Very good question. Three answers -
1) sometimes, a bit more granularity in member engagement metrics is desired to determine where effort should be expended. Is region 1 involving their members better than region 2? Are members in one part of the state more engaged in our emails than another? Are there members who open our emails but do not attend any of our functions or vice versa? The answers to these questions would tell us what group to survey, which regional personnel need to communicate better or change topics.
2) chasing member renewals is costly. If we can easily determine those who were opening our emails (engaged) versus those who were not, we could prioritized the engaged lapsed members, before spending a lot on chasing the unengaged. it would also tell us if there is a correlation between lapsed membership and lack of email contact.
3) identifying more engaged members would allow us to target them for board service, for donations, for interviews in our newsletter, and to host events.
Yes, we can now examine each individual member record and build a list for the above. I'm only proposing this would be far easier with a search function.
Are the email statistics contained in a separate file, that is not easily accessible? Is the volume of email stats so large that more processing power would be needed?
We're currently running at about a 50% open rate for sent emails. That's up from 30% when we started two years ago. We'd like to raise that rate even further and any additional data to help us make decisions would be beneficial. Not everything is operationally oriented. Sometimes, metrics are helpful to tell us how well or not well we are doing, and the more granular the better if the cost is not high.
Thanks for being receptive.
We have 500 active members with email access, so doing this manually takes several hours of repetitive tedium. I have done it once for one of our smaller regions, but as with any metric, the value of the data decays over time. So, unless I'm willing to repeat the process every month or so, doing it once isn't very meaningful. Ideally, we'd like to see how our email "audience" changes over time; whether those opening our emails are also attending our webinars; whether those whose renewal is due in the next two months have been engaged in our emails and newsletters - that kind of thing. Obviously, we can do all of this manually, one member at a time, but having a search result give us this information on a subset of our membership would save a lot of time and effort.
When this feature is added, it would be nice if several custom macros could be allowed. We have six membership levels, but offer one-, two-, and three-year memberships. That means that effectively we have 18 membership levels. Maintaining the renewal emails is tedious whenever anything changes, such as a change in officers/directors or new accomplishments or plans for the new year (that we mention in the email reminders). If we could put each of these into a (boilerplate) macro, it would greatly ease maintenance of the renewal reminders. Just so you understand, I am asking that a few of these custom macros be extended text fields.
I should have added this: there are two things that would improve the situation for us. One, if there was a setting that could keep the original renewal date for any active member no matter what membership level choices they make. Two, if the Member Profile Setting allowed a text block on the profile page in which instructions or hints could be placed.
Regarding the first item, I cannot imagine the situation in which we would want to change the original renewal date for an active member based on his choice of renewal options. If the member was downgrading his level, he/she had already paid for the full term of the higher level and we want merely to extend his membership with payment for the lower level by one year, two years, etc. beyond the original renewal date. If the member is upgrading to a higher level, we would certainly want to give them every advantage because they have become a more valuable member. So, again, we would want to extend their membership term by one year, two years, etc. beyond the original renewal date. (Lapsed members are a different issue that we are not that concerned about.)
Regarding the second item, it would be nice to have different instruction text for each membership level, but if that is difficult, we would settle for just one chance to give members a clue about renewal options.
I agree that the current options in the member profile for renewal are not intuitive, at least not for our situation. We have implemented multi-year memberships and the only way we could find to do that, was to have a different membersip level for each membership term. So we have an Individual (one year), Individual (two year), Individual (three year), Supporting (one year), Supporting (two year), Supporting (three year), Sustaining (one year) . . . you get the idea. It makes it tedious when we have to specify which levels have access, or which levels apply to certain functions, or have to change renewal options, but it is workable. The true difficulty arises when a member renews. First, we have to educate the member that "Change Membership Level" needs to be clicked to go from a one year Individual membership to the two or three year version. Even then, if they do it correctly, they lose their original renewal date as it becomes effective when they renew instead of extending their original date. In some cases this penalizes them a month or more. Finally, if they renew at the one year rate (because they didn't realize that they had another option), and later instead want the multi-year option, we ask them to mail in a check and we change it manually or we ask them to make a donation to cover the difference and change it manually. In most of these cases, we have to rely on hardcopy files of the members' renewal dates so that we can correct the system's resetting of the renewal date. There has to be a better way, but we haven't found it.
Our organization also must issue a unique membership number to all new members. Plus, we use that number to track when people have joined. While the Wild Apricot member number might help somewhat, many on our board are used to our sequential numbering. Having a numbering sequence in which there are gaps, and having to work with six digits rather than our current low four-digits, would create some discomfort. Lastly, our secretary receives all new membership applications by mail and approves only membership applications - he uses the sequential numbers as a double-check to match membership revenue to bank deposits. I realize that this might be difficult to implement, but it would be helpful. Not at the top of our list of wants, but it would be helpful.
In reading these comments and thinking through various scenarios, it seems that it would be difficult for you to offer backup guidelines that would cover all situations and all organization types. So, here's our situation and I'll ask you to comment on what backup holes we need to plug.
We've got about 200 webpages using membership renewals, applications, event registration as well as discussion forums. We keep backups of the member and contact database, all uploaded documents and graphics. We currently do not export our invoices to a backup. We have NOT taken the tedious step of backing up the source code of the 200 webpages, but changes go through a single individual which might mitigate some risk of loss. We're assuming that Wild Apricot can recover from any hardware/software malfunction without any loss to our systems. We're hoping that in the unlikely event that some hacker recreationally destroyed our website that Wild Apricot could reconstruct it (?).
Our website manager uses a Mac so WebStripper (or PageNest) is not an option. Given the Chief Apricot's previous comments, I'm not sure WebStripper is viable as a source from which to upload the website anyway.
What additionally should we be doing?