Monthly Archives: March 2013

Manager of the Month: Dan Sloss of the Canberra Classical Guitar Society

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This month we get to know Dan Sloss, the manager of several standalone groups for musicians and music lovers in Canberra, Australia.  Dan started the Canberra Classical Guitar Society, an organization of classical guitar players and supporters in Australia’s capital city, in 2007 along with Tim Kain, the Head of Guitar at the Australian National University’s School of Music.  “Most people who learn and play guitar have no fraternity because it’s a solo instrument,” Dan explains.  “I was in need of something to do and I’m a good organizer so I thought what Canberra seems to be lacking is organization at the classical guitar level.”

As a former commanding officer in the US Navy and US Naval attaché in Australia, Dan was more than up for that organizational challenge.  While searching for a membership management solution with an opt-in/out public mailing list for his new society, Dan discovered GroupSpaces.  He found that he could use GroupSpaces to keep members organized and to simplify the distribution of musical scores amongst the society’ guitar ensemble members.   “Personally, I like to manage as simply and efficiently as possible, and GroupSpaces makes that doable.”

When Dan later got involved with the  Canberra International Music Festival, an acclaimed annual art music program organized by the non-profit Pro Musica Incorporated, he knew immediately that he could help streamline their online management processes.  Previously, Pro Musica juggled multiple accounts with numerous services, and updating their website was an ordeal that could only be undertaken by one admin.  With Dan’s assistance,  “Pro Musica has reduced their website administration to a single domain with GroupSpaces. Loading webpages is simple and making corrections on the fly is no longer high drama.”

As with his guitar society, Dan is using GroupSpaces’ file sharing capabilities to distribute music scores to the hundreds of musicians participating in the festival.  They’ll also make great use of the photo gallery, Facebook integration, and newsletter features, and are currently exploring the possibility of selling tickets to the festival via GroupSpaces.

The 2012 Canberra International Music Festival will be held May 10-19th.  Dan’s Classical Guitar Society group can be found here.

Why We Don’t Delete Your Past Members

You may have noticed the Past Members records in your account, but do you know what it is and why we keep these records?

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 12.31.17 PMEvery time a manager deletes an entry from the database, or a member decides to leave thegroup, that member’s entry is moved into a Past Members section.  You can find the Past Members section in the left-hand menu when viewing your member database.

The Past Members section serves two very important purposes.

You can use the Past Members section as a reference.  Past members are not counted towards your member limit, nor are they included in any email sends to your group’s address. This section exists so you can keep track of non-active members without having to “pay” for them.

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You can export the entries in your Past Members section.  Why would you want to do that?   Because if you delete members from your database by accident, you can rest easy knowing their information is not lost forever.  You can find their entries in your Past Members section and add them back to your database, either by copying and pasting the information or by exporting your Past Members entries as a CSV file and then uploading it into your database.

Stealth Features Available on Request

Can we share a secret?  There are a few “hidden” features that our support team has the power to turn on for individual groups upon request.  If you’d like the team to help you with any one of these things, just get in touch and ask!

Set a max number of ticket purchases for event sales.

Screen Shot 2013-03-13 at 5.53.03 PMIf you’re selling tickets to a popular event and are concerned people may get a bit greedy and snatch up all the tickets for themselves, we can limit the number of tickets available per transaction.

It’s worth noting that people can still buy more tickets in separate transactions, but that would require that they return to your event page and go through the payment process again, so this check should be enough in most cases.

Display custom fields in your website’s member directory

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When you add a custom field to your database, you have the option of displaying the information collected in those fields on individual member’s profile pages.  If you want to display that information as a column in your website’s member directory alongside your member’s names and and emails, we can do that for you.

Change your website’s URL

We don’t allow you to edit your website’s URL as a precautionary measure because changing your URL would break any links that pointed to the previous address, including any links sent out in welcome e-mails, e-mails sent to group members, and so on.

That said, if you’re aware of the above risks, we can change your URL for you on request.

Change your website font

We can change the base font on your website to any of following:

Helvetica
Tahoma
Verdana
Trebuchet
Georgia
Times New Roman
Comic Sans
Monospace

Why can’t you make these changes yourself?  In some cases, as editing your URL, it’s because the edit is potentially risk.  In other cases, these features just haven’t been worked into our interface yet, but you will be able to do them on your own eventually.  In the meantime, if you want us to take care of any of things for you, just ask!

Recruitment Tips: Growing Groups Need WOM

Screen shot 2013-03-08 at 15.28.36Someone is talking about your group right now.  Are they saying something good or bad?  That depends on whether you’ve done a good job nurturing Word of Mouth, or WOM as it’s known in marketing circles(you know it’s a big deal if it’s got it’s own abbreviation).  If you haven’t given much thought to WOM, you should start because people are more likely to be influenced by recommendations and referrals from people they know.  Not only is this common sense – whose opinion do you trust more, your friend or a salesman? – but marketing studies back it up.

The reason WOM is so powerful is because it is genuine, but don’t assume that means you can just sit back and hope that it happens.  Here are six ways you can encourage, facilitate, and increase WOM within your organization:

1) Make members happy.  Real talk?  Any efforts to recruit new members will be a waste if your existing members are dropping like flies.  When existing members are happy, they will be more likely to recruit others, which is why investing time in your group is also a major investment in WOM.   Ensure you are always working towards the purpose that members joined for, run operations as smoothly as possible, and keep communication clear and open.  When members feel that their purpose for joining is being fulfilled, WOM will occur naturally.

2) Encourage guests.  Suggest that your members bring along guests to any meetings or events rather than keeping them closed to non-members.

3) Free swag.  Budget some funds towards providing members with stickers, shirts, pins, etc. These items can all spark a conversation members wouldn’t ordinarily have started about their involvement in your organization.

4) Arm your members.  Make sure that there is not only a clear purpose for you group, but that it’s been communicated to all members so they can sum it up easily in conversation.  Do they know what links to send to interested friends?  Do they know who potential members should speak to for more information?  If you haven’t communicated to members how they field questions from interested parties, they may not know!

5) Track referrals.  This is as simple as adding a “Were you referred by someone?” field on your group’s registration form.  If you don’t specifically ask, you may not discover who your biggest promoters are!  Those are the members that you want to work to keep engaged, which brings me to our last tip…

6) Reward referrals.  You could establish a literal reward program where you offer discounts on  membership fees or gift certificates, but you may find that members respond even better to non-material rewards.  An acknowledgement of their efforts – privately or publicly at a meeting or in a newsletter – is often reward enough.  Alternatively, you might consider rewarding a particularly strong recruiter with a title in your organization – Membership Manager or something along those lines – and task them with overseeing group recruitment efforts and developing new strategies for building membership.

Has your group benefited from word of mouth, and do you make any efforts to harness it?