When Carolyn Malcolm became Program Coordinator for the American Bear Association, its membership numbers were not increasing. “Our membership numbers were holding fairly steady, but they weren’t increasing like they should have been. New members were replacing ones that didn’t renew. The problem was that we didn’t have a renewal system in place. People didn’t know to renew so we were loosing too many old members,” recalls Carolyn.
The American Bear Association maintains a sanctuary where visitors can observe bears in the wild. Members help support the educational mission of promoting a better understanding of bears. “We have membership levels: $30 for a basic membership, $100 for the next level, and $250 for the top level,” says Carolyn.
The organization was using FundRaiser Basic. Carolyn looked it over and decided they needed something more. “We send out a newsletter four times a year and I couldn’t find a convenient way to keep track of expiration dates in Basic. For that reason, we upgraded to FundRaiser Select,” Carolyn says.
Moving from Basic to SelectThe data moved well from Basic to Select. The automatic duplicate record checking in Select helped catch extra records. “There were lots of multiple entries, so having those pointed out has helped. The data was put in interestingly because we have so many people working in the database. I’ve been manually fixing it. Other then that, the move went smoothly.”
Membership is climbingWith FundRaiser Select, the American Bear Association has been able to keep track of membership renewal dates, and send timely reminders. “Now we put expiration stickers on the newsletter when a member’s term is up. We have gotten a lot of positive feedback about that. Memberships have been increasing since we’ve started. Select is working.”
Says Gina Mankus, office manager for the American Bear Association, “For many members, it’s been three years since they signed up. The stickers are getting them back.”