Simplify your membership
As a member and event leader for an outdoor social organization ten years ago, one of the club features that kept me engaged was the organization of its members and events. A co-founder had created a membership and event database that made it fairly easy to sign up as a member as well as for events. For the technology available at that time, it seemed quite innovative.
Now members expect more – not just a member directory and event calendar, but a robust and streamlined interface that encourages social networking between members. Currently in beta, MemberMan is a membership database software that seems quite capable of meeting and exceeding those expectations.
One platform to rule them all
MemberMan allows administrators to customize the membership application, payment, and renewal processes, as well as contact management. Users can log in and use a CRM style interface to connect to and engage with other members within their group. The monthly pricing seems quite reasonable compared to other member tracking software, and is based on the number of admins as well as a generous number of members.
MemberMan promises to be a robust solution supported on Heroku with its web application built with Ruby on Rails and PostgreSQL database backend integrated with other systems.
The origin story
What impressed me on my first visit to the MemberMan website itself was the blog. I expected the posts to consist of hard pitches for the software as is the case with other product and service sites’ blogs. I was quite pleased to be proven wrong, as each article was informative, relevant, and of great value to the target audience – and not a single self-reference or redirect to “buy this product.”
I was then intrigued by a mildly inconspicuous chat icon in the lower corner of the screen. I decided to test the MemberMan team’s responsiveness during their beta phase through their live chat which was supported by Intercom.
Their chat program uses the Intercom, and in under two minutes I was engaged in a pleasant conversation with founder and creator Ryan Heneise, an entrepreneur with a passion for charities.
With an educational background in organizational leadership, Heneise has worked with nonprofits for most of his career. He grew up in Haiti where his parents and grandparents were missionaries. His grandparents founded the Haiti Hope Fund which supports education, health clinics and the arts, in a country where eighty percent of people live in poverty. Heneise carried on his grandparent’s legacy after they passed away by working with the Haiti Hope Fund.
Heneise has since become a software developer and entrepreneur, and in 2008 created Donortools, a database tool for donor management. In regards to his development of MemberMan, Heneise stated, “I’m thrilled to be working on another app that helps organizations be even better at serving their members.”
The future of MemberMan
After noticing that organizations of which he was a member would let his membership lapse without reminder of renewals, he began researching what membership tracking software was available and found very little. “I realized why,” Heneise stated, “It was time for someone to build something better.”
Heneise’s main goals for MemberMan are to increase member engagement by providing a private online community and self-service portal for members, decrease member “churn,” and increase member retention by preventing members from accidentally lapsing.
“I wanted a tool that would help me to become more engaged in the organizations that I’m involved in. I wanted to be able to connect with fellow members in a meaningful way online. And I wanted it to be fun, unlike the drudgery of using an ordinary database.”
In my role as an event volunteer coordinator, I have used and been unsatisfied with various tools including spreadsheets, Microsoft Access, VolunteerHub, and Shiftboard. I am quite interested in the applicability of MemberMan to organize and retain volunteers for events throughout the year, and foster a more robust and engaged volunteer community.