Subscription Management – How Renewal Cycles Could Be Affecting Your Growth

Subscription Management

Renewal cycles form an integral part of the smooth running of your member organisation, not to mention it’s financial stability. But have you ever considered that your choice of renewal cycle may actually be having a detrimental effect on your member growth and retention figures?

Whilst subscription management can be streamlined with software which makes the renewal process easier, the aim of this post is to show you why choosing the right renewal cycle should not just be about organisation finances and resources. But takes into account desired membership growth and retention rates too.

What Is Your Renewal Cycle?

You may not have given it much thought. Indeed your choice of cycle was probably based more on financial reasons than that of member growth and retention. Lets look at the two commonly used renewal cycles by membership organisations:

  1. Calendar cycle: essentially renewals take place on a fixed date each month or annually, regardless of when a member has joined. This typically is the preferred method of most membership organisations as it requires less resources than renewing members on the anniversary of when they joined (see below).
  2. Anniversary cycle: with this cycle members renew on the anniversary of them joining the organisation. For larger membership organisations where member numbers run into the ‘000s, this type of cycle helps spread the workload over the year and can be automated with subscription management software.

With both forms of renewal there are pros and cons, and much will depend on the size and financial stability of your organisation when it comes to choosing the right one. But finances aside, let’s talk about how renewal cycles can impact member growth and retention.

How Your Choice of Cycle Could Impact Growth

It may come as a surprise to learn that renewal cycles can affect a potential member’s decision to join. They may also affect an existing member’s decision to renew – perhaps their circumstances have changed and paying annually no longer works for them.

Surveys of organisations in America have shown that there is a link between renewal cycles and member retention and growth rates. A survey conducted by Marketing General Incorporated (MGI) and published in their 2013 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report, showed that organisations using anniversary cycles experienced a growth in member numbers, whilst those using calendar cycles had a higher number of member retentions.

All of which can only serve to confuse, and potentially force organisations into choosing a cycle which will meet just one priority when it comes to membership – member growth or member retention? However, the report goes on to point out that new members are often the lowest group to renew. According to Tony Rossell of MGI:

“there’s also an important relationship between new-member acquisition and renewal rates:” “New members are always the lowest renewing category, so the higher your new-member input is, generally speaking the lower your renewal rate is,”

This would seem to indicate that in choosing an anniversary renewal cycle you will experience a certain amount of volatility in member numbers. Whilst larger organisations may be better placed to cope with this, fluctuating member numbers may be harder for smaller organisations to manage.

What’s Best For Your Organisation?

Ultimately the choice of renewal cycle will come down to a balance between what is best for your organisation and what is best for your members. An anniversary cycle may well be your members preferred option. But for many organisations, especially smaller ones, managing this is just too daunting. However, advances in subscription management software potentially changes this.

Membership software makes it far easier to implement a renewal cycle which works for both organisation and members. PaySubsOnline.com allows you to set the preferred renewal cycle and automate renewal notification when payments are due. Members can pay their fees easily online and options can be set to collect monthly, quarterly, bi-annually or annually. Direct debits (UK clients) also provide peace of mind for organisations concerned about collecting regular payments.

So if you are now wondering whether you should be changing your renewal cycle, Tony Rossell offers this advice:

“From a consumer perspective, a consumer’s expectation for best practice would be ‘I could join whenever I want to join, and I’ll pay for one year and get renewed a year later.’ And anniversary allows for year-round marketing and takes prorating of dues off the table,” he says. “So, in general, my recommendation would be if you can operationally manage it with your staff and technology, it’s the right way to go.”

Have you changed from one renewal cycle to another? If so, did you experience changes in member recruitment and retention numbers?  Was there a change in your management processes and time? What other factors does your organisation consider when choosing a renewal cycle?  We’d love to hear.

To find out which membership admin tasks, including automating your renewals, can be done quicker and easier online, download our free guide below or contact us today for a free demo.

 

Subscription management software

7 Key Questions to Ask When Evaluating Membership Database Software

Membership Database Software

If you’ve landed on this post, chances are you have already discovered the numerous benefits of membership database software. So now you are probably asking which is the best software for your club’s needs? As with any software, there are a lot of providers to choose from, all offering different features and benefits.

Even though they all have numerous features and functions to offer, it goes without saying you need to select the one that best meets the needs of your club. Of course we hope you will choose PaySubsOnline.com to manage your club membership. But we understand that every club will have different requirements.

Software in any sphere is rarely a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. Moreover, the potential benefits to your club are too great to leave to chance. That is why it is imperative you ask these seven key questions when evaluating any member management software.

7 Key Evaluation Questions:

1. Is it easy to use?

Having membership software that has a large range of features and options is pointless if you do not know how to use them effectively. Software that is not user friendly will require a lot of training time and is more likely to promote human error. Club administrators aside, if the software is not easy for your members to use, they may well abandon it, leaving you to return to the manual admin methods of old.

2. Does it serve its purpose?

Be careful not to choose a provider whose software is too basic to manage your subscriptions adequately. Many clubs make this mistake while searching for user friendly or low cost software. Consider using providers that offer free trials or demos to see if the functionality suits your needs and discover just what else it can do for you.

3. Is there help available if I need it?

Even opting for database software that is simple to manage does not guarantee that there will be no kinks in the learning process. Should you need assistance with navigation or operation, it would be beneficial to have customer support services readily available. Consider too your members – will they be able to access customer support should they need it?

4. Is it reliable?

Having the best membership software available would be mute if it were never functioning properly. With most systems running via the cloud, uptime is a vital consideration. A system which is down more than it is up will be of little use to you and your members. Most providers are happy to share their average % uptime with you, so don’t be afraid to ask. A figure in the very high 90%’s is what you are looking for.

5. Will my information be safe?

A security breach can put you and your member’s information at risk resulting in identity theft or worse. Any software provider should have systems in place to ensure the integrity of confidential data. This security is important if you are to encourage your members to use the system, especially when asking them to enter financial information. Your first indication that the system is secure is https:// appearing in the address bar at the top of your browser. Or you may see a padlock icon appear.

Any membership database software provider based in the UK that stores information about your members are required by law to register with the ICO as a data controller.  You can perform a search on the ICO website to see if the members software company you’re evaluating is registered (give it a try now – search on Pay Here Limited – the legal entity in which PaySubsOnline.com trades under).

Always check the Privacy Policy of the providers.  Some organisations may state they share your members information with others, others may not (at PaySubsOnline.com, we never share your members data with any third party).  It should all be in the small print so worth checking.

These are a good start but it is always advisable to seek further assurances from the provider.

6. Is it a fair price?

Many people believe in the saying’ “You get what you pay for.” So while a membership database plan may be affordable, it may be too basic to be useful and therefore a false economy. Therefore, do not decide on price alone. Instead, compare the whole package and then determine its worth.

Software providers will often provide a range of price plans with different available features. Often these plans will be based on the size of your club and the number of members you have. The larger your member pool the more you will pay. Others may set prices according to the number of administrators you want to have access. Plan prices may be annual or they may be monthly. Custom plans may also be available whereby you can negotiate the price and features to suit your club and budget.

7. What are others saying about them?

It goes without saying you want to choose a provider who is reliable, secure and affordable. You will want help and support should you or your members need it and you will want a plan which offers all the features you need at a price you can afford. So your final stop on the evaluation process should be to check out reviews and ratings. Look at social media too by searching for the provider by name. No reviews/mentions is not necessarily a bad thing and may mean the provider is new to the market. In this instance you may want to wait a while to see how they perform before signing up.

Finally, ask around other clubs and member organisations to see what membership database software they use. Their responses can give you valuable insight into how different providers perform and even throw some new names into the pot!

Selecting the best membership software for your club may require a lot of research and comparison. In the end it will come down to the provider who offers the best range of features for your club needs and budget. But, knowing that you have made the right choice is worth the effort. Before signing up for any software plan, take a free trial first so you can see how it works first hand. Most providers will be more than happy to offer trials ranging from a week to 30 days.

To evaluate PaySubsOnline.com why not sign up for a free trial or contact us for a demo, where you can experience all the features we offer before you commit.  We also provide a free Buyers Guide that explores the functionality you’ll need when switching your membership management online.  Download your free copy below.

Membership Database Software

When It’s Time to Switch to Membership Software

Membership Software

Once upon a time, there was a club administrator who battled with spreadsheets and an inefficient database. They struggled daily to update member information, balance payments and reconcile renewals. Then there was the mountain of member communications to send. For this club administrator, everyday was a marathon to stay on top of the paperwork.

Ok, so you get the picture! But it is easy to lose the battle against spreadsheets when you try to tackle membership management manually. Luckily, advances in membership software online now give you a significant advantage in winning the paperwork war. And, unlike spreadsheets, online access allows members to update their information themselves which will save you a heap of time.

Is it time you switched to software designed to handle the day-to day management of your club members?  Read on to discover why one simple software change could revolutionise your club administration.

Why You Need Membership Management Software

The benefits of switching to membership software are many. Not least, it combines tools for managing member information and collecting payments into one package. For many clubs, spreadsheets and elementary databases provide a basic management system. Yet tracking member info and club payments with these methods leaves far too much room for human error. One lost payment or incorrect registration information, can lead to a loss of revenue, and potentially member confidence.

So let’s look at how traditional systems shape up against membership software:

Task

Traditional Methods

Problems Encountered

Membership Software

Time Saved

Collecting Registration Information Needs to be entered manually from a form filled out by the registrant A 2-step process with potential to lose forms or difficulty deciphering members writing leading to incorrect input Registrants can enter their own information online when they join Saves hours spent manually entering data, checking it’s correct and filing the paperwork
Collecting Membership Fees Needs to be collected manually; reconciled in a ledger or accounting software and banked in person. Cheques are usually the only payment option aside from cash. These take time to clear, can incur a processing fee and moreover, cheques are rarely used these days. Fees can be collected online through secure payment gateways via the members bank / credit card or by Direct Debit. Card payments are cleared  immediately and Direct Debit payments are initiated instantly. No more hours spent trudging to the bank and waiting inline to pay money in.
Financial Reports Need to be manually collated and presented from spreadsheet or ledger data Takes time to filter data and setup reports. If a number of software options are used to record data it can be difficult to reconcile information between them, meaning reports need to be created manually. Reports can be automatically created according to a range of selected data criteria. Reports are instantly available and you can view information for the club, for each membership category, fundraising appeal, team, squad or group in just a couple of clicks.
Renewals Need to print/email renewal forms from a list manually gathered and checked from the spreadsheet or database system. Members will need to come in person to renew or return a form, whereby you will need to manually enter renewal information and send confirmation to the member. Software can be setup to automatically notify members of upcoming renewal and make it easy for them to renew membership online. Members take responsibility for renewing membership. No more manual input or sending out of renewal letters. System can also chase up those late in renewing.
Communication Collating member contact information needs to be done manually and sorted according to members recorded form of contact. Takes a long time to collate and prepare mass communications. Email software which will enable mass mailing and postage costs for printed letters all add additional fees. Integrated communication tools allow you to send mass emails, save templates, and easily organise members into groups so communications can be targeted. Less than 1 minute to select members you wish to target and load email template.
Member Information New member information needs to be entered manually on receipt of paper registration form. Manual entries, potential to lose paperwork, difficulties deciphering members handwriting and time spent filing paperwork once added to system. Members can log into their own accounts online and update their information themselves. Members enter own information so saving you hours spent on manual entry and filing paperwork.
Security Potential for data to be lost or accessed by third parties. Need to regularly backup system, update virus and malware protection (additional cost) and ensure compliance with the Data Protection Act. Data is securely stored in the cloud and regularly backed up via automated systems. Latest virus and malware protection is provided and constantly updated to ensure all member information is kept secure and private.
Accessibility Difficult to share access to spreadsheets and databases with other club members. Also difficult to access systems remotely and on other devices. Need to create internal computer network or invest in remote access software so others can access member information and club systems. Different admin permissions could be difficult to set up. Potential security risk and can be costly. Can only be accessed on desktop systems. Being cloud based, online membership software allows for any number of administrators to be setup on the club account and different access permissions provided. The software can be accessed remotely 24/7 and on numerous different devices such as tablets and smartphones.
Event Management & Fundraising Typically managed on separate spreadsheets and paper docs amongst several members of the committee. Information needs to be entered manually. Donations will need to collected and reconciled manually and paid into the club’s bank account in person. Integrated tools for event management and fundraising make it easy for all involved to keep track of efforts, totals raised and manage tasks. Members can sign up for club lotteries and pay online instantly. Donations can be received through the systems secure payment providers instantly.

Still Need Some Convincing?

Most software providers, including PaySubsOnline.com, offer flexible options so you can create a customised platform. Not only does this mean you create a tailored experience for your members logging on, it also makes it easier to share data and generate reports. Furthermore, taking your member management systems online is more cost efficient when compared to the cost of individual desktop software solutions, of which you may need more than one, and the sundry expenses associated with club administration such as postage and banking fees.

Finally, because the subscribing process becomes easier for new users, subscription rates rise and members become more satisfied with the service overall. In today’s society many of us prefer the ease of interacting virtually instead of in-person, so you risk losing potential members by only offering the option to join the ‘pen and paper’ way.

Hopefully this post has helped show you how online membership software can streamline the everyday functions of your club and make you more efficient when it comes to handling member information and collecting those all important fees. Desktop software is without question better than manual management. Yet, it still does not equate to web-based membership applications.

If you would like to know more about which admin tasks can be done quicker and easier online, download our free guide today or contact us for a free online demo.

Membership software

How Innovation Has Made Subscription Management Software A Must-Have

Subscription Management

Everyone has heard the expression, “You have to keep up with the times!” That saying also holds true for how you manage your membership organisation. The days of managing spreadsheets and paper forms are, thankfully, long gone. Software innovations are allowing membership organisations to move with the times and improve their subscription management.

You may just be dipping your toes into this software, or I may be preaching to the converted. But if you are still not sure of it’s benefits, read on to discover how it can keep your members satisfied and improve retention rates.

How Subscription Management Software Works

Imagine being able to give your members access to their accounts online? Having access to their accounts allows your members to update their information and pay their fees at their convenience. And I don’t need to tell you what a great time saving benefit that is!

Most providers, including PaySubsOnline.com, offer customisable options that allow you to tailor the system to your membership organisations needs.  With so many features and tools available, time consuming tasks like processing new registrations and renewals are done in a snap.

You can use the software to group members together for effective communication which  offers the potential for a higher yield from marketing strategies and events you may run. The ability to share data, generate reports, and run analytics with one platform increases productivity rates. The net result? The number of systems and processes needed to manage your membership is greatly reduced – saving you time and money.

Innovation and the Evolution of Membership Management

Innovation never sleeps and this is never truer than when it comes to online applications. Membership software has evolved significantly over the years. From being a simple payment gateway where members could pay their fees, to a fully integrated platform. Today’s software is feature rich including communications, marketing and fundraising tools.

One system – a multitude of uses.

The combination of cloud technology, secure payment methods and intuitive dashboards makes subscription software a real must have. And it continues to evolve.

As the world has begun to adopt smartphones and turn to tablets rather than desktops, technology has moved on too. Online software now offers the ability to be managed from anywhere and on any device. Membership secretaries and administrators are no longer tied to their desks. Now they can manage their members from anywhere they choose. On the train. At home in the garden. In the coffee shop down the road.

And if you can access the software anywhere, your members can too.

Why Your Members Will Thank You

It makes sense to combine tools for collecting payments, communications, sales and marketing into one membership management system.  Not only does it streamline your processes, it leaves little room for error. This a bonus for you and a big deal for your members too. They will be confident in the integrity of your organisation knowing that you have sound systems in place and their information is secure.

Having a convenient way for members to manage their accounts online and on different devices, removes the hassle of having to appear in-person. This alone can improve retention rates and will appeal to those thinking of joining . Most of all though, your members will be grateful for you investing in a membership management system. Not least because it means no lost paperwork or missing payments.

No matter the provider, subscription management software is a must-have if you want to manage your organisation and members effectively. Innovation has made it more accessible and more intuitive to the needs of today’s member-based organisations. If you think your organisation would benefit from switching to online membership software, why not give us a call and see a demo of how PaySubsOnline.com works or download the free guide below.

Subscription Management Software

Guilty of These Membership Management Mistakes? Here’s How To Fix Them

Membership Management

Are you guilty of trying to be all things to all people? Are you a membership administrator working harder than you need to? Is your membership management software hopelessly inefficient?  Or perhaps you realise you are not working as efficiently as you could be, but don’t know what to do about it.

The time wasting mistakes highlighted in this post are more common than you think. You may already be guilty of some of them. Yet your membership management role can easily be more efficient, more productive and more effective with the help of the quick fixes which we will show you.

The Impact Of Time Wasting

Many small membership organisations are managed by just 2-3 people.  Often these people have to wear ‘many hats’ and often it’s the club secretary who has the most to take on. Whilst limited budgets and scarce resources are just one set of challenges faced by small membership organisations, it is usually the administrative systems or processes in place which can make a simple task very complicated. Let’s face it, when things don’t work as efficiently as they should, the end result is frustration, not to mention wasted time and potentially working at cross purposes with others.

If you could find easier and faster ways of working, you would surely take them, right? Your first step however, is to analyse the mistakes you are making, identify where improvements could be made and implement new procedures with helpful tools.

Time Wasting Mistakes:

How many of these mistakes sound familiar?

  • Failing to delegate tasks - could someone else be writing up minutes, setting out meeting agendas, and chasing people up on outstanding items.
  • Using inefficient systems/tools – have you been left with the legacy of previous admins? Do your tools consist of expansive spreadsheets and out-of-the-box software which no longer works for your needs? Is your membership database at risk of duplicate entries?
  • Being overcommitted – remember those ‘hats’? Are you guilty of taking on tasks which do not relate directly to your role?
  • Failing to plan ahead – are you guilty of leaving things to the last minute? Do you find yourself compromised by having to get tasks done asap?
  • Failing to automate some tasks - could tools like membership management software help you automate tasks like sending out group communications or setting up automatic renewals?
  • Failing to periodically review tools/systems/procedures/roles – is everything still working as effectively as it should? Have individual roles within the organisation become blurred meaning you are working less efficiently. How about those legacy systems? Are they still relevant to your organisation and it’s members?
  • Over complicating the role – are you guilty of making simple admin tasks, such as ‘creating reports’ or ‘membership renewals’, too complicated through the systems/processes you have in place? Could tools like PaySubsOnline.com help you streamline some of these tasks?
  • Transition terror – are you or your committee afraid to embrace change? Do you or they prefer to do things a certain way simply because thats the way it has always been done? For example, mailing out paper minutes and club communications rather than using email; or using time consuming paper based filing systems instead of embracing online cloud storage systems or membership management software.

5 Ways To Help Reduce Time Wasting Mistakes:

  1. Automate systems and processes – reduce time and effort by embracing technology and the wealth of applications available for improving membership administration. For instance, Paysubsonline.com membership management software will take your organisations systems to the next level. By automating tasks such as membership renewals, you will free up time to concentrate on other areas of your role.
  2. Use job aids and online resources – keep track of important notes, key contacts, new procedures and important dates with online applications like Evernote. Applications like this can help store important information and make it easily accessible from any locale.
  3. Share the workload – maybe you are planning a major fundraiser or focusing hard on marketing and PR? Get everyone involved and share the workload around. Use tools like Asana to help you assign tasks, create schedules and communicate with other team members.
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – if you can’t get something done on time or have just too much on your plate, then don’t be afraid to ask for someone else to take some of the work off you. Don’t be afraid to turn tasks down either. Your colleagues are more likely to respect you for managing your workload effectively rather than question your capabilities.
  5. Review and refine – improvements can always be made so it pays to regularly review your working practices, your procedures, and the tools and applications you use.

Don’t wait until your role as administrator becomes a burden and mistakes begin to have a major impact. This should be a role you enjoy working, for an organisation you are committed to. By embracing new technology, membership  software and applications you can automate membership management tasks and streamline your workload, making your day-to-day role far easier. Furthermore, you will improve efficiency throughout the organisation and make things better for your members.

If you would like to find out which membership administrations tasks could be done quicker and easier online, download our free Whitepaper today:

Membership Database Software

Need New Club Equipment? 8 Easy Fundraising Ideas

Easy Fundraising Ideas

 

We all know how hard it can be to raise funds for your sports club. With many people tightening their belts due to the economy, getting them to part with their hard earned cash can sometimes feel impossible.

In these situations it’s important to remember the end-goal, what you’re fundraising for and why people would choose to donate. Remind them why they chose your club to begin with and don’t forget to make fundraising something that everyone can join in with.

We’re going to share with you eight simple, easy fundraising ideas that are beneficial to all of your members.

8 Fundraising Ideas

1. Monetize your website or blog

If your club has a website or blog, it makes sense to offer a portion of your webspace out for advertising. Systems like Google Ad Sense make it extremely easy to place ad blocks in different areas of your website and work by showing visitors advertisements that are relevant to their interests (and your site). You’ll be paid a small fee per click or per impression, which you can then put back into your club.

Dependant on your site traffic, you can make a reasonable return in exchange for an ad placement and Ad Sense is only one of the ways you can do it.

You could sell your own advertising space directly to other local advertisers who you know personally. Even by offering it up to your members you may find some of them are keen to buy their own advertising space. You could alternatively use, a more automated approach like Addiply if you don’t have much traffic to the site. If you have over 20,000 views a month, consider looking at Buy Sell Ads.

2. Get Your Website Sponsored

Sponsorship is slightly different to advertising in that a brand or business are paying a fee to advertise their services, instead of leaving it in the hands of a network. The benefit of this is that you have the power to negotiate on fees, as well as being able to choose the company yourself.

Relationships like this can be long and lucrative, stretching into years and it doesn’t have to be limited just for the pitch. Pitching your webspace to individual brands for a monthly or yearly fee can yield much higher rewards than simply going through an ad network. You also have the benefit of really tailoring your sponsor’s ads to your audience. This method will ultimately result in easy fundraising combined with a personal approach.

3. Online Crowdfunding

You’ve probably heard of websites like Kickstarter – places where people donate cash towards a startup or project. In return your donors get some perks should you reach your target within the set time-frame.

Crowdfunding is a popular choice for raising money these days and doing it online is even better. Sites like Kickstarter allow you to get many more people involved in simple, easy fundraising ideas than you ordinarily would. You can post videos, put across your message and rally your club supporters by sharing your fundraising project on all of your Social Media networks. Now that’s word-of-mouth recommendations on a massive scale!

4. Run a 100 Club

A 100 Club is a lottery with a pre-set amount of numbered ‘tickets’, e.g. 100 tickets for a 100 Club. Each month members pay a fixed subscription for their number. The number can either be of their choice, their membership number or a number allocated by the club’s administrator.

At the end of the month, members who have paid are entered in to the draw for a chance to win a share of the pot.

Running a 100 Club is usually hard work with members having to set-up standing orders and someone at the club having to check the bank account each month to make sure people have paid. This can now be automated online with PaySubsOnline.com membership database software. New members joining the club can opt to play as they register and existing members can login to their account to sign-up. Each month (or at whatever frequency you decide), PaySubsOnline.com will collect and reconcile the payments automatically so you can see at a glance who’s paid before you make the draw.

5. Rent Out Your Facilities

There’s bound to be some time during the year when your club facilities aren’t running at full capacity. Utilise this lack of usage by renting some or all of the space out.

This has great potential to easily raise some ad-hoc income as well as raising your club’s profile. It could also lead to a regular partnership.

If you have parking space, you could rent it out using sites like parkatmyhouse.com

6. Make It Easier To Donate

It may be the case that you have members within your club who’d quite happily add a bit more money to your coffers, yet there is no obvious and easy way to do this

Make it easier for people to donate by simplifying the process and providing a clear path to the donate button. This could be in the form of a link in your club newsletter, a donate button on your website or running a campaign that asks for a small amount each month.

With PaySubsOnline.com, new members can opt to make this type of donation when they register for the club and existing members can donate when they renew their membership online.  Our software will collect and reconcile the payments so it’s easy to give and easy to administer, equalling easy fundraising all round.

7.  Host A Regular Quiz Night

They’re fun, they bring people together and they’re a great way of getting to know your members on a more personal level. Not to mention they’re lucrative too!

A regular quiz night for example, the last Tuesday of each month (or more frequently if people are keen), has the potential to raise a sizeable amount of money for your club. A fee as small as £3 on the door can call add up depending on your numbers and will help boost the club morale to boot.

8. Take Advantage Of Supermarket Schemes

Many popular supermarkets now run schemes whereby they will commit to offering a grant or equipment to various causes.

For example, the Co-operative runs a scheme called the Membership Community Fund. Here groups can apply for grants that can be used for a range of things including new gear and sports equipment.

These schemes are a great way to showcase the good that your club can do, as they predominantly focus on local, community engagement and wellbeing. So when applying, focus on the local aspect and ask yourself what your club brings to your local area, that it would lack if you weren’t there.

Next Steps

These are some of the more easy fundraising tips you can use for new equipment for your club. The key things to take away from this post are:

  • Think local – local businesses, supermarkets and brands offer schemes and sponsorship you can easily tap into.
  • Make donating easy – set up regular donating system that automatically collects a small fee from members who sign up, use paysubsonline’s software to create a 100 club and have donate links visible on your email and website.
  • Think outside of the box – quiz nights and renting facilities also have the potential to raise big money.

To help kick start your fundraising, we’ve written ‘Your Guide to Online Fundraising for Clubs’.  You can download your free copy here:

Easy Fundraising Ideas

What do you think? What ways have you raised funds to get your new equipment. We’d love to hear in the comments below?

How to Attract New Members With Member Management Software, Social Media and More

Member management software

Do you often find that despite your best efforts, attracting new members is a struggle? You manage everything else with ease and confidence but getting someone to convert from prospect to member is an ever elusive task. It may be that you have some ideas on how to get those members through the door but lack enough funding to properly implement them.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. In today’s economy many organisations are feeling the pinch. Today we’re going to share with you six ways in which you can attract new members, without spending too much in the process.

1. Enter Plan Of Action Mode

Before you embark on any task, especially one that involves money you’re going to need a plan to keep you on the straight and narrow.

Who’s your target audience? Who is your ideal member? What are their values, where do they spend their time, what are their interests and where do they work?

A great way of really drilling down your specific audience is to create personas – a profile of your ideal members. Two to three should do it. This will help you target the right people so that you’re not wasting time (or money) going after someone who probably wouldn’t be interested in the first place.

2. Get A Website And Blog

If you haven’t already got a website for your organisation then you’re missing a huge source of potential prospects. If you’re reading this, then you’ve most certainly got access to the internet, and stands to reason that millions of other people have too. You can engage these people by making yourself easy to find online.

Setting up a website can literally be as inexpensive as you like. WordPress.com allows you to set up a blog for free with a choice of templates that are simple and easy to implement. A couple of clicks and you’re up and running.

Use your website and blog to write about your club or organisation. Post articles on recent events, what you do and the latest news. Connect your Social Media accounts (if you have them) and share your posts across Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Populate your website with keywords (the words people would use to search for you online) to make you more discoverable. Over time if you’re producing good regular content, and reaching out to people, word will spread, traffic will pick up and you’ll start getting recognised for who you are and what you do.

3. Host An Event Or Open Day

There’s nothing more effective than a massive get-together to get people interested in what you have to offer. Hosting an event or an open day will give prospective members the chance to see for themselves what they’re missing out on and with luck, encourage them to sign up.

Save money by using member management software like PaySubsOnline – we can help you manage your event marketing and online registrations.

The benefit of hosting an event in this way, is that you can automatically broadcast the event to your members – bolstering the numbers for the big day and anyone who wishes to register can do it right there from their smartphone.

4. Giveaway A Freebie

People love to get free stuff – that’s why charities usually include pens in their mail-outs. It uses the premise that you’re getting something for nothing and so feel compelled to do something in return.

Depending on your budget, offer a freebie exclusive to new members. It might be something as simple as a pen with your logo or a snappy PDF with useful tips and tricks and a personalised message if they’re signing up online. It doesn’t have to be extravagant but it will help to entice those people teetering on the edge to take the plunge and join.

5. Get Your Organisation In The News

Getting featured in your local News bulletin or publication can be a real boost to your membership levels. Similarly getting featured for a specific story is usually free so it’s worth utilising these opportunities whenever they arise.

Consider notifying your local press whenever you’re hosting an event or you’ve reached a particularly noteworthy milestone. You might even want to invite them down to an event so they can get a feel for it themselves.

Any article or write-up that results from this can then be shared on your website, social media and mailing list. This will ensure it reaches a wider audience and improves your chances for more sign-ups.

6. Use Social Media

Social Media are low cost resources that will help you market your organisation to the right people. They’re still free, although don’t be blindsided by the time that’s involved to grow it and the growing trend of needing to pay to effectively reach people. They can boost your presence online in a powerful way.

Facebook and Twitter are great networks to start with – it’s likely you already have one or both of these accounts and they’re perfect for sharing news of your organisation, events your hosting or links to content your audience will love.

Pinterest and Instagram are heavily image based but equally as powerful. Use Pinterest to bolster your organisation’s identity and personality. Share behind the scenes photos and videos which link back to your website and give people a feel for what you have to offer.

 

If you’re interested in finding out more about how Social Media can help your organisation, download our free Twitter and Facebook guides today:

Facebook eBook                Twitter eBook

You can also get existing members involved too by featuring a member of the week or allowing them to contribute to your Pinterest boards.

What do you think? What ways have you attracted new members ? What’s worked or hasn’t worked for you? We’d love to hear in the comments below?

 

Club Fundraising Ideas – How To Fundraise for your Club’s Next Big Project

Club fundraising ideas

It’s one of the biggest challenges you will face as a sports club – how to fund your next big project. But whether you are looking to purchase new sports equipment or may be renovate your facilities, raising the necessary funds needn’t be a chore with the right club fundraising ideas. The aim of this blog is to help enthuse and inspire your members towards a successful sports fundraiser and reaching your funding goal.

Setting Your Goals

It goes without saying that you need to determine your funding goal before choosing your club fundraising ideas. It’s important this figure is realistic. Set your sights too high and you may never reach your goal. You should also be aware of the detrimental impact of unrealistic targets; not only can they discourage your members, but your donors also, who may consider it pointless to donate if you have no chance of ever reaching your target.

You also need to consider how long your club fundraising campaign will run. Most fundraising campaigns will run for periods of a couple of weeks to a few months. Having an end date means you can capitalise on that ‘final push’ as you approach the end. With tools like the PaySubsOnline.com you can generate useful momentum by sending out membership wide emails letting them know how close you are to your target and inviting them to dig a little deeper to help you reach it.

Choosing The Right Type Of Club Fundraising Idea

This will be your biggest decision as it will impact the amount you can feasibly raise and the resources required to make it happen. Here, your choice of fundraiser will come down to that which offers the best return on investment (ROI). I say ‘best’ and not biggest, as fundraisers which cost more to organise (e.g. a family fun day) tend to generate the best returns. Run a comparison of previous club fundraising ideas your sports club has run, alongside other potential ideas and compare the ROI of each.

Some fundraisers may only generate small cash amounts over short periods, but are relatively inexpensive to run. For example a club lottery run through Paysubsonline membership management tool. If your fundraising goal is higher then it may be better to think big and choose a one-off event, such as a silent auction of high end goods. As you think over various ideas, consider the following:

  • What resources do you have available?
  • On what scale could you successfully run your fundraiser?
  • Will you need plenty of volunteers to help run and organise the event?
  • Will your fundraiser reach the wider community and bring in new members as well as donations?
  • Will you need third party resources, such as payment processors, and if so, what are the costs?
  • Will you need to raise your target funds within a certain timeframe?

 

3 Fundraising Ideas:

  • Crowdfunding:

A relatively new concept in fundraising, crowdfunding pitches your campaign to thousands of people a.k.a The Crowd, who can then pledge an amount of their choosing to help you reach your goal. There are numerous online crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Once you have set up your campaign page you can share it across your social networks and with your members so you can spread the word and get your campaign donations up and running.

 

  • Email Campaign:

One of the most effective ways of reaching out to potential donors is by email. However, you can only email people with whom you have an existing relationship, i.e. your members and any other donors who have agreed to being contacted by your sports club. If you are using software, such as PaySubsOnline.com to manage your membership, then you can easily run your email campaign through their system.  You can also use their club fundraising tools to accept regular and one-off donations.  People can simply login to their account and opt to donate.  If required, the system will ask them to complete a gift aid form, collect and reconcile the payment.

An email campaign can also be a good way to reignite interest in your sports club from those who have shown little interest recently or who stopped being paid members.

 

  • Host An Event:

If you have the facilities available then why not consider hosting a one-off event.  From a silent auction to wedding or craft fairs, or youth sport events which can involve the wider community. You will need to enlist the help of volunteers to keep costs down and you will need to look into licenses and regulations governing community events.

Fundraisers on any scale can be a challenge yet with proper planning, a realistic approach and the right tools there is no reason why your club fundraiser cannot be successful. To find out how PaySubsOnline.com’s software can help with your club fundraising ideas contact us for more information.

 

10 Reasons Why Your Fundraising Ideas Need Social Media

Social Media Fundraising Ideas

 

Social Media can sound like a scary thing. It’s constantly changing the playing field. As a club you might be inclined to stay far away from this media beast but you’d be shooting yourself in the foot if you did, because you can’t undertake your fundraising ideas without it.

Below we’re going to share with you what you’d be missing out on if you go down this lonely path. It’s not as scary as you think – fundraising on Social Media can be both fun and insightful – so if you want to stay at the top of your game and have your club reap the benefits, start reading now.

1. Your Offline Reach Will Be Limited

Consider for a moment the connections in your network. How many people can you reach out to? Once you have a rough figure double it. Then triple it. You’re still miles away from the number of people you could reach when using Social Media.

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, they all have millions of people logging on every day. Even if you tapped into just a small portion of that number, you’ll still have far more options than you ever would have without Social Media.

With a click of a button you can contact almost anybody. This is great news when fundraising as each new contact converts into one more potential donation for your club.

2. People Don’t Like Direct Mail

Direct Mail is a tried and tested method for fundraising campaigns, we understand this. However many people find this annoying. Taking your mailing list online via a platform such as Paysubsonline with its tailored fundraising features, allows you to make the process much more efficient and less invasive.

Further to this, you can supplement your mailing list by sharing newsletters and campaigns on Twitter, Facebook and other Social Media networks. This will further spread your message and strengthen your existing list.

3. There’s No Potential For Viral Campaigns

One of the most successful viral campaigns in recent history has been by Evian, who produce bottled water. Their videos feature babies up to hilarious tricks that are both addictive to watch and incredibly shareable. For example their latest is of a dancing spider-man baby.

If you think we’re losing it, hang fire and let us explain. This video alone has received over 18 Million views on YouTube at the time of writing this post. Imagine your fundraising campaign getting that many views. Social Media (and an advertising budget) can make this kind of thing happen for your sports club. You just need to put some creative heads together (and be willing to seed your campaign) for this easy fundraising method to work for you too..

4. You’ll Be Lagging Behind The Competition

Search for any 10 of your competitors in your favourite search engine and we can guarantee there’s at least one of them with a Twitter profile. There’s probably one or two going the whole hog and doing this Social Media thing properly.

Right now they’re doing it better than you. They’ve got the edge and the followers to boot. What this translates into is more people hearing their message, more people clicking their links, more people telling their own friends and more people donating to them instead of you.

5. You’ll Alienate Your Members

While you might still be holding on to your traditional fundraising methods, your members are moving forward into the future. The younger generation in particular are constantly wired into the Social Media mainframe. It’s where they hang out and it’s where their friends and influencers are.

By not embracing this element of fundraising you’re effectively alienating a large portion of your members. What do you think your aspiring youngsters would rather do? Tweet a link to their sponsor page online, or go door-to-door for sponsorship?

Paysubsonline.com can help you modernise. Via the use of our subscription software, members can make one-off or regular donations online.  You can even run your 100 Club. Members haven’t got to make an effort to donate.  It’s just a click away, fully accessible from any mobile device.

6. You Won’t Be Able To Rally Support

Creating a fundraising campaign is one thing, but getting your members to support your cause has its own problems. You need to be able to make it easy for existing members to bolster morale by sharing your club’s fundraising efforts with their own networks. By not using Social Media, you’re stunting people’s ability to rally behind you.

7. You’ll Miss Out On Important Developments

Social Media is great way of keeping your ear to the ground when it comes to new,  improved, easy fundraising ideas. Without the likes of Twitter and Facebook you’ll probably still find out about these developments eventually, but you’ll miss out on your chance to get ahead of the game.

8. Connecting With Influencers Will Be Harder

Social Media right now is the quickest and most effective way to reach influential people in your sport/sector. By using tools such as Buzzsumo you can filter through these people by topic, which platforms they’re on and find out how many followers they have.

For your club this means you can seek out local businesses, charities and important figures, dependant on your own search criteria. You can then contact them quickly with just a couple of clicks and tell them about your fundraiser. Without utilising these tools you’re missing out on a massive opportunity to get your campaigns in front of the right people.

9. You Won’t Know What Matters To Your Members

The term ‘Social Listening’ is a phrase coined usually by social media managers. It’s a process by which you search the likes of Twitter and Facebook via hashtags or topic and read what people are saying about it.

This can be invaluable for fundraisers as it provides you with a method to garner what your members and those who follow you are interested in. Take a hashtag around a fundraising topic for example; people may have mixed opinions about it. If through monitoring the topic you come to realise that it strays from your club values, it might be worth reconsidering.

Without Social Media you wouldn’t have this resource. You’d be left to ask outright what truly matters to your members (should the priority be new equipment or better facilities), which probably won’t be as reliable.

10. You’ll Miss Out On Social Media Inclusive Fundraising Tools

Crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter, encourage the integration of your Social Media profiles. They do this because they know that there’s no better way to spread a message than sharing it with people who care about your cause.

By not using Social Media you’re limiting your use of these websites. Not being able to use them to their full potential could hamper your efforts instead of helping them. In the case of Kickstarter for example; not getting the message out quick enough, would mean your goals won’t get met and you’ll lose any funding you might have been accumulating.

Of course it’s up to you whether you go down the Social Media route. There’s no law forcing you to embrace it but you’d be missing out big time. To remind you, here’s why:

  • You’ll reach less people
  • You’ll alienate a proportion of your members
  • You’ll miss out on exciting developments in the world of fundraising
  • Your competition will get the upper hand

Paysubsonline.com can help close that gap between your club and Social Media. Our software efficiently takes care of you admin, payments and fundraising online, with minimal fuss.  Click here to request a demo.
How do you use social media to fundraise? What’s worked or hasn’t worked for you? We’d love to hear in the comments below?

How Club Membership Software and Twitter Can Increase Membership

Club membership software - increase numbers

Running any type of club is no mean feat (especially without club membership software!). Besides managing your members and endless  paperwork to fill in, you also have the most important task to deal with – recruiting new members.

You probably feel like you’re banging your head against a brick wall at times. How can getting people to join your club be so difficult? You do all of the right things, promotion, marketing, perks and events but the going can be tough.

Luckily you’re not on your own. All clubs have to overcome this hurdle at some point. The key is keeping an open mind and thinking outside of the box. Which is precisely what we’re doing today by sharing with you five ways the popular social media platform Twitter, can boost your membership numbers, raise your profile and increase club registrations.

Why You Should Be Using Twitter

Social media. Love it. Loathe it. Everyone’s on it. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ – they’re all steaming ahead of the traditional forms of communication, paving the way for people to socialise on an unprecedented level.

But it’s not just socialising that happens on these networks. People are connecting with the brands they love, sporting legends and popular causes. They want the juicy gossip and useful tidbits and the best place for these short, snappy snippets of info right now is Twitter.

If your club doesn’t already have a Twitter account, you’re missing out on quite a big deal. Seriously. Stop what you’re doing, head over to Twitter and type in a rival club’s name into the search bar.

Do they have an account? If yes then they’re already one step ahead of you. If they don’t, here’s your opportunity to muscle in. Set up an account, even if it’s just to reserve a username for the time being, then come back here to find out how to use Twitter to increase your club members.

Still here? Go!

5 Ways To Use Twitter To Increase Your Members

Welcome back!

So with a bit of luck, you’ve at the very least got a Twitter account. Great! Now let’s look at how you can put that simple profile to good use and really give your club registration numbers the boost it needs.

1. Get That Profile Optimised.

One of the most fundamental steps to a great Twitter presence is a fully optimised profile. This is how people will find you, so you’ll want to make a great first impression and ensure you show up easily in search results.

Upload a profile image and header photo. Flesh out your bio with relevant information and keywords that reflect your club. Keep it clear, simple and easy to digest. Include a link back to your website and consider adding a few hashtags in there to make you more discoverable.

2. Follow Relevant Influential People.

Who are the popular people that your club members idolise? Grab a pen and jot down everyone you can think of who relates to your club and has something to say about your industry. Bloggers, reporters, sporting figures and publications. These are the people you’ll want to start following on Twitter.

These people are thought leaders and like to voice their opinions. Getting your content in front of them or at the very least engaging with them, can have a massive impact on your own reach. For instance, imagine if one of them retweeted one of your tweets to thousands of their own followers. That’s thousands of pairs of eyes on your content, relevant to your club who may never have laid eyes on it before.

3. Post Interesting, Eye-Catching Content.

Why? Because people are hungry for information. Share with them something that they find valuable and they’re more likely to take notice of you in the future. Consistently sharing great images, thought provoking articles and eye-catching videos related to your club will help position you as a leader.

While your competitors are going about getting the attention of potential new members the traditional way, you’ll be riding the information wave with a host of followers hanging off your every word.

4. Engage With Existing Members.

But wait. Surely if you want to increase your club registration applications, you should be going after new members, not existing ones? Sure, sometimes but don’t neglect the wonderful pool of contacts you’ve already got waiting at your fingertips.

Dig through your database using club membership software like PaySubsOnline.com, grab the names of your most active members and look them up on Twitter. Connect with them, engage with them, give them a virtual slap on the back. Start up a conversation and they’ll reciprocate.

Your members have the huge potential of influencing people beyond your sphere of contacts. They have friends, family and acquaintances who may just become your next member if the right information is in front of them.

Use your club membership software to help spread the word, make them feel valued and they’re likely to become your greatest assets.

5. Showcase Your Club’s Personality

Twitter is jam-packed full of people trying to get their links noticed. Spend five minutes looking at your Twitter Stream and you’ll understand what we mean. Self-promotion is all well and good but you need to mix that up with your personality – you don’t want to bore your followers to death.

Look at it from an individual’s perspective. They’re interested in joining your club, so the first thing they might do is Google you and come up with your Twitter account. If all they see is link, after link, after link promoting yourself – they’re probably going to click the big ‘x’ in the corner of their browser and bid you farewell.

Yet if you use Twitter to inject some personality into your presence, it’ll make for a much more interesting read. That potential member will get a feel for what you’re like and it could very well help them to decide whether to join you or not.

Ultimately, don’t be afraid of trying something different, in order to achieve better results. Taking that first leap into something like Twitter can be a bit daunting but we can guarantee that if you follow the advice in this post, you’ll not only increase the exposure of your club, gain club registrations and reach new people, you might even enjoy it!

We’ve written an eBook How To Increase Membership and Engagement With Twitter to help you get set up on Twitter:

Twitter eBook
How do you use your club membership software and Twitter to get members for your organisation? Love to hear in the comments below.