There are plenty of reasons for your membership organization to go paperless, ranging from environmental to budgetary to ease-of-use. Check out our top 8 reasons to go paperless and some fool-proof ways to get started.
1. Members in Your Organization Will Love It
Your members are busy and they appreciate the convenience of being able to find information and complete paperwork 24/7! No more papers getting lost between school or practice and home, and no more costly copies that take up all of your volunteers’ time.
2. You'll Find it Makes it Much Easier to Recruit Board Members
All of our volunteers and parents are busy. If you have great volunteers that are hesitant to serve on your board, they are probably worried about the time commitment that will be involved. For many membership organizations, the board members spend a lot of time on busy work. Going paperless can eliminate the busy work of shuffling papers, creating spreadsheets, and making check deposits so you can free up your volunteer’s time to focus on what is important.
3. Your Organization Will Have Complete Financial Transparency
One of the worst things that can happen to a membership organization is the theft of the organization’s funds by a volunteer or staff member. It erodes the trust of your members and all involved. Electronic transactions provide an electronic paper trail. No more shoeboxes of money going home to be deposited into your bank account on a later date because everything is automatically recorded in your system.
4. An Online System Will Expand Your Volunteer Base
Reply all emails are not very efficient ways to schedule and recruit volunteers! An all-in-one system makes it easy for members to see what assistance is needed and it eliminates many of the barriers that may have prevented them from stepping forward to volunteer. Make it easy to recruit volunteers!
5. Your Organization Will be Sure to Increase Your Fundraising
Selling online spirit wear is an easy way to boost sales. Especially if you can launch your sales before school starts. As families are registering their children for school, band, athletics, they are excited for the new year to come. Sometimes they are more than ready for school to start. Take advantage of their excitement and launch your sales in July or August for pickup at your kickoff event.
6. Your Members Will be In-The-Know with Better Communication
Reply all emails, flyers in backpacks…neither of these are effective ways to communicate. An online database that is integrated with your website and volunteer tools allows you to send a message to a group of volunteers or a group of parents. Send electronic newsletters to help keep members up-to-date on activities and events. The backbone of all communications is your organization’s website. Make sure to choose a platform for your website that is easy to use.
7. Your Organization Will Raise More Money Through Donations
Membership organizations and nonprofits are relying on donations to help make up for budget shortfalls. To increase donations, make it easy for members to contribute. A donation form that allows members to quickly select a $15, $25, $100 donation is simple and really does drive additional revenues. Going paperless also allows for easy collection of donations for fundraising events as well.
8. Easy Access to the Internet
Over 90% of adults have reliable access to the internet. For many, they have computers in the home, office, and in their hands. Many families use their mobile device for their internet connection so be sure to choose software that is mobile friendly. For families that do not have access to the internet, use this opportunity to host a back-to-school or kickoff event.
Make the Switch to Online Software and Don't Look Back
Once you have made the decision to go online you need to GO ONLINE. We have seen organizations that think a transition time is needed. So for the first year or the first semester they choose to offer members the option of completing paperwork online OR the old fashioned way of filling out paperwork. It is never as successful as going all online.
Why? If you give two options and two sets of instructions, members lose interest and procrastinate. They receive an email that says it’s time to join. “You can now do it online or stop by the membership table at our kickoff event.” All of us are busy. So instead of doing it right now online or marking that email for later, you gave them a reason to procrastinate. They are now thinking I am really busy this week so I’ll just take care of it later. Once they reach school or your first event, there is a line at the table and they decide to do it online. But once they get home they have forgotten about. They may have even deleted the email. We have heard many, many stories of organizations that had a transition period and later regretted the decision.