Managing multiple groups or chapters in a single Wild Apricot account
For the genesis of this please see
Some organizations need to manage separate chapters/groups within a single Wild Apricot account (and thus only one website).
Here's the current state of this functionality and links to related threads:
Each chapter can have its own website section and there can be web editors with permissions limited to a specific chapter section (existing functionality)
Members can be separated out into chapters through a use of Groups field or a custom field (existing functionality). One aspect that is currently missing is the ability to assign per-chapter membership managers. There is already a thread dedicated to this, see http://forums.wildapricot.com/forums/308932-wishlist/suggestions/8825755-new-admin-role-membership-manager-limited-to-spe
Events can be separated out between chapters through the existing event tags functionality. There is currently no provision for chapter-specific event managers - all event managers would have access to all events. There is a request about adding event-specific organizers for each event (vs. current model of Wild Apricot account-wide event managers). See http://forums.wildapricot.com/forums/308920-archive/suggestions/8831335-event-specific-administrators-10260 I believe this might meet need of chapter event organizers - and would appreciate your comments and thoughts on that thread.
Finally, there is a financial aspect. Currently, all payments in a particular Wild Apricot account flow into the same merchant account defined in settings. It sounds like some groups want chapter finances (event payments, membership payments) to flow into per-chapter merchant accounts - which is not currently possible. Something along these lines has been requested - see http://forums.wildapricot.com/forums/308932-wishlist/suggestions/8825845-allow-multiple-online-payment-gateways-in-one-wa-a and I would appreciate your comments.
I would greatly appreciate comments about there or any other aspects of managing multiple chapters/groups within a single Wild Apricot account.
E Powers commented
My organization site is currently a WordPress multisite. It's a main chapter then has 5 chapter subsites. We're going to be adding four more chapters this spring. I came here to see if WA allowed for multi-site b/c managing the WordPress site has it's challenges too. One thing though is that every chapter has it's own membership, paypal gateway etc. which appears WA does not...so I guess I'll be sticking with WP for now.
Wes Stieringer commented
Another workaround would be to perhaps send additional data to, in our case, PayPal. When I download their CSV file of all activity, there are numerous available fields that are blank. Does WA have a way to send additional info, such as a chapter field in the membership database or an event tag? That could help to sort out PayPal transactions.
No updates here, sorry.
GOPS Webmaster commented
Any further news on this subject? Our organization has 5 Chapters and 500+ members. Four of our Chapters are now using their own WA sites. We would love to pursue a "national" or "umbrella" top level with Chapters still doing their own websites under the "national" concept. We are looking for a single membership database and Chapter ability to use their own PayPal (or other) account for "their" events. We'd love to see the ability to provide a combined calendar of events. E.g., we offer camping trips put on by each Chapter, but we'd like to invite all in the organization via the joint membership database. Along these same lines, the ability to subscribe to a joint calendar on our mobile devices - iphones, ipads, etc.
Dmitry As you know I have loved Wild Apricot for more than eight years and send people to you all the time. It is frustrating to combat Board members in our org about the lack of multi-chapter management tools. There are other software options learning from WA and competing who are looking at this option and we do not want to move at all. We have a huge membership drive this year and plan to double our membership so the last thing I need is all of our local club administrators having to learn new software. At least please let us know when this is on the horizon for development. These comments are positive and on point. We mainly need central membership processing with local branch managing events and payments to go to their own club bank account.
Thanks again though to all WA staff for a fabulous front runner to any other software - you've been the leader for years.
Allow for multiple chapter accounts and event registration with unique Paypal accounts for every chapter.
I read :) thanks for such an elaborated comment
For now, we're not planning to do anything in this area (chapters), but your comment will help when it comes to analysis and planning.
As you are collecting information on this concept here is another scenario for your consideration.
Our organization has two divisions:
a) An annual conference that meets in a hotel.
b) A club that provides year round services to those of our members who want more intensive services.
Registering in the conference confers membership in the organization. Registering for a monthly or greater membership in the club confers membership in the organization. While we do offer memberships separately from these activities very few people take advantage of this as they view the organization primarily through the lens of the conference or the club. While we could separate out our annual organization’s membership fees from either the conference or the club we have observed that doing so puts a constraint on our ability to market either activities: in our earlier years we noted that it was a resistance point to either state the membership charge separately or to have to explain why the membership fee was even necessary so we now currently incorporate membership into our user fees. The way that we can justify incorporating the membership fees into usage fees is that we make it clear to our members that we are taking this fee out of their usage fees and we track internally the transfer of funds to the parent organization, which is a budgeting exercise to cover the corporate expenses common to both divisions and to the membership as a whole. Furthermore our larger organization does function as a membership organization with regard to meetings, membership voting, etc.
In effect our two divisions are sort of “chapters” of the larger organization. The larger organization has an annual membership fee, the conference charges differing event admission fees, and the club charges differing monthly usage fees. In our case our divisions are part of the same corporate entity. I would also add that it is conceivable that we could add additional conventions to our list of divisions.
We are currently using Wild Apricot for the club only. We can do this by employing the fiction of treating our monthly usage fees in the club as “membership” fees in the club when in fact they are usage fees to the members of our larger organization who choose to use the club. Since Wild Apricot does not support auto generated billing for anything other than memberships this was the only way that the club could take advantage of auto generated billing on a timed basis.
We do not use Wild Apricot for the conference division mostly because we have detailed workflow requirements for literally hundreds of sessions at the conference that are not handled currently by Wild Apricot. My comments below assume that we would eventually switch to Wild Apricot for the conference division.
Unfortunately all of the above means that we have to manually combine our membership roster from both divisions and perform occasional accounting reconciliations between our divisions. Given the above, admittedly jury-rigged, setup features that could be useful to us would be the following:
1) Certain event registration types in a “chapter” confer membership in the larger organization which shows up in that organization’s membership roster, along with the corresponding bookkeeping entries. General organization membership fees could be either be listed separately and automatically added to the event bill or the organization could simply incorporate them (as we have done) into the event fee; this choice would be an administrative setting. Internal accounting data on membership fees would follow these settings.
2) Certain membership types in a “chapter” confer membership in the larger organization which shows up in the larger organization’s membership roster, along with corresponding bookkeeping entries. General organization membership fees could be either be listed separately and automatically added to the division’s membership bill or the organization could simply incorporate them (as we have done) into the division’s membership fee; this choice would be an administrative setting. Internal accounting data on membership fees would follow these settings.
If you have read this far, I thank you for your attention.
Hi Duncan, thanks for the feedback. We cannot really say when a suggestion is going to be implemented, sorry.
Duncan Todd commented
I am excluded from the general discussion area for some reason.
This functionality is crucial for our non-profit - we have started evaluating competing products that offer this functionality out of the box (e.g. silkstart).
What we need:
A national or central view of the full database with existing WA admin and reporting functionality.
Assignable admin rights at local chapter level with the ability to view/edit/maintain member, event, money (donation and finances), email and site data, per existing WA admin functionality but only for that chapter's members. A local chapter dashboard would be good. Essentially a "mini" standard WA view of one segment of the database with rights and views limited to that chapter's data. Custom subscriptions and charges for each chapter, together with either a flat-fee or % contribution to national level would be good too.
Ideally also we'd like to restrict chapter admins from being able to export data to comply with local privacy legislation.
Any idea on if or when such functionality might find its way into WA?
No updates, sorry. Still waiting on this :(
This would be incredibly helpful.. We are currently looking to have our other branches use wildapricot.
Ideally, for us, having each chapter manage payments and events, but share membership database information, so that members(or database managers) have to manually make a new login for each branch site.
For example, we have one main branch and put on many events each year, currently we have a hidden membership level to which we manually upload "other branch" member information so they are able to take advantage of online member perks.
It would also be wonderful to have main branch database managers be able pull reports from the organization as a whole.
I hope this goes forward soon!
Any updates from WA's end on this topic?
NAIFA Oregon commented
Adding to this. We currently manage both state and some local chapters. They each have their own website and events, but we still have to duplicate all events onto the state website calendar . It would be great to have the ability to merge through an ical url or html code so all the events from the various accounts can show up on the one state website events calendar too and when people register the details show up both on the backend of the state website and the backend of the corresponding local website.
Aaron Whittenberger commented
Absolutely, this would be a huge hit for non-profit associations.
Chief Apricot, this has been talked about for over 5 years, has there been any progress on making it reality. I can put you in touch with my international association with 113 chapters that is currently considering new content management system for its 113 chapters. At least 10 of our chapters are already on Wild Apricot. If you make this reality, you may be able to captured the rest of our chapters and international association.
Two big requirements we have:
1) Chapters are not allowed to accept members who are not members of the international association. I see this as a configurable item as other organizations may not have this requirement.
2) We wish to offer members the ability to pay international and chapter membership dues at the same time. Funds should go directly to each the international association and the chapter(s) based on their membership dues. We also need the ability for members to join multiple chapters, but again they must be a member of the international association first. Having linked accounts between international and chapters makes validation of international membership convenient.
Our chapters would need their own accounts/websites, and international will have their own account. International should be able to link to all chapter accounts. I read in another thread that international admins be able to log into chapter accounts. We would like this feature as well. Each chapter would have their admins as well.
This would be a huge hit with lots of non-profits.
Yes, we are an Australasian society with branches across 4 time zones. Event fees go to the branches who run the events - just membership fees go to the central account.
And our treasurer's complaint is having to transfer all those hundreds of payments from Paypal into MYOB.
If the umbrella organization is taking payments and managing registrations for a chapter, would you really want all the money to go directly to the chapter's paypal account? Wouldn't you want to subtract a % or fee for your efforts? I think most organizations would.
I wouldn't say huge....You provide them a list of registrants details by clicking "export registrants" and the details of the payments for the event by exporting the financial transactions for the event in one click as well and write them a cheque for the amount in the report minus whatever fees you would subtract. Doesn't seem like that much work to me.
In other words, it cannot be done now.
"more work for the treasurer" is an understatement. If you have 3-4 branch events taking registrations at a time, each taking 100 or more attendees, it's a huge amount of extra work.
You can basically do this now, but you have to collect all the money for the different chapters events and then transfer them the money from that event's registrations (minus fees) once the registration is closed. That requires a certain amount of trust in the umbrella organization admin'ing the wild apricot account, and more work for the treasurer, but if you have a bunch of local organizations running events or competitions but all the competitors also belong to the provincial/state organization then this is the ideal way. You only need one wild apricot account and the chapters get to delegate a lot of work to the umbrella organization.
I am using wild apricot now as what you would call a chapter in this scenario, but I'm considering proposing the umbrella organization take on the task of running wild apricot once a couple of the things that bug me about wild apricot are fixed. This would mean a bigger account and more $$ per month. None of the other 'chapters' here have their own wild apricot accounts.
In some cases it might be an easier sell to everyone involved if membership fees could go to one paypal account and when you created an event the admin could choose that payments went to the chapter's paypal account, but I can see that would be a huge task to implement. It can still be done without that though....different membership levels for different chapters, events that are maybe only open to certain chapters(levels) - that's all possible.
Dmitry Buterin commented
Sorry, no, we have not decided yet when/if we are going to pursue this.