Apricot Chat: 5 years of Wild Apricot

Lori Halley 30 June 2011 0 comments

5th Anniversary FireworksWild Apricot is excited to be celebrating our 5th Anniversary! As we look back over the last few years, we are delighted to see that many clients that have been with us since 2006 - such as the Defense Commercial Vendors Coalition, Narrow Lake Conservation Camp, the Parkside Homeowners Association, Alberta Technology Leaders in Education, Toronto Business Toastmasters, and many more - are still with us. So we're dedicating this month’s Apricot Chat to showcasing two of those organizations that have been with us since the beginning.

The Jack Russell Terrier Network

Two chapters of the Jack Russell Terrier Network have had Wild Apricot accounts since 2006: the Gulf Coast Chapter, and the Southwest Chapter.  We spoke to Ed Seifert, Treasurer at the Southwest Chapter.

Southwest Jack Russell Terrier Network

The Southwest Jack Russel Terrier Network (SWJRTN) is an affiliate of the Jack Russell Terrier Club of America, and dedicates its time to protecting and preserving the Jack Russell Terrier as a working breed. SWJRTN also hosts several play days throughout the year, which offer the terriers and their owners a chance to come together to get to know each other.


Finding Wild Apricot

Back in July 2006, Ed, the current treasurer at SWJRTN, began looking for a non-profit template website that also offered membership management to use for a merchant group called "Corridor 26 Association." Ed says that Wild Apricot was the first hit when he ran a search on Google for "non-profit site software".

I looked at [the Wild Apricot] site, called Dmitry and never looked further.  When I became Secretary of Southwest Jack Russell Terrier Network in November of that year, I switched our site to Wild Apricot. Corridor 26 is gone, but we are still using Wild Apricot at SWJRTN today."

Favorite Features

We asked Ed what it was that he liked about Wild Apricot back in 2006. He told us that, among other things, the membership management features and the simplicity of the software as a whole made him enjoy working with it, and also bringing it over to SWJRTN. In addition, the trial period that Wild Apricot offers allowed Ed to go through many different aspects and learn about them before any payments were made.

Ed finds that the biggest asset during the past 5 years has definitely been the way membership management and event management work hand in hand in Wild Apricot. He also loves the website builder capabilities:

"The site is quick and easy to change without relying on a developer to make the changes. We have done things that we might not have been able to do with a custom site."

Advice for New Wild Apricot Users

We asked Ed if he has any advice for new Wild Apricot users:

“Try every feature in Wild Apricot before trying to create custom pages. Also, make sure Wild Apricot is aware of your requirements. Over the years they have done a good job of responding to user requests. Your specific requirement has a good chance of becoming part of  Wild Apricot."

Ed is absolutely right -- listening to customers is key to our development process, and we regularly look through our Wishlist Forum to pull ideas for future development, so it's a great place to write your feature suggestions.

 

The Insurance & Financial Communicators Association - IFCA

ifca homepageThe Insurance & Financial Communicators Association (IFCA) is an international organization for communicators in insurance and finance, providing professional development, recognition and networking opportunities. IFCA is known to be one of the largest organizations in the industry-specific field of communications and advertising, and they have been using the Wild Apricot software since 2006.  We spoke to Jeff Ferst, an IFCA Consultant.

When Jeff came to IFCA, Wild Apricot was already in use for membership management. However, he says that before the IFCA started using Wild Apricot software, they had a simple website that only contained information about the association itself, which meant tasks such as event registration, membership applications, and maintaining their contact database were done manually.

"We had no online database. Everything was manually done. We used an Excel spreadsheet to maintain our member database. Needless to say, these functions were labor intensive.”

When they started using Wild Apricot, it was a turning point in the way IFCA managed their database and memberships.

"The member database and event registration features help organize events, membership functions and provide information at our fingertips. It makes my job a lot easier."

Wild Apricot offers a variety of design templates that can be used to create a website. IFCA chose one of these, and with some minor adjustments they were easily able to customize it for their specific purposes. For example, embedding video has allowed them to reach out to more members and raise awareness of their association.

Advice for New Wild Apricot Users

We asked Jeff if he had any suggestions for organizations that are just starting to use Wild Apricot.

“As a non-profit organization based on financial support coming from membership dues and program fees, we have to make the best use of our resources so that we maximize benefits to members and minimize administration costs. The hosting resources we get from Wild Apricot allow us to reduce administration costs, and for a minimal monthly fee we get the benefits of these resources that individually are out of our budget.”
As Jeff emphasized, saving time is very important for all organizations. Wild Apricot has all the tools to make effective time management something everyone can accomplish.

Thanks again to Ed and Jeff for taking the time to share their personal experience with Wild Apricot. We certainly appreciate it!

Happy Birthday Wild Apricot!



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

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Thursday, 30 June 2011 at 9:30 AM

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