Wild Apricot Free Product Webinar Archives

Managing Your Membership Database in Wild Apricot


Transcript

Hi, I'm Picky Apricot Steve Andrews and in this webinar, I'm going to show you how to use Wild Apricot to manage your membership.

Wild Apricot is designed specifically for associations, clubs, non-profits, and other member-based organizations. You can store membership information in your Wild Apricot database, and manage members through Wild Apricot administration screens. You can also use your Wild Apricot database to keep track of other kinds of contacts like donors, event attendees, past members, and potential members.

Visitors to your Wild Apricot site can apply and pay for membership, renew their memberships, sign themselves up for events, and perform other self-service functions. Members can also access members-only content on your site.

Everyone stored in your Wild Apricot database is a contact. A contact may be a member of your organization, but doesn't have to be. Instead, a contact could be a donor or event attendee without necessarily being a member.

To view a list of your contacts, click the Contacts menu.

When you click a contact within the list, you see their contact details. If you want to store more information about your contacts, you can add custom common fields. Common fields are fields like first name, last name, and email address that apply to all kinds of contacts. If you want to store particular information for members only – like a photo or bio – you can add custom membership fields and restrict them to certain kinds of members.

Unlike Excel and many CRMs, Wild Apricot is web-based, so you don't have to install any software. You can access your data from anywhere with a browser and an Internet connection. If you have volunteers and board members working from home or from different offices, they can all access the same data at the same time without updating and emailing membership lists back and forth. Changes – whether made by administrators or members – are applied immediately so the data is always up to date.

Members are contacts, but they are a special kind of contact with special features and characteristics. What most distinguishes members from other contacts is that members are assigned to membership levels.

Membership levels define and distinguish different types of members. You can create multiple membership levels, each with different membership fees, subscription periods, renewals policies, and benefits. You can limit access to events, web pages, and database fields by membership levels.
For each membership level, you can set the membership fee and decide on the membership renewal process. You can fully or partially automate the renewal process. You can set up recurring payments so that memberships are automatically renewed and membership fees automatically paid, or you can just automatically generate and email renewal invoices a certain number of days before the renewal date. You can provide for memberships to be automatically downgraded or deactiviated if not fully paid within a certain number of days following the renewal date.

On the New applications tab, you decide how you want handle new applications. You can provide for various emails to be sent and actions to take place when someone applies for membership.
For example, you could choose to activate new memberships immediately, or require approval by an administrator or payment to be received first.

Levels are displayed alphabetically on the membership application form, so if you want to re-order them, you have to rename them or add numbers ahead of the names.

If you want to offer group memberships to companies, teams, or families, you can set up a membership bundle level, rather than an individual level. When a visitor to your site applies to a bundle level, they create a new bundle and becomes the administrator for that bundle.

So that visitors to your site can apply for membership in your organization, you need to add a membership application gadget to a page on your website, if there isn't one already. Using the gadget's settings, you can control its appearance and content.

The fields that appear on the membership application form are drawn from your membership fields and common fields. You can create custom membership fields and restrict them to specific membership levels. You could, for example, add a photo field so members can upload their picture.

You can add fields to offer optional extras to members, available at a separate cost in addition to the membership fee. For example, you could offer branded t-shirts or newsletter subscriptions with new applications and/or renewals.

You can also create common fields that apply to all Wild Apricot forms (for example, event registration forms).

If you want to exclude certain membership levels from your application form, you can adjust the gadget settings so that only selected levels are shown.

To add a description for the form, you add a content gadget.

Instead of – or in addition to – displaying a membership application form on your Wild Apricot site, you can embed a Wild Apricot membership application form into another website as a widget. A widget is a chunk of Wild Apricot functionality that can be copied and pasted into the HTML of another website.

If your want your site to be able to accept online payments – for membership dues, event registrations, donations, etc. – you provide the details of your online payment system.

If you're required to collect sales taxes or value-added taxes, you can set them up to be automatically applied to membership invoices and event invoices.

With the membership application page added, and online payments enabled, visitors can now sign themselves up as members.

Once the application is submitted by a prospective member, a new contact record is automatically added into your database, an application invoice is generated, and emails are automatically sent. Depending on your settings, the membership might not get activated until approved by an administrator, or until payment is received.

Site administrators can also add members manually or convert an existing contact to a member by assign a membership level.

You may already have a membership list in an spreadsheet. If you do, you can import your list into Wild Apricot. Within the spreadsheet, you can assign contacts to existing membership levels, or enter a new level name and let Wild Apricot automatically create the level for you.

You can assign members from different membership levels to member groups according to their interests or participation in committees. Once you've set up your member groups, you can restrict page access to certain groups, and select groups to receive email blasts.

If you want to find particular members within your database, you can search for them using a simple search string or more complex search criteria. You can save your searches for later, and use your saved searches as mailing lists for email blasts, or to filter a member directory.

With the member list filtered to show a subset of the member database, you can send an email blast just to those members currently appearing on screen. You can choose the template you want to use as the basis for the email blast from the gallery of system templates provided by Wild Apricot, or create one yourself, either from scratch or by duplicating and modifying a system template.

You can customize the email by adding or removing text, graphics, and links. You can also personalize the message by inserting macros that get replaced by specific information about the recipient, such as name. You might be used to using macros in Word for mail merges.
After you send your email blast, you can track how many of your emails were opened and how many of your links were clicked on.
To view or update information about an individual member, click the member's name within the list. You can use the Previous and Next buttons to browse through all the contacts in the list.

The Contact Details tab displays login information, as well as values entered in common fields and membership fields.

On the Membership tab, you can update member details like membership level, member status, and renewal date.

On the Events tab, you can sign up the member for an event and view the events the member has already registered for.

On the Donations tab, you can view or record donations made by the member.

On the Email setting and log tab, you can view a log of emails sent to the member, and set the member's email preferences. You can control which types of emails the member is subscribed to, and change the frequency of forum update notifications. An administrator can also disable the delivery of all emails, including automatic system emails.

On the Privacy tab, you can control the member's privacy settings, which determine the kind of information other visitors to your site are allowed to see.

From the Photos tab, you can allow or prevent a member from adding photo albums to their member profile.

Any tabs that have a pending action – such as awaiting payment on a donation, or approval on a membership application – have a yellow warning icon beside the tab name. Once you jump to that page, you'll see the issues that requires your attention flagged by the same icon.

You can suspend a member – because of misconduct or some other offense – or just to convert the member into a contact. A suspended member will no longer appear in any member directories, but will continue to receive emails as a contact rather than a member.

If a membership is lapsed for a considerable period of time, you might want to remove the person from your contact database so that they no longer count towards your database limit. Rather than deleting the member's contact record, you archive the record so it can be restored at a later date. Archived contacts are automatically excluded from receiving emails.
Once archived, a contact record can be deleted. You can archive contacts one at a time, or archive a filtered list of contacts.

When a member visits your Wild Apricot site, the options available to them depend on membership level and their membership status. For example, a lapsed member – a member who hasn't renewed their membership after a certain period of time – cannot access members-only pages, and cannot add comments to blogs or reply to forum posts.

To renew their membership and perform other self service functions – such as updating their email preferences and privacy settings – members can access their member profiles after logging into your Wild Apricot site. Depending on your settings, members can renew their membership and change their membership level.

On the Privacy tab, members can control how much of their information will be visible to others on the site.

From the Email subscriptions tab, they can unsubscribe to emails and change the frequency of emails.

From the Member photo albums tab, members can manage their online photo albums.

On the Invoices and Payments tab, members can view a history of their invoices and payments, and pay any open invoices.

So that visitors to your site can see a list of your members, search for members, and view member profiles, you can add a member directory gadget to a page on your site. Clicking on a member listing within the directory will display that member's profile (subject to their privacy settings). You can control which members appear in the directory, restricting the list by criteria such as membership level or database fields such as city or state. You can create multiple member directories, each with different settings. You can also control the kind of information that gets displayed for each member in the directory.

To provide members-only content or hide information from non-members, you can restrict page access to certain membership levels or member groups. Within the page settings, you can restrict access to the page to certain membership levels or member groups, or to site administrators only. Only members at the selected levels or groups will be able to view the page, either through the site menu or via a direct link.

As we have seen, Wild Apricot provides a number of administrative tools and self-service options to help you manage and grow your membership. For more information, see Wild Apricot’s online help or contact our support department. You can find links to help and support in admin view in the upper right corner of the screen.

Thanks for listening. I hope this was helpful.

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