Behind the Scenes @ Wild Apricot: Sometimes a great notion - Wild Apricot 3.4 is on its way

Lori Halley 26 March 2010 0 comments

Happy birthday everyone!

Well, it's not really anyone's birthday (unless of course it's yours, in which case a "Very Happy Birthday!" to you), but as I'm writing this we are in the final hours before the release of version 3.4 of Wild Apricot. In much the same way that every September felt like a New Year when I was in school, each release of Wild Apricot feels like a birthday party. I may even wear a funny hat to work next Monday!

Joking apart, we will be launching the new version of the site over the weekend, and barring any unforeseen problems it will be fully live by Sunday morning (8 am EST). Over the past few weeks I've been telling you about the new features that are going to be launched. You can get more details on them on the release history (which will be updated on Monday), but the highlights are

  • You can now set up membership application fees to be prorated over partial time periods
  • A new file management system, including
    • Support for WebDAV in Windows Vista/7 and Mac OS X
    • new upload screens for documents and pictures
    • new file management system with the ability to create folders and work with your files directly within Wild Apricot
  • Refined interface for working with lists in customizable fields, including pre-populated lists.
  • Wild Apricot will now be compatible with Safari and Google Chrome

Every week I tell you how your feedback can help guide our development process and our craft the solutions to your requests. This past week in the thread on Generating event badges, mailing labels, membership certificates etc. we received a great suggestion from Gordon Stewart. Gordon runs the Santa Rosa Cycling Club and has been a Wild Apricot user for over 2 years. I urge everyone who is interested in this feature (or just in what goes into determining the best fix to a big problem) to read his post.

I took a few minutes this week to talk to Gordon about his organization, and his own personal experience with Wild Apricot.

How would you describe your organization?

 The Santa Rosa Cycling Club is a social and recreational organization based in Sonoma County, California, about 60 miles north of San Francisco.  We have about 1,300 members and sponsor over 300 events each year.  Most of these events are no-fee casual club rides which require no registration but we use our Wild Apricot site to announce the events and publish maps and route instructions.  We also sponsor a couple of high profile public events which draw cyclists from throughout California and several neighboring states.  A couple of years ago we started using Wild Apricot to handle the registration for these events and this year sold all 2500 entries for our premier event in four days without a hitch. We also publish a monthly newsletter which is mailed to some members by subscription but also posted on the site where it can be retrieved by anyone as needed.  Most of our communications with members is through the newsletter and by twice monthly blast emails from the Wild Apricot site to the members.

What has made Wild Apricot a good fit for your organization?

The greatest value is in the management of the club membership. But it is also very valuable as a communication tool which allows us to both push information out to the members through blast emails but also allows the membership to retrieve information as needed.  We average well over 1000 page views a day with the event calendar being the most popular.  It also gives us a public face which makes us a much more significant force in the community.  

Have there been any tangible benefits to your membership from using Wild Apricot?

A little over two years ago when we started to use WA we had about 500 members managed on a PC using database software.  We've since grown to about 1300 and the automation of the WA membership system requires dramatically less work than the smaller numbers in the old manual system.  The system runs itself except for the hour or so twice a month when I print and mail the membership cards.  We have a few members who are reluctant to use computer based payment systems so the option to pay manually is important.

What has been your experience with the Wild Apricot online community

I frequently visit the WA wishlist and roadmap forums and supply my 2 cents worth.  It is a great way to influence the development of the system and a good learning tool to see how others view and use the system.  I've always been very impressed with the WA Knowledge Base and on the infrequent occasion that it does not answer the question there is always a quick and valuable answer available from the email support team.

Thank for your time, Gordon! Again, you can check out the Santa Rose Cycling Club here.

You can have your say as we continue planning features for upcoming releases. Be sure to join the conversation on:

There's the view from the inside for this week. I'll be back early next week to talk about the roll-out of the new version and what we're going to be doing in version 3.5. I'll give you a hint: they're things people have been asking for a long time.

Until then, go easy on the cake and punch!

 

Originally posted by gvalentino 

Get a Special Report on Simplifying Membership Management

Enter your email and receive this special report in your inbox.
Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Friday, 26 March 2010 at 2:10 PM

Get a Special Report on Simplifying Membership Management

Enter your email and receive this special report in your inbox.
Sorry, this blog post is closed for further comments.