April 2015 Update: How Wild Apricot Is Changing and Why

Dmitriy Buterin 01 May 2015 4 comments

A personal message from Chief Apricot Dmitry Buterin

Adding Knowledge and Community to our software to become the #1 resource for small membership organizations


Dear Wild Apricot Client:

You've likely noticed that Wild Apricot has changed...transformed. We have. And with good reason.

Let me rewind:

I started Wild Apricot back in 2006, almost 9 years ago.

I got involved in a few small professional associations and I was very unsatisfied with a lot of the technical tools available on the market. Eventually, inspiration struck and we created the first version of Wild Apricot.

It was a pretty simple software with a membership database, a basic website builder, event management tools. Since then, we’ve updated our software more than 62 times and Wild Apricot has grown into the #1 Membership Management Software.

Then, last year, we confirmed a long-held suspicion of ours through the Membership Advisory Group: volunteers and employees in small organizations — even when equipped with our powerful membership management software — still have many unanswered questions and pressing challenges to overcome.

The problem was: there wasn’t a central resource that you could turn to for knowledge, guidance and expertise to serve your organization and your members. We realized that our software was only half of what small membership organizations needed to succeed. With 15,071+ organizations with over 3 million members on our platform, we realized we were in a unique position to be that resource.

So we decided to invest heavily to deliver a solution.

In the last year, we’ve asked our clients a simple question — how can we help you and your organization be more successful? — and come up with an innovative compendium of resources:
  • Have you joined a Membership Advisory Group call yet? We have one every month, where you can connect with your peers to discuss some of the most pressing issues membership managers, board members and volunteers are facing.
  • Have you attended one of our Expert Webinar sessions yet? We have one every month (the last one had over 814 registrants and 473 attendees!) with some of the leading industry experts to provide you with powerful, game-changing coaching and advice. To register for our next session, go here.
  • Have you read some of the amazing content in our new Knowledge Hubthe "Wikipedia for Membership Organizations" yet? We have over 120 articles published and are adding new content every week with key insights and best practices and often have some of the most renowned guest bloggers in the industry contribute. Some popular resources include, “How to Plan an Event”, “Guide to Connecting With and Recruiting Younger Members”, “Getting Started Building Sponsor Partnerships”, “Silent Auctions Simplified” and much more. You can visit the new Knowledge wiki here.
  • Have you listened to an episode of the Wild Apricot Podcast yet? We have already released 3 awesome episodes on board meetings, recruiting and engaging members, and more so that you can get insights on the go. Click here to listen to our podcasts.
  • Have you tried using our iPhone and Android apps yet? Have you looked into using our new mobile-friendly themes yet? Wild Apricot admins can now track event attendees, collect membership dues and more using their smartphones. Read more about our mobile solutions here.

Offering Easy Access to Knowledge & Community

We’ve tried to make all these transformations more accessible to you. With the release of version 5.3 this month, you may have noticed two new icons in the administrative back-end of your Wild Apricot account that link to these amazing resources under the headings Knowledge and Community so that you can take full advantage of all the resources available at your disposal.  

We are empowering you with the knowledge, expert advice, and peer support because you need more than just membership software to meet your organization’s reason for existence.

Our ambitions for you are majestic. We view organizations like yours as instruments of massive impact...instruments of change...of hope in the world.

And we envision ourselves as caped crusaders chosen to champion your cause in a world that doesn’t completely comprehend how much you do for your communities.

Going forward, we will continue to:

  • Constantly improve our software to support your organization and efforts
  • Give you the knowledge and resources you need to run your organizations better
  • Connect you with peers and leading industry experts to share best practices
  • Build out and find additional courses, resources, products and services that will help you on your journey to move you and your organization forward

We want to work with organizations who share our vision, cherish the value we provide and are driven to make their organization succeed.

We are confident that the extra value we have already added and will keep adding will bring you many times the return — more members, stronger organizations, happier volunteers, more everything.

Tying our success to yours, as closely as possible, is the only way we want Wild Apricot to succeed.

All the best,

Dmitry Buterin, Chief Apricot


P.S.
In discussing all of this, I have not had the time to go into detail about the version 5.3 release this month which includes some long-requested features. To read more about it, see the full 5.3 release post.

P.P.S. We highly recommend you sign up for our next expert webinar:Raise More Money with Win-Win Sponsorships. This webinar will feature Joe Waters, a marketing and sponsorship consultant, who will help you understand how to appeal to potential sponsors and how to present and close your sponsorship proposal with confidence and passion.

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Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot] Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot]

Posted by Dmitriy Buterin [Chief Apricot]

Published Friday, 01 May 2015 at 10:08 AM

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Comments

  • Gwyneth Moss said:

    Friday, 01 May 2015 at 11:24 AM
    The management and marketing advice is much appreciated but I do hope it is not a distraction for you in developing and extending your brilliant software. There are three things that I've added to your wish list recently and saw they had already been added years ago by others. It would help me so much if there was an option to allow members to cancel themselves from no-fee events: if certificates could be printed and mailed through the system and if there was an enquiry-form gadget rather than a complex work around. So yes the other stuff is nice but the core is the core. You folks are superb engineers and that is what matters to me. So if its a choice, I'd rather have more gadgets please rather than more webinars.
  • Shiv Narayanan [Magnetic Apricot] Shiv Narayanan [Magnetic Apricot]

    Shiv Narayanan [Magnetic Apricot] said:

    Friday, 01 May 2015 at 12:01 PM
    Hi Gwyneth,

    Thanks for your comments!

    Since 2014, we've released 40 features, all of which were long-requested in our wishlist. We have more releases planned this year where many other features will be released. You can view the status here: https://help.wildapricot.com/display/DOC/Product+roadmap

    On the topic of focus, software continues to be our core. We are simply adding to that core with our Knowledge and Community offerings. Going forward our goal is to be the #1 resource for small membership organizations to succeed by building on all 3 of those pillars. This will only increase our investment into software.
  • Mary-Lou Schagena, Marketing & Membership, Media Producers Group of Ontario (mpGO) said:

    Saturday, 02 May 2015 at 6:30 PM
    Dear Wild Apricot,

    I am writing to express my disappointment in Wild Apricot's 5.0 and later versions of software. In short, it sucks and I make no apologies for the use of this much-maligned word.

    The 4.0 version of software was far superior. You could simply cut 'n paste anything into the text editor and it would hold all the formatting and what you saw in preview is what recipients received.

    The text editor in 5.0 and later versions not only "cleans the html," it strips all the formatting out of a MS Word doc. What you see in preview is not always what recipients receive. Hence, I always have to send a copy to myself first as you never know what a notice is going to look like upon receipt. And, that lovely green orb (which I know one of your software developers is so proud of) continuously freezes up. Hence, I have to start over again.

    mpGO regularly sends notices to its members. Information sharing is the heart & soul of our networking organization. A readable and good looking document is important to our members, yet version 5.0 and later versions can't even handle a simple MS Word doc and is selective about cut 'n paste.

    You claim software continues to be your core. I suggest you revert back to version 4.0 as 5.0 and later versions are so full of flaws and frustrating to work with that it's enough to make a client cry.

    Sincerely,
    Mary-Lou Schagena
    Marketing & Membership
    Media Producers Group of Ontario
    mary-lou@mpgo.org




  • Evgeny said:

    Sunday, 03 May 2015 at 10:44 PM
    Hi Mary-Lou! I remember you - we had email communication about this issue about a year ago, right after release of version 5. I understand that in your particular scenario - copy and pasting heavily formatted text between MS Word and Wild Apricot - our system may not work as you want it. In our latest update (v5.3) we have made some improvements in copy-paste mechanism, but we're also working now on improving our email templates functionality as well.
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