How to Get ALL Members Onboard
How to Get All Members Onboard (including those who don't use technology)
Although a lot has changed over the last few years with a huge increase in people’s willingness to interact online and also via their phone, most clubs still have a portion of members with little to no technology access. This can be a primary concern for membership organisations who are looking to move to an online membership system as they don’t want to lose or upset what is often their oldest and most loyal members.
How can we manage the members that won’t pay online?
Although more and more people are getting comfortable with paying online, we understand that there are always going to be some members who it doesn’t suit. There are a few things we normally recommend to clubs who are in this situation.
In person registration days
Lots of clubs have typically held face-to-face registration days and invite members to come along in person to sign up or renew their membership. We understand that these open days are sometimes important to the club’s culture and members. The automatic renewal reminder notice email is configurable so we recommend including details of how they can pay online as well as including details so they can alternatively come along to your registration day. We typically find that some people come along in person even after they have already registered and paid online.
Renew them as an Administrator
For some clubs that only have a few people that won’t or can’t pay online it may be as simple as including the membership coordinators email address or phone number in the renewal email. That way anyone that can’t renew online can be renewed manually by the administrator, either over the phone by credit card or cash at the next event. Administrators can add product purchases, renew memberships, take event registrations on a members behalf all via the administration area. The member is still sent the system email, an invoice, and the transaction is recorded against their account.
As a side note, you can allow manual payment methods on your site so members can renew online and select to pay by direct transfer or cash. The issue with this, however, means that you are back to manual tasks. The system cannot automatically match any manual payments in your account, which means you are left manually following up payments, reconciling your bank account and sometimes still banking cheques. We normally find the reason for moving your membership online is to reduce the workload so we recommend enabling manual payments only for administrators and used for the minority.
What about members without an email address?
Using an online membership system typically requires all users to have an email address but sometimes this isn’t available when you are starting out. In this situation we recommend using an email address at your organisation i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org. Entering this email address against all members without their own email address means you can then search for all members and print a pdf so you can post membership renewals to them. There is also the option to turn off all renewal reminders coming to this email address so you aren’t bombarded with hundreds of automated emails like renewal reminders and expiry notices.
This is typically only an issue in the initial launch as over time we find members want to login to the app and access their own account, at which point they add their email address to the system.
How can these members access their member card?
The member cards are available to be emailed, downloaded on the app or from the website so they can be easily accessed by the majority of members. For members who don’t use technology, administrators have the option to download their membership card on their behalf and print it as a pdf (using the export functionality).
Appoint a “Champion” to help others with the mobile app!
One of the things that has worked well for our customers in the past is to appoint a champion for the mobile app. Many of your members will be willing to download and engage via the app but will need help getting set up. A champion can be a person that is willing to be at events or contactable via email that will help guide your members through the process of downloading and logging in to the mobile app. Once they are logged in it will keep them logged in indefinitely.
Less tech-savvy members find the app is much easier to engage with than the website, so it is worth having someone help get them onboard. Once members are signed in and using the app, they generally love it and can navigate and find things easily.
Change is often a scary thing and as a committee, there is often concern that members may not embrace the change of moving to an online system. The reality is that people are becoming more and more comfortable with technology. Online systems are also saving volunteers time and keeping clubs sustainable into the future. As with any major change, there just needs to be a balance between keeping older members happy and appealing to new members to make sure no one is left behind on the journey.
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