Ad Hoc WAML Membership Review Committee
Greg Armento, Nicholas Beyela, Bruce Godfrey, Susan Powell, Heather Ross
Recommendations to WAMLex
June 10, 2020
The Ad Hoc Committee Submits to WAMLex the Following:
Recommendation: Move To A Membership Management Software Platform
Beginning in fall 2020, WAMELex should consider transferring membership activities to a software management platform such as Wild Apricot wildapricot.com or a similar platform. (See capterra.com for other platforms). As one of the cheaper membership platforms, Wild Apricot would cost about $42 per month for a two year contract for membership under 100 persons, (WAML hovers around 100 members). Though Wild Apricot does have a tack on fee for Paypal transactions (2.9% +0.30) it does not charge transaction fees for use of its own AffiniPay system. An 30 day free trial can be set up with WildApricot to explore its potential.
It would integrate many of the features we would want for membership management and would permit build out of: organization website; membership news; conference registration; conference information; membership renewal, automated payments; automated renewal reminders; integrated membership directory; membership intra-communication platform; member surveys and polls.
We have a good number of members who prefer to pay by check, currently about 17 members. So this workflow process must be maintained.
Costs could be offset by the cancellation of Laughing Squid and its hosting fees and eliminating/reducing honorarium to membership manager role. Possibly other manager duties then streamlined by the multi component platform might no longer warrant an honorarium. Probably not in the initial set up year though, as one might expect some extra workload setting up and calibrating the components.
The Ad Hoc committee notes this interesting testimonial within a recent UC Retirees Association annual report: “Membership Marketing Software: This year’s membership renewal process was done via email using Wild Apricot. The automated process, which includes credit card processing via PayPal, has expedited renewals and has significantly increased the percentage of renewing members on a year-over-year basis as compared to the same time last year.” http://cucra.ucsd.edu/meetings/2019-04Meeting/CampusReports/losangeles.html
Here are some Association websites that use it. Particularly streamlined were the “Society of Western Canadian Artists” and “Southern Business Women’s Network”. https://www.wildapricot.com/blogs/newsblog/2019/08/09/membership-website-examples
Recommendation: Promote Membership Benefits Thru Use The New Software Management Platform
As part of a membership benefits page, we might promote: continuing education benefits; mentorships; scholarships, member directory, swag (t-shirts, pins, tote-bags, etc), emphasize career enhancement “Resume Building” benefits; access to internal forums (WAML-L). Create a member highlight page which features testimonials from experienced WAMLites of what membership has provided to their careers. Also focus on member benefits, as in “giving back to the profession”, document how membership benefits are more than “benefits to me”, but benefits to the profession, (e.g. what does your membership do for the community)
Recommendation: Create In New Platform Components That Care For New Members, And That Help Retaining Current Ones
New software management platform it would have the ability to: automate membership renewals and update membership lists, send automatic welcome messages & automated thanks for renewing. It could have a component for “new members” or “new conference attendees”. Include simple surveys and polls of how we could serve membership; how you felt about conference; what we could do better; why you are not renewing?
Recommendation: Create Specific Welcoming Moments and Services for New Conference Attendees and New Members
Create a mentorship program for new members (if they so desire) where they are assigned to a more experienced professional Create a specific welcome new members moment at each WAML meeting (the old hospitality committee thing?)
Recommendation: Review Membership Categories With Consideration for Business/Corporate Interests
Currently WAML bylaws have three categories of membership: lifetime honorary, lifetime paid, and paid. Currently of our 100 members five belong to enterprises. When we had paid subscriptions to the IB, we had corporate subscribers But when that stopped, some businesses became members with voting rights. Does this need to be noted in the bylaws or does it matter?
Recommendation: Consider Organizational Name Change to Enhance Recruitment, Retention of Membership
The old name of WAML, though held in much affection by membership, should be reconsidered in light of contemporary professional and career responsibilities. Could the “Western” limit new members? Could “Map Libraries” be too restrictive of what we do? Can we incorporate the old with the new in a rename?
Recommendation: Create a Policy on Membership Directory Access
Not sure who we can give out or membership list to. We occasionally get inquires: who can see it, under what circumstances.