once I save my changes, I can go back to the page view using the Site Pages link. You can see that Home has been renamed to Main, and that Sample page is now after Member Application.
The member directory is another important feature of Wild Apricot. You can create multiple member directories, including those that are available to the public and those that are only available to members.
Let’s have a look at a public member directory, which is under Sample Pages.
Here’s what the public directory looks like. In this case, the public directory only includes those at particular membership levels, and only includes their names, and organization name and logo.
Now let’s look at the members-only version of the directory. You can see that the members-only version includes members at all levels and additional information, in this case phone numbers, which we didn’t have in the public directory. You can have complete control over what is shown in different versions of the member directory.
Let’s look now at the contact database.
The contact database is accessed via the Contacts tab. In a Wild Apricot, a contact is any person who you have an interaction with, including your members, prospective members, event attendees, donors and administrators.
The basic contact search is a very useful tool. It looks at everything in all the contact records and updates as you type so it can quickly bring up records that you’re looking for. For example, if I know there’s someone in my organization from Really Big Corp, I can start typing B-I-G and they will come up.
If on the other hand, I’m looking for someone whose name is Macintosh, I can start typing M-A-C and they will pop up.
For more sophisticated searches, there’s the advanced search. We can use this to search based on various criteria, and you can group multiple criteria together to get very specific. For now we’ll use it to search by a single piece of information, in this case everyone who has donated more than $40 to our organization. I can also save this search so I can quickly perform it again at any time. This is useful if you have searches you perform regularly. I’ll save this one as “Donated more than $40.”
Wild Apricot also makes it simple to send an email blast. Using the search I’ve just performed I can send email to those who have donated more than $40 to my organization by clicking the Email Contacts button. The recipient list will be the contacts that I’ve just selected. I can now create a subject and message just like any email, and Wild Apricot also has the ability to dynamically customize the messages to include things like the recipient’s name or other personal information. This is similar to a mail merge in Word. I’ve created the message by pasting in some text, now I can preview it and then send.
Next, let’s look at the member database.
In Wild Apricot, members are a type of contact, so all your members will also appear in your contact database. To perform specific membership management tasks, you select the Members tab at the top of the screen.
There are a couple of different ways to add members to the database.
Spreadsheet import is the quickest way to enter a number of records at once. You may already be maintaining your records in Excel or a similar spreadsheet program. Or if you’re using some other system for your member records, it’s likely you will be able to export the data into a spreadsheet. You can also export your member data from Wild Apricot to a spreadsheet at any time, so it's easy to get your membership data in and out.
For now, let’s look at how we add a member manually.
I’ll give this person a password, and we’ll put in his name, his organization, and his email. I’ll also put in How this person heard about us, which is a custom field that I’ve set as mandatory. And now we have to approve this person as a new member, which is also part of the process when a new member applies online.
Let’s go back to the contact list and do another basic search for Albert. You can see the new record Albert Member is now in my database.
In addition to simplifying the process for administrators to add new members, Wild Apricot makes it easy for new members to apply on your website. Let’s look at the online application process from the perspective of a new member.
I’ll start by going to the public view of the website. This is the view that anyone coming to my organization’s website would see. Now I’ll apply for membership.
I’m going to apply as a Regular member. I’m going to be Andrea New, and I’m from Another Organization, and I’ll put in a password and an email address. For now I’m going to skip the information that isn’t mandatory, but as an administrator you can make any of this information mandatory depending on what info you require from new members. In the case of my organization, the only other required information is how I heard about the organization, so I’ll select “on the Internet”.
Once a prospective member has entered their information, they’ll be shown a confirmation screen with their information. This all looks correct so I’m going to confirm. It says thank you and that the new application is under review. It also has payment instructions at the bottom of the page. Let's assume in this case I'm going to send in a cheque to the organization to pay for my membership.
Now I’ll flip back to the admin view. On the Members tab, you can see that there are a number of different statuses here, and one of them is a new pending application. Here’s my new applicant, Andrea. Let's assume that Andrea has sent me her cheque and I now want to record her payment. I note in the record that she paid by Check and Save that. I see the invoice details and click on Andrea's name to go back to her record. I can now approve her as a new member, so she is now a member in good standing until her renewal date, which is one year from now.
Next let’s look at event management.
I’ll select the Events tab. You can see the sample events, but I’m going to add a new event. Wild Apricot allows you to copy previous event if you’re running similar events over and over, but I’ll create this new one from scratch.
I want to make sure that this event is visible and that people are able to register, which I’ll be able to do in a minute. I’ll call this New Event and set the start date for January 15, 2012. I’m going to hold this at An Event Venue, and I’ll also put in a description for the event.
There are some optional items that I’ll skip for now. You can also set-up a number of event announcement emails that go out on an automated schedule, which are great for sending reminders or special instructions before the event.
Next I’ll set-up my registration types. I’m going to add two different registration types, one called Public registration with a price of $50, which will be available to everyone. I’ll save this and return to the event to add one more type which will be for Members-only, with a price of $25. This will be available to members at any of our membership levels.
Now that I’ve set-up the registration types, I need to enable registration. I can also add some custom fields. For example I can add a question such as “Will you stay for dinner?” and make the options Yes or No. Now I’ve got an online registration form with different registration types, and I’m ready for people to register for the event.
Now I’ll flip to the member view where I’m logged in as Andrea, the member we created earlier.
I’ll go into the Event listings where you can see the new event that I’ve just set-up. I’ll register for this event and because I’m logged in as a member the system already knows by my email address, which is part of my member record. And because I’m a member I can also take advantage of the Members-only price. It has all my information from my member record so I don’t need to re-enter that, which is a big time saver for your members. It is asking me this question about dinner, so I’ll say Yes. When I’m done I can review all this information and hit confirm.
Let's see how Wild Apricot handles an online credit card payment. For my Payment method I'll select Credit Card. Wild Apricot can be used with a number of standard payment processing systems, including PayPal Standard, PayPal Pro, Authorize.net and Google Checkout. These systems are all very secure, and capture the credit card information separately from your organization's contact details. In this case I'll enter a card number that is not real but is used for testing so you can see the process. Once I've completed this form I'll click Next and after a few seconds of processing, I'll be brought back to the organization website to confirm my details.
Now I can go back to the admin view to see if anyone has registered for the event yet. Here I can see that yes, Andrea registered and paid for the event.
We’ve already seen how easy it is to take credit card payments online or record payments sent by cheque or by other means. Now let’s look at the Finances module by going to the finances tab. Here you can see your organization’s financial situation and generate financial reports. The main page shows recent financial transactions. Here we see the membership and event transactions that we just reviewed.
We can also see some additional reports. This is the income report, which shows recent income for the organization. This can be sorted in a number of ways. I can sort by the origin, such as if it’s for membership, event or donation. I can sort by the nature of the payment, and I can also generate a report and get some statistics to see what areas of the organization are generating income. Also under reports I can view aging receivables. This is really useful to help track any payments that may be outstanding. In this case we have just one payment that’s due, and it’s only 0-30 days that this payment has been due so it’s probably nothing to worry about. However if we had a number of payments that were due for longer, we could start taking some action to follow up with whoever still owes the organization money.
All of these reports are accessible to anyone who has been designated with direct access, such as a board member or staff member. You can also export these reports to either Excel or PDF format so they can be shared with those who don’t have administrative access.
Let’s quickly review a few of the other features of Wild Apricot.
You can also use Wild Apricot to take donations. We saw earlier that some people had made donations to our organization and this is very easy to add to your website as a form that people can fill out and make donations. These can either be paid online or can later be processed as cheque or cash payments.
The blog functionality within Wild Apricot can be used for posting news content about your organization. So my organization’s website has an area called News (blog). I can create multiple blogs, so for example I could have a public blog with general news about the organization, and a separate blog in the members-only area with specific information just for my members.
Wild Apricot sites can also have forums, which are also sometimes known as discussion boards or bulletin boards. This is basically a way for multiple people to post information and have discussions on your site. And again, similar to blogs we can create multiple forums that are for either for the general public or for members only. We can even have forums that are limited to specific groups within your membership, if you wanted for example to have a discussion area that is for a specific committee.
Wild Apricot also allows you to create Photo Albums, for example to show pictures from an event. Once again, multiple photo albums can be set-up for the public and for members-only. Here we see an album with some of the adventures of our Wild Apricot mascot, Fuzzy. Here you can see a description as well as a full-sized version of an image.
Thanks for watching. The best way to determine if Wild Apricot is right for your organization is to try it for yourself. You can sign-up for an instant free trial at wildapricot.com. There’s no obligation, and no credit card is required.