The Benefits of using Content Management Systems

 

What is important when looking for a Nonprofit Web Content Management Software system?

If your association nonprofit is active in any kind of cause or mission, then it’s likely that you’ll have a web site that provides periodic updates about the latest news concerning your mission. This is where content management software (CMS) becomes a necessity for most nonprofits. It may seem tempting to avoid the use of yet another piece of software designed to make your life easier, but rest assured an integrated Content Management Software is one tool that can really make your life easier.

The Benefits of Using Content Management Software

You don’t need to know HTML

Most integrated CMS applications offers an editor that goes by the description “WYSIWYG”. That’s just an acronym for “What You See Is What You Get”. In other words, when you’re adding content to your website, you’re doing it in a manner very similar to a word processor. If you opt for writing HTML files directly, then you’ll need to know all the markup (the special codes that make characters bold, italicized, etc.). Not only will you need to know all the markup, but then you’ll need to place it on the page. It’s much easier to write in WYSIWYG fashion, where you don’t need to worry about markup at all.

You’ll have easier image management 

Most CMS applications have a built-in image management feature. This allows you to upload an image and describe it so that it can appear in search results later on. The software will also create image thumbnails for you in multiple sizes. This is a huge time saver.

You’ll have separation of design and content 

Suppose that you’ve added several hundred posts on your website and now you suddenly want to change the look of it. With a CMS application, you can change the theme quite easily. And, most integrated Association Management Software solutions offer very nice professionally updated templates to change as needed and as frequently as needed to highlight a conference, time of the year for your association fund drive, or to highlight a season. Once the theme is changed, all of your posts appear just as they should appear as part of the new theme. However, if you manually wrote HTML files for all of those posts, then it’s likely they would all need to be updated to support your new look and feel. That’s a huge hit on your time.

If you’d like to learn more about content management software options, feel free to contact us. We’re here to help! Until then, keep SmartThoughts in mind.

Online Continuing Education – A Marriage of CE and IT

 

enSYNC can help!

 

Continuing education (CE) completed by association members used to be limited to the association’s annual conference and adhered to some sort of schedule, usually for the convenience of the instructor, not the participant. That meant your association staff had to carve out time to not only handle the site location but also lining up the space to accommodate  the participants.  For many professional associations (doctors, lawyers, engineers) continuing education is not an elective activity, rather it’s a requirement to maintain a professional credential or license. Sounds an awful lot like the traditional school, doesn’t it?

The good news is, the internet has made it possible for people to pursue continuing education online.

And, many associations are offering Online Continuing Education which makes for an efficient and effective use of a variety of information technology tools to enable the busy professional to do his or her CE at their own pace, and at a time that fits into his schedule rather than every year at the annual conference. This flexibility alone makes online CE a very attractive alternative to the way it had to be done “back in the day”.

Online continuing education uses everything the Internet has to offer to make things easier and more manageable for the participant:

  • Email
  • Apps
  • Chat boxes
  • Online meetings
  • Webinars
  • Message boards
  • Online course content, etc.

With all these tools at hand, online CE has brought school from the campus to the desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Now, instead of worrying about how to get to the conference or onsite training facility on time, all your member needs to think about is where they can get access to the internet, which is practically anywhere these days.

By providing continuing education opportunities to your members, associations will not only enhance the overall professionalism and credibility of their service offering, they’ll enhance their member relationships as well by fulfilling a much needed value add which will certainly help with non dues revenue growth.

Contact us for information on how we can help you assess, select, implement, and develop technology for your organization’s continuing education initiatives.

Revolutionary Changes in Drafting ACH Transactions

Ready to revolutionize your drafting? Call us for help.
Looking for ways to improve retention and increase revenue? Any Association Foundation or nonprofit organization that keeps afloat through voluntary contributions knows that regular pledge payments are much more efficient than individual donations solicited through direct mail or email campaigns—but the process of setting up and drafting ACH transactions can be laborious,

There are a number of advantages to using a system designed specifically for association foundations, rather than solely utilizing the cumbersome, “one size doesn’t really fit all” batch file program that most banks offer for recurring ACH transactions.

First, all the donor or customer’s information is linked to the payments themselves, in one system, which allows for easy access of up to date payment information. There is no need to key transactions into your database for each payment, since the historical payment updates happen automatically.

With ACH standards for merchant output files, there will be no opportunities for staff confusion about the appropriate credit for payments made or keying errors in amounts.

 

Looking for ways to obtain better revenue and increase retention?

Second, customers can have multiple payment accounts, which allows them to both pay for a PAC contribution or regular dues payment and continue their quarterly pledge, without the two processes becoming accidentally connected, confused or conflated. This also allows customers to choose different payment types for each transaction. Furthermore, individual payments can automatically draft against dues and subscription billings, pledge commitments, or conference registrations.

Also, your organization can draft into multiple merchant accounts, which allows you to properly keep donation payments separate from dues and other business type transactions. Perhaps best of all, customers will receive maximum flexibility. They can make payments toward multiple accounts with one transaction and easily view historical payment details.

Are you ready to transform your ACH transaction processes? Contact us today to learn more.