WSPTA Membership Database - memberplanet
As a benefit of membership, Washington State PTA (WSPTA) provides to each local PTA and council access to a membership database platform through the company memberplanet. Each PTA assigns an Admin to the account to manage their PTA’s member data. We encourage all PTAs to visit the membership success site for the structural information needed to maintain your site. In addition to the database being a resource for PTAs, it is also the medium through which the PTA reports their members and officers, a requirement of the WSPTA Standards of Affiliation.
This page will be updated frequently to share WSPTA specific dates, timelines, and information.
Access these videos here and use the password WSPTA-LocalLeaders2020.
- How to Set up Online Membership Registration
- How Members are Counted & How to Create a Distribution List
- How to Invite Last Year’s Members to Join Online
- How to Report Your Local PTA Officers
Checklist for Relaunching Your PTA’s Database– Here are the key things you will want to confirm/complete upon (re)activation of your database account. Thorough explanations of each step are also included.
An Introductory Memberplanet Guide For Councils – This short guide will help familiarize you with the basics of the memberplanet database. The goal is to help you monitor and communicate with PTAs in your region, as well as to illustrate some differences between how local PTAs use memberplanet and how councils use memberplanet.
WSPTA memberplanet Success Site: This site, curated by memberplanet, contains uniquely tailored information designed to help PTA leaders navigate the database and learn about the many features available, including the website builder and newsletter management.
memberplanet Admin Role Management: Learn how to manage your PTA’s database admins, including how to create additional roles with different access privileges.
Membership Cards Through memberplanet: Learn how to manage your PTA’s membership cards, which can be sent to your paid members via email.
Membership Setup Checklists: Learn how to configure your PTA’s membership settings. There are separate checklists available for setting up online membership registration versus manually entering the names of your members.
Recording of the Summer 2020 memberplanet Webinar: memberplanet representatives led a database training session via Zoom in July 2020. You can watch it here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Admin logins to the database are unique to the user, rather than standard for each PTA. That means each admin has their own distinct username (usually a personal email address) and password. We suggest PTAs do not use a shared admin account between multiple officers.
At the end of each school year, the transfer of login privileges should be part of the transition process between outgoing and incoming officers. If this step is missed and a new slate of officers is on the outside looking in, they can email the WSPTA Support Inbox requesting access to their PTA’s database.
You can learn more about managing admin roles here.
The decision about whom to confer admin privileges is up to each individual PTA.
WSPTA recommends that each PTA grant full-access status to its president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary. At minimum, two officers should be full-access admins. Some PTAs may choose to grant access to others, including officers in charge of Membership, Communications, or other responsibilities
WSPTA Support is automatically an admin for each PTA. Please do not attempt to remove WSPTA Support’s admin role.
You can learn more about managing admin roles here.
Each PTA is required by the Standards of Affiliation to submit to WSPTA a roster of current elected officers and key unelected officers. As of July 2020, this is handled within the Committees menu in memberplanet.
You can find a step-by-step guide to reporting officers here.
You can watch a step-by-step video tutorial here.
Memberplanet allows each PTA to set up its own unique online sign-up form. This process requires the PTA to establish its specific membership parameters within the database and to customize a registration packet. The PTA must also designate a bank account into which collected membership payments will be deposited on a weekly basis.
A full checklist for this process can be found here.
A step-by-step video tutorial can be found here.
For more information about designating and verifying a bank account, click here.
Some PTAs like to offer subsidized (or scholarship) memberships so that a member’s dues are paid on their behalf. There are many factors that go into the process through which a PTA collects funds for the purpose of giving a “free” membership to another member. Some options to consider are listed below.
Ultimately, “subsidized memberships should be manually added to the database and assigned a membership level by an admin. Please note that these memberships are not exempt from WSPTA, National PTA, or local council dues, so they will still appear on your PTA’s monthly invoices. You can assign these members to a special member level if you’d like, but any member level will do.
Here are some tips for using memberplanet to collect money for subsidized memberships:
- Consider upgrading your memberplanet account: While it may not be feasible for every PTA, memberplanet’s paid version does allow PTAs to collect donations and to accept non-membership payments (online paid member registration is already a standard option in the free version of memberplanet). This way, you could give your members an option to donate to a subsidized membership fund as part of their member registration process.
- Build a donation option into your member levels: memberplanet allows PTAs to define the membership tiers and prices from which its members can choose when purchasing a membership online. One option is to create a special member level that is more expensive than a standard membership, with the explanation given that the special level includes a built-in donation. For example, if your PTA sells a Standard Membership for $10, you could create a second member level called Standard Membership Plus Donation for $20, and then note in the description that members who choose that level get the same $10 membership while also donating $10 to the PTA. Your PTA treasurer could use memberplanet’s payment reports to sort through donations at the end of each month.
- Handle everything off-platform: If you don’t want to commit the finances required for option 1 and/or you need more flexibility than allowed by option 2, it might be best to find a non-memberplanet method for collecting these donations.
One thing we advise against is the idea of “overselling” online memberships to provide scholarships, which is to say allowing PTA members to purchase a second membership to be donated later to a recipient member. There are a few reasons for this: the purchaser’s receipt would not reflect their donation, the PTA would risk selling more scholarship memberships than there are recipients (and still have to pay the dues), and a PTA would not be able to carry over excess donated memberships to next year.
Given the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we expect there to be heightened interest in the concept of subsidized memberships. We will be providing additional resources to help PTAs in shaping these programs moving forward. In the meantime, please reach out to your region director with questions about best practices.
This is a great question!
memberplanet uses some terminology differently than what we are accustomed to in PTA, specifically the word “member.” The easiest way to approach this is if you treat each instance of “member” as synonymous with “record” or “profile.” If the database says you have 50 total members, it means that there are 50 names in your database. This does not necessarily mean that your PTA is reporting 50 paid memberships.
“Membership” is the key term that we use to account for your current paid members. WSPTA counts the total reported memberships from each PTA. This is the number used for total member counts and billing.
To illustrate, here’s a screenshot from a PTA’s Membership Dashboard within memberplanet:
There are currently 78 total member records in this PTA’s database (21 plus 57). The distinction between “active” and “inactive” is mostly a quirk of how the database categorizes information, but we can use those categories to determine which names in the database are relevant to the current school year versus those that were rolled over from last year and have yet to be acted upon.
“Active” member records are individuals who:
- Were added to the database this year, or;
- Were previously “inactive” but have since been assigned a current year’s membership.
“Inactive” records, on the other hand, are simply the carried-over names from last year. At the end of the school year, all “inactive” records are archived and removed from your database.
In the example above, there are 21 records that are “active” for the current year. Among them, there are 20 total memberships being reported. This implies that there is probably one record in the database that is new, but has not designated with a membership. (If a PTA wanted to identify this one record, they could do so using the Member Database page.)
The number of memberships (i.e. current paid members) being reported by this PTA is 20.
First, click Members on the left dashboard to open up the Member Database page. You’ll see a list of every name in your database. To filter by current paid members, click the filter icon (to the right of the magnifying glass) and select All Paid Members.
The resulting list will include everyone who is currently designated as a paid 2020-2021 PTA member. You can export this list by clicking Download Excel in the top right.
Depending on how much data you are exporting, the processing of the spreadsheet could take some time. A pop-up menu will ask for an email address so that the system can send a notification when the download is ready.
To access the download, return to the Member Database screen, then click History and select Download History.
From here, you’ll find a list of every exported list you’ve ever requested. This can be super useful for comparing membership numbers month-to-month. Just press the download icon to download the spreadsheet.
The heart of this question is the chain of custody of funds collected through memberplanet’s online membership registration format. A detailed explanation can be found below, but the key points are these:
- WSPTA doesn’t touch the funds collected by individual PTAs through memberplanet. Instead, that money is transferred into the PTA’s bank account via ACH transfer either weekly or monthly, depending on what the PTA has chosen.
- If your PTA has collected funds through memberplanet but has not yet received them via direct deposit, the most likely explanation is that you have not yet designated a bank account to receive those funds.
- Members who purchase their memberships online will still appear on the PTA’s monthly invoice.
Let’s take this step-by-step:
- Each PTA designates a bank account into which collected funds will be transferred. PTAs can elect to receive those funds on a weekly or monthly basis. We recommend PTAs go with weekly transfers. If the PTA has not yet designated/verified its bank account, the collected funds will sit in limbo waiting to be transferred.
- When a member purchases a membership through the online join process, memberplanet collects that money into a lump sum. That entire lump sum is deposited into your designated bank account each week or month (depending on what was chosen) on a Wednesday. WSPTA never has custody of those funds.
- Every month, usually on the 5th, the memberplanet creates a snapshot of your total membership numbers. This snapshot is compared to the previous month’s. Any new memberships are included on that month’s invoice. Any removed memberships are credited for dues already billed. PTAs may make payments through the online portal. These payments go straight to WSPTA.
You can click the REPORTS button on the memberplanet main page to open the All Payments Report, which shows each transaction that has been made through your database system. Select Transfers from the dropdown menu to see all transfers made by memberplanet into your PTA’s bank account.
To summarize, the chain of custody for the funds is:
- Member purchases membership, funds go to memberplanet
- Memberplanet transfers all collected funds into PTA’s bank account
- WSPTA (and the local council, if applicable) bills the PTA based on that month’s membership snapshot
- The PTA pays dues fees via memberplanet’s payment portal
- Memberplanet transfers those payments to WSPTA.
Many PTAs offer a membership tier which allows multiple individuals in a household to join at a reduced rate.
The key thing to remember when reporting these members in the database is that we’re looking for a headcount, not a number of memberships sold.
For example, let’s say ABC PTA has 25 total paid members. Fifteen of those members are individuals who purchased a single PTA membership at $15. The other ten are each part of a couple (i.e. five groups of two) and became members by purchasing a Family Membership at $25.
Again, the total headcount is 25, but the total number of “memberships sold” is 20 (15 Single and 5 Family).
Your PTA should report all 25 paid members. A couple should be reported as individuals, not as one single membership shared between two people.
If you want to set up online membership registration, there is an easy way of configuring the membership tiers to allow for family memberships. You can find a guide for that here. This process is also covered in the video tutorial found here.
If your PTA handles payments for memberships on a separate platform, then all you need to do when reporting your membership is to ensure that every paid member is accounted for. Your reported numbers should match your PTA’s member headcount.