Hi, I'm Picky Apricot Steve Andrews and in this webinar, I'm going to show you how to get started with Wild Apricot.
To open a Wild Apricot account, you go to wildapricot.com and click the link to start a free 30-day trial. You'll be asked to provide an email address, and optionally, an organization name, your name, and the organization type. Your trial account has full access to Wild Apricot functionality at the Community billing plan level, with a few differences.
After you activate your trial account, we'll provide you with the details of your new Wild Apricot site. Take note of your login and be sure to bookmark the site address. You should change the temporary password we've assigned you by entering a new one here. Later, you can change your URL to something more appropriate for your organization. And if you already have your own domain name -- whatever dot com or dot org -- you can use that instead of wildapricot.org.
After you click Continue, you choose a theme for your site. The theme you choose determines the overall look of your site. Wild Apricot provides a number of professionally designed themes in a variety of styles and colors. The themes are grouped into theme packs according to their layout and design. Pick a theme that's close to what you want, but don't worry if its not exactly what you have in mind. You can customize the look and feel of your site later, or even switch to a completely different theme without losing any of your work. To choose a theme, click on it within the gallery then click Apply & Next to proceed to the next step in the basic setup process.
The new step is to choose a header background. The header appears between your menu and the page content area, and is used to display the name of your organization, your logo, and a background graphic reflecting the purpose of your site. You can choose a background image from the gallery or you click Advanced header customization to add your own background image.
On the next screen, you can add your logo to the header background. If you don’t have a logo for your organization, you can either use the default logo or delete the logo altogether by clicking the Delete link. To add a logo, click the Browse button then choose the graphic file containing your logo.
Here, you can change the welcome text appearing on the header. You might want to enter the name of your organization or your organization's tagline. Click Change style to change the formatting of the title. Using ArtStyles, you can apply special effects like 3D and drop shadows.
To reposition the title, you just drag and drop it within the header preview. Now, click Apply & Next then Finish to complete the initial setup process.
After you've completed the basic visual setup, you can go back at any time and change these settings. You can control the height of the header and choose a background image for the header. With your visual setup complete, you can now modify your individual site pages, add contacts, and set up events.
Before we start customizing your site and setting up your member database, let's get familiar with your Wild Apricot working environment. Right now, you're in what we call admin view. Admin view displays a working version of your site and provides the tools you need to set things up just the way you want. You can switch from admin view to public view to see how your site appears to members and visitors to your site.
Across the top of the screens are a series of tabs that you can click to access the different modules that you use to control the appearance and behavior of your site. When you click on an tab, you'll see the options available to you within the selected module. We'll be looking at some of these modules in depth later, but for now, let's quickly introduce each of them.
The dashboard provides a quick snapshot of your entire account, showing your billing plan and displaying a summary of your contacts, upcoming events, recent donations, most active members, and least updated pages.
The next tab is the contacts tab. Here, you can store information about everyone is who is associated with your organization, whether they are members or not. For example, they might be donors, event attendees, or administrators.
The Web pages tab displays the pages that make up your website. From here, you can add, remove, and modify pages, change their settings, and restrict access and visibility. The menu at the top of your site will be automatically assembled using the pages you have created subject to the settings you have selected.
On the Events tab, you set up events for your organization.
The Members tab is similar to the Contacts tab, except it displays member-specific information and options.
The Donations tab lists donations to your organization and the people who made them, assuming you have set up your site to receive donations.
The Finances tab is where you manage your accounts receivable, and track invoices
issued, payments collected, and refunds issued by your organization.
On the Emails tab, you can send mass emails, and track all yours emails, including automatic email confirmations, and scheduled announcements and reminders.
The final tab is the Settings tab. This tab brings together all the different settings that you use to administer your site and manage your members. Some of these settings also appear as options under other tabs, and some only here, like security and site-wide settings. So, if you're having trouble finding a particular option, this would be a good place to look.
Along the right side of every screen in admin view are the Help and Support icons. If you hover over the Help icon, it shows you a list of help topics specific to the screen you're on. If you don't see what you're looking for, you can search for a topic. Clicking on the Support icon allows you to send a support request directly to Wild Apricot's support department, and view the status of your existing requests. Beside the Support icon is your account number. If you ever need to phone in for support, you'll be asked for this number.
Now that we're a little more familiar with Wild Apricot's working environment, we can start delving deeper into it. Let's jump to the Contacts tab and learn how to add and manage contacts.
First, you need to understand the distinction between contacts and members. 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.
Since we're just starting out with this Wild Apricot site, we just have a few contacts, most of them sample contacts. If you click a contact, you'll see their contact details. If you want to store more information about your contacts, you can add custom contact fields. If we click the Membership tab, we see the contact's membership details.
There are several different ways we can add more contacts to our database. We can add them one at a time...we can set up a membership application form on our Wild Apricot site so visitors can sign themselves up as members and thereby as contacts......or we can import them in bulk from a spreadsheet.
After you upload the spreadsheet with the contacts you want to import, you map the columns in the spreadsheet to the fields in your contact database. We're going to choose the option that automatically creates new membership levels in our Wild Apricot database if we have already assigned them in the spreadsheet. Once the import is complete, the imported contacts are added to your contacts list.
Now that we've added some contacts to our list, we can search the list for particular members or types of members. You can search using simple search strings.....or more complex search criteria. You can save your searches for later, and use your saved searches as mailing lists for email blasts.
If you want to remove a contact from your database -- in this case, our sample contacts -- you start by archiving the record. Archiving a contact rather than deleting it allows you restore the contact at a later date. Archived contacts are not counted against your database limit and do not receive emails. If you truly want to remove a contact permanently, along with his or her data, you can archive then delete the record.
Now, let's jump to the Members tab where we see a breakdown of our members by membership level.
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 pages, events, event registration types, and individual membership fields by membership levels.
Let's remove the sample membership levels that came with our Wild Apricot account...
...and modify one of the levels that we imported along with our contacts.
For the Platinum level, we'll set the membership fee to 50 dollars, and allow visitors to the site to join this level themselves. On the Renewal policy tab, you choose the renewal period and the date of renewal. You can automate the membership renewal process with timed reminders and actions. To fully automate the renewal process, you can set up recurring payments. 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 becomes a member.
Now that we have members in our database, we can send an email blast -- a mass email -- to them.
You can send an email blast to all your members, or you can filter the list using simple or advanced search criteria. After choosing your recipients, you choose the template you want to use as the basis for the email blast. You can choose from system templates provided by Wild Apricot or custom templates you created 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.
Now, let's turn our attention to the pages that make up your Wild Apricot site. To manage pages on your site, click Page Management under the Web pages tab. Here, we have a list of all the pages on your site, and the settings for each page. The settings are represented by icons, and the meaning of the icons is explained in the legend in the upper right corner.
We're going to start by removing a couple of the sample pages that came with the trial account.
Now, let's add a page -- a blog page. If we want the page to have an easy to remember address, we could enter a custom URL. There are two types of pages you can add: content and functional. Content pages simply display content, including text, pictures, links, etc.. Functional pages perform a specific function such as forums, event registration, member directory, membership registration, and blogs.
If we want to restrict access to the page to certain membership levels, we need to create a functional page of the Restricted Access Section type, then drag and drop the blog page under it.
In this way, the pages become subpages or children of the restricted access section page and automatically inherit its access restrictions.
To change the order of the pages in your site menu, just drag and drop them to new locations within Page Management. You can group site pages under one another to create a menu with multiple levels.
To edit any web page on your website, display it within Web pages then click the Edit button towards the top of the page to enter edit mode.
Now that you’re in edit mode, a toolbar appears at the top. Using the toolbar options, you can format text, insert pictures, tables, links, and macros, and change the page layout, among other things.
To insert a picture, click where you want the picture to appear then click the Picture button in the toolbar. You can choose a picture that is already in your account or upload a new picture from your computer or network. You can set the size of the picture on the page, choose whether you want a border, and where the picture appears relative to the surrounding text.
You can turn a piece of text or a picture into a hyperlink by clicking the Insert Link option. You can link it to a web site, another page in your site, a section within the same page, or to an email address.
You can also add gadgets to your page. Gadgets are used to display information appearing on other pages in your site. The list of recent forum updates is an example of a gadget.
Customizing functional pages is a little different because they perform predefined functions.
For most functional pages, you can customize the introductory text and change some page specific options, like restricting functionality by membership level.
You can further customize the look and feel of the site by changing the colors and styles settings. Here, you can change the colors and fonts of a number of elements that appear throughout your site, like the menu, login fields, header and footer, etc.. For example, you can change the color of hyperlinks, or the point size of headings.
Now, let's look at the steps involved in setting up events. From the Events tab, you can set up any number of events -- conferences, board meetings, training sessions, social gatherings -- and publish them in an events calendar on your site. From the events calendar, visitors can view event details, sign up for events, and pay the registration fee.
We've got a sample event already set up, so let's take a look at the settings for this one. When you create an event, you specify the event name, location, date, and cost, and provide a description.
You can customize the event registration form by adding, removing, and reordering event fields. You can add event fields to collect event-specific information and even sell some extra cost options to your registrants. Event fields are combined with common fields from your contact database to form the event record and populate the registration form.
For each event, you must set up at least one registration type before you can enable registration. Registration types are like ticket levels. Setting up registration types allows you to charge different prices for different event packages or for different kinds of attendees. For example, you might want to charge more for non-members, or less for premium members.
You can provide for various announcements, reminders, and registration messages to be automatically emailed. You can customize the emails for a particular event, adding text, formatting, graphics,macros, and links to each message.
After you enable registration, the event will automatically be added to your event calendar page. Visitors to your site can sign up for the event and pay the registration fee online.
To manage your finances, go to the Finances tab. Wild Apricot automatically generates invoices for all paid transactions, and from here, you can view your invoices......record offline payments, and review payment details. You can also generate a number of financial reports.
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.
We’ve seen how you can use the different Wild Apricot modules to manage your membership, set up events, and customize your web site. For more information, see Wild Apricot’s online help or contact our support department. Remember, 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.