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Member and contact management

Wild Apricot software is designed for associations, clubs, non-profits, and member-based organizations. This page provides an overview of how Wild Apricot can be used to manage your members and other contacts (such as newsletter subscribers, donors, event attendees, and volunteers).

What you need to know

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  • Everyone in your Wild Apricot database is a  contact . A contact can be a member, an event attendee, a donor, a newsletter subscriber, or any combination of these roles.
  • Contacts can be added automatically through your website, added manually by an administrator, or imported in bulk. For more information, see  Adding a new contact manually .
  • Members are a special type of contact. They can have special access to member-only pages and events, and their contact records include membership-related fields such as renewal date and member status.   
  • A contact becomes a member when they are assigned a membership level.
  • Members can add themselves via a online membership application form, or be added manually by an administrator.
  • You don't have to set the passwords yourself when adding members in bulk from a spreadsheet. Instead, following the import, you can send the new members an email blast including the {Contact_Password_Reset_URL} macro, which will appear as a link they can click on to set their own passwords.
  • You can create multiple  membership levels , each with different membership fees, subscription periods, renewals policies, and benefits.
  • Information about each contact is stored in a separate  record , with each record storing different chunks of information in  fields  (e.g. first name, last name, email address).
  • You can customize your contact database – and your forms – by adding, modifying, reordering, and deleting database fields.
  • Wild Apricot database fields are divided into two classes:  common fields  – fields that apply to all records (e.g. first name, last name, email address) – and additional fields that only apply to membership applications, event registrations, or donations. 
  • You can offer discounted group memberships to companies, team, or families by setting up membership bundle levels.
  • You can organize members from different membership levels into member groups according to their interests or participation in committees.
  • Members can be listed in a member directory, visible to everyone or just members.
  • You can automate the  membership renewal process  with timed reminders and actions.
  • To fully automate the renewal process, you can set up  recurring payments .
  • Members can perform various self-service functions themselves from their member profile 

How do you...?

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 Add a new 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. Anyone who makes a donation, registers for an event, or applies to become a member will have a contact record created automatically for them.

There are several different ways you can add contacts to your database.

  • Manually add them one at a time
  • Import them in bulk from a spreadsheet (see Importing members and other contacts)
  • By setting up a membership application form, event registration form, donation form, or subscription form on your Wild Apricot site so that visitors can sign up as members or for events, donations, or email subscriptions and thereby automatically add themselves to your contact database

For each contact, a User ID is stored. The User ID is a unique identifier that is automatically generated for each contact and cannot be modified or deleted.

When adding a new contact, you must specify one of the following contact fields: First name, Last name, Organization, or Email. The other fields can be blank but the fields themselves cannot be removed from the system.

Though the email address is optional, we recommend adding one since email address is required for contacts to sign in and perform self-service functions.

If you want to store more information about your contacts, you can add your own common fields.

For more information, see Adding a new contact manually.

 Add someone as a member

There are three ways that someone can be added as a member to your Wild Apricot database:

 Turn a contact into a member

To turn a contact into a member, simply assign a membership level to the contact from the Membership tab on their contact record. To convert multiple contacts into members, assign membership levels in bulk through the export and import process.

 Turn a member into a contact

To remove membership and turn a member into an ordinary contact, just suspend the membership. This contact is free to then re-apply using the online application form.

 Create different membership levels

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. Inclusion in a member directory can also be restricted by membership level.

There are two types of membership levels: individual and bundle. Individual membership levels allow people to join by themselves. You can set up any number of individual levels with different membership fees, subscription periods, renewals policies, and benefits. A bundle membership level allows multiple people to join your organization as a group. Bundles members share the same status, renewal date, status, and membership level. Bundles can be used to offer a discounted group membership to companies, teams, or families. For information on setting up bundle membership levels, see  Membership bundles .

To set up a new individual membership level, follow these steps:

  1. Hover over the Members menu and click the Levels option.
  2. From the membership level list, click Add level

  3. Enter the name of the membership level (e.g. Gold) in the Name field.

     

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    Do not use a name that includes the < symbol. It may interfere with online payment processing.

  4. Beside Type, click Individual.
  5. Enter a membership fee and choose whether to apply your tax settings to the fee.
  6. Enter a description for the level. The description will appear below the membership level details on the membership application form. 

  7. Click the Renewal policy tab and decide on your membership renewal policy.
  8. Click the New applications tab and decide how you want to handle new applications.
  9. Click Save to finish creating the membership level and add it to the membership level list.

To modify an existing membership level, click the level within the list.

For more information, see Membership levels.

 Import members and other contacts

If you already have a list of members (or other contacts) in an spreadsheet, you can use it to import them into Wild Apricot.

You can also use a spreadsheet to update information for existing clients. For more information, see Bulk changes using import and export.

For information on importing membership bundles, see Importing bundles.

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You can import existing payments and event registrations into your Wild Apricot database using the Wild Apricot API. For more information, see Payments API V2 call and EventRegistrations API V2 call.

Importing members and other contacts involves the following steps:  

  1. Preparing the import file.
  2. Uploading the import file.
  3. Changing the import file settings.
  4. Mapping import columns to database fields.
  5. Processing the import file.

For more information, see Importing members and other contacts.

 Automate membership applications

Wild Apricot provides an online member application form that visitors to your site can use to apply for membership in your organization. You can add multiple application forms to your site and adjust the settings on each one so that only specific membership levels are shown. You can customize the form by adding or removing membership fields and choosing the membership levels to which the form applies.

The application process works a bit differently depending on the membership level selected by the user (Free or Paid) and the payment method used (Offline/Check vs. Online payment). Here is a high level workflow:

You have the option of requiring administrator approval of new membership applications or automatically approving them. For more information, see Member applications workflow.

For paid memberships, you can also automatically send customized receipts and invoices. Both online and offline payments can be handled. For more information, see Payment settings.

The automated confirmation emails can be customized separately for each membership level. For more information, see Customizing default membership emails.

Members can also be manually added by a site administrator, either one by one or via import.

 Automate membership renewals

With Wild Apricot, you can automate the  membership renewal process  with timed reminders and actions for each membership level. You can provide for a membership renewal invoice to be automatically generated and emailed to members a specific number of days before their renewal date. If the member does not renew within a certain period of time, you can provide for their membership status to be set to Lapsed, their membership level to be changed, and/or their contact record to be archived.

For more information, see Membership renewal settings.

To fully automate the renewal process, you can set up recurring payments.

 Customize default membership emails

You can customize the membership emails to be sent for each membership level when you set the renewal policy and new applications policy for the level. The membership emails for all levels – the uncustomized versions of the emails – are based on a single set of default membership emails.

You can modify the default membership emails so that your changes are reflected in the membership emails for all new levels. Whether your changes are reflected in existing membership emails depends on the choice you make when you save your changes to a default membership email.

The timing of the renewal reminders – how many days before the renewal date they are sent – is determined by the renewal policy settings for each membership level. The recipients of the renewal reminders and notifications are also determined by the renewal policy settings for the level. The recipients of the membership application emails are determined by the new application settings for the membership level.

To customize the default membership emails, hover over the Members menu and click the Membership emails option.

For more information, see Customizing default membership emails.

 Customize database fields

Information about each contact is stored in a separate record, with each record storing different chunks of information in fields (e.g. first name, last name, email address).

In addition to their contact record, each contact can also have a membership record, and one or more event registration records or donation records.

You can customize your contact database – and your forms – by adding, modifying, reordering, and deleting database fields.

Wild Apricot database fields are divided into two classes: common fields – fields that apply to all records (e.g. first name, last name, email address) – and additional fields that only apply to membership applications, event registrations, or donations. Each record is a combination of common fields and fields specific to that type of record. For example, a membership record will consist of membership fields and common fields, while a donation record will consist of donation fields and common fields.

The forms that appear to the user – and are used to create records – also combine both types of fields. A membership form, for example, will display both common fields and membership fields.

To customize a form, you add or remove fields, either common or specific to the form type.

You can add any number of common fields or other database fields. You can modify, reorder, and delete existing fields (except system fields such as Member ID, First name, Last name, Organization, Email, and Phone). You can create different membership fields for different membership levels, and limit the visibility of all field types to members or administrators only.

For more information, see Customizing database fields.

 Set up corporate, team, or family membership bundles

You can offer discounted group memberships to companies, team, or families by setting up membership bundle levels. A membership bundle is a group of members who are linked together and managed by one of their members – the bundle administrator. Bundle members share the same renewal date, status, and membership level.

With each bundle level you create, visitors to your site can create separate membership bundles. You could, for example, set up a bundle level called Families to allow individual families to create separate membership bundles for their family members. The membership fee for the bundle level will be applied to each bundle that is created, and will be invoiced to the bundle administrator.

For more information, see Membership bundles.

 Organize members into groups

You can organize members from different membership levels into member groups according to their interests or participation in committees. For example, you could create member groups such as "Board of Directors" or "Volunteer Committee". Organizing members into member groups allows you to:

  • Control page access by group
  • Select the group to receive an email message

For more information, see Member groups.

 Suspend, archive, and delete members

You may wish to suspend someone's membership because of misconduct or some other reason. You can also suspend a member to convert the member into a contact. Suspending a membership will:

  • Remove the membership so they become a non-member contact
  • Hide them from any member directory
  • Keep an archive of their membership level and status 
  • Keep all their contact information as it was before (e.g. you can still send emails to this person)

For more information, see Suspending a membership.

If a membership is lapsed for a considerable period of time, you might want to remove the person from your contact database so that they no longer count towards your database limit. Rather than deleting the member's contact record, you can archive the record so it can be restored at a later date. Archived records are automatically excluded from receiving emails and do not count towards your database limit. Once archived, a record can be deleted at anytime. For more information, see Deleting and archiving member and contact records.

See also How membership status affects available functionality.

 Search for contacts

To view a list of your contacts, click the Contacts tab. If you are already on another screen within the Contacts module, click the Contact list option.

From the contact list, you can search for a particular contact using a simple keyword search or click the Advanced search tab and perform an advanced search.

From the Simple search tab, you can also select from a list of predefined filters to quickly display event attendees, donors, or other types of contacts.

You can save your advanced search criteria so you can quickly and easily perform the same search again in the future (Community plans and higher).

 Search for members

You can search for members from either the  Contacts  tab or from the  Members  tab. You can search using a simple  keyword search  or click the  Advanced search  tab and perform an  advanced search .

From the simple contact search, you can also select from a list of predefined filters to quickly display event attendees, donors, or other types of contacts.

Using the advanced search, you can combine multiple search criteria, and control whether any or all of the criteria needs to be met, then save your search for future use.

You can save your advanced search criteria so you can quickly and easily perform the same search again in the future.

You can control the layout of the search results – which fields are displayed and in what order – by selecting a layout before running a saved search.

To send an email blast to the entire search results, click the Email members button. You can create your email blasts from scratch, use a previously sent email, or choose one of the professionally designed email templates provided by Wild Apricot.

To export the search results to a spreadsheet, click the Export button. 

For more information, see Searching and filtering contact and member records.

 View membership information

Once you have your search results, you can view individual member details by clicking on members within the list. From the Contact details screen, you can use the Prev and Next button to browse through other records in the list.

To view contact information, click the Contact details tab. For more information, see Viewing and editing contact details .

To view membership information, click the Membership tab. For more information, see Viewing and editing membership details.

 Merge records

You can merge data from two contact records, so that one record with the combined data remains active and the other record is archived. For example, you may have a contact who signed up as a member with his primary email address, then registered for an event using an alternate email address. You don't want to keep two separate contact records for the same person, so you merge them into one.

As part of the merging process, you select the contact record you want to remain active and the other record to be merged and archived. 

For more information, see Merging records.

 Add a member directory to your website

To allow visitors to your site to see a list of your members, search for members, and view member profiles, you can add a member directory gadget to a page on your site.

Clicking on a member listing within the directory will display that member's profile (subject to their privacy settings).

You can control which members appear in the directory, restricting the list by criteria such as membership level or database fields such as city or state. You can create multiple member directories, each with different settings. For example, you could set up different member directories for members and non-members, or for different regions.

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Whether a member appears in the directory also depends on that member's privacy settings.

In addition to controlling which members are displayed in the list, you can control which fields are displayed for each member and the order in which member records are sorted.

For more information, see Member directory.

 Perform online member self service

One of the main advantages of using Wild Apricot is that members can perform various tasks on their own – without bothering the administrators. These tasks include:

  • Renewals – Member can renew and pay online
  • Upgrades – Members can switch their membership levels themselves and immediately receive the privileges of the new membership level
  • Updating profiles – Members can edit their own profiles (e.g. change email address) and the changes are automatically reflected everywhere on the site
  • Financial history – Members and other contacts can view a full history of past invoices and payments and pay any outstanding invoices online

For more information, see Online self-service.

Troubleshooting

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 The Renew button does not appear on the Membership tab for a contact
  • The  Renew  button only appears if the membership level renewal period is set to something other than  Never , and if there is a specific renewal due date in the member record. The button will not appear for members with  recurring payments .
 The recurring payments option does not appear on the Renewal policy tab
  • Recurring payments are only supported for Community plans and above, and not for renewal periods greater than 1 year.
 I suspended a member but his recurring payments still take place
  • If the member has  recurring payments  with PayPal, suspending the member will not stop the recurring payments on the former member's card. The recurring payments must be stopped manually.

See also


Managing your membership
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