Membership Space Blog: Insights for Effective Management

Posted on November 7, 2016 by Membership Space
Categories: Membership
Membership websites must offer some benefit or have an appeal in order for most people to make the choice to become a member.  One way to appeal to visitors is the way they enter data and how that data gets managed.  Often, membership management software makes the biggest difference in how members input data and the way it is maintained.  Are there ways the membership website can manage your data more efficiently?
The Key To Great Data Management
The first step for any membership website is for management to understand how members will enter their data and how they can appeal to a wider variety of members.  Consult with someone who specializes in databases as they will likely know what is required for a database to fulfill the expectations of members.
Follow the advice of a specialist to ensure the database provides value so members enjoy the way their data is managed and renews their membership.  Entering data should be consistent so everyone benefits by having data that is more accurate despite the many changing variables. 
The key to great data management is to address any problems with data entry before they happen so members always find your membership website to be user-friendly and efficient.  Also, check the database periodically for duplicates as that makes data look disorganized and unprofessional.
Managing Through Software
Members expect the data they enter to stay up-to-date and take effect in other entries if they would have an address change or a cancelation.  Membership management software makes this possible by streamlining entries in other fields to match what is current.  An important element of managing member data is to back it up on a regular basis.  Frequently, databases change and a member may request an up-to-date copy of their data which should be available at all times!
Posted on October 24, 2016 by Membership Space
Categories: Membership
There are a variety of features on a club website that most members expect when they become a member.  Obviously, it’s a difficult task to fulfill the expectations of all members but the club membership software should always include the best features that appeal to most members.  They want to be part of a club website that has a professional appearance yet gives them control over certain features.
What Features Will Attract Members?
Features that should be included vary depending on what type of membership website you decide to build and the kind of members you want to attract.  When members join, one feature they expect is the option to connect with other members so they have other people to share their experiences with.
Especially new members as they may want to interact with others who have more experience and seek advice from them.  Members are likely joining to find a solution to a problem or simplify their life in some way.  A successful club website does that by giving members multiple ways to engage through message boards and posting updates.
Additionally, get members involved by periodically posting a questionnaire about which features they enjoy the most and which features they would like to be improved or added.  Features can be altered through the club membership software so members are able to easily manage their account and get involved in discussions.  How can new and long-time members enjoy a better experience?
The Best Feature Of Club Websites
Accessing the club website while you’re on the go is important for all members.  Most members want to be able to manage their account and enjoy the same interface whether they use a smartphone or a tablet!  A responsive club website that incorporates custom features provides a better experience for new members while keeping long-time members happy.
Posted on October 11, 2016 by Membership Space
Categories: Membership
Membership websites present a challenge for most companies as the online community needs to appeal to all members.  Each member may have specific preferences but getting members to interact and return on a regular basis is the goal of membership websites.  Through there, the online community helps members engage so their questions may be answered and connections may be established.  What do most members look for in a membership website?
Content That Provides Value
It takes content that provides value in some way or another in order for a majority of visitors to become members on a website.  The easiest way to do this is to consider what members want or need an answer to and provide high quality content they find useful.  Additionally, the information should be relevant for members who have recently joined and those that have been members for years.
Aside from that, the membership website should be relatively easy to find.  After all, how great will the online community be if no one can find it?  An effective way to get traffic is to link the membership website in places where you know potential members will see it.  Places where users will go when they have questions or comments such as Facebook and the main website for the company.  When should a change be made to keep the content engaging so the community remains dynamic?
Routine Updating For Members
As more members join, the community will grow and require information to be updated so the content remains compelling and relevant over time.  Superior membership websites always take into consideration what content the user is in search of and integrates features that are highly effective.  The best approach is to implement a way to monitor when membership engagement decreases and develop a plan to get members to take action.
Posted on September 2, 2016 by Membership Space
Categories: Membership
The board of a membership organization needs to be made up of individuals with a variety of talents.  One of these talents is for somebody to understand accounting principles.  While a board member does not need to be an accounting expert, their knowledge is important to keep the membership organization operating with minimal financial risk.
Accounting knowledge within the organization is needed even if the organization outsources their books to an accountant.  If the accounting functions are being outsourced, it is still the board's responsibility to keep the organization financially sound by making good financial decisions.  While an external accountant can generate reports for the board to analyze, only the board members would have a strong grasp of the day-to-day operational nuances of the organization.
Membership Management Software
A tool that can help membership organizations with their accounting needs is membership management software. This software is normally website based. Therefore, members can access the software online and from any device. Being website based, there is no software to install and support can be more easily provided.
An important aspect of membership management software is its accounting capabilities. It is important for the software to automatically handle accounting tasks and financial reporting.  This reduces the expertise required of board members and saves time administering the organization's financial activities. 
Member Self Service
Another aspect of membership management software is the ability for members to view their account balance and historical financial transactions through the website. This eliminates the need for members to contact the board for accounting information.  This also reduces the accounting expertise required by board members.
If your organization needs help automating processing and simplifying your accounting workload, we can help. We specialize in membership management software.  With our functionality, members can register through the website and immediately pay online for their membership.  Invoices are automatically generated and membership renewal reminders are sent before and after the member's renewal date. Plus, when activity occurs on the website, accounting entries are automatically created and financial reports are generated. This is how our software makes financial management easy for membership organizations. 
Posted on August 23, 2016 by Membership Space
Categories: Membership
There are many things expected of a person who volunteers to be a board member of a club.  Overall, this covers a variety of topics from the day-to-day operations to growing the membership.  Once elected to be a board member, it is important for the person to make decisions that benefit the club.  
Managing Club Operations
Each board position will have different roles within the club and duty expectations. The person in charge of finances will need to be accountable for properly spending and tracking the club's funds. There may be long term goals that need to additional consideration in the budget.  There are also upcoming events that may require special payments from the club membership. Club membership software will help organize the club's finances and provide reporting to analyze the financial health of the club.
The president will need to have a broad knowledge of both the inner workings of the club and the insight to guide the club down a successful path.  Many times various committees and other board members play a key role in assisting the president.  Regardless of the position being held by a board member, it is important to realize that bad decisions can result in lack of participation by club members.
Focusing On Club Membership 
Keeping club members engaged can be a challenge.  This is best accomplished by keeping members informed and making their interactions with the club as easy as possible.  If these goals are successful, member satisfaction with the club will increase.  Happier members also results in happier board members.
One of the way to achieve this goal is by using Club Membership Software.  By posting news and events on a website, members can have important information at their fingertips.  Club software also provides a means to send mass emails to members and allow them to register for events online. These capabilities are big improvements for any club and show that the elected board members are working to benefit the members.
Posted on August 9, 2016 by Membership Space
Categories: Membership
As the end of the year approaches, board members often start to plan for the upcoming year.  These plans focus on improvements that benefit the membership and strengthening the financial health of the association.  Prioritizing these plans can be a struggle due to demands on time and money.
Often the association's membership is unaware of many of the challenges and plans of the board.  This is not necessarily due to lack of communication. These plans could be in the early stages of discussion and the specific details are too unknown to share with the members. However, it can still be a good idea to post plans under consideration on the association's website. This enables members to help develop the plan by volunteering their time and providing insight.
Deciding The Areas To Improve
While the board will have their own ideas for areas of improvement, it is a good idea to ask the members for additional ideas. This keeps the members involved in the process and may highlight some areas the board did not realize need improving.  
Asking for feedback from the membership also instills a feeling that the members are part of the association. This involvement is likely to result in more projects being accomplished and in a variety of areas.  Each membership association is made up of people with diverse backgrounds and talents. The more an association can focus this energy to help improve the association the more successful the association will be for its members.
Follow Through With Improvements
A majority of members are likely to want to help accomplish the planned improvements. But, limited time is a factor that keeps projects from moving forward. Assigning more members to a project will spread out the workload and create peer pressure. Therefore, members are more likely to follow through on their assigned tasks. 
It is also the board's responsibility to communicate these projects and the progress to the other members of the association.  Creating a projects page on the association's website will help organize this information and give the members a single place to go for the latest updates.  The website can also be used to send mass emails to the members reminding them the information is available online.  Effective tools and a clear plan will help any association accomplish their improvements.
Posted on July 26, 2016 by Membership Space
Categories: Membership
The board members of an association have a responsibility to do what is in the best interest of the association's members. This is an important responsibility regardless if the association is based on social activities or professional affiliation.  It is also important to keep in mind that the board members' choices also have a direct impact on all members of the association.
Association Responsibilities Come First
It is the primary responsibility of board members to do what best benefits the association.  This includes putting the association ahead of their own interests.  However, questions may arise when a board member uses their personal knowledge, expertise and business contacts.
Therefore, it is important to ensure that all decisions avoid any claim for a conflict of interest.  These claims and situations can lead to other members becoming dissatisfied with that board member and the association as a whole. Conflicts of interest are viewed more negatively when they impact the financial well being of the association.
How To Reduce Conflicts of Interest
Often these conflicts can be due to a misunderstanding or due to lack of communication. The more board members are able to communicate their decisions and the reasons for those decisions, the less likely these decisions will cause confusion. When communicating these decisions, it is important to show that other vendors were reviewed and neutral options were explored.  All board members should also be in agreement with these types of decisions.  
To make sure all members are aware of the decisions being made and the reasoning for these decisions, it is best to post the details on the association's website. This keeps all members equally informed so that there is not a concern that important information is being withheld.  
Posted on July 14, 2016 by Membership Space
Categories: Membership
Board meetings are intended to serve the membership of the association.  These meetings normally occur monthly or on some other recurring basis. During these meetings, association members may attempt to redirect the discussion to items that are not on the meeting's agenda.
Prior to each meeting, an agenda needs to be developed which will serve as a guide for the topics the meeting will cover.  So that all members have an understanding of the topics that will be covered at the meeting, it is important to share the agenda with all members prior to the meeting.  Membership Space's Association Management Software provides an efficient means to post the agenda on the association's website.  Members can also be sent a mass email or text message through the website to let them know the agenda has been posted. 
The Importance Of Staying On Topic
There are many reasons why a meeting will stray off the agenda and onto different topics.  Most often, something said will result in somebody else remembering a point they wanted to share.  When this happens, it is the responsibility of the person running the meeting to stop the conversation and let the person know their topic will be added as a new topic for discussion later in the meeting. 
When a meeting remains on topic, the meeting will be more productive and move along quicker. It is also easier for the secretary to document the decisions in the minutes when the discussion remains on the topics listed on the agenda. Sometimes it is the secretary who can best get everybody back on topic by asking the group what they should write into the minutes regarding the agenda's topic.  
From Agenda To The Minutes
By referring to the agenda, the matters important to the association can be covered and documented in the minutes. The secretary can then post the minutes to the association's website using association management software. The software makes it easy and non-technical for administrators to add information for association members to read.
Posted on June 28, 2016 by Membership Space
Categories: Membership
Ideally, meetings are designed to coordinate progress in a membership organization. Therefore, the more often meetings are held, the more progress that should be achieved. However, meetings can also feel like the same topics keep being covered with little progress being made. 
Communication is also a key benefit of regular board meetings. By posting information on your membership website, members are encouraged to be involved, help with projects and spread the word about upcoming events. So, what is your organization doing to focus on progress and communication?
Set Goals For Board Meetings
The agenda is the most important tool to keep meetings organized and on topic.  An organized meeting will be more productive. However, it is easy for a meeting to get off track people voice their ideas. It is important for the meeting organizer to pause the conversation and make a note to discuss the new topic at a later time during the meeting. 
When preparing the agenda for a meeting, be sure to include all topics that emerged since the previous meeting. This will ensure all topics were covered so that members do not feel their item was ignored.  This also helps the organization focus on making progress both during and after each meeting.
Communicate With Members
After each meeting, encourage members to visit the membership's website for the minutes from the meeting along with any special announcements. This is especially important if a decision was made at a meeting that all members need to be made aware. The website is also a great tool for members to submit questions to the board members which may need to be added to the agenda for the next meeting.
Posted on June 11, 2016 by Membership Space
Categories: Membership
There is more to a budget than estimating the revenue and expenses of the membership organization.  The intent of a budget is to establish a financial plan based on both expected and unexpected matters that may arise.  It is also important for the membership's management to plan for an increase in savings in case revenue is too low or expenses are too high.
Because a budget is based on the unknown, a best practice is to overestimate expenses while underestimating revenue.  This would minimize any risk associated with a shortfall in cash and reduce the need to ask members for a special dues payment to replenish the bank account.
Budget Inconsistencies
The more that can be known about the operations of your organization the easier it is to eliminate inconsistencies for your membership's budget. The easiest items to enter on the budget are the items with a fixed cost. Some of your contractors may provide their services for a fixed fee or for a contractual amount determined on an annual basis. Therefore, it is important to receive a fee confirmation from these vendors  prior to completing the budget. 
The next most important items on the membership budget are items that are a high dollar amount expense. These items might be an annual event, a product that has to be replenished or a capital improvement. More time should be spent on these items so that the amount can be more certain.  It is also important to determine the likelihood that your membership management organization will be able to stick to the budgeted amount for these items.
Share With Membership
When members review the budget, they will have a better understanding of the organization and where their money is being spent. Therefore, it is important to post your annual budget on a website that uses membership management software. With our membership software, members will be able to log into the website, access documents and submit messages when they need help. This makes the budgeting and communication process easier for everybody.
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Since 2001, we have been helping association leaders more efficiently manage their day-to-day responsibilities and increase member satisfaction. Our membership management software automates common tasks and gives associations the tools, reporting and support they need.