Challenge #1: Data Reconciliation
You never know what type of data will accompany dues payments from chapters. Chapters use different membership applications and consequently collect different sets of data—data that’s formatted in all kinds of ways.
And, there’s a good chance they use multiple payment processors too. The payment data you receive isn’t accompanied by the unique member IDs you need. For example, when payments are processed with PayPal, someone in your office has to spend time verifying which member paid the dues so they can credit the right account.
And everything has to be done manually—the join and renewal information is matched with payment data and entered into your AMS. Is it all done perfectly? Of course not, humans make errors, especially when they try to get it done fast.
What if you could get the same set of data in the same format from every chapter along with a unique member ID that’s tied to the payment? Sounds too good to be true? Stick with us here, it’s not.
Assign a unique member ID number to accompany future dues payments. By the way, your colleagues will love you for doing this.
Understand how unique member ID numbers are used in your AMS and within your organization.
Working with your IT and accounting department along with chapter representatives, develop a plan for getting chapters to use those ID numbers.
Offer chapters a self-service portal that’s tied to your AMS where they (or their members) can enter, update, or upload data. You’ll reduce the data entry burden on staff and encourage compliance with your business rules.
Figure out how to give chapters the permission to enter, update, or upload member data to your AMS via a chapter portal or other solution.
Here’s how that looks in real life. We know a national association with more than 700 local and state affiliated associations. The local affiliates collect and send dues to both their state and national association—reconciling that dues was a challenging process to say the least.
National made the decision to reduce everyone’s pain by unifying the process so more time could be spent at the local, state, and national level on growing membership and offering better programs, not on data reconciliation and entry.
National offered local affiliates a few variations of join and renewal forms for their websites. The local affiliates can add their own branding and additional fields. The data collected in these online forms is automatically piped into National’s AMS. The dues are split and disbursed automatically (and appropriately) between the local, state, and national associations.
“One side can’t fix these problems alone. National and chapter reps must work together to identify problems and come up with appropriate solutions.”
You can imagine how much National staff loves this new process. The local associations are receptive to the new process too because it eliminates the need to spend hours allocating funds and formatting data for their state and national associations. And, they save money because they no longer pay the state and National association’s share of payment processing fees.