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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Database information, reports are limited but its better than nothing, which is what we had before. Ability to let my committees and board find out info without me doing or sending it.
Ease of use, ability to get a nicely designed website, database membership list upload and event management.
Limited email design capacity and metrics, limited ability to make changes to live events to tickets- if you have a change you have to recreate the ticket- very frusturating, the newsletter and emails are very hard to update and send. If it were like mailchimp or constant contact, that would be better.
We have been with StarChapter for many years and I couldn't be more pleased. The ease of the website and database makes my work life so much easier. The website was extremely easy to implement. Our membership loves the ease of the website too. I have needed to use the StarChapter Customer Service on occasion (especially for things I don't use often) and they are very prompt and attentive. They follow up afterwards too. StarChapter cares about you as much on day one as they do five or six years down the road. They are constantly striving for excellence. I would highly recommend StarChapter!
I love everything about StarChapter
I have not come across any cons
It would be nice if you have some instruction on your screen. My team is not familiar with Star Chapter and it is challenging to support our events. Is it possible to schedule a webinar training with real person who we can ask questions?
The campaign functionalities cover email, survey, tickets etc. One stop shopping.
Hard to understand how to set up tickets, coupons and vouchers.
Not sure how to refund the ticket.
Thanks for posting your review, Emily! I StarChapter customers can schedule an on-demand training with a StarChapter Specialist anytime! Please request training by either opening a support ticket through the Admin Area of your StarChapter software or emailing [email protected]
When you send the email/open the support ticket, we advise you include the best way you wish to be communicated (phone/email) and your availability. Our team works 9am to 5pm EST and would be able to schedule a training after 4pm, per your request.
We value your feedback!
Star Chapter provides a good alternative for our size operation (about 3/4 million). I think you should check out all options before deciding on SC, but it works for us.
We adopted Star Chapter after using Abila and did not miss a beat. The people are good to work with.
We are a two person office and the other person, not me, does the work on the Website and I do the Database.
Some of the functionality is clunky. Since I focus on the database, it works ok for me. We have company memberships which causes some problems.
StarChapter has simplified filing, sales and membership issues. Don't know how we did it when it was so manual before.
I love that all the documents, such as board meeting notes, marketing material and more can be saved on StarChapter. Sometimes it's difficult to contact one of you board members, they may be out on vacation or in meetings all day. Know I can just go into StarChapter and get what I need without having to reach out to other members. It also has a great dashboard that gives me membership details along with sales details.
It does not allow you to create and mail out CPE certificates for members. This would be an huge plus!
I have been very happy with Starchapter and look to continue using the software for our organization.
The ease of use and the ability to have all of our chapter info in same system
I would love Starchapter to have a pay button on meeting registrations so attendees could pay by credit card after registering. Right now, they have to make the decision to pay at time of registering but it would be nice if they had the pay option link on registration if person decides to pay later on with credit card.
Star Chapter allows our non profit association the ability to manage not only our website but also our membership, communications and dues payments. It also allows us advertising opportunities. Star Chapter has amazing customer service and support! I would recommend them to other non profits.
The software is fairly easy to navigate and the customer support is fantastic!
I wish there were more font options and better tools for design work. I also wish we could make the sponsor sections on the front page look better....
It was a slower start trying to learn the software but the support staff is pretty patient. They do offer training classes. I looked at many other systems but for what you are able to do StarChapter offers great value.
Once you get the software set up it really gives you power to do most of the things you would want to. There customer support is helpful as long as you are okay with a ticketing type service
Not the most intuitive type software but sometime with the power to do most things you have to give up some intuitiveness. It does not have open API's to be able to link with conference software or conference software integrated.
After developing our own website on a very small budget, we found it difficult to recruit new members. Bookkeeping and membership rosters were difficult to maintain using a series of spreadsheets and other pieces of software cobblde together. We were so impressed with the demo by StarChapter, the implementation process, and customer service. Our website looks amazing, our reporting is so much easier, and we really feel like we get a fantastic product for a great price.
Ease of use, training readily available, and very responsive customer service.
The overall experience has been OK. We like the ability to pay for our events via PayPal, as well as sending one email to everyone on our email distribution list. Less hassle than before. Unfortunately, not everyone receives our emails through their work addresses.
We mostly liked the platform and the ability to update content without many issues.
Blockage from delivering to business email addresses. We have had so many people that have stated that they do not receive our chapter emails.
My chapter used to use at least three services to manage our email announcements, program registration, and website administration. Now we can do all of that in one place with our StarChapter site. The site is very easy to manage, even for those with minimum website administration experience. When there is something we can't figure out ourselves, we can look up how to solve our problem using the extensive tutorials and guides or contact the friendly and responsive help team.
There are some limitations, such as to what extent you can customize your site, but these are very minor and in general StarChapter is the best website service we have used since creating our website.
Easy to use, lots of documentation to help you figure out how to make changes,
Guests that have registered for our events are listed as Attended automatically even before the event has taken place. it should just say "registered" or "paid" and then maybe during the event there should be an interface to check people in live to say if they attended or were a no-show. more ways to track event participation statistics and demographics.