How This Membership Manager Saved 20 Hours a Week Using Software

Membership November 28, 2016

Terry Ibele

By Terry Ibele

Would you take this job?

Membership Manager Responsibilities:

  • Accidentally save over your previous excel database and spend 25 hours trying to get it back
  • Request a simple update on your website and wait a month for the freelance designer to make the change
  • Spend hours formatting your newsletter perfectly, then chew your nails off from worrying over whether it’ll screw up once you send it
  • Waste your evenings lost in filing paperwork trying to figure out who paid and who attended your last event
  • Receive no help from the rest of your board, because they expect you to do everything yourself

This is the job that most membership managers end up with.

A few weeks ago, I spoke with the membership manager of a sailing club, named Frank, and this used to be his life.

He was spending 20 hours or more every week locked in an administrative nightmare and scrambling to keep up. That’s because he was doing everything himself.

And the thing was, Frank’s club didn’t have the budget to hire another staff, so he needed an inexpensive way to help keep afloat.

He eventually discovered an inexpensive way to do more than just keep him afloat. Frank found a way to pretty much eliminate all of his administrative tasks, saving him those 20 hours a week. 

He was able to do this by using something called membership management software — software that instantly processes all the administrative tasks in each area of a membership organization: website, emails and newsletter, payments and renewals, events, and the contact database. 

It looks something like this:

Membership Management Software
In this post, I’ll show you exactly how Frank uses membership management software and how much time he saves in each area. 


1) Paperless Event Registrations: Saves 3 hours/week

Frank’s old process of registering people for events was long and complicated. It looked like this:

old process
But now, his membership management software cuts out nearly all these steps. All he has to do is create an event on his website and send an email to his members with the link. 

new way
Frank says, “Hocus pocus!” whenever he sends his email, because people are able to register and pay without him having to do anything else.

The software creates an online registration form and once someone registers, it updates Frank’s database with their information, processes their online payments directly into his account, automatically sends them an invoice and confirmation email, and even sends them event reminder emails on its own.

It’s given Frank back two hours of work every week because of how simple and fast membership management software made managing his events.


2) Hassle Free Website Updates: Saves 2 hour/week

Frank is no techy. He doesn’t know anything about HTML or designing a website. So, whenever he wanted to update the news section, an event page, or literally anything on his website, he had to go with a freelance web designer.

It was expensive, took time, and never turned out exactly the way he wanted it.

With membership management software, Frank was able to cut out the Freelancer completely.

That’s because the software gives him an easy-to-update website so he could make the changes himself. 

Here’s a screengrab of how easy it was for Frank to choose a pre-built template for his website using WildApricot’s software:

Choose a Template

As we say at WildApricot, “If you know how to use Word, you can update your website with membership management software.”

In just one afternoon, Frank had a whole new website entirely set up for his sailing club.

And whenever he needs changes, no matter how small (or big), he can simply do them himself in just a few minutes. It saves him about an hour each week from going back and forth with his freelancer.


3) Paperless New Member Registration: Saves 2 hour/week

Previously, when people wanted to join Frank’s sailing club, they had to print off and fill out a PDF form from his website. Then, they had to mail in the form along with a check. Frank would then enter their information into his Excel database, file the paperwork away, and take their check to the bank.

Frank’s kids could recite his complaints about incomplete forms, errors in Excel, and checks that bounced.

With membership management software, all these complaints were eliminated (lucky for Frank’s kids too).

Now, when a new member registers, they fill out the form and pay online, just like with Frank’s events. Their information is instantly updated in his new database and their payment goes automatically into his account.

No more pain.

Frank hasn’t filed a single form since, which saves him an hour’s work every week.


4) Automated Email Reminders: Saves 2 hours/week

Frank used to spend about two hours a week sending out email reminders for events, payments, and dues. He hated the manual way he had to filter his Excel database, copy the email addresses, then paste them into Outlook — there was so much room for error in this process.

Crossing his fingers was his main strategy to making everything work perfectly.

Luckily, Frank’s new membership management software already knows which members have overdue payments, dues, or events coming up, so it sends out automated reminders on its own, error free.

It saves Frank those two hours of work every week (plus so much worry). 


5) Automated Member Dues & Renewals: Saves 3 hours/week

Before Frank implemented membership management software, there was no such thing as automated renewals at his sailing club.

Frank had to send out renewal forms and wait for checks to come back in the mail. Since each member had a different renewal date, Frank was spending three hours a week writing, sending, and processing member renewal forms and payments.

Now his software automatically identifies who’s due, automatically sends out invoices, automatically charges credit cards, and automatically sends confirmation emails.

Frank doesn’t have to do any of this anymore. It saves him three hours a week.


6) Pre-Built Newsletter Templates: Saves 2 hours/week

Every month Frank dreaded sending out the newsletter. It took hours to design and format, and often something messed up when he sent it. 

Now, Frank just chooses a pre-built, professionally designed newsletter template within the emailing component of his software, then updates the text and images.

email template

Plus, Frank’s contact database is already integrated with the emailing component, so he can easily pick a filter of contacts to send his newsletter to. And the newsletter templates are mobile friendly, so nothing messes up when he sends them.

Pre-built newsletter templates and contact database integration saves Frank an average of two hours every week.


7) Instant Database Updates: Saves 5 hours/week

Since Frank’s Excel database was a mess, he dreaded making any significant changes to it. He once messed up a formula that took him a whole week to fully correct.

With his new membership management software, he doesn’t even touch the database. It updates on its own every time a member does anything: registers for an event, pays their dues, updates their contact information, donates, etc.

Plus, his new database is much easier to search through and alerts him about which members have pending payments, or have lapsed.

No longer needing to update the database saves Frank five hours a week.


8) All-In-One Integrated Solution: Saves 1 hour/week

Before implementing membership management software, Frank was the one who had to “talk” to all the different systems he used in his club.

He was the one who had to export, import, file, deposit, and record.

Now his membership management software does all these things for him, automatically, instantly, and all in one place.

Frank used to have to know how to use ten different systems to run his organization. Now he just needs one, which saves him about one hour each week.

Here’s a screengrab of WildApricot’s dashboard, showing how all aspects of a membership organization are handled in one place.


8 Great Ways Membership Management Software Saves 20 Hours A Week

Since Frank was able to cut out 20 hours of administrative work, he spent the extra time building up the value of his organization and promoting it within his community.

This caused the club to grow an extra 30% by the end of the year. 

Just as Frank was able to use membership management software to eliminate the administrative tasks for his sailing club, there are membership management softwares for any type of membership organization — associations, nonprofits, clubs, and anything inbetween. 

If you’re thinking of looking into membership management software, we’ve put together this simple consumer guide on how to choose the right type for your organization:

How to choose Membership Management Software

Or, if you’re ready to dive right in and choose one now, here are the top twenty membership management softwares on the market.

Once you implement membership management software for your organization, your job description could look more like this.

Membership Manager Responsibilities:

  • Move the Excel icon on your desktop into the trash bin and chuckle at your old ways of doing things
  • Focus on your passion for the organization instead of getting locked in an administrative nightmare
  • Impress the board with the amount of new members you've brought in from spending more time on promoting your organization and creating value
  • Arrive home early every day to spend more time with your family
Now that's a job I would take!

The Membership Growth Report:

Benchmarks & Insights for Growing Revenue and Constituents

Get the report now!

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