Wild Apricot Helps Association of Women Entrepreneurs Climb Ladder of Success

Lori Halley 09 March 2010 0 comments

Business Challenge

When life coach Tera McHugh moved from Chicago to Southern California in 2003 she wanted to meet other professional women who shared her interests in business, networking and helping each other climb the ladder to success. After trying out a few professional organizations, Tera decided to launch Women Entrepreneurs of Santa Clarita Valley. While she derived much gratification from meeting professional women in her community, she grew tired of all the time spent developing processes - for her web site content, email lists, invitations, registration forms, event calendars, speakers' screening and member sign-up and assistance. She persisted in performing the busy work as she witnessed the meteoric growth of her fledgling for-profit association.

"I started with 12 women when I launched our group in February 2006," said McHugh. "In ten months, the group had grown to more than130 members and I still didn't have any systems in place - I was recreating the wheel every time I'd host a monthly event or meeting."

McHugh began to investigate technology platforms to help her eliminate the mundane tasks of managing a membership-based organization.She found Wild Apricot and also discovered the tools to launch a national organization - Association of Women Entrepreneurs (A of We) with a goal of forming chapters, or, what she calls groups, nationwide.

Solution Details

"After connecting with Wild Apricot, I now have the tools to systematize every function involved in my business," said McHugh.

Wild Apricot replaces the need for at least seven different systems. All under one roof, McHugh has the technology to manage a website and its contents, send emails to members and prospects, update her calendar of events, screen speakers seeking opportunities to present to her group and accept registrations and payment of dues and event fees.

"I also use Wild Apricot's platform to host a members forum, where A of WE group leaders and members can ask questions and interact,"she said. "This feature is invaluable - before I'd be answering the same questions over and over again in emails. But with the members forum, anyone can go onto my website, and get answers to their questions through the forum. It's a great way to learn as well as engage with our community," said McHugh.

Wild Apricot has not only made her better organized, it's given her the time and resources to pursue a broader business model. She has grown her Association of Women Entrepreneurs to six groups - Sacramento, Atlanta and four in the Los Angeles area.  McHugh says her plans are to add 10 new groups per quarter in 2010 through licensing and consulting arrangements with other women who enlist to become A of WE group leaders.

"Wild Apricot is not just serving as the template for all of the web sites serving each group," said McHugh. "I am also using the technology as my training resource for the group leaders."

Leaders log-in weekly to access learning modules that teach them how to build their team, run the local group,plan events, book speakers and serve members. McHugh has set up 12 different pages on her web site, which provides leaders with one page of new learning material every week.  


McHugh says Wild Apricot has provided her with a low-cost and easy to use tool to create a customized web site that can be used as a template for other A of WE groups. Since the technology has freed her of the drudgery and busywork required to run a membership-based organization, she now has the time to dream big and help other women at the same time.

"This is definitely an income stream for me and thanks to Wild Apricot, I have very low overhead. These benefits are being enjoyed by the other group leaders who get the benefit of a fully-outfitted website that serves each group's needs. I love what Wild Apricot has done for my business.That's why I'm such a big fan." 

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

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Tuesday, 09 March 2010 at 1:07 PM

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