Managing a Spiritualist Center

Manage Events Using Member Management Software
By:Kate Oxton

Membership organisations regularly host events; whether they are a charity, society, club, gym, church or association they are likely to hold events exclusively for their members. These events could be as small as a meeting between 10 members, or a large fundraising event targeting their entire membership base.

Common events include:
• AGMs (annual general meeting)
• Conferences
• Meetings
• Award ceremonies
• Presentations
• Fundraising

Holding and overseeing events is an important part of membership management. As well as being a brilliant platform for open communication, they are a way in which member organisations can enhance member participation. It is vital that members feel as if they are benefitting from their membership and hosting regular events is an excellent way of adding value and promoting member engagement.

Event planning can be a time consuming and difficult process. There are many aspects that go into managing an event, but these can generally be summarised under three headings:

• Event planning
o Booking a venue/room
o Managing presenters
o Organising catering
o Presentation and content preparation

• Event Attendance
o Inviting relevant members
o Managing registration (via phone, letter, fax, email and website)
o Tracking attendees attendance

• Event Review
o How successful was the event?
o How many people attended?
o What was the return on investment (ROI) from the event?

Many membership organisations are now turning to membership management software solutions to manage their members. As well as managing all areas of member participation, high quality solutions all come with a comprehensive event management suite of tools that will allow membership organisations to manage and control the above event processes. Many of these tasks can be automated, allowing the organiser to focus on more strategic tasks.

Event Planning
To run successful events, event organisers must be able to manage the organisation of aspects such as venue, suppliers and equipment. Membership management software solutions will have tools built in that help manage the event planning process. These tools help to direct each event by offering an event calendar detailing the resources booked and resources available.

For example, caterers can be added to the solution under the ‘Suppliers’ list. From this, event planners can then supply them with a report which will confirm the number of members attending and their dietary requests. This is a task that can be updated automatically when changes or amendments are made.

Event Attendance
Ensuring that suitable members are invited to events is vital if the event is to be a success. Integrating the membership management solution with the membership database or CRM solution makes it easy for event planners to select the right group of recipients.

It is also important to be able to contact members in a format that is most suitable for them. Many people now have a preference to communicate via email; therefore it is important that membership organisations are able to send out email invitations to members, and allow them to register on their own website.

Email invitations are not only quick and easy to use; they are also tremendously cost effective and come with a lower carbon footprint than traditional direct mail invitations. Membership management solutions should all come with an integrated email marketing tool which can be used for event invitations as well as event promotion and follow up surveys.

Email tools can also be used to send out automatic event reminders and event updates – lessening the amount of work the event planner has to carry out themselves.

Membership management solutions will also integrate into websites, allowing members to register online. Customisable booking forms mean that event managers can retrieve the information that is relevant for that specific event. If payment is required, members can pay on the website, through a secure payment portal. By connecting the finance system to the membership software solution, it will automatically be updated, removing the finance team from the loop.

Event Review
Reviewing an event after its occurrence is the only way to measure its success. How many members attended the event, how many took the required action (such as a purchase, membership renewal etc), what did members think of the event? By answering these questions, the membership management team can continue to develop the events they hold; further increasing the level of value they provide to their members.

Membership management software solutions can be used to send out targeted event surveys to the members that attended the event. This is an excellent way of gathering feedback. Emails can include a link to a survey on their website; from which all the answers and feedback are automatically populated into the reporting areas of the membership management software. This suite of reporting tools will enable membership mangers to take the data from the surveys and other statistics and turn them into meaningful information. Standard reports can be set up to monitor regular events. Additionally, bespoke reports can be created to suit more customised events.

Membership managers will be continually asked to conclude the return of investment (ROI) of the events they hold for members. By using the reporting suite of tools that come with membership management solutions, your team will be able to drill down in a matter of seconds to the data held on the system, and use this to analyse the true value of their events.

The advancement in technology is making it easier for membership organisations to manage their members. In the current economic climate, in order to attain and retain members, it is vital that member organisations provide value to their members. Membership management software enables organisations to become more efficient and effective, driving down costs and increasing the level of service they can provide.

Persona Membership Management Solution http://www.silverbearmembership.co.uk is part of the portfolio of solutions from Silverbear Ltd. Employed within societies and membership organisations throughout the UK, Persona helps organisations to build, define, examine, inform and communicate with existing and potential members. Persona is helping membership organisations on a daily basis. For more information on Persona and the benefits of membership management software, visit: