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A Live Demo of Wild Apricot for USGBC Chapters

Lori Smith 10 December 2014 0 comments

On Thursday December 4th, 2014, Wild Apricot held an exclusive live demo for US Green Building Council Chapters. Below is the recording and transcript of this demo to show you how easy it can be to set up a website, manage memberships, build a directory and so much more. 

Wild Apricot Goes Green with USGBC

There are currently 33 US Green Building Council Chapters using Wild Apricot to manage their memberships, website, events, communications, financial transactions and more. These chapters gained such efficiency in their daily operations that we wanted to share the magic with other chapters.

To help us out, we brought in a few apricots:

ASAP Apricot/Milan Malivuk - our Sales Lead explains the benefits of membership management software for your organization.

Kid Apricot/Alain Lo - our Snr Support Consultant leads us through a demo and Q & A session 

Smiley Apricot/Lori Smith - our Marketing Coordinator and webinar host.    

Webinar Recording & Transcript of Wild Apricot Demo for USGBC's

We've broken up the video into 3 sections so you can skip to the parts you need (these parts are also annotated in YouTube):

  1. Presentation about Wild Apricot  (0:01) - led by ASAP Apricot
  2. Demo of Key Features (12:22) - led by Kid Apricot
  3. Q & A (26:52) - led by Smiley Apricot and Kid Apricot


Video Transcript

Membership Management Software - A Live Demo of Wild Apricot 

SECTION 1: An Overview of Wild Apricot (0:01 in video)

Hello everyone. I just want to say thank you all for taking the time to join us today. So first I'd like to just start off by telling you a little bit about us.

About Us
This is our president, Dmitry Buterin in the picture there. He founded Wild Apricot in 2006, after seeing the struggles that faced so many organizations. Wherever we looked, we tended to see the same story. It was a small organization with either no or little staff relying on volunteers that are overworked and stressed out, trying to handle the various aspects of running the organization with their membership and event management systems all kind of duct taped and cobbled together.

And that's really the root of where Wild Apricot was born.

Wild Apricot is used by over 15,000 organizations. It's been rated the number one membership management software by Capterra two years running, which we're obviously very proud of, and 33 USGBC chapters are already using Wild Apricot to run their organizations more effectively and lots further. So, Wild Apricot itself is a cloud-based software, so that means that there's nothing to download, nothing to install, or worry about updates. We're the ones who take care of all the updates, so that's not something that you even have to worry about at all. And you can access your Wild Apricot account anywhere that you go, as long as you have internet. That's really useful if you're at an event or on the road and in a pinch you can still get access from any kind of browser.

An all-in-one solution - key benefits
There's a ton of features in Wild Apricot, but I'd like to just tell you about what I think is the main benefit, and it's that everything is in one place. There's no more juggling Excel sheets, there's no more looking for the most up to date version and trying to track down who has the latest version between different volunteers. If something gets updated, or if someone registers or updates their information, the one master version is updated, no matter who accesses it. Or where they are. So it really simplifies and cleans up your document management.

Your membership database really goes from being a liability, something you have to worry about, to resource. It's really your biggest asset and that would actually be considered that way. Next time you're thinking, hey, who attended that event last year and isn't a member, you can find that really easily, send them email directly, and it's all at your fingertips.

Automate Daily Tasks
Now your membership is the lifeblood of your organization, and we know that. So without your members, if there's nothing, then that process should be as smooth as possible. And that's really one of the driving goals that we've got here at Wild Apricot. So you can now use Wild Apricot to automate your membership signup, the information collection renewals and even let your members update their own information. Which is a huge burden off of your administrative staff.

Now, a new member signs up on your website, fills out their information, pays online, their member record gets activated, placed into the member directory, and they get the welcome emails that you've customized and set up, all without you or your staff having to do anything. You should probably take a second now and just think about what that process loos like for you currently. It's probably a lot more involved.

Reporting Features
Also the amount of powerful reports and searches you can perform on this database are pretty much endless. If you want to find out who hasn't attended an event in the past year, no problem. Want to find out how many members of a certain membership level renewed in the past six months? Done. Just a couple of clicks and you can create your own custom reports without having to pour Excel sheets and referencing multiple files.

Website Templates
Now, our typical client is a volunteer or one of the only employees at an organization that they're really passionate about, but they're not necessarily techy people. Most of them have never even built a website before. So we've made it easy for anyone to build a great looking website using just drag and drop to build the web pages, and you never have to actually resort to any code, unless you either want to, or you're trying to get into some much, much more advanced customizations. Adding features and functionality to websites, very simple. If you want to add a block, you just drag and drop the block gadget onto the page. Want to add a member directory? Just drag and drop.

If you already have a website, don't worry, you can easily add Wild Apricot functionality into your existing website. People that visit your website whatever even know that Wild Apricot is working behind the scenes to power everything, so that there's an option too in case you already have a system that you've built and it's compatible with pretty much any CMS or website system that you're currently using.

Organizing Events
Now we've seen that events tend to become this big burden to a lot of organizations. Common thoughts are, do we have a system in place? Will it work? Often there was one big mess up with a big event and people are a little gun shy when it comes to the next event. So with Wild Apricot it's a lot cleaner, it's a lot simpler, and you're going to know that it's always going to work. It's reliable. With Wild Apricot you can set up your event. When is it? How much does it cost? Is there a special member's price? Early Bird registrations? And your attendees really do all the rest. They sign themselves up and pay online. And the giant advantage of an all-in-one, like Wild Apricot, is your membership database is always talking to your event module. The system knows who a member is, what level they have, and it gives them the right registration that they're eligible for that you defined.

As the event draws closer, your event reminders go out automatically, so you don't have to worry about the administrative side of the event. You just print off the attendee list, the day of the event, or you can use the mobile app that we just released to check people in at the door. It's so easy you'll find yourself holding more events, and not looking at them as some giant daunting task.

Communication to Members
Now, effective communication to your members is critical to the success of any organization. Wild Apricot provides a number of newsletter templates that you can easily just put your content into out of the box, or you can customize as much or as little as you like. You can also create your own template for your next email blast, and even track how many people have opened your email blast, or how many clicked on a link, and constantly improve your messaging to your members. You can increase your member engagement, and in turn, your membership will grow.

Managing Payments
Now, I know that handling payments can be a bit of a messy affair sometimes. With Wild Apricot, just connect your account to a payment processor, like PayPal. Really, any of the major payment processors. And Wild Apricot automatically inserts the buttons, records the payments to the contact records, activates memberships and grants access as appropriate. You can set up automatic payments as well, so your members are billed automatically, instead of having to enter their credit card information. The funds are received by you. The invoice and payment are reconciled. And the renewal dates are [updated] without you having to do anything.

With everything centralized in this manner, you can also generate a vast array of financial reports with just a couple of clicks of the button. Treasurers will definitely like this.

Additional Resources
Now, with Wild Apricot you're not just getting a membership management system, you're getting a whole community, with resources and tools to help you develop both yourself and your organization. Our blog, newsletter and knowledge hub publish practical advice, tools, resources and best practices. Our community forum and advisory committee give you a chance to learn from your peers and share your knowledge. We interact with so many non-profits and other small to medium sized organizations that we're in a very unique position where we can help and create a community to help you build and grow. And all of our clients have full access to this.

No, there's been a lot of talk about how you can automate membership and your events and financials, how it's all going to be on autopilot and you won't have to think about that, but rather you'll be able to focus on growing your organization. But none of that rely matters if you do have to worry about, is the information safe? Is the website up? Do I have to update anything? These are really things that are kind of the more fundamental issues that a lot of organizations are concerned with. That's why we take your members' information, security and privacy so seriously. And [invest] in continually in protecting your data and your service [up time]. We have the resources to invest in the state of the art technology to make sure that you don't have to worry about if the data is safe and secure, or if your website is up or down. In our eight years of business we've never had a breach of client data, and our monitoring service is always running, so you can always rest easy.

We get a little better every year...
Here at Wild Apricot we're constantly reinvesting into developing this system further. We've a transparent public road map so you can see what's in the pipeline, in terms of features and additions to the next feature release. We decide what to develop next based on feedback from clients, to make sure we can address those common and important needs first. We've a huge emphasis on listening to our clients on what they need. If you head over to our wish list forum you'll see hundreds of threads where our clients are talking directly to our development team about what features they need and how they'd like to see it working. It's rare to see this kind of open transparency when it comes to development from any kind of software company.

And this brings us to pricing. Which is, of course, something that all organizations still need to consider. We're very proud to be able to bring this system to organizations that realistically would never be able to afford such a well-maintained, safe and secure capable system. We pride ourselves on being the most affordable option. And you'll find pricing comparisons with our competitors openly published on our home page. On top of that, we believe in really simple pricing. We don't do contracts, hidden fees, transaction fees, per email charges. Nor do we charge for the quote, unquote privilege of contacting our frankly awesome support team. The time you save with Wild Apricot and can put into growing your membership is sure to pay for whichever billing plan you end up using, not to mention the increased member attention from increasing member renewals through automated renewal reminders and easy online payments and automatic payments.

But at the end of the day you would expect us to tell you how awesome it is and how easy it is to use Wild Apricot. That's why I really encourage you to take a look at our LinkedIn pages, Capterra, Facebook, and get app reviews, where our users post their own unedited, unfiltered comments all about Wild Apricot without any kind of filtering, or us choosing which ones get posted.

We're happy to bring Wild Apricot to you, because we know it works. It's been proven by thousands of organizations including your colleagues at the 33 other USGBC chapters that are already using and raving about Wild Apricot. We'll share this presentation with you afterwards, so you can take a look at some of these examples for yourselves and see what's possible and what's already been created within the USGBC family.

So the question is, why should you switch to Wild Apricot? Because you shouldn't be focused on the administrative aspects of running your organization. Wild Apricot lets you put all of that on autopilot. So you can focus on your core and building your membership. Your colleagues have already proven that Wild Apricot fits great with USGBC, so you know you'll be able to save yourself time, effort and money by making the switch. So before I hand everything back to you, Lori and Elaine, to answer any questions and do a brief demo, I just want to thank you all for joining us today and, Lori, take it away.

Lori:  Great. Thank you, Milan, that was awesome. So that concludes the presentation part of our webinar. And now Alain has actually set up a fake site that we've made, we call the US Green Council Chapter, and we'll show you sort of how these features work. So we'll look at event calendars, directories, how you set up a web page, and then make sure you ask us lots of questions because I'm tracking all of them, and we'll go deep into the questions after the demo.

I think Alain is just getting set up here, and we'll pass it on to him now to show you his great website that he's created. Thank you Alain. Welcome.

SECTION 2: A Live Demo of Wild Apricot (12:22 in video)

Alain:  Thanks, Lori. Hey everybody, it's Alain, Kid Apricot.

Let's start with the public site. As you can see this is a USGBC site that we kind of stripped down, and when you first get to Wild Apricot, or to the site, this is exactly what it's going to look like. Well, not exactly, because you can actually put in your own content, but this is the public side of what a visitor would actually look into. And what they'll see is basically the home page. We have the About page, with all your pages, like board of directors, Contact Us, etcetera. And we do have an event calendar that's set up, and within the event calendar there's the events inside. And we have a Join Us page, which is where your members would go to apply for membership. And inside that we also have a membership directory. Which you can include all your members and within the directory you can click on it and see the profile details of the member.

Donation Forms
Also we do have a donations feature. So you can click on that, and you can set up a donation form, which all the fields in the donation form can be customized, as well as you have the price that you can put in, and the pay button, which would take you to a payment page which your members can go online and make payments to you.

Administrative Dashboard
So I'm going to just log in now to show you the administration side of the site.

So what we have here is the dashboard. And this is a basic summary of your stats. So the amount of contacts you have, the number - the next three events that you have. Your account plan, etcetera. And at the top there you'll see a control panel, which consists of all the tools that you need. So going through the panel we have contacts, which consists of all your contacts. Website, which is your website management, where you create your pages. And events, which handles all your events. Members, which gives you a basic summary of all your members. Donations, which shows you a list of all the donations that have been made to you. Finances, which consists of all your invoices to date. And also payments, as well as payments that are made to those invoices. And lastly, we do have emails that you can compose your emails.

Building Your Website
So going through each of them, we'll go through website first. So like I said, this is how you would create you're website. So going to the homepage, if I wanted to edit any content on the homepage, I simply just click on edit, and if I wanted to edit some content in this page, I would just click into the box, the content gadget, and it's kind of like a Microsoft Word document, in which you can just type. Hi, my name's Alain. And as you can see in the editor, we've made it so that it's really similar to Microsoft Word, which everybody would know how to use. So if I wanted to bold it, I can just highlight it and click on the B. Very similar to how Word works. As well as, I can change the font size, and if I have images that I want to upload, I can just click on image, and I can insert any of the images that I upload onto the - in the director here. So for example if I want to put in this, that would be inserted in there.

Adding Contacts 
So next let's cover the contacts. Contacts and members. So contacts are basically every record in your database. And we do have an advanced search. So in the presentation we mentioned that we do have a very powerful search engine, which we can use. How it works is, basically the search function - you can add criteria into the search, and define certain information. For example, if I wanted to find everybody that is a member - sorry, from a specific membership level that has registered for at least one event … so I can actually do that. So I can add in membership level is, chapter membership, and has registered for more than one event. So I do have two people that belong to chapter membership that have registered for more than one event. So two people would come up.

That's just an example of how easy and powerful the search tool is. So you can definitely utilize that to take advantage, and do more with your site.

Setting up Membership Levels
Next thing we have is, let's get into the members. That's very important. So for your members, you do have membership levels you can set up, so as you can see, these might look familiar to your organization. Like, chapter friend, so let's take a look at chapter membership. So if you click into that, you'll see that we can set up the membership fees, as well as the description and taxes, and also there's the level security, so you can actually allow the members of this level to change to another membership. And if we take a look at the renewal policy, which is very important, you can set the renewal period of when you want the membership level to renew, as well as the renewal reminders and actions. So you can have the system send renewal reminders X amount of days before the renewal due date. And take certain actions after X amount of days as well as have the system send confirmation emails upon renewing.

Setting up Application Forms
The next thing we have would be new applications. So you can set the rules for new applicants. You can have the system - well, you can have the system set it so that administrators must approve applications before they become members, or if payments must be made in full before they become members. As well as the general emails that would go out upon activation.

Sending Emails
So next, let's take a look at emails. It's really important. So emails are basically, you can send emails to your contacts, a certain amount of contacts or all contacts. You can click on the compose email and you can also take a look at our templates that we've already set up. Or you can make your own, which some of your colleagues have already done before. Let's take a look at the system templates, so if you take this one here, as you can see, it's already set up for you, so you can just modify the contents of this template. But if you want to create your own, you can always do that. So you can just get out here, and if you go back into templates and create a new template, you can start and make one from scratch. So if you're experienced in using html you can do that as well. So you can add codes into it. But if you just want a general email, you can do that as well.

All right. So we'll cancel out here.

Creating Events
So next, let's take a look at events. Let's go into - we have set one here for Green Build International Conference and Expo. So that's something that we just set up here. So the general settings are here, so you can name your events, start date, location, description of your event, as well as, you can customize the registration form, where your applicants can go and register for the event. If you want to take certain, specific information, you can create those fields to gather that information, and more importantly, you can set up registration types, so it gives you members only access, or non-members. So members can have a certain price and non-members can have a different price. And you can add as many registration types as you want. So you customize it the way you want and have your event the way you want as well. And you can see in the register tab, you can see everybody that has paid, or is owing a balance, and if you want to email these people you can just simply get out of here, and click on email registrants, and that would automatically put those registrants into the recipients area, and you can type a custom email to them.

So if I wanted to add an attendee into this event, that's really easy. As the administrator I can click on the add registrant, and I can just directly - if the person already exists in my database I can go ahead and just click on the person, and they would be automatically registered for this specific event, just like that. So it's really simple.

Managing Finances: Invoices and Payments
Okay, so next, let's go to the finances. So for the finances, most important is the invoices and the payments. So if we wanted to add an invoice, we simply just click on add invoice. And so we can just charge for a new item, and if I wanted to give this invoice to Jack, for example, I can just say, like, Jack, and I can just type the price into the invoice, so now it's an outstanding invoice. If you go back to invoice list, you'll see that outstanding invoice for Jack has been created. And if I received a payment from Jack and I want to record the payment, I just have to click on record payment and just list the $10, which is automatically generated, and I just click on save, and the payment is recorded. It's that simple.

So next, let's take a look at some of the settings that we have at Wild Apricot. So one of the most important things is payments, so you're able to collect online payments, and you can do that by going to payment settings in the settings, and if you click on edit, you'll see that we have specific payments systems that we do support. So it has to be one of these in the list. And once you have that set up, the system would automatically be able to take online payments at the end of checkouts, so it would be that simple.

Exporting to QuickBooks
And speaking of payments, we do have a feature for QuickBooks as well. So if you click on QuickBooks, you can actually export the transactions, all transactions in Wild Apricot into a QuickBooks file. So then you can import it back to the QuickBooks that you're using. So it doesn't exactly integrate, but you can share the file between the two systems.

Income Report
And one of the more important features is the income report, which is here, if you go into finances and then go into invoices, you'll see that we do have an income report. And it's very highly customizable, so you can select which invoice you want to show, and which payments - which kind of payments you want to show as well. So if I wanted to run an income report for an event, I can just uncheck everything except event, and I can see the outstanding invoices that are owed to me. And if I want to see the paid ones, I can just select fully paid, and I click on generate, and see all the payments within that period.

Customization of Your Website through Widgets
Okay, so going back to settings, we did mention that if you have a third party site, and you want to put Wild Apricot functions into it, you can do so. Once you've set up the functions in Wild Apricot you can go into the link widgets code, and every function that you set up, there's a link. So you just have to copy the code, and you put it into your third party site, and it would generate a frame containing the Wild Apricot functions. So any visitors to your third party site would not realize that they're on Wild Apricot, and would think that they're still on your site, but all the functions are going back to Wild Apricot.

Changing Colors and Styles of Your Website
If you don't like your site, or it's not to your liking, you can always go into site look and feel and colour and styles, and you can change some of the colours, and I guess the interface of how the site looks by using our tool here. I'm not going to go into that because it will mess up the site. It wouldn't look too nice.

File Management
And lastly, we do have file management, so you can upload your files and share them between your administrators. So looking in here, for example, we do have a bunch of images that have been uploaded, so any of the administrators can go into the section and look at these documents and files. And these documents and files can also be inserted into pages as well.

All right, so that concludes our demo for now. So I'll be taking questions, so I'm just going to pass it to Lori to see if she has any questions for me.

SECTION 3: Q & A (26:58)

Lori:   Hi, thank you. That was great, Alain. We have a lot of questions, thank you everyone for typing them inn. Hopefully we get to all of them. We have a good half an hour. So I'm going to start with these questions. This is sort of a bigger question.

Q: How would you describe the ease of conversion from a non-Wild Apricot website to a Wild Apricot website? Maybe you could just give people a vague idea of what's required to actually build their website?

Alain:  Sure. No problem. Just to clarify, there's no one button to bring everything from one site to another. And that goes for Wild Apricot as well. Bu how we made it easier is, you can, for you contacts and your members, you can import that information into Wild Apricot very easily. So if you go into contacts, you'll see an import button here, so if you have your contacts and your members in an Excel spreadsheet, so supported formats are XLS, XLSS, etcetera. You can choose a file and, and upload your spreadsheet into Wild Apricot and map your columns into the fields into Wild Apricot.

But for the content on the actual site, those would have to be manually recreated. So there's no way to bring a page from a source into Wild Apricot. It would have to be remade. So that's the downside.

Lori: Okay, thanks. That's helpful.

Q: Jessica Wilson has asked, do we provide any design assistance?

Alain:  We do answer any questions you might have, and going back to that in the demo, I didn't show you that if you do need assistance in - if you have any questions or any concerns or not sure how to do something, you can always contact our support. The easiest way is the support button on the top right, if you have a Wild Apricot site, to submit a new ticket to us. But if you don't have a Wild Apricot site, you can go into our marketing site at wildapricot.com, and you'll see a contact button at the top there.

And we have different forms of communication with support, so you can always give our support a call, or submit a ticket, but going back to the original question, our support doesn't actual create the site for you. So it is a self-serve. But if you're stuck on anything, you can always give us a call and we can definitely walk you through on how to do something if you require further assistance, like actual development of the site, we do have partners that offer that service. So if you go to our Wild Apricot site at wildapricot.com, and if you go under Help at the top, you'll see service partners. So if you click on that, we do have a bunch of partners that work with our software, and do offer any services that you might need.

Lori:  Yeah. And just to add to that, as you can see, the partners are organized by state, so wherever you're located, and since 33 chapters are already using Wild Apricot, you might want to connect to some of those chapters and see what designers they've used, because a lot of them have some very beautiful websites. So depending on your needs, you might want to get a professional web designer, but you can also - our site is set up so that it's easy enough for you to do it yourself.

Okay, thanks.

Q: So the follow up question to that, also by Jessica, is there any file size upload limitations, and by that I'm assuming she means images or importing things.

Alain:  That’s an excellent question. There is a limit, and it's according to plan. Let me just show you here. If we go to the site and go to pricing, and if we scroll down a little bit in the chart, this line here, you'll see that each plan has a specific single file size limit, so for example, group plan would have 10 megabytes, and enterprise would be up to 100 megabytes file size upload limit.

Lori: Okay, that was a good question to ask.

Q: And this is another good question, because I know a lot of chapters have volunteers helping them. So is there a way that volunteers can just access private files or go to a volunteer section of the website, and maybe not see everything, like financials and so forth?

Alain:  Unfortunately, no. Files can only be accessed by administrators. They do need to have admin login. Burt if your volunteers are visitors, you can use members only sections, so for example, here, members only area - these files, these links, can only get accessed by specific membership levels or groups. So this page is only accessible by chapter membership, and if I want to give access to a volunteer group, I just have to add a group for volunteer, and I just have to select it. And they can go into this page and download the files directly.

Lori: Yeah, I think - thanks for showing us that, Alain, because I know sometime you guys get volunteers helping you do things, so having that members only area can be really key.

Q: Here's another question. What's involved with changing the layout of the website? So, are there certain templates, or is the layout kind of default? What options are there?

Alain:  The layout itself is different from the theme. The overall theme itself, it's just the general area on the outside. But the layout is a little bit different. Let's take the homepage, for example. We do have at the top here, gadgets and layouts. So layouts is an actual kind of - I guess layout is not a good word, but I guess it's a box that you can put anywhere. So take for example, if I want to add a two-column layout into the body, I can. I just have to drag and drop it, and it will create a two-column layout like that. So you can actually stretch and move this around to just fit the sides. And if I don't like it, I can just get rid of it. As long as you have space in the page you drag a layout and put it in to the body.

Lori:    Yeah, I personally love the drag and drop feature of the website builder. It's better than WordPress.

Q: So can you break out members by type or branch association? So can you create different types of members and categorize them differently.

Alain:  You can. You could use membership levels. That's one way of categorizing your members. You also could use groups as well. Groups are for members only. So if you have a board of directors you can add different people from different membership levels into one group, and that can restrict them as well for specific pages that they can access.

But if you want to do like a quick sort of group as well, you can just go into settings, and under membership fields, you can basically just add a field and categorize your members that way. And then you can use the advanced search to segregate them that way as well. And you can just - using that search result you can just email those people specifically. So that's just an example of how to use that.

Lori: I'm just jumping down here to another question that more recently came in because it has to do with websites.

Q: Is there more than one level of administration? So can you set different levels for people to engage or do things on the website?

Alain:  What we have is different - we do have different types of administrators. I can just show you here. So if I go to my profile and if I click on edit, we have limited access administrators as well as read-only administrators. Obviously we have [four] administrators. So limited access administrators are basically, you can give them certain rights to access the site. So membership management can only see I guess memberships, but they won't be able to edit the site, for example. And website editor won't be able to see contact information. But yeah, that's pretty much it.

Lori: Okay.

Q: And so just related to the different levels of membership again, sorry, I know we're jumping back here, can we have non-members, students, regular sponsors, volunteer, paid, etcetera, that's easy enough to do, right?

Alain:  Yep. That's just - it just all depends on how you would like to set up your site, basically. So going back to the membership levels, you can, if you want, you can put non-members, even though they're still members, or you can put in students or sponsors or volunteers. So it's really up to you on how you want to set that up.

Lori: Great.

Q: And how would you search for members that have lapsed or are no longer members?

Alain:  That's actually really easy. If you go to the members summary, in the chart we have an actual lapsed column, so anybody that's lapsed in the membership level would show up in that area. And that would be actually highlighted so you can click into to see who those people actually are. So for example, active, if I click on the three, it will tell me who's active. So the same goes for lapsed people, as well as all the other statuses as well.

Lori: Great.

Q: And so is it easy enough to disable a member?

Alain:  To disable a member you just have to suspend their membership. So you just pick the actual member, and if you go into their membership, you'll see a suspend button, you just have to click on it. And that would suspend their membership.

Lori: Great.

Q: Now what about member engagement? So as a member of the organization, if you have a profile, where can they log in and connect with other members of the organization?

Alain:  Communication between members, there's a few things you can do. In the website, I don't have a forum set up, but if I had a forum they can use the forum for communication. I can do a quick and easy one right here. Even though it's on the homepage, but I'm just going to throw it in there. It's a discussion forum. So if I want a discussion forum I can just throw it in there. And you can create a topic so that your members can communicate with one another. Or if you have a membership directory … you'll see a send message button, so if I click on that … yeah, so if I click on send message, I can send a message directly to this member, myself, and it will arrive as an email. And that goes for the other members as well.

Lori:    So, as he's showing us that. Logging in here.

Q: Can the members only section serve as a collaboration slash blog for a committee?

Alain:  Well the members only sections can be anything. It's just that it's members only, so it requires the actual member to log in. But you can have it like as your collaboration or blog. You can put a blog into the members only section. In fact, you can just put anything. It's just that it's members only, so you do need membership to access that page.

Lori:    Yeah, and I know a lot of people have had discussion forums and you can post certain things relevant to certain committees and so forth in the members only area. So you're pretty much free to create whatever you want in the members only section.

Q: Okay, so I'm going to skip back here to - we had a few questions about emails. So, can the membership renewal email, can that be edited easily?

Alain:  Yep. Any email can actually be edited. So if you - well, let's go to an existing email, actually. So we go into this one for example, and if I wanted to edit it, I do need to duplicate it to edit. So if I want to edit it, it's pretty much very similar to Microsoft Word, like I was saying before. Like, the whole template is based on Microsoft Word. So, if I just want to get rid of this I can do that, and add something else. And if I wanted to change the font of that, I can always do that as well.

I would say that if you're good at using Word, or have a solid understanding of using Word, it wouldn't be that difficult, I think. Yeah, all the tools are up here, so it's pretty straightforward, I would think.

Q: And is there spell check, someone's asked?

Alain:  We don't have spell check in the system, but the thing is, every browser comes with spell check, so for example, it's saying my name is incorrect, and that's the actual browser saying that's incorrect. So that's not Wild Apricot, so your browser would take care of that.

Lori: Ah, the advancement of browsers.

Q: Is there any survey capabilities that Wild Apricot offers?

Alain:  Unfortunately, at the moment we don't have surveys. But we could add in third party surveys. A good one is Survey Monkey. Survey Monkey offers really good ones. We do this … so this is our help page. You can always go to our help page to find any information on any topic. So these types of forms can be added into Wild Apricot as long as the third party gives me an embed code, such as this one right here.

So the good thing about Wild Apricot, if it doesn't have it, you can actually go to a third party and get it and put it onto your page. So if you edit any page, the body for example, you'll see something called [unintelligible 00:42:36]. And if you take the code here and paste it into here and insert it, it would actually be generated on the page. So you can have your survey appear on the page. So - and that doesn't just go for surveys. Like, YouTube videos, forums, anything that's third party can be inserted as long as the code is provided by the host.

Lori:    Great. Okay.

Q: Here's a different question altogether. Is there capability for a member directory?

Alain:  Yeah. One of the main features of Wild Apricot is the member directory, and that's just under here. So you just have to create a page for the member directory and just pop it into the page. Like, under our gadgets we do have a huge amount of gadgets to select from. And one of those gadgets is the actual member directory, which is located here. I have it in here, already, so that's why I can't put it in. But this is the membership directory that you can put into the page.

Lori: Great. Okay. I noticed Colin has some really interesting questions, so Colin, I guess, is working a lot with volunteers. Are events - can we geo-locate events at all, or can RSVPs be synched to Facebook? Or is there any kind of integration with social media.

Alain:  We don't have any geo-located features for events. Nor does it actually integrate with Facebook, but if you copied link to Facebook you can create a post in Facebook that links to the event. So I mean, it could be worked around, but it doesn't exactly integrate with any social media like that.

Lori: Yeah, I think that's a good workaround, actually, is just sort of linking to it.

Q: And then, sort of extending on that, can you set up RSS feeds to the blog, or schedule posts for the future? Is there that kind of ability with the blog?

Alain:  Yeah. The blog itself has RSS feature. I don't think I have a blog here, but I can actually create one to show you. … Yes. As you can see, in the blog - this is just a very, very basic blog. I didn't do any customizations. You see the RSS button right there. So any visitors that go to the blog, they can click on the RSS and be subscribed to that. The RSS only goes for blogs. But for forum posts, we do have email updates that go to the member that - so every member can actually go to the forum and subscribe to the forum. So if there's any new posts or new discussions, they will be sent a copy of it - an email copy of the post. And it will arrive in their inbox for notification.

Lori: Great. That's pretty helpful.

Q: And then another great question from Colin here is - he's brought up crowd funding, which I think would be done on a different platform, but more importantly I know councils and chapters work with fundraisers, so is there a way to create a separate page for fundraisers? Or can we sell tickets through the events - does our event platform allow for ticket processing and so forth? And room for sponsorship?

Alain:  Well, the way the system works, it's pretty much through registrations for events, so as long as you have a registration type setup, you can register for the events. But if you want to sell tickets, then you'll have to use a third party, like shopping cart, to do that. So something like Ecwid, for example, would be a good thing to embed into the site. Actually, a lot of our clients are using Ecwid to sell things on their site. Like setting up an online store. So you can actually sell your tickets like this, through the site. But we don't really have a function for that, other than just registering for events this way.

Lori: Right. Okay, so that works.

Q: But I know we can process payments on our platform, right?

Alain:  Well, if you use the Ecwid, then it actually won't be logged by the system. Like, this is completely separate, it takes place on the third party. But if you do register for events through the site, using the Wild Apricot event function, then that would be recorded.

Lori: Okay. That's a good clarification.

Q: And then someone's asked here if we have an event, and someone walks in to register, is there a way to process them?

Alain:  There actually is. We just added the feature for a check in. So if you have a mobile device, we actually have a mobile app right now for events, so you can check people in. But going back to the site, you can do this, if you see someone that walks in, just log into the - you're an administrator, and just add the registrant that way. So you can just add them in on the spot, and if they pay you cash, just record it as cash. And you can always check them in as well. So this is a new feature that we added, maybe a month ago, to check people in.

So you can do it on the spot, and it works for mobile devices as well. So go to the Apple Apps Store, and if you look up Wild Apricot, we do have an app there. So definitely check that out.

Lori:Yeah, I think the app's a great addition to what we now offer for that kind of on the spot mobile ability to do things, especially for events.

Q: So returning to memberships and membership management, here's a payment invoicing question from Wendy. Can you do an invoice for an annual renewal of membership for all members?

Alain:  Well usually the system would take care of that. If you have the membership level set up, you can have the invoice sent out automatically during that time. And that's under renewal policy for each of the events. I'm sorry, not the events, the membership levels. And that's controlled by this box right here. Generate an email invoice and change status to pending renewal. So 21 days before the due date, which is January 1st, it will send out an invoice to all the members for renewal.

But if you had to manually send an invoice, that wouldn't be possible. It has to be done one by one.

Lori: Okay.

Q: And here's another good question. Say you're offering a prize. Can you sign up a new member with a free membership?

Alain:  Absolutely. You just need to add the member manually. So if you go to members at the top, just click on add member. You don't have to charge, if you don't want to, basically. So if it does generate an invoice you can delete invoice, but then the thing is, if you add a person as the admin, it's going to ask you whether you want to generate invoice or not, so you just have to click on no.

Lori: Okay, and we're sort of getting low on our questions here. Which is a great thing.

Q: So, one other quick question about membership management. This is from Brian, so I'm not entirely clear. If you can select members that joined from January to June, for example, and maybe send them a specific email. How easy is it to kind of segregate members?

Alain:  That would actually be done through advance search, and you do need to be a little bit creative for things like that. I mean, it could be done, but it takes a little bit of thinking to do, because you have so many fields to use, to work with. Like, for that case, you would use something like member since, right? Because that's when they became a member. So if you used member since, then you can use the calendar to find out - and use the drop down here, like, you know, I guess - like on or before or after a certain date. So you can definitely do it. It just takes a little bit of thinking to do. And you can actually add different criteria as well, so that would complicate things. But it can be done. That's the thing.

Lori: Okay. And going back quickly to the uploading things to your new website.

Q: You did mention there was a 1600 megabyte file limit. Just wondering if you could go into a bit more details. So after that amount, are you no longer allowed to upload? Or what's the actual limit there?

Alain:  Well, the actual limit is the limit that is there. Let me go back there. So the file storage is 1600 megabytes, which is 1.6 gigabytes. So once you hit that amount you won't be able to upload any more. We do have options, though. We do sell additional file storage. You could email support for that as well. But if you - there's another way to do it is to upload your files into another third party storage, and then you can just link your image to that instead. So you don't have to use the file storage. Like, you're not limited in that way.

Lori:Okay. And then I think we're wrapping up here. There are a few questions that I think are going to be better suited in an email, so we'll respond to some of the more complicated ones after this. But I know Daniel, who's listening in, has signed up with Wild Apricot, and he seems to be a big fan, and he says we should point out some of our awesome video samples. So maybe we should show them quickly. You know, a lot of what we just showed you is actually on our website. In our tour, and you can kind of find out how to do things yourself by just exploring that. So Alain's just going to that video section now. And here's where you can see the Getting Started, so things like uploading contact lists and building the website, there's videos for all of it that our Picky Apricot here has put a lot of work into, so we're quite proud of these videos, and think that they could be pretty helpful in helping you figure out things.

So I think for now we've answered most questions. I'm just going over it one more time. It looks like we've covered pretty much everything. I just want to emphasise that there's so much to learn, and we do know that, and so what we recommend to do is try our software. We have a free trial button there that Alain's just clicked on. And you can sign up and test it out and play with it. Have other people from your board or volunteers play with it and figure stuff out. And you can always contact us if you have issues. And we just recently started doing scheduled calls. So if you have specific questions, you can schedule a time and talk to us one-on-one about whatever you want to learn. And our support is great. Again, our help forum has a ton of stuff in there as well. So do explore our website and give it a shot.

Again, a lot of your chapters are already using it, so maybe you even want to talk to some of your peers and find out how they did things.

So with that, I want to thank everyone for their time today. We hope you learned something new and that you'll give Wild Apricot a try. And have a great day.

Thank you Alain for all your help.

Alain:  Thanks for having me.

Lori:    Okay. Bye-bye everyone. Thank you.


Lori Smith [Smiley Apricot]

Posted by Lori Smith [Smiley Apricot]

Published Wednesday, 10 December 2014 at 4:24 PM
Sorry, this blog post is closed for further comments.

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