Moving to StarChapter has benefited us in many ways. Our association member management was based on spreadsheets so this is so much better. Our prior website was significantly outdated, so again, moving to StarChapter was a great improvement. We did lose functionality in that our prior financial system was Method (had limited member management) and did interface to Quickbooks. However, StarChapter's ability for on-line dues management resulted in a significant dollar collection in our first couple months of being live which was a very pleasant result. We are very glad to have made the transition to StarChapter.
Software has a great website component - catalog of website pages format and views, flexible build, sleek modern look and great background site security. The website provides a "wow" factor.
The Association management portion of the software has many tools for membership management, event management, dues management and email communications functions. All are very helpful.
There are a number of on-line resources serving as a knowledge base and their support is wonderful. Most questions are answered within 24 hours.
Members also really like the ability to pay dues or make donations or purchases on-line.
As a heritage culture society we had a few membership/group use case issues that the software couldn't really address and there wasn't much guidance on possible workarounds. We needed a few more project hours on our implementation phase (we were turned over to support before we went live). There needs to be a user manual document to further define screen fields as there is great flexibility in the system. While the videos are helpful, they don't provide enough detail for taking the system to beyond a basic level. The other key limitation is the lack of interfacing to financial systems like QuickBooks. While we really like the ability for members to pay dues or buy from store via credit-card, there is double entry for bookkeeping due to lack of interface.
Before StarChapter, we had a website that we built and maintained ourselves. It was outdated and hard to administer. We used an email campaign software, an invoicing software, paid hosting fees, used a security software, and tracked attendees at our events in a spreadsheet — it was a bulky way of operating. Our organization looks so professional now! We were able to consolidate all our other systems into one which is such a time saver! I'm not sure we're saving any money, but the time, ease of use and professional image is worth it. I highly recommend that anyone in an association consider StarChapter. I couldn't be happier with a management software.
StarChapter has streamlined our volunteer organization's processes and saved each of us time — which is important as volunteers! It's eliminated the use of an email campaign system and invoicing system. It has streamlined our communication with the newsletter feature, and contacting members and non-members with the email templates makes our roles simpler. I love that each of our board members are learning how to maintain their own pages through StarChapter's Knowledgebase. Everything you need to know is in there and it's presented in a style that's easy to read, follow and understand. I've had to request support for a couple items that were more complex than what I could handle, and their support team has responded within a day or two to resolve the challenge.
I've been using the software for about eight months. I think I still have so much to learn — it's a very robust software — yet they do make it easy to use. I just wish I could dedicate more time to really diving in to understand the connections between the modules and how to maximize the software.
The ACFE has 188 chapters world wide. I'm the Vice President of the San Diego Chapter and a member of our National Leadership Council of 12. I'm asked routinely throughout the US about StarChapter and sing your praises for the outstanding job you do. In hindsight, I'm hoping StarChapter does get the opportunity to begin showing signs of growth and maturity in their website platform and processes.
I'm saying this from a truly humble place myself as I've just taken our own local chapter from 26 members (7 of which were board members) to now over 100 by biting the bullet and making the changes necessary to move us forward.
Although there's much room for improvement in certain functionalities, StarChapter provides an outstanding product & service and their tech support staff has always been extremely professional and well versed in all things website maintenance.
1) Somehow your organization needs to find the budget for true novice to intermediate tech support to handle incoming calls, assisting with the rudimentary or emergency items. Currently, Customer Service Agents solely manning the phones to either set up Tech Support Tickets or redirect customers to go online followed by a 24 – 48 hour wait time for an initial response. By the time the client receives their email answer or online chat meeting, it could be 3-6 business days later in total.
Remember, your client’s bottom line is priority #1. If there’s a problem with either of the following (to name a few), you’ve just caused your client unnecessary setback and frustration:
• A problem with their payment gateway connection.
• A problem with their membership or event registration processing correctly
• A problem with email blasts going out correctly
2) Update your website portal to include proper “how to” instructions. I'm sure you feel you’ve already done so but 80-90% of the time, this is not the case for those clients that are self-doers.
3) For 3 years I’ve been working with StarChapter and must have suggested at least a dozen good suggestions for your website engineers to create/fix and still have not seen the changes produced. I’ve even offered to pay out of pocket for these changes and yet still no further action is available.
StarChapter is fantastic for the price. Previously, we did not have the ability to provide our members with a secure space on our website for accessing members only information nor registering for our events. We're now able to do that and so much more which really added to the membership benefits we are able to provide to our members. The simple, straightforward design to our website allows our members and non-members to easily access information and register for our events at a fantastic price for a non-profit organization.
The ease of use that allows us to have a members only section on our website; the quick and straightforward set up and designs for each page on our site; the ability to adapt pages to include accessibility options for folks using screen readers or are hearing impaired.
The communication tool - we've been using Constant Contact for several years and we've found the flexibility both in e-list management and design that CC provides will keep us using that service over StarChapters.
It’s 100 times better than the Wordpress platform we used previously, especially with regard to the membership piece. The four pieces of advice I would give are that:
1) it will make your life a lot easier if you have a central person who will be mostly responsible for knowing how to use the platform and doing most of the work on it.
2) If you are switching from an existing membership platform to StarChapter, anticipate that there will be bumps. Not horrible, but it will take a decent amount of time once it launches to get your membership acclimated to the new system and make sure the information is correct. Not everything will transfer over exactly the way you thought it would. Emails will need to be verified before anyone will be able to receive what you are sending. There is some hand holding of the membership during this stage.
3) Take time to get your members and non-members verified so that people are actually receiving your emails.
4) If you can, have a payment portal as part of your StarChapter system.
There is a learning curve to get familiar with the program, but once you do, it is pretty straightforward and relatively user friendly. It is nice to be able to use one platform for the website, events, and email communications.
Creating the events and communications can be frustrating from a formatting perspective if you aren’t used to it – but that is the same in most platforms. And also like most platforms, there are some quirks that you end up just working around to get it to do what you want.
It’s hard to keep the bookkeeping 100% accurate, so I wouldn’t utilize StarChapter’s reporting as your only source of financials.
Overall, it has improved MANY of our organizational functions. We can manage our membership much better, find the meeting functionality to be a vast improvement over what we were doing and it does help us manage our finances better. As we have no paid staff, maintaining does seem to fall to one or two volunteers, which is going to get old. The is more of an organizational issue though. I would recommend the program for people like me that have a basic tech savvy, as overall it is easy to use. I find the online support database to be far too basic and at the same time hard to find information, so I tend to send in customer support requests a lot and they are excellent in that type of support.
I liked that they provided the initial set-up and conversion from our previous web-site. I like that over-all it is easy to manage the site and to update content. Please note that I do NOT have an IT background and learned everything from scratch. We are looking at an organizational name change, so it will be interesting to see if I still hold this view once I tackle that project. I have always had great customer support when I have a question, even when I pose something that the program can't do.
It is not intuitive for someone that doesn't have skills in web design. I have to research and learn new options, not just pick them up along the way. I find some of the finance and accounting functions too basic, as well as only a basic reporting functionality. There also don't seem interested in updating and adding functionality, just maintaining what they have.
Having been with StarChapter for a couple years now, I really like the customer service experience. I've learned to check out the online videos (sometimes beyond my understanding), but I have learned that -- if things aren't clear -- submitting a Job Ticket gets a quick response. And unlike some other software companies I've used (but won't name), the people who talk to me or email back and forth with me until I understand NEVER make me feel like I'm the idiot who doesn't understand functionality. That's so refreshing! If you're a small one-person office like I am, with sometimes-help from college interns, I highly recommend StarChapter. They offer reasonable pricing with no long-term contract. They let you take your time in adopting the different feature capabilities. And once you're up and running, they're an awesome value for the monthly spend!
Ease of learning how to do stuff for someone who isn't a technology nerd. Sometimes that means my current intern has to look at the video and then show me, but once the lightbulb goes on, I can do 'most anything.
Some of their training videos have left me wondering what I just watched. That's when I reach out to a digital native / millennial to help me "get it." Or, I submit a job ticket.
The customer service/tech support department is great. They are responsive and problem solvers. One of the great features of this software.
I like the newsletter feature the most. I can create digital newsletters by template.
The cons for the software are that it doesn't fit with how our association works. The software is more designed for "chapters" of associations as opposed to a single association. We have COMPANIES as members (we are a 506(c)(6) trade association), and staff of those member companies are also considered members. So the billing/invoicing feature doesn't work for us, nor does the online registration for the most part. I also don't use the mass email feature because we leave it up to our members to create their own accounts, and there are thousands of individuals who might do this. It is easier for me to use Constant Contact for an email database and I have a link on our website's home page that allows people to add themselves quickly to Constant Contact. I also use CC for online registrations. I use QuickBooks for all invoicing and for our membership database. The software witih StarChapter simply doesn't work in the direction I need for our type of association.
We have been using StarChapter for 3 years, and I have been the technology director for all of that time. StarChapter is a life-saver. It makes it fast and easy to upload/create content, post new meetings, email our community, manage members and non-members, etc. We used to have to use a combination of an HTML site, Eventbrite, PayPal, and Mailchimp to do what StarChapter can do all by itself. It definitely provides more value to the board and to our members and community.
The majority of the software makes it very easy to manage our chapter's website, from meetings and payments to board transitions and communication. StarChapter provides ample live and pre-recorded instructional videos, as well as an extensive "knowledge base" of articles. When I can't find what I need, or when there is a problem, I can submit a support ticket. I always get a response in under 24 hours, usually less than 12.
If you want to create complicated web pages (more complex than the template pages that are provided), you need to know a bit more about website design. It's not as user friendly for those who aren't tech savvy. Also, sometimes the editing/formatting features can be a bit frustrating, like using tables and things for page design.
Overall, it’s a vast improvement from how we were managing our chapter. However, there are definitely parts that could be better.
This tool greatly helps us manage our chapter and events by automating processes that we used to do manually. Gone are the days of tracking everything with spreadsheets. New member sign ups and membership renewals are a breeze, we are able to link to a payment gateway and accept payment directly though or website, and best of all, members can update their contact information at any time. Event registration, sign-in, and payment is also easy. And being able to run reports from the software is great.
It’s difficult to update the website unless you have prior experience. The reporting function is lacking by not being able to include all data that we want. And while sending emails from the software is great, having to manage this or respond using an outside email provider is very cumbersome. It would be better if we could read emails in the software. Also, not being able to create and send continuing education credit certificates through the software is a huge miss!
We are able to market our events with ease and efficiently. It solved the issue of mass emails. Membership is easier to track and to communicate with those members.
I like StarChapter; it's fees are spot-on and I have recommended it to other associations.
1) Ease of access from any location.
2) Ability to have most of the associations information in one spot
3) Email communication
4) Reports available. Love the graphs for membership, meeting attendance, etc...
5) Love that the members can download the meetings they attended to track their own CEH credits.
6) Love how the support team gets back promptly on issues.
7) The newsletter StarChapter sends out although finding time to read it gets in the way.
8) The ease of using it. It's not hard to train others to use it.
1) Email verification.
2) The difficulty to find where to change some information and the need to ask what page it is on.
3) Renewing a members dues from administrative point of view has been difficult.
4) Would like notification of any issues concerning members.
5) Screen size for creating an event. Would like it bigger.
Member management will be better. All board members have access to snapshots of the business including revenue and meeting attendance.
Several features for chapter management seemed to be an advantage to Constant Contact. Communications to members, non-members and expiring members seemed to be be better.
Can't call anyone for support. Users are required to submit an online ticket and wait usually 24 hours to get an answer. This isn't helpful when trying to meet a deadline and run into trouble. Some event registrations don't show up in orders and I must do manual reconcilation of credit card payments (I'm told to avoid this we need to upgrade to PayPal Pro. Constant Contact worked fine with Standard Business PayPal). Requires our NAHU members to create an account and "log in" when registering.
I highly recommend Star Chapter to every association leader looking for an effective, efficient and affordable comprehensive association management system. Star Chapter does it all for each of my chapters; membership management, event management, communications, online payments and reporting. If you're looking for one solution that does it all, look no further!
I like Star Chapter because it provides a comprehensive association management system that is effective, efficient, and affordable.
There are a few added features I have asked for and hope will be implemented in the near future, such as scheduling of email distributions based on specific dates and event invitations that include "Yes" and "No" buttons with tracking of member responses so they don't receive invitation reminders if they have already indicated they cannot attend an event.
After a disastrous experience with another solution we turned to Star Chapter. We received terrific help getting started. With the help of our starchapter project lead, Erin, we were up wiht an operating with a professional website in 2 WEEKS. We started the first week of December 2015 and were up Before Christmas. And it all worked!
We update the site regularly. When we run into something we don't understand the StarChapter support is there to help. We have always gotten a solution within hours of asking. We had one time when the site was down. Within minutes of sending the email to support we were up.
I think the StarChapter solution and the support team are great. Anyone with a professional society or similar membership group should look at this solution seriously.
Complete, Easy to use, we can have more then one person work on the back end We dont'' need a "software guy" to make it work.
The initial learning curve is something you have to deal with but its much easier than learning Joomla or HTML.
Great public website that allows online meeting registration.
Love the ease of ease and the professional facing website and features. Star Chapter customer service is wonderful to work with.
I honestly do not have any. Wonderful software for the price. Has paid for itself in removing the tedious administrative tasks as well as the human error mistakes.
I have used Star Chapter since 2012 for multiple associations I manage. Of all the association management systems currently available, I found Star Chapter to be the most comprehensive and cost effective online software on the market.
Star Chapter is user friendly for both members and administrators. Customer support is great and highly responsive to questions or problems. Training and resources for administrators and Board members are excellent. One of my groups consists of a senior chapter, a young professionals chapter and a non-profit 501(c)3 education foundation. They wanted one website for all three organizations with capability to manage each of them. The Star Chapter tech team was wonderful in working with our volunteer Board and communications committee to develop a website "skin" that would function on Star Chapter's system.
I have some Board members that find it cumbersome to RSVP for a meeting when responding to an email invitation. They would prefer a one click method to indicate if they will attend or not, rather than the multiple steps Star Chapter's system requires to login as a member and register to attend a Board or committee meeting that doesn't require a payment. I have asked Star Chapter to consider changing the system to allow for a "yes" or "no" response when members are responding to a system generated event invitation. We had this with Cvent and it worked extremely well.
We have realized exponential benefits since we have transitioned to Star Chapter in 2017. We are much better able to manage our membership records and know what members do not renew so that we can continue to reach out to them for their renewal.
Ease of implementation, orientation to members, flexibility, ease of using various modules - meeting manager, newsletter, etc. What we were most pleased with was the ability to integrate with PayPal to streamline our dues and meeting registrations. We have seen a huge increase in the retention of members as well as new members since implementing Star Chapter
The only CON I can think of is not having the ability to pay for multiple members with one payment (i.e. company pays for 2+ individuals) Each member record stands alone and there is no bridge to a company name.
The process to set up was very easy and inexpensive compared to all other products we have used. There are a lot of option we were easily able to adapt from the old system to Star Chapter.
Our previous forums were done in real time and automatically emailed to subscribers, this system requires the extra step of the admin emailing the posts to interested parties.
Choosing StarChapter as our online management platform was part of several strategic changes we've made in the past two years. Our membership is up, we doubled attendance at our gala, we've added a downstate development day event, and our funds have more than doubled allowing us to offer even more value to our members. StarChapter freed up some time for our board allowing us to focus our efforts on people and relationships. That's really paid off for us.
We were able to eliminate three other services with their all inclusive system. Email tracker greatly improved our communications effectiveness; we're reaching 98% of our members and the majority of our non-members too! Managing our monthly programs and larger events is a snap--everything from publicity to online registration and post-event analytics is a breeze. If you have a question or a snag, their support team is prompt, friendly and helpful. So you don't have to be tech savvy to look like it!
They aren't a payment vendor, so that's a separate charge. The company we chose has increased their prices, so we're looking at other options. Do your homework on that part first.
I've worked with several CM software programs as well as web design software. While this ultimately does what you need it to do, it takes more steps than necessary. Simple things like having a pull down list of pages on your site to link to are missing meaning you have to know the URL of a page to link it in another page or an email. There isn't even easy access to your photos. You have to go through at least 10 steps just to edit a photo when there should just be a photo editor just like there is a page editor. Other things such as erasing membership information from expired members (you don't know if you are reaching out to someone that was a member last year or ten years ago) and the need to upload information several times depending on where you are using it (on the website vs in an email vs on an event page) make it not very user friendly. Even with registration for events, the page that shows the registrations isn't the same page where you download the registration from. You have to go to a different registration page for that. Too many steps to do the simplest things. It also doesn't have options for sorting or filtering by any column. If someone has a balance, you can't see what that balance was for. You can't sort who opened an email in alphabetical order or by time. You can't look at a member profile and see what events they attended or if the last time they opened an email. You also can't have members update their information at the time they renew their membership. You have to try to get them to go in after the fact to make updates.
However, with all of this, my biggest pet peeve comes when creating questions for event registration and when selecting multiple choice, space is only given for one option. You always have to click - add another choice. Why? Obviously there should automatically be two choices if it's multiple choice - that's what makes it MULTIPLE choice. It's these types of little annoyances that you find in several places that make you wonder if the people that designed the software ever use it or used any other CM software before being hired to design Star Chapter.
Consolidating web postings, calendar, meeting announcements and registration has been a huge help for our chapter as well as tracking memberships. We do still have some issues to sort out on how new members and contacts are added, but this probably has more to do with how we use the system than how it is designed.
The best thing about StarChapter is that the process to create events, communicate it to members and track registration can all be done in one format and is seemless.
The biggest issue is that people will register and pay in PayPal and do not always show up in our meeting registration. This has created problems in the past where people paid and we didn't have enough lunches for all attendees and later found a large number in PP that were not in our registration. Per support, our chapter would need to upgrade from PayPal Standard to a version with a monthly fee. Chapter finances are tight so this is not an easy or feasible solution right now, but causes a lot of manual double checking which was supposed to be eliminated with StarChapter. This issue is really the sole reason that I can not give StarChapter a higher score and recommendation.
We have used StarChapter for our organization (ASHRAE) since 2012 and for our organization (AEE) for 4 months. ASHRAE has 1900 members and AEE has 250 members. To summarize, this is a fantastic Website for any any size organization. When you are a new customer you have a bunch of templates to pick from and Customer Support (CS) gives you personal attention to get your site set-up. There is also a package to fit just about anyone's budget. Setting up meetings and sending out mass emails of any type is a snap.
1.Great Great Customer Support. Inquires are replied to promptly and accurately.
2.Most of the features you use regularly are intuitive.
3.The software has so many features that anything is possible to do.
4.Members can pay by credit card in advance for meetings.
5.Once you are set-up and using it it is very easy to maintain.
6.You can assign different tasks to your board (like someone for announcements or emails or treasury, etc.).
7.Easy to post all event pictures.
8.CS sets your site up to your specific requests.
9.There are tutorials and live webinars on everything with a Help Center to search.
1.If you REALLY REALLY want to get into the nitty-gritty of webmastering it is not intuitive but if you are adventurous you can learn. CS will also direct you.
2.Their newsletter feature sucks. We get around that by producing our newsletter with adobe/word and posting it on our site.
The feature that I like the most is being able to see when someone opens an email.
The creating and editing features for meetings and emails are not flexible. There are limited font options. The editing area is not very large. When you use the preview option to see what it will actually look like, the size is compacted. So, you are not really getting a view of what will be displayed or sent out.
There is no an option to display or see some of the fields on the member record. The membership type can not be displayed in the member manager or in the member directory. You can only select/search for it in the flexible view. You have to go into the record to see what the type is since a member can have more than one type.
Decent. It gives us the basics we need but would be great if the system was a bit more robust. Areas of opportunity:
1. Website will not track a started membership without causing issues. If you start a membership but don't finish all the way to pay screen it acts like your a member but there's no way for you to continue your order. The person supporting site then has to go back and either contact the member who didn't finish and manually enter them or delete the started profile and begin again.
2. When you order multiple tickets under same name (like in meeting you're doing for a golf tournament) you have to fill out the same person name over & over. No way to bypass or say same as above.
3. No place to put orders for things that don't relate to membership and/or meeting. It'd be great to have a section for these types of things that we sell. For example, A yearly sponsorship that can be ordered at anytime on website but doesn't confuse the dues system. Which brings me to point 4
4. Currently if they order anything listed in dues it acts as if the member has renewed. So if they order a name change it's acting as though they paid their dues but they didnt.
Great for setting up & tracking memberships & meetings.
A bit rudimentary. There are areas where the website makes steps too convoluted.
We needed to move to a website with more back office functionality including e-commerce and e-mail and membership management. StarChapter does that very well once implemented
I liked the integration capabilities. Once one learns the software , its very easy to manage
Migrating from a more traditional website platform, it took some time to rebuild the content in a more object oriented fashion. I like it , but I found the training to lack a high level view that would have been a huge help in bridging from our old system to StarChapter. The implementation team on our side are all tech savvy, but not with StarChapter so learning how it was set up took more time than needed because seeing the bigger picture of the design was missing in the training.
We also purchased the "basic" version and several times we were trying to do something basic (including meeting GPDR requirements) and the help desk answer was "oh that's not available in the basic plan" . The GPDR issue they fixed for us,and the others we were able to work around, but having a CLEAR and COMPLETE list of what is and is not on the basic plan would have saved us significant time.