Behind the Scenes @ Wild Apricot: Simple things, new features, new Apricots

Lori Halley 14 July 2010 0 comments

We can tell ourselves that the simple things matter, but sometimes we need to have one moment that brings it all home. There was a power outage that left 240,000 of my fellow city-dwellers without power. As I walked home from the train station, I was struck by how quiet it was with no TVs on or radios blaring, and with the normal hum of air conditioners and pool pumps silenced. I could hear birds chirping and the occasional rustle of leaves.

But some had hooked up gas-powered generators to run their air-conditioning units, and I passed a few people who were sitting in their idling cars for the same purpose. By the time I got home I was hot and sticky, but a glass of cold water and a few minutes in the cooler basement helped me feel a little more human. We made dinner (omelets on the barbeque and lettuce from our garden), figuring out what we'd need for the meal ahead of time so we'd only have to open the fridge once. We ate our dinner outside, where at least there was a breeze and we could enjoy the fresh air. When the power finally came back I was a little disappointed -- I was getting to quite enjoy the new normal.

I'm the first to admit that I'm dependent on electricity. My idea of a good night is getting a cold drink from the fridge, watching a baseball game on TV, and a wireless connection to the Internet from my laptop. But I also know that we can make choices about how addicted we let ourselves get to what are, in essence, luxuries. For example, my family is lucky enough to have a house that stays cool naturally, so we have no need for an air conditioner. These choices help us to make sure that we never become distracted by "noise."

There are are things that you have to do, things that you want to do, and things that you do because it's easier than not doing them. Those in the third group are the hardest to control, because they are nice and shiny, and provide immediate gratification. But they often distract you from the things you need and really want to do. Yes, a more fun evening would have been spent watching a ball game, but -- thanks to the power outage -- a more rewarding night was spent outside, listening to the sound of nothing happening.

Every release we do in Wild Apricot is geared towards making what you have to do easier, so that you can do what you want to do.

Right now we're finishing up development on version 3.5, which will include some really big features.

First, we are introducing a Financial Management module. All membership applications and event registrations are going to have the ability to generate an invoice, and you'll be able to quickly see how much money your organization is generating. As well, you'll be able to tell at a glance how much a contact or member owes you, and to get an itemized list of transactions they've entered and how much they owe on each.



And if you want to get visual presentations of how much you've collected and what you're owed, we've got you covered there, too. We have new  and improved reports for Income, Payments, and Aging Receivables. These are going to automatically generate bar charts so you can visualize your finances. You will also be able to export these reports to Excel or as a PDF, perfect for slides or handouts at your next board meeting\!



Getting your membership information in the database is one of the most important things you have to do, and something you want to have confidence in. To this end, we are making our Import feature much more flexible. When you import your contacts and members, you'll be able to use any spreadsheet, not just our predefined templates. As well, you'll be able to map your current data to specific fields in Wild Apricot, or even skip importing a field altogether if it's not important anymore.



We also have a few new smaller features that people have been asking for:

  • Creating a webpage using a copy of an existing one
  • Making a post in a forum "sticky" so that it stays on the top of the page
  • Inserting a link to an event on a webpage
  • Inserting Anchors and making a Table of Contents on webpages


And while we're on the subject of all things new and exciting, Wild Apricot would like to welcome our newest member, Lenna Titizian. Lenna joins us after working as a Production Manager/Production Artist in business-to-business advertising, but has also worked in print media, organizing music festivals, and volunteering with NGOs. Her enthusiasm and fresh outlook are going to make her a great fit here at Wild Apricot.

Now, get out there and enjoy those simple things in life!

 

Originally posted by gvalentino 

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

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Wednesday, 14 July 2010 at 2:24 PM

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