I want to thank this week’s sponsor, MemberHub. MemberHub is not a product that I use in my ministry – but after signing up for my free hub (which you can do too, here) I have to say that it looks like a really great product and something that many churches, non-profits and other organizations could really benefit from at the very least trying it out for their 30-day free trial for the paying plans.
I am initially often drawn to aesthetics of software or a web application – and MemberHub clearly does it for me. Their user-interface is really gorgeous and makes it both easy and incredibly enjoyable to work with MemberHub. It took me less than 2 minutes to set up my first Hub and then just a few more minutes to get it customized, add my custom logo – and then I was ready to go.
MemberHub: An Overview
MemberHub provides a single place where organizations can connect with their members. As a individual you can connect with all the groups that you’re affiliated with through online “hubs” and as an organization you can use MemberHub to connect with your members and manage the various groups that they are affiliated with.
To provide the best experience for administrators, organizations need more than databases or spreadsheets. They need their members to be in sync. MemberHub empowers organizations to manage members effectively and create community.
- Build Community: Empower group collaboration and help members get engaged, with shared calendars, hub discussions, file sharing, and more.
- Enhance Communication: Keep members in sync with automatic event reminders, and communicate instantly with e-mail and text messaging.
- Manage Membership: Maintain an accurate database, manage sub-groups effectively, and track involvement, from anywhere, at anytime.
Below you will find some screenshots of the user-interface when I was logged into my hub, and some more detailed descriptions of some of the parts that I particularly enjoyed.
Above is what you see when you first login. This tells me that it’s my Youth Ministry Hub and you can see my Youth Ministry logo on the right. On the left are the primary sections of my hub:
- Home Page: From the homepage, you can navigate around your hub, see your welcome message and any recent announcements.
- Announcements: Broadcast email reminders and announcements (that can also be sent via text message).
- Calendar: Create events (which can also send out reminders via email or text message) and manage your calendar.
- Discussions: You can have discussions in this section – which can happen on the website or via email.
- Files: Files can be added here to be shared with everyone on your hub.
- Members: You can manage your members and invite new ones.
- Photos: Have photo albums that everyone in your hub can view.
- Whiteboards: Basically a wiki for your hub – a chance for some collaborative thinking, writing and editing.
- Hub Settings: From the Hub Settings, you can manage Admins, Joins, Permissions, Profiles and Personal Settings. The settings are very easy to understand and you won’t feel like you are being inundated with too many options.
The first thing I did was spend some time inputting events into my calendar. It’s a great interface for adding events (same options available as when I create a new event in iCal). And you can create an .ics file from your calendar to share, which is great. The one thing I don’t think I saw anything about was importing calendars. It’s possible that they may have that option, but it’d be great to be able to import in my ministry calendar that I already have in iCal (or from a Google Calendar account as well).
Sending out announcements is extremely easy with MemberHub. You get 160 characters and if you make it an Urgent Announcement, the message will be sent via SMS to your members as well, which is obviously really helpful. Being able to expire announcements is also really great.
In addition to the Discussions section, the Whiteboards are great for collaborating, planning events with members of your hub, or other tasks that require multiple people to have access to the same file. You can edit the file, or leave comments under the document. I can see this being extremely handy for church (or non-profit) committees who need to work on a project together.
Managing Your Hubs
So all that sounds pretty good huh? But the real golden part of MemberHub is the Management Console where churches and other organization can go and manage all of their multiple hubs. When church admins log in, they’ll see 4 tabs – Overview, People, Hubs and Settings. This is where you can create and manage the hubs for all the different ministries and small groups. You can manage all of the information about those hubs and about their members as well. You can see below that you can Add people to different hubs, send messages and even “tag” people to make finding people easier in the system. You can set up Custom Fields on Members.
In the Management Console, you also have a ton of information and possibilities of ways to interact with your various hubs, including Broadcast Announcements to any number of your hubs. This type of management really has the possibility of saving your staff time and money because you’re actually empowering people and different ministries to get organized and everyone can find all of the information. Calendars, forms, documents, photos, member info….everything is right there in your hub. Accessible by everyone!
MemberHub: Worth Checking Out!
I think MemberHub is an extremely well put together product, and is definitely something worth looking into if you are in need of an organizational and communication tool for your church, youth ministry, non-profit or other organization. One of the things that stands out to me is their SMS-integration into so many of the functions of the site. I think more and more, any web application that is going to do well, should probably have some SMS-integration into its core, and MemberHub does that very well.
As you can see below, they have plans for groups up to 2,000 – and I’m guessing if your organization is larger than that, they will be able to work with you and could create you a custom plan. Go take a look and see what you think.