Building Chapter Websites: the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI)

Lori Halley 11 February 2010 0 comments

Business Challenge

The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) is the voice of the remodeling industry, representing 7,500 contractors who are members of 61 local chapters throughout the United States. NARI members are small business owners, typically operating with few - if any - support staff. The carpenters, plumbers and other remodeling professionals join NARI to help them improve their knowledge and better market their services to homeowners and businesses within their local communities. As a service to its members, each NARI chapter host its own web site that features a member directory for consumers to easily connect, learn about and hire NARI members.

Since leaders of NARI chapters are volunteers running their own businesses, it's been a challenge for them to keep their web sites current. Doing so required devoting extra time to create member profile pages as well as carry out mundane tasks such as staying on top of membership expirations, renewals, dues collections and event fees, etc.

Each chapter was responsible for creating its own web site, which made it difficult to harmonize NARI's national membership database, housed at its suburban Chicago headquarters, with member information and profiles housed on the chapter web sites.

NARI's web infrastructure also lacked the ability for members to update their own web page profiles or membership accounts. Local chapter content often turned stale or out of date when chapter leadership changed hands or when volunteers responsible for content left the organization.

Even worse, NARI volunteers and chapter leaders found that tedious administrative tasks were eating into time better spent helping members promote their businesses and expanding their knowledge base.  NARI's head of Chapter Services, Phil Stratton, sought a low-cost technology solution that reduces the time and resources spent on these mundane tasks and found Wild Apricot.

Results

"We began working with Wild Apricot in 2009 because we needed a low-cost, easy-to-use member-management technology that could be adopted by all 61 of NARI chapters and coalitions," said Stratton.

"We needed a web site template - something already created for each local chapter, to save them money and time. Our web site had to communicate with our members to keep track of their membership, renewals, dues, etc. Equally important, the web site had to market member services to consumers shopping for remodeling contractors in their area.  Wild Apricot does all that and more," Stratton added.

Stratton is now overseeing the rollout of Wild Apricot's platform to all 61 NARI Chapters. Currently, one-third are using the integrated membership software program, which serves as the chapters' all-in-one "Automated Assistant."

"We've been uploading members' data from our main database, and chapters simply contact me when they're ready to make the switch and I'll populate their member data onto their own website and notify them when they're ready to go live. The entire process can be done in just four hours. That alone is amazing because I am not a technology geek, nor are the chapter leaders - that's how simple Wild Apricot is to use!" said Stratton.

He says chapter leaders are pleased with the easy-to-manage membership software, and its secure and private entry point for members to update their own profile pages and keep them fresh and current. The automated renewal and recurring dues-payment functions also mean that volunteers aren't on the phone tracking down members.

Stratton estimates that he'll spend most of 2010 rolling out the Wild Apricot member-management platform to the remaining 40 or so NARI chapters around the country. Stratton says NARI made a strategic decision to provide this service free of charge to each chapter, because offering Wild Apricot's tool plays a huge part in growing the national group.

"We presented the Wild Apricot program as a benefit to our chapters to help them grow. NARI's leadership believes that if we can provide chapters with a polished, affordable website that requires little-to-no admin resources, we'll reach our goal of growing the organization and offering uniform benefits across the system," he said.

"Wild Apricot is indeed making that happen," added Stratton.

 

 

Originally posted by Jay Moonah

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Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Thursday, 11 February 2010 at 12:47 PM

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