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How to Use Wild Apricot to Rally Your Members and Support Your Community

Kate Hawkes  06 May 2020  0 comments
 

Rally members how to covid post

Last week, I was speaking with a membership manager who was looking for ways his members could help each other out during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some members had told him they were keen to offer help, and others had told him they were looking for assistance, but he wasn’t sure how to help those two groups connect. 

 

It’s a feeling many of us can relate to at the moment. We’re feeling frustrated because we want to help others in our community, but we’re not sure where to start, since social distancing has changed the ways we can volunteer. 

 

In this post, I’ve put together some ideas on how your organization can rally your members to make a difference, plus how you can put them into practice with Wild Apricot.  

  

You’ll learn how to:  

  

  

How to share volunteer opportunities with your community  

 

Although there are much fewer in-person volunteer opportunities at the moment due to social distancing, many organizations and individuals are still in desperate need of help. If you want to let your members know about ways they can support others, here are four quick ways you can use Wild Apricot to spread the word.  
 

  

1. Post a round-up of ideas on your blog   

If there are lots of opportunities you want to share, you could create a blog post listing them. You could explain what each opportunity involves, and link to the sign-up form or to a page with more details. If you want to keep sharing new opportunities, you could consider posting a weekly or monthly round-up of ways to help.  

  

Once you’ve published your blog post, you can help people find it by sharing the link in your emails, your newsletter, or on your website homepage.   

 

  

2. Send an email suggesting opportunities  

You can make it even easier for members to get involved by sending suggestions for quick ways to help directly to their inbox.   

  

You could start including a section on remote volunteer opportunities in your regular newsletter, or send an email round to your members listing some ways they could start helping others right now.   

 

Help during covid 19 - volunteer email

  

  

3. Start a discussion in your forum   

If you want to encourage your members but aren’t sure what opportunities are out there, why not start a forum topic so members can pitch in with their own ideas?   

  

All you need to do is add a new topic in a discussion forum gadget and give it a title like ‘COVID-19 support idea share’. In the Access permissions settings, make sure members have access to read and comment on topics. You can then encourage your members to share ideas and opportunities for ways to help out the community. 

 

 

4. Have a meeting to share ideas and motivation  

If you’re like me, you’ll happily take any excuse to get together virtually with people at the moment! As well as being a way to get lots of ideas and feedback on ways to help, holding a virtual meeting to brainstorm is a way to keep your members feeling like a community. Plus, when your members get together to chat about what they can do, they’ll likely also share their enthusiasm and motivation.   

  

To set this up, all you need to do is create a new event in Wild Apricot, add a description letting people know what you’ll be discussing, and start promoting it. If you’re using an online meeting platform like Zoom, you can include the link to the meeting in an automated confirmation email. Click here to learn more about setting up online events in Wild Apricot. 

 

Help during covid 19 - ideas meeting

  

  

  

How to connect members who can offer help with those who are in need  

 

Within your membership, you likely have some members who are able to offer help, and others who are looking for help. One way your organization can support your community is to connect those who can offer help with those who need it, directly through your organization website.   

  

You might have seen message boards from organizations like Sum of Us that do this on a much bigger scale. However, some people may be reluctant to connect with strangers, or struggle to find people who are local. Setting up a response system within your organization’s community can offer a solution to these concerns and bring your members even closer together. 

  

Here are two ways: 

 

 

Show which members are looking for or offering help in a directory  

 

You can adjust the settings of a member directory to show an easy-to-read list of all members who are looking for or can offer help. Your members will be able to update their own profile to show what they’re looking for. People browsing the list can then click the member’s name to view their profile and get in touch with them directly.  

 

COVID support - using the directory

  

Add membership fields for COVID-related support    

  1. Hover over Members menu and select the Membership fields option.  

  1. Click Add new field.  

  1. Add a new multiple-choice field called ‘COVID-19 helpers’, or something similar. Feel free to adapt any of these field headings to suit your organization. 

    • Add two options in the Items field: ‘Looking for help’ and ‘Offering help’. 
    • Under Others access, select either anybody or members depending on your preference, so people will be able to see this field.    
  1. Add a new text field and name it ‘Offering help during COVID-19’. 

    • Add field instructions encouraging your members to briefly describe what they can offer in this field.  
  1. Add another new text field and name it “Looking for help during COVID-19”.   

    • Add field instructions encouraging your members to briefly describe what help they need in this field.  

COVID support - member fields diagram  

  

Edit the settings of a member directory

  1. You can modify your existing member directory to help members offer or receive help, or you can add a new member directory specifically for this purpose.   

    • To add a new member directory, drag and drop a member directory gadget from the Gadgets menu onto a website page. 
  1. Click the member directory gadget to open the settings menu.  

  1. In the settings menu, click Customize results layout.  

  1. For each column, add a name for the column and select the relevant data field from the dropdown menu.   

    • Set column 1 to show the member’s name.  

    • Set column 2 to show the member’s town, so people viewing the directory can see who is local to them.  

    • Set column 3 to show the field for offering help.   

    • Set column 4 to show the field for looking for help. 

    • Click Apply.

  2. In the Search options settings, check the box for Enable quick filtering in simple search.

  3. Find the ‘COVID-19 helpers’ multiple choice field you created and check the box to make it a quick filter.  

  4. Click Save.

 Rally members covid blog directory diagram

 

Encourage your members to complete the fields  

To complete the fields, members can go to their profile and click Edit profile. They can then check the boxes to offer or request help, and add details in the text fields, then click Save. 

 

 

COVID support - member fields

  

  

Quickly filter members by who needs help  

When members view the directory, they will be able to see who is offering or requesting help.   

  • To filter the directory according to who is offering or requesting help, members can click the corresponding heading from the quick filter section.   

  • To see member details and get in touch, they can click a name in the directory to open that member’s profile.   

 

 

   

Start a forum so members can connect with each other  

If you want to give your members a space to coordinate who can offer help in each case, adding a forum is a really simple solution that helps people connect.  

  1. In the Website module, navigate to the page where you want to add your COVID-19 support forum.  

  2. From the Gadgets menu, drag and drop a discussion forum gadget onto the page.  
  3. In Access permissions settings, give all membership levels access to read and comment on topics using the radio buttons.   

  4. Add a forum description to explain how your members can use the forum and click Save.  

  5. Click Create topic.  

  6. Add two new topics – one for people offering help, and one for people requesting help. For each, add a subject and body text and then click Create.

 Members will be able to comment in each of these threads giving a brief description of the help they need or can offer.   

Help during covid 19 - forum

 

  

How to collect donations to support COVID-19 causes  

 

Perhaps your members want to help but are unable to leave their homes or don’t have time to commit to volunteering. If so, they can still get involved by donating to causes that help people impacted by COVID-19.  

 

If there’s a particular cause you want to fundraise for – whether that’s a charity or a COVID-19 related project your organization is running – you can set up a donations campaign in your Wild Apricot account.   

 

Please note that you need to have a paid Wild Apricot account or be in the 30-day free trial to accept online donations. The free plan does not include online payments. Click here to learn more

 

Here’s how to accept donations for a specific cause in your Wild Apricot account.   

 

Set up a donations page  

  1. If you don’t already have a donations page on your website, I recommend adding one.  

  2. In the Website module, go to the Site pages tab and click Add page.  

  3. Click the Gadgets button to open the gadget settings menu.  

  4. Drag and drop a Donation form gadget onto the page.  

  5. Click Save.

Add a field so donors can choose which project to donate to  

  1. Hover over the Donations menu and click the Settings option.  

  2. Click the Add new field button.  

  3. Under Type, choose Dropdown.  

  4. Title your new field ‘Purpose of donation’.  

  5. In the Add choices text field, add the options you want donors to choose from, e.g. raising money for healthcare workers or supporting the regular operations of the organization.   

  6. Check the Required field box.   

  7. Click Save all changes.  

 

COVID support - donations cropped

 

When people fill out the donations form, they will have to choose which purpose they want to give to. You can then filter the donations you receive by the different options in the field, so you can see how much has been donated to each project. Click here to learn more.   

  

You can also add a donations goal gadget for each project to your website to share your progress with your donors.  

 

  

  

I hope you find these ideas helpful! Feel free to let me know which ones you’ve used in the comments below. 

 


Kate Hawkes

Posted by Kate Hawkes

Published Wednesday, 06 May 2020 at 3:02 PM
Sorry, this blog post is closed for further comments.

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