RWA Case Study
Association Management Software Success Story: Romance Writers of America
International association, Romance Writers of America (RWA), used Socious as a single platform that could grow with their 10,000 plus members.
RWA wanted to launch a private online community that would support networking and professional collaboration between members while also consolidating their current technology systems.
Socious MemberCloud provided the flexibility RWA needed to support members from its 100+ chapters, and allowed them to consolidate their membership, CMS and online community systems into an all-in-one AMS solution.
RWA now has all of its data stored in a single location, excellent support, and is providing its members with easy-to-use tools that help advance their professional writing careers.
“The opportunity to engage members is really what will drive the success of the association. If we can make their opportunities more structured, if we could make things easier for them, if we could make it easier for them to take part, if we could make it easier for them to get into a particular area, then they’re going to be happy. It’s going to drive traffic to the website and it’s going to keep our members engaged. That’s our goal. And so, Socious has given us a platform for being able to do that.”Judy Scott
About the Organization
Romance Writers of America (RWA) is a nonprofit trade association whose mission
is to advance the professional interests of career-focused romance writers. They
have over 10,000 members, including authors and related industry professionals
such as publishing professionals, booksellers, and librarians.
In 2009, RWA was using three systems: an AMS, an external website, and Yahoo! Groups. They used the events module within their AMS to plan national conferences, and integrated their external website with the AMS software. Yahoo Groups! was used primarily for member communication and discussion, and was not integrated with other systems.
As RWA’s membership grew, the modules within their AMS were found lacking. They faced continual challenges with integrations, including data syncing across all platforms, especially their AMS and Yahoo Groups! systems. Members from RWA’s 144 chapters interacted on Yahoo Groups primarily because the membership platform did not offer an online community, but Yahoo Groups! did not integrate with their AMS. There were many times that Yahoo Groups! members were active for years even though they did not renew their RWA membership, because there was no way to bring membership data from the AMS into Yahoo Groups!.
While RWA struggled to correlate AMS information with Yahoo Groups! data, members also struggled to register for RWA events. RWA has several events within their yearly conference, and because the AMS event module did not offer any add-on options, members were forced to go through four or five registration processes just to sign up for one national conference. Members also experienced technical problems, such as log in issues and the RWA website going down multiple times in a single year.
RWA decided to tackle one problem at a time, so when they initially began looking at different software solutions, their primary goal was to find an online community platform that integrated with their AMS to replace Yahoo Groups!. An integration between a community platform and their AMS would help keep chapter members up to date with their dues, while still fostering peer-to-peer collaboration.
After talking with five or six companies, RWA decided that the Socious MemberCloud community platform was the best fit based on its capabilities, integrations, and Socious’s reputation for excellent support. “I needed a company that would be a partner for me, that I could pick up the phone or send an email and have complete confidence that somebody would very quickly come to my aid,” said Judy Scott, IT Manager for RWA. “With the rest of the work that I have to do, honestly, I don’t have time to wait three or four days to
fix a problem.”
Socious provided the technical support and community functionality RWA needed, and then some. As RWA continued using MemberCloud Community and learning about the entire MemberCloud system, they realized that MemberCloud’s modules could make their use of technology significantly more efficient. Instead of having separate systems for membership dues system, events, and their website, RWA could use MemberCloud as an all- in-one-solution. They decided to migrate their systems over one at a time.
“The reason we did it was consolidation – that was our hope for the end result – what we were looking
for was support,” Judy Scott said. Now, RWA is using a single platform, Socious MemberCloud AMS, which gives them a website, membership management and dues payment system, an easy-to-use events module, and an online community.
Benefits and Future
MemberCloud AMS provides a system with all the tools that RWA needs to simplify their daily business tasks and save money. While cost was not a major factor for RWA, migrating to a single system did result in savings.
“We were pleased, thrilled, to spend less,” said Judy Scott. They were also thrilled to find out they could have as many local chapter communities as they wanted. “It was Christmas Day,” Judy said.
Socious MemberCloud AMS allows RWA to have unlimited local chapter communities under their association-wide community, to encourage member interaction. The setup allows RWA to keep all their members under one umbrella, but still give local groups the autonomy they want.
Moving to MemberCloud AMS also meant that 100% of RWA’s data is kept in a single, central location, and their problems with member logins and website outages have been solved.
“From an IT perspective, it’s nirvana,” Judy Scott
RWA even found features and functions within MemberCloud that they didn’t know they needed, such as a responsive website for tablet and smartphone users. Those same features are now essential to their organization, and RWA is looking forward to future innovations within the platform.
In the coming year, RWA is considering expanding their relationship with Socious by using additional services, such as chapter support. Socious’s chapter support service, would allow RWA to reallocate their current staff members to better care for their members and provide more value.
Socious MemberCloud, with its all-in-one functionality, ease of use, and responsive support, is a true partner that is growing and innovating with RWA and its members.