WildApricot Free Product Webinar Archives

Getting Started With Your WildApricot Account


Hi, I'm Picky Apricot Steve Andrews and in this webinar, I'm going to show you how to get started with WildApricot.

Creating a new account

To open a WildApricot account, you go to wildapricot.com and click the link to start a free 30-day trial. You'll be asked to provide an email address, and optionally, an organization name, your name, and the organization type.  Your trial account has full access to WildApricot functionality at the Community plan level, with a few differences.

After you activate your trial account, you pick a password. Be sure to bookmark the site address and take note of your login. Later, you can change your URL to something more appropriate for your organization. And if you already have your own domain name -- whatever dot com or dot org -- you can use that instead of wildapricot.org.

After you click Continue, the Getting Started screen appears. From here, you can learn about WildApricot, and the steps you should take to set up your WildApricot site, or you can just jump right in and get started.

Website themes

If you want to change the overall look of your site, you can switch to a different website theme
WildApricot provides a number of professionally designed themes in a variety of styles and colors. The themes are grouped into theme packs according to their layout and design.

Pick a theme that's close to what you want, but don't worry if its not exactly what you have in mind. You can customize the look and feel of your site later.

To choose a theme, click on it within the gallery then click Apply selected theme. You'll be asked to confirm the change. Then, you can preview the new theme and make the change permanent or revert back to the previous theme.

Later, we'll show you how to add and modify site pages, and change colors and fonts throughout your site.

But first, we'll show you how to add contacts, create membership types, and set up events.

Navigating WildApricot

Let's start by getting familiar with your WildApricot working environment. Right now, you're in what we call admin view. Admin view displays a working version of your site and provides the tools you need to set things up just the way you want.
You can switch from admin view to public view to see how your site appears to members and visitors to your site.

Across the top of WildApricot screens are the menus you can use to access the different WildApricot modules. You can hover the menu name to view all the options under that menu and select an option from the menu to jump to a particular screen.

We'll be looking at some of these modules in depth later, but for now, let's quickly introduce each of them.

The dashboard provides a quick snapshot of your entire account, showing your billing plan and displaying a summary of your contacts, upcoming events, recent donations, most active members, and least updated pages.

Next is the Contacts module. Here, you can store information about everyone is who is associated with your organization, whether they are members or not. For example, they might be donors, event attendees, or administrators.

The Website module allows you to manage and design the pages that make up your website. From here, you can add, remove, and edit pages, change their settings, and restrict access and visibility.

Within the Events module, you set up events for your organization.

The Members module is similar to the Contacts module, except it displays member-specific information and options.

The Donations module lists donations to your organization and the people who made them, assuming you have set up your site to receive donations.

The Finances module is where you manage your accounts receivable, and track invoices
 issued, payments collected, and refunds issued by your organization.

Within the Emails module, you can send mass emails, and track all yours emails, including automatic email confirmations, and scheduled announcements and reminders.

The final menu is the Settings menu. This menu brings together all the different settings that you use to administer your site and manage your members. Some of these settings also appear as options under other menus, and some are only here, like security and site-wide settings.

Along the right side of every screen in admin view are the Help, Support, and Account icons.

If you hover over the Help icon, it shows you a list of help topics specific to the screen you're on. If you don't see what you're looking for, you can search for a topic

Clicking the Support icon allows you to send a support request directly to WildApricot's support department, and view the status of your existing requests.

When you hover your pointer over the Account icon, a number of account-related options appear
Beside the Account and billing option is your account number. You'll need this number if you contact WildApricot for technical support.

Now that we're a little more familiar with WildApricot's working environment, we can start delving deeper into it.

Managing contacts

Let's jump to the Contacts module and learn how to add and manage contacts.

First, you need to understand the distinction between contacts and members. Everyone stored in your WildApricot database is a contact. A contact may be a member of your organization, but doesn't have to be. Instead, a contact could be a donor or event attendee without necessarily being a member.

Since we're just starting out with this WildApricot site, we just have a few contacts, most of them sample contacts. If you click a contact, you'll see their contact details.

If you want to store more information about your contacts, you can add custom contact fields.

If we click the Membership tab, we see the contact's membership details.

There are several different ways we can add more contacts to our database. We can add them one at a time. We can set up a membership application form on our WildApricot site so visitors can sign themselves up as members and thereby as contacts. Or, we can import them in bulk from a spreadsheet.

After you upload the spreadsheet with the contacts you want to import, you map the columns in the spreadsheet to the fields in your contact database. We're going to choose the option that automatically creates new membership levels in our WildApricot database if we have already assigned them in the spreadsheet. Once the import is complete, the imported contacts are added to your contacts list.

Now that we've added some contacts to our list, we can search the list for particular members or types of members. You can search using simple search strings or more complex search criteria.
You can save your searches for later, and use your saved searches as mailing lists for email blasts.

If you want to remove a contact from your database – in this case, our sample contacts – you start by archiving the record. Archiving a contact rather than deleting it allows you restore the contact at a later date. Archived contacts are not counted against your database limit and do not receive emails. If you truly want to remove a contact permanently, along with his or her data, you can archive then delete the record.

Membership management

Now, let's jump to the Members module where we see a breakdown of our members by membership level.

Membership levels define and distinguish different types of members. You can create multiple membership levels, each with different membership fees, subscription periods, renewals policies, and benefits. You can limit access to pages, events, event registration types, and individual membership fields by membership levels.

Let's remove the sample membership levels that came with our WildApricot account and modify one of the levels that we imported along with our contacts. For the Platinum level, we'll set the membership fee to 50 dollars, and allow visitors to the site to join this level themselves.

On the Renewal policy tab, you choose the renewal period and the date of renewal. You can automate the membership renewal process with timed reminders and actions. To fully automate the renewal process, you can set up recurring payments.

On the New applications tab, you decide how you want handle new applications. You can provide for various emails to be sent and actions to take place when someone becomes a member.


Sending email blasts

Now that we have members in our database, we can send an email blast -- a mass email -- to them.

You can send an email blast to all your members, or you can filter the list using simple or advanced search criteria. After choosing your recipients, you choose the template you want to use as the basis for the email blast.

You can choose from system templates provided by WildApricot or custom templates you created yourself, either from scratch or by duplicating and modifying a system template.

You can customize the email by adding or removing text, graphics, and links. You can also personalize the message by inserting macros that get replaced by specific information about the recipient, such as name. You might be used to using macros in Word for mail merges.

After you send your email blast, you can track how many of your emails were opened and how many of your links were clicked on.

Setting up events

Now, let's look at the steps involved in setting up events. From the Events module, you can set up any number of events – conferences, board meetings, training sessions, social gatherings – and publish them in an events calendar on your site.

We've got a sample event already set up, so let's take a look at the settings for this one. When you create an event, you specify the event name, location, date, and cost, and provide a description.

You can customize the event registration form by adding, removing, and reordering the fields that appear on the event registration form. You can add event fields to collect event-specific information and even sell some extra cost options to your registrants.

For each event, you must set up at least one registration type before you can enable registration. Registration types are like ticket levels. Setting up registration types allows you to charge different prices for different event packages or for different kinds of attendees. For example, you might want to charge more for non-members, or less for premium members.

You can provide for various announcements, reminders, and registration messages to be automatically emailed. You can customize the emails for a particular event, adding text, formatting, graphics,macros, and links to each message.

After you enable registration, the event will automatically be added to your event calendar. Visitors to your site can sign up for the event and pay the registration fee online.

Setting up your website

Now, let's turn our attention to the pages that make up your WildApricot site.

Each page on your site is based on a particular template. The page inherits its layout from the template, along with any content that's been added to the template. Typically, you'd have your page header and footer on a template so that they automatically appear on all pages that use the template.

To add or modify page templates, click Page Templates under the Website menu.

You can set up multiple templates and use different templates for different pages. Here, we have one template for member-only pages, one with little content for landing pages, and one for regular site pages.

You can create your own page templates or modify the existing ones. In this case, we will customize the standard template used as the basis for public site pages.

We're going to change the organization name by modifying the content gadget in which it appears. Gadgets are used to display all content on your site, whether static content such as text or a picture, or dynamic content such as a site menu, a registration form, or a list of upcoming events.

To modify a content gadget, you click within the gadget. Along the top of the screen, the content editor toolbar appears. You can use the toolbar options to add or modify text, pictures, tables, and other custom content.

Here's we'll just change the site name and make the text a little more interesting using ArtText. ArtText allows you to create fancy looking text with special effects like 3D and drop shadows.

After we save our changes, they will be automatically applied to all the pages that use the template.

To add or modify the pages that appear on your site, click Sites pages under the Website menu.

Here, we see a list of your site pages -- those that appear in your site menu, and those that don't.

Let's go ahead and add a page.The settings for the new page appear along the left.

The page name you specify will appear as the menu option for this page.  If we want the page to have an easy to remember address, we could enter a custom URL. Under Page template, you choose the template to be used as the basis for the page. We'll continue to use the standard template which we modified earlier. Under Access level, you can restrict access to the page to certain membership levels or member groups, or to site administrators only. Here, we'll enable access for everyone.

To add content to the new page, you drag and drop gadgets. In this case, we'll add a Google map gadget.

To change the address being displayed on the map, hover over the gadget then click the Settings icon. Other gadget settings can be used to control other aspects of the gadget.

If we wanted to subdivide one of the content areas, we could add a layout. Layouts split content areas into cells where you can drag and drop different gadgets.

Here, we going to add a two-column layout and move the google map into the first column. You can, at any time, adjust the column widths of the layout simply by dragging.

Other layout settings include column spacing, a background color or image, and the layout height.

In the second column, we'll add a content gadget. Content gadgets are used to add custom content like text and graphics.

To begin modifying a content gadget, you click within the gadget. To enter text, you just begin typing. Instead of formatting the text yourself, you can select text styles with predefined formatting.

For some gadgets, including content gadgets, you can choose a gadget style to display the gadget with a title bar and border.

To insert a picture, click where you want the picture to appear then click the Image icon in the toolbar.  You can choose a picture that is already in your account or upload a new picture from your computer or network. You can set the size of the picture on the page, choose whether you want a border, and where the picture appears relative to the surrounding text.

If you know HTML, you can click the HTML button and edit the HTML of the content gadget.

You can turn a piece of text or a picture into a hyperlink by clicking the Insert Link option. You can link it to a web site, another page in your site, a section within the same page, or to an email address. Instead of a text link, you can insert a button that jumps to whatever page or website you choose.

After saving the new page, we can control the order of the pages in the site menu by clicking the Reorder pages link. From here, you can drag and drop pages where you want them to appear.

You can customize the look and feel of the site by changing the colors and styles settings. Here, you can change the colors and fonts of a number of elements that appear throughout your site, like the menu, login fields, header and footer, etc.. For example, you can change the color of hyperlinks, or the point size of headings.

For experienced website designers, WildApricot provides a number of tools for advanced site customization. Using CSS customization, designers can tweak the appearance and behavior of the site.
Using JavaScript, you can add customized functionality to a page or to your entire site. For example, you could add code to track traffic on your website using Google Analytics.

Using theme overrides, you can replace or override the theme files that control the appearance of the current theme. For example, you could use theme overrides to customize the master layouts that form the basis for page templates.

Managing your finances

To manage your finances, go to the Finances module. From here, you can view your invoices...
...record offline payments, and review payment details. You can also generate a number of financial reports.

If your want your site to be able to accept online payments -- for membership dues, event registrations, donations, etc. -- you provide the details of your online payment system.

If you're required to collect sales taxes or value-added taxes, you can set them up to be automatically applied to membership invoices and event invoices.


We’ve seen how you can use the different WildApricot modules to manage your membership, set up events, and customize your web site. For more information, see WildApricot’s online help or contact our support department. Remember, you can find links to help and support in admin view in the upper right corner of the screen.

Thanks for listening. I hope this was helpful.

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