How the National Rural Education Association Increased their Memberships During a Global Pandemic

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This case study talks about how the National Rural Education Association boosted its membership during a pandemic with Glue Up's CRM platform.

At the beginning of 2020, Allen Pratt, Executive Director of the National Rural Education Association was looking to find new software to better serve his organization. His software at the time, Netforum Pro, was one that he inherited when he came to the organization and it wasn’t exactly easy to use. Allen Pratt explained he “didn’t like the user-friendliness of it, updating of information and adding things to the newsletter. It just didn’t flow right for me and I didn’t like how it was very difficult for people to log in and renew their membership. We needed to fix that immediately.” Some of the main challenges NREA was facing were engaging with their members, easily updating their weekly newsletter, and updating member information and invoicing.

As they searched for a new solution to help manage their association, they came across Glue Up. They joined in on a demo and were impressed with what they saw, but more importantly, Allen explained “being able to practice on the Glue Up system before we committed was awesome” as new clients are able to use a demo account before committing to any contract. After considering the ease of use and how it could help fix the challenges NREA was facing, Allen determined that “Glue Up was the best choice for us.”

In February of 2020, the National Rural Education Association (NREA) signed on with Glue Up. Allen said that “if you can export your data on a drive, you can match it up to Glue Up, and it's very simple” to migrate data to the Glue Up system. Regarding the onboarding process as a whole, Allen mentioned that “it’s nice to work with someone who cares about what we’re doing, and the onboarding procedure was really good. Brian helped us with onboarding, and he was great and easy to work with. He worked with us and got us onboarded in about 2 weeks.”

Just a few weeks later, the coronavirus began shutting down most of the United States. The coronavirus has had a lasting impact on the association industry since, so how did the NREA manage to survive? They were able to do so because they had a powerful association management platform to help them along the way. Allen Pratt mentioned that “we're probably one of the few membership organizations that have actually grown this year.” You heard that right. The National Rural Education Association was not only able to survive but GROW during the global pandemic.

The following are some of the ways that Glue Up has been able to help the National Rural Education Association grow throughout this year:

The Weekly Newsletter

The NREA sends out a weekly newsletter to all of its contacts that are tracked in Glue Up’s CRM. Allen mentioned that “the newsletter has been well received and has been really great for us” and “it helps us to get our information to our members quickly, it also helps us to communicate and people can easily sign up when they find out were a useful source of information.” As we’ve seen throughout the coronavirus pandemic, staying in constant communication with members is essential to associations and the NREA has been able to do that effectively with Glue Up.

Allen also mentioned that it's simple to communicate with different contacts in different ways saying that “if anyone has an email address in our system, we can send them the newsletter but if we just want to send things to members, it’s easy to do that too. Glue Up helps to reach different people at different touchpoints in the organization.” Allen also mentioned that “right now we only send out our newsletter every Friday, but as school comes back in the fall we’ll start sending more emails through Glue Up’s system.” Since signing with Glue Up in February 2020, the NREA has sent over 43 thousand emails through the Glue Up platform.

Boosting Memberships

As mentioned earlier, the NREA has actually increased its memberships since signing on with Glue Up. Allen mentions that “it’s already increased our membership based on renewals based on how we use the platform” because “anyone that’s had a contact point with our organization since 2008, we have now rolled them into Glue Up and we’re now picking up members that fell off the chart in our old system.” Because of Glue Up’s high-level data analytics, the NREA can find contacts who previously may have slipped through the cracks and target them more effectively.

From seeing who is opening their newsletters to who hasn’t yet renewed their memberships for the year, they can track all of this on Glue Up and have used this info to boost their membership. Currently, the NREA is tracking over 5000 contacts through Glue Up’s powerful CRM.

Allen Pratt, Executive Director of the National Rural Education Association

“We’ve increased tremendously to the point where we’ve already surpassed our goal in membership for the year, which is partly because we’re able to gain memberships from ones we used to miss out on in our old system.” 

Allen Pratt, Executive Director of the National Rural Education Association

Automation and an All-in-One Solution

Glue Up has made many processes easier for the NREA such as sending out invoices. Allen said that “the automation part of sending out invoices saves me time. I don’t have to mail out invoices anymore.” Automated invoices through Glue Up are certainly a benefit that helps the NREA turn a tedious process into an automated one. The NREA is also happy with the all-in-one aspect of Glue Up. Because of the coronavirus, Allen mentioned that “we lost our event for the fall, so we're switching to online in November” but “down the road, we're looking at event management, and we already have that built-in so we can handle it in our one-stop-shop.”

Glue Up empowers the NREA to not only handle their email marketing, CRM, and invoices but also their event management, all in one place. The NREA is even considering upgrading its contract to include the new community engagement solution that can help the membership-based organization connect and engage their communities in a digital setting. The best part is the Glue Up platform communicates amongst its different modules so the data can help reach people more effectively.

Signing on with Glue Up has empowered the NREA to boost its membership even during the global pandemic. Allen has a message for other association leaders: “if you’re looking for a platform that you can actually talk to people and know the people you’re working with and it’s a phone call away, Glue Up is the way to go. The interface is easy for us and easy for our members but the fact that if I have an issue, I can email someone and get an email back from people higher up in the company is great. I emailed someone recently about the community feature and the CEO responded right away.”

Not only can Glue Up’s platform empower organizations to grow, but it also does so while providing excellent customer service.