If you run a small business or nonprofit organization, you’re probably all too familiar with using Excel to manage your customer contact and membership information.

While Excel is certainly a great tool, it’s not always the most effective way to keep things organized.

This was a reality I faced with the nonprofit organization I work for, in addition to the work I do here at Constant Contact.

Sick and tired of spreadsheets

The nonprofit I work for gives people the opportunity to participate on multiple levels. We have “Premium/Family” memberships that give families the opportunity to attend 6 of our events free of charge. We also offer “Premium Single” and “Basic Family” memberships, as well as “Individual” memberships for those who may not be interested in attending more than one event.

All of our records were maintained manually in an Excel spreadsheet. This meant that the manual process of updating records was error prone and time consuming. Errors in email addresses kept us from reaching and engaging with customers, and membership renewal emails were manually sent to members nearing their renewal date.

It was a headache to say the least.

To help resolve the problem, we decided to take our contact management online with Constant Contact.

I wanted to use Constant Contact exclusively for membership management to eliminate the use of Excel spreadsheets. And because all of our contacts were listed in our Constant Contact account, it was a logical choice to consolidate our membership information there too.

I had to find a way to do the following:

  • Store membership info for each contact
  • Import the membership info into Constant Contact

I used the “Custom Fields” that are available for contacts to store membership information for each member. There are 15 custom fields available for each contact.

I assigned the first 4 custom fields for membership type, membership date, membership date in yyyy_m_d format, and payment status by changing the custom field labels on our “Join My Mailing List” form:

  • Custom Field 1: Membership Type
  • Custom Field 2: Membership Date
  • Custom Field 3: Membership Date in format yyyy_m_d format (this format is easy to find when searching)
  • Custom Field 4: Membership Payment Status

Once the custom fields were set up, the next step was to get this information from the Excel file into Constant Contact.

Note: It is fine to import the same data multiple times, as only new or changed data is updated.

Tracking expiring memberships

With all of our membership data now available within Constant Contact, I was able to build a plan to manage our rolling memberships.

Here’s a look at how I did it:

  1. I created an email campaign for membership renewals.
  2. I compiled a list of contacts whose memberships were expiring that month. I did this by querying on Custom Field 3, Membership Date in format yyyy_m_d format.
  3. I saved the results of the query to a list.
  4. I scheduled the campaign each month as appropriate.
  5. I entered new member information into my Constant Contact account.

Take your contact management online, today!

Bringing your contact management online can offer a wide range of benefits to any small business or organization.

For my organization, it gives me the opportunity to more effectively manage our rolling memberships and make sure we never miss a chance to engage with our most loyal supporters. It also helped us save a ton of time in the process!

Ready to get started? Log in and upload all of your contacts into your Constant Contact account.