NSTA Chapter and Associated Group Leaders: There is a better mousetrap to track members!

We are featuring a post from guest blogger, Kelly Price.  Kelly is the GSTA Director for the 2012-13 year. She has been a member of the GSTA board for many years serving in the roles of District II Director, Secretary, and President. Kelly  has also served a three year term on the NSTA Council as the District V Director. 
Membership management can be a huge task for any club or group.  For the Georgia Science Teachers Association, we had passed on the task of “spreadsheet monitor” of the membership lists for many years before we found a transformational resource to help us.
The transformation began with a hard look at the core tasks of the organization in May 2011.  We decided to simplify our target activities instead of expending time in so many different traditional committees and chores.  Our focus became the electronic newsletter, the GSTA website and the annual GSTA conference.
A task force did a formal review of the GSTA website and determined that a complete redesign was in order. GSTA was paying at least $2000 per year for a webmaster to update the website in a timely manner as directed by the GSTA board.  The new redesign was not part of the original contract with the webmaster and would result in an additional cost of at least $5000.  With that news we started to brainstorm a different solution.
At the 2011 National Congress for Science Education in Baltimore, I remembered a session about membership management where different solutions were shared.  I found my notes from the session and started researching to see if one of them might suit our needs.  From that point forward, I have been a raving fan of Wild Apricot (www.wildapricot.com).  This was one of the membership management systems included in the presentation and it is amazing.  Not only does it serve as our membership management system, but our website too!  We can go in and update our site on the spot and it also does event registration.  We found an all-in-one solution to meet our needs! Within a 48 hour period, the leader of our website task force had created a brand new website for GSTA.  We already owned our URL address — it took a few more days to transfer to our new website using our recognizable URL.  Check it out,  www.georgiascienceteacher.org.
This new membership management system allowed us to import our old-style spreadsheet to populate our membership list.  You can easily create a “members only“ section. It automatically generates invoices, reminders about membership renewal and so much more.  We are certainly still learning about all of the attributes the system offers.  The webpage building process is extremely easy and there are lots of themes and formats to choose from.
Credit card processing for the GSTA annual conference has been another opportunity for growth and we are researching the different credit card processing options available.  Even with the credit card processing learning curve, we are now using a membership management system that also serves as our GSTA website platform and manages conference registrations.
All that for just over $1000 in subscription cost per year.  We really got a bargain!
Kelly Price, GSTA Director 2012-2013

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2 Responses to NSTA Chapter and Associated Group Leaders: There is a better mousetrap to track members!

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