Rationalize platforms for a membership organization

The Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals brings together people who look after our built heritage. And they had four member databases that didn’t talk to each other.

Their website was recently redesigned and features a directory that allows people looking to hire a heritage professional to find someone nearby who can do what needs doing. The directory shows members’ area of expertise, location, contact information and a biographical pen sketch.

They also maintain a membership database that tracks — among other things — who has paid their annual fees, a WordPress member database controlling access to the site, and a bulk email list they use to communicate with their members about, among other things, upcoming events, job opportunities and of course, payment reminders.

Only none of these systems shared data. The association could accept online payment for memberships, but only by Interac email. And the enterprise database they used was excessively expensive and available only on a desktop computer, in the association’s office.

My job was to make all these systems work together or build a system that would.

CAHP now has a single, web-based membership database that accepts payments, sends invoices, receipts and reminders. That database powers their front-facing membership directory and individual members can now update their own profiles. Their membership database also updates their bulk email service, so subscribes and unsubscribes are handled automatically.

And the licensing for all the plugins clocks in at about ten per cent of the annual cost for their former database.

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