December Update: A Year In Review

WildApricot Updates December 30, 2016

Dmitry Buterin

By Dmitry Buterin

As I reflect back on 2016, a teeter-totter keeps coming to mind. While we experienced many high points, we also had some lows.

Some of our highs included completing our long-awaited Solution Splitting project, hosting our first Membership Growth Online Summit, and turning 10 years old this year.

On the other hand,  some of our lows included a few service outages, and slower feature releases, resulting in only two major updates to our software. I’ve included more details about this and our plans moving forward in the section below.

But, even with the lows, WildApricot has grown to help more nonprofit organizations than it ever has before, and we only have plans to keep growing.

I wish you all the best for a happy and healthy new year!

A Review of Our Product Updates

2016 was less fruitful in terms of major releases: we released just two (version 5.8 and 5.9) compared to five in 2015. The main reasons for this were shared in our October newsletter: our product team did a lot of work on the ‘internal plumbing’ of our software to prepare for their next stage of growth. This made 2016 a challenging year for the product team and we hit some bumps along the way, but we are finally recovering from them and we’re excited to see the fruits of our labor.  

Next year we are going to focus on our top Wishlist forum suggestions - internally we are calling this initiative “paying our customer debt”. As of now, we are considering the top 19 suggestions with a total of 3,000 votes behind them. Work has already begun on some of these items - for example, the long awaited request to schedule emails is already in testing. All of us really want to make progress over these long awaited suggestions and we’re committed to work on them.

We will also continue working on system reliability and overall performance. For example, as of now we’ve finalized another stage in migrating to a better hosting service - Amazon Web Services (AWS) - an initiative we first mentioned in our July newsletter. Moving to AWS, together with some other internal projects, will allow us to solve a number of technical issues, including faster releases, less bugs and, eventually, zero downtime during the publication of new releases.

Overall, it was a challenging year for the product development team. Looking forward to 2017, we are totally committed to our company’s purpose: “... help small membership organizations grow and be successful by providing amazing software that addresses their needs, is well engineered, easy to learn and use, and facilitates their growth”.

Top 5 Blog Posts from 2016

This year we posted a whopping 76 blog posts, which reached a total of 42,642 views. Here are our top 5 blog posts from 2016 (excluding newsletters, updates, and webinar roundups):

  1. The Ultimate Nonprofit Calendar: 2,084 views
  2. How 1 Simple Email Will Make Every New Member Happy: 1,844 views
  3. 8 Types of Annoying Board Members: 1,789 views
  4. How we increased Online Event Registrations by 200% with a 3-Email Reminder Formula: 1,447 views
  5. Take the WildApricot Test: How much WildApricot Knowledge Have You Picked Up: 784 views

Also, check out our blog posts from this last month:

One Last Look at Our Membership Growth Online Summit

Since we’re looking back over 2016, you may recall that we held our first Membership Growth Online Summit in April, where we hosted such nonprofit experts like Robbie Kellman Baxter and John Haydon, which attracted nearly 5,000 registrants.

If you happened to miss any of the sessions, feel free to watch the recordings here:

Some Fun Stats From Support

With over 17,000 customers, you can imagine the amount of calls our support team gets. Just for fun, we thought we’d share some of our stats from the last year.

Phone Calls: In 2016, our support team answered 15,763 phone calls, versus only 8,729 in 2014. With nine people answering phones, that’s 1,752 calls each!

Emails: In 2016, our support team responded to 19,272 tickets, versus 28,356 tickets in 2015.

If you look at the numbers, we’re seeing a big shift away from email tickets and towards phone tickets, which implies that our customers are preferring to speak with us on the phone.

This past year, we hired 6 more team members to help customers and handle the volumes.  We also implemented a new schedule for our support team to accommodate the increase in phone calls and decrease in tickets.

In 2017, we will continue to build upon creating an effortless experience for our customers to receive the education they need.

That’s all for this month. We hope you enjoyed your holiday break and all the best for the New Year!

The Membership Growth Report:

Benchmarks & Insights for Growing Revenue and Constituents

Get the report now!

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