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Once upon a time, there was an administrator who battled with spreadsheets and paper forms. They struggled daily to keep on top of registrations, updating members information, collecting and reconciling payments and sending communications.  Sound familiar? Luckily, advances in online software now give you a significant advantage in winning the paperwork war.

Is it time you switched to software designed to handle the day-to-day management of your members?  Read on to discover why one simple software change could revolutionise your administration.

Why You Need Membership Management Software

There are many benefits of switching to software designed to help you manage the membership, not least, it combines tools for managing members information and collecting payments into one package. For many organisations, spreadsheets and elementary databases provide a basic management system. Yet tracking member info and payments with these methods leaves far too much room for human error. One lost payment or incorrect registration information can lead to a loss of revenue or compromise safeguards.
So let’s look at how traditional systems shape up against software designed to do the job:

Task

Traditional Methods

Problems Encountered

Membership Software

Time Saved

Collecting Registration Information Needs to be entered manually from a form filled out by the registrant A 2-step process with potential to lose forms or difficulty deciphering members writing leading to incorrect input Registrants can enter their own information online when they join Saves hours spent manually entering data, checking it’s correct and filing the paperwork
Collecting Membership Fees Needs to be collected manually; reconciled in a ledger or accounting software and banked in person. Cheques are usually the only payment option aside from cash. These take time to clear, can incur a processing fee and moreover, cheques are rarely used these days. Fees can be collected online through secure payment gateways via the members bank / credit card or by Direct Debit. Card payments are cleared immediately and Direct Debit payments are initiated instantly. No more hours spent trudging to the bank and waiting in line to pay money in.
Financial Reports Need to be manually collated and presented from spreadsheet or ledger data Takes time to filter data and setup reports. If a number of software options are used to record data it can be difficult to reconcile information between them, meaning reports need to be created manually. Reports can be automatically created according to a range of selected data criteria. Reports are instantly available and you can view information for the organisation, for each membership category, fundraising appeal, or groups of people in just a couple of clicks.
Renewals Need to print/email renewal forms from a list manually gathered and checked from the spreadsheet or database system. Members will need to come in person to renew or return a form, whereby you will need to manually enter renewal information and send confirmation to the member. Software can be set up to automatically notify members of upcoming renewal and make it easy for them to renew membership online. Members take responsibility for renewing membership. No more manual input or sending out of renewal letters. System can also chase up those late in renewing.
Communication Collating member contact information needs to be done manually and pasted in to applications like Outlook, Gmail etc. Takes a long time to collate and prepare mass communications and some email applications limit the number of emails that can be sent at one time. Integrated communication tools allow you to send mass emails, save templates, and easily organise members into groups so communications can be targeted. Just a few seconds to select members you wish to target and send. You can also see what was delivered, opened, clicked or bounced.
Member Information Storing members information on spreadsheets, offline databases or worse still, paper forms. Requires administrators to manually keep information up-to-date, potential to lose paperwork and duplication of data with multiple administrators using multiple spreadsheets. Members can log into their own accounts online and update their information themselves. Members enter own information so saving you hours spent on manual entry and filing paperwork.
Security Information stored on computers and paper forms. Need to regularly backup system, update virus and malware protection and ensure compliance with the Data Protection regulations. Data is securely stored in the cloud, encrypted and backed up daily. Software provides a platform and processes to help organisations fulfil their data protection obligations, saving time managing the process themselves.
Accessibility Information sent insecurely, by email, to other committee members. Need to create internal computer network or invest in remote access software so others can access member information. Different admin permissions could be difficult to set up. Potential security risk and can be costly. Can only be accessed on desktop systems. Being cloud-based, the software allows for any number of administrators to be set up to access specific information and tools. The software can be accessed remotely 24/7 and on different devices such as tablets and smartphones.
Event Management & Fundraising Typically managed on separate spreadsheets and paper docs amongst several members of the committee. Information needs to be entered manually. Payments will need to collected and reconciled manually and paid into the organisation’s bank account in person. Integrated tools for event management and fundraising make it easy for all involved to keep track of efforts, totals raised and manage tasks. Members can easily sign up for events and make donations via their online account.

Still Need Some Convincing?
Most software providers, including LoveAdmin, offer flexible options so you can create a customised platform. Not only does this mean you create a tailored experience for your members logging on, but it also makes it easier to share data and generate reports. Furthermore, taking your administration processes online is more cost efficient when compared to the cost of individual desktop software solutions, of which you may need more than one, and the sundry expenses associated with administration such as postage.

Finally, because the registration process becomes easier for new users, revenues rise and members become more satisfied with the service overall. In today’s society, many of us prefer the ease of interacting virtually instead of in-person, so you risk losing potential members by only offering the option to join the ‘pen and paper’ way.

Hopefully, this post has helped show you how online membership software can streamline the everyday functions of your organisation and make you more efficient when it comes to handling member information and collecting those all-important fees. If you would like to know more about which admin tasks can be done quicker and easier online, visit our free resources page.

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