Outstanding comprehensive association management system
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.
Great association management system!
We now have ONE platform that we use for all our needs. We have ONE list to manage with all our member info. It's a turnkey system, and has made things much easier for a board that changes every two years. We're very happy with StarChapter!
This checks all the boxes for us. We needed a platform that let us send comms to our members, manage our membership list (including sending invoices for renewals and new members), manage event registrations, post news articles, allow our members (and non-members for a fee) to post job openings, and more...and this fit the bill! It was affordable, easy to use, the initial set-up was simple (StarChapter is a HUGE help and does a great deal of the work), and we've found their support team to be very responsive and helpful. We're very happy with our switch, and now all our data is managed in one place - which was the ultimate problem we set out to solve with our previous website.
There are a few little nuances we've discovered, such as not being able to use multi-byte characters (emojis, etc) in subject lines of comms and not being able to export ALL comm data (must be exported individually). I think the biggest thing that could stand to be improved is the comm data - you can get open rate, but that's pretty much it. You can't see what links are clicked on the most, or other data that other email-specific platforms offer. That said, it wasn't a deal-breaker for us.
Non-Existent Tech Support!
Up until 2 weeks ago, I was very happy with the system and customer service - they've let me down!
No tech support for the last 2 weeks! I do not have access to the admin area to update the website - I've called their support line multiple times - entered 2 different support tickets requesting help - no one responds!!
Small Texas Association
There are some features of the software that are excellent. I really like the email communication interface. Our biggest concern is that there is very little ability to customize to your association needs. Customization of the site is not an option and work around options are complicated, confusing & time consuming for the board. Communication between the front and admin end can be mismatched. If you are ok with small things like application field names not matching profile field names and back end names, but being similar it's fine. If you are ok with having drop down menus on your application, but not on your individual profile editors, which results in somewhat of a mismatch of information, you will be fine. For our Association, it's all small things that you will encounter with the software, scrolling down pages of data, the overall display of profile editors, etc... that will make things difficult for the board and for membership. It's very important to understand that these items can't be changed even with a work order and in our eyes this is a major limitation of Capterra. Overall, the system functions, but it isn't the easiest software to manage and it will take a MAJOR commitment on the part of the associations board to make this system work as best as it can for your association. If your Association is small and doesn't need much in the way of tracking and display, CME, spreadsheet export, and more, Capterra will be a good solution. I will say compared to a fully customized website development it is more economical for all involved, despite the commitment it requires.
The email communicating system.
The mismatch of options on the front end, individual profile end, and admin end of the site.
The inability to set standard views for daily use (defaults for individual members)
The complicated way the profile editor is displayed.
The inability to have custom drop downs made (similar to the State drop-down) for large comprehensive lists - these need to be on both the front end - application and member profile editor as well as the admin member manager area.
Membership management software that covers all bases!
StarChapter appears to be a very professional software company that has provided a great solution for organization membership management.
StarChapter set everything up
The training they provided was comprehensive
The support is excellent. I had a few questions and received a response back within hours or even minutes.
Once you get the hang of how it works, it is easy to make changes
The price is incredible! We are a very small non-profit with a limited budget.
Our users love the software. The admins really like the back end and the information it provides.
Our members love the website and how easy it is to renew membership, sign up for classes and events.
Reporting is a little weak:
I can find everything I need but it isn't as easy as I think it could be. (That said it could be that I haven't figured everything out yet.)
I can get a list of new members, members that have renewed, and members that have not renewed BUT it does not produce a very attractive output. This would definitely not stop me from recommending this software.
Great value and easy to use for chapter associations
I've used Star Chapter now for 10 years. Over this time things have gotten much better and easier to use. It is important to small chapter associations with multiple volunteers to make something simple they can use, and then actually do use it to get things done. I am the only paid staff person for my associations so its great to have the support and help with my committees.
Its simple and has the website/database/financials/surveys/emails all in one.
The email system is not pretty and has too many templates hidden/buried to update. Make it look more like constant contact and I have no more complaints. Love it
Response from Star Chapter
Thank you for your feedback, we are happy to announce that an update to the email functionality and templates will be available soon.
Choose StarChapter for a Streamlined, Easy-to-Use, Time-Saving Association Management Software
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.
StarChapter is helping us to succeed!
They easy elements of communications, setting up events and sign-up of membership.
It is difficult to see what type of membership is for each person and how much they paid and what they paid. There is no integration for webinars! Adding contacts is also limited and makes it difficult to email all potential leads. Also you should have an app that allows easy QR checkins for attendees. What about a program attached to your meeting that issues certificates that can be easily emailed to the participant.
Easy to Use
Easy to use, works well with payment processers, integrates well with APICS Corporate to pull in member information in a timely manner
The Lite version has limited functionality. Help documents do not apply as they are written for other non-Lite versions. Spend way too much time trying to find some parts for updating the site.
Response from Star Chapter
Thank you for your feedback. We are always expanding our Knowledgebase. If you have any suggestions, we'd love to get your input. Please enter a support ticket so our team can work on it.
Good for the basics
StarChapter combines all of the functions chapters use for membership/website/registration under one "roof". This can save time and provide additional functionality.
The options for website customization are quite limited, and the design options are very basic. Some functions also do not work well which can be aggravating.
Response from Star Chapter
Thank you for your feedback, we really appreciate it as it helps us improve our product. Our new layout series, the M Series, is available! The announcement has had an overwhelming response. We are currently scheduling redesigns to this new layout series. If you'd like to add your chapter to the waitlist to start the new year with a new look, please submit a ticket to our support team. The impact of a brand-new website design on an organization can be significant to your membership, sponsorship, and volunteer programs.
StarChapter is serving us very well!
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.
Room for improvement, but outstanding product & service
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.
All Around Great Service at a Great Price
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.
StarChapter as a Platform
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.
Star Chapter for a small Professional Organization
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.
StarChapter Customer Support never makes me the fool
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.
As noted in my previous comments, overall there is a great value to the software but I am worried that myself and my clients will need to start looking to other products to service our need if some feature enhancements don't start being created. It seems like the product is stagnant.
I like the ease of use and connectedness of all of the software segments. The product also gives a lot of functions for the price which makes it an easy sell to our clients from a value standpoint.
Some items are clunky and not as nimble as they could be. I also feel like starchapter has stopped developing enhancements or improvements outside of the website templates that they sell for a fee. I would like to see more robust reporting or the ability to build ad hoc reports, enhanced functionality on the events with regards to promo codes/discounts, adjusting registrant information/substitutions, and more robust functionality with the eblasting system.
Response from Star Chapter
Thank you for your feedback, we really appreciate it as it helps us improve our product. We are sorry to hear that you're experiencing difficulty with the reports and some of the functionality. If you could please enter a support ticket, our team will get in touch with you to get more information.
A great value
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.
Best Update for Our Chapter
My experience was great! From the first call that got my questions answered, getting everything set up, knowledgebase, and getting help when I can't find answers to my questions - it's been a very smooth process. I'm very happy with our selection and don't see us switching away from this platform.
Being able to have a Member Manager page, easier set up for events, invoicing system, and communication platform. These were all pieces missing previously. StarChapter has helped to make almost everything easier.
It can be difficult to update certain things. For example: getting the correct address to appear on invoices (or get it on invoices at all). It needs to be updated in three different places. It would be nice it you could change it in one spot (in settings for example) and have it feed to the others. Also, there seems to be a disconnect on the member login side. When a primary contact renews membership, it doesn't renew anyone else with them. Not sure how to fix that, but it hasn't been a major issue that needs to be addressed yet. Just a convenience thing.
Response from Star Chapter
Thank you for your feedback, we really appreciate it as it helps us improve our product. Please enter a support ticket, and our team will get in touch with you to provide any necessary help.
Easy to use, great customer service
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.
Useful tool for Chapter management
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!
StarChapter Review 10/23.2018
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.
Great Product for our Organization
Outstanding support, great looking page, great tools
This software transformed and streamlined our operations. We were able to save money by eliminating other IT platforms. We now can use the ticketing portal to directly sell tickets for our events.
The mass email communication system took us a little while to get used to. Once we did a few communications, it was easy to use.
Constant Contact vs Star Chapter
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.
Top of the line association management
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.