by Larry Weaver
In conjunction with this month's lead article, you may ask:
How can FundRaiser software help with membership management?
Let's take a look, beginning with FundRaiser Basic.
In FundRaiser Basic, there are no "membership-only" features, but you do have several areas that can be of use in tracking members. For instance, the Donor Type code, or Category Code, either one, could be used to indicate that someone is a member. That allows you to Query your database for members only. In conjunction with a gift record during a time period you specify, that query could include just current members.
You could also use the Gift Source code to indicate the membership level or type, if you have more than one (like family, corporate, individual, student, senior, etc.). This way, you could not only query for members (using the Donor Type code), but specifically for active members of a certain type.
And, as usual, any reports or mailings you do when a query is active will include only those people in the query.
If you need to record a membership expiration date, you could do that in the membership gifts Notes field, which would allow you to mention it in a letter you send out for membership renewals.
In both FundRaiser Professional and FundRaiser Select (with the optional Memberships module), there are very specialized mechanisms for making it easy to manage your membership base. To start with, there is a separate Membership tabbed page which contains a record for each year that a person was a member. This enables you to see their past history, including their join date and any lapses in membership.
In this Membership page, you can record a complimentary membership that you give to a VIP, like the mayor or other important person. Normal memberships that result from the payment of dues are recorded by adding a Gift and specifying a Gift Type of Membership Dues. When you click Save, FundRaiser pops up the Membership window where the new expiration date is already recorded. Most of the time, you can simply click Save.
You can establish rules for FundRaiser to follow when you record Membership Dues. Those rules can be found in the Options > Contributions menu. Some organizations use magazine-style memberships, where expiration dates are calculated from the later of either the payment or previous expiration date. Some use club-style, where expiration dates are calculated from the payment date. Still others use required payments, where the expiration date is always calculated from the previous expiration date. All of these are covered.
You will also be able to set default entries for new memberships, so that your most commonly used codes and dues amount will automatically be put into a new membership record. Of course you can change them at the time of entry when a membership does not fit the norm.
You'll find printing of renewal letters, envelopes, and labels for memberships to be quite easy in the Print > Automated Correspondence > Membership menu. You can determine who you want to include, based on expiration dates, membership codes, and more. And in the letter templates, the Membership merge fields let you reference specific membership information, including expiration dates, dues amounts, and even the length of time someone has been a member.
Finally, you will find membership-specific reports in the Print menu, including:
• Status report
• Statistical report
• 4-year comparison report
Also remember that, with Professional and Select, creating Groupings based on any membership information is as easy as filling out a form with the criteria you want to consider.
How Can Memberships Benefit My Non-Profit Organization by Sasha Daucus
Larry Weaver heads our technical support team and leads online training for FundRaiser Select and Pro. In his free time Larry enjoys music, motorcycles and being a grandfather.
FundRaiser Software offers non-profit organizations intuitive donor management software that is easy to learn and easy to use. Three programs, ranging from simple to sophisticated, let you choose the features you need now, while guaranteeing a built-in growth path for the future. Software flexibilty, budget options, and superb technical support make FundRaiser Software uniquely adaptable to the needs of non-profit organizations whatever their mission.