Creating a Powerful Members Area for Experts


Engaging with your membership community online can be challenging. The International Research Society for Public Management (IRSPM) previously struggled with its website and membership technology. After having identified the need for change in 2015 the Society now has a strong online presence. Today the IRSPM team can easily communicate with its members and stakeholders online. Members in turn can connect with each other across the world to create a global community. Read on to learn how IRSPM, together with VeryConnect, created a successful website and members area, and how you can do the same.

Very Connect Global Community of Experts
IRSPM members outside the Center of American Studies, Shanghai, China

A Global Community of Experts

IRSPM connects an international network of  1,400+ prominent researchers. Key activities involve publishing the academic journal Public Management Review and organising an annual international conference. The goals of the Society include developing international research, and supporting emerging researchers. To meet these goals it is important to have a strong online presence that allows the IRSPM team to easily communicate with members, and members to connect with each other.

Needing a New Membership Site

We met Dr Adina Dudau, Researcher Coordinator at IRSPM, in April 2015. Adina and the IRSPM team struggled with their previous website. Adina says: Our website at the time looked static and tired. Integrations and further development of the pages were difficult. Most importantly the site was increasingly vulnerable to hacking attacks”.

The IRSPM team wanted a website that was reliable, fast, and easy to navigate. They also required the site to work on mobile, have a members area, and a custom integration with the online version of Public Management Review, so that members could easily read it wherever they are. Upgrading the website with the current supplier and CMS was cumbersome. Instead, an international tender process was put in place, in which IRSPM’s academic members invited organisations worldwide to submit proposals. VeryConnect won based on the overall strength of our technology, and with our strength in custom integrations really setting us apart.

After having worked closely together with IRSPM the result is a modern website that works on all devices. Loading speed has improved, the technology the site is built on makes it fully secure, and the layout makes it easy for different stakeholders to find what they need. Adina concludes: 
Our new website is fast, interactive, mobile responsive, and above all secure”.

Very Connect Membership Site
IRSPM’s new website makes it easy for stakeholders to find what they need.

A Powerful Integrated Members Area

IRSPM initially wanted their new website to integrate with their existing supplier’s off-the-shelf members area. After having won the website contract we showed the IRSPM board our membership software. We could better meet IRSPM’s needs, and the board decided to go ahead with VeryConnect for the members area too.

The overarching goal with the members area was to create a platform where admin could easily communicate with members, and where members could sign up and pay their membership fee. We worked together with IRSPM to create a members area that fully satisfies these needs and goes beyond them. Dr. Russell S. Hassan, Communications Secretary at IRSPM, followed the project closely from the start. Russell says: “It has been easy to get all platform features right, and to get started using the platform, thanks to VeryConnect’s collaborative approach”.

IRSPM can now easily send relevant emails to up-to-date member email addresses. This is thanks to the auto-updating database, which is fully integrated with the email management system on the platform. Members can easily sign up and login to the community through their social media accounts, and paying their membership fees is as easy as online shopping.

Members can search for and connect with each other worldwide, which supports the goals of the society. All IRSPM’s social media feeds are integrated on the platform creating a community feel, and members can blog to share their experiences. The access to Public Management Review was moved here from the public website, creating additional incentive for members to log in. In this way members only need to log in once to access both the members area and the journal, creating a smooth member experience and even traffic to the platform.

Russell concludes: “The platform saves us time in many ways. It integrates all we need to manage our membership community in one place, and automates mundane tasks, such as updating the member database”.  

Very Connect Experts member site
The IRSPM members area creates a community feel 

Membership Software for a Global Community

Throughout the project we worked together with IRSPM’s international team, with decision makers being based in the USA and across Europe. Despite the diverse locations we maintained our collaborative approach throughout, and incorporated opinions of the board as we went along. Russell says: “The single biggest reason I recommend VeryConnect is their collaborative approach. There are many software suppliers but very few who care about making their product work for you after the sale”.

Very Connect membership software
IRSPM members from all over the world can find and connect with each other

We are proud to have created, together with IRSPM, an online presence that connects global members and stakeholders on all devices. Follow us on social media to see more of our work and how we can help you to connect with your community online.

By Anna Bjorkman, Marketing Manager at VeryConnect

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