The Future of Wild Apricot: Impressions from PersoniFest 2019

Alex Sirota, Director of NewPath Consulting, recently attended PersoniFest 2019 in Savannah, Georgia. Alex was representing NewPath Consulting as a Wild Apricot Partner. This was the 20th annual PersoniFest, but only the second one attended by Alex. He also gave a learning session at the conference called “3 Professional Wild Apricot Magic Tricks.” 

Personify made it super-affordable to attend PersoniFest for Wild Apricot customers and partners! Wild Apricot customers and partners had access to a conference full of learning, networking and tons of fun for the price of one night at a local hotel. Nicole Malachowski was the keynote speaker, and she spoke about her experience becoming the first female pilot in the US Air Force’s Thunderbirds Air Demonstration Squadron.

Nicole is a leader, a combat veteran, an instructor, a White House Fellow, and an inductee into the Women in Aviation International Pioneer Hall of Fame. When Nicole’s distinguished military career was cut short by a neurological tick-borne illness that, at its worst, left her unable to walk safely or speak intelligibly, she overcame those challenges, as well. Her talk was awe inspiring.

Over 80 Wild Apricot employees, customers and partners attended the event, by far the largest collection of Wild Apricots that we have ever met in person! There were 11 learning sessions that were created for Wild Apricot customers. A full agenda is available online to review the breadth of the conference.

Integrating Wild Apricot into the Personify Family

Wild Apricot’s integration into Personify is now fully complete. There is now a Wild Apricot landing page on the Personify website which features a brand new Wild Apricot brochure. The brochure contains a newly announced multi-chapter pricing model which offers up to 30% savings when you licence multiple Wild Apricot sites.

The CEO of Personify, Eric Thurston, also attended a special customer appreciation dinner on Monday evening, a true show of support for the Wild Apricot platform and customers. Affinipay, the company behind Wild Apricot Payments, sponsored and exhibited at PersoniFest 2019 as well. It was a treat to get to know the folks behind the customer service email and phone, as well as understand more about how Wild Apricot Payments is becoming the preferred payment system for Wild Apricot.

Denver Ballet Guild wins a Persi Award for Impact

One of our Wild Apricot customers Denver Ballet Guild won an Impact award at the 2019 Persi Awards!

Denver Ballet Guild is a non-profit organization that supports youth dance arts and whose mission is to stimulate interest in ballet and other forms of dance. In 2018, the organization modernized their online presence by migrating to Wild Apricot. Members and visitors to their website can register for events, join and support the Denver Ballet Guild with diverse membership types and donate online. Denver Ballet Guild administrators can conduct email marketing outreach to their constituent base. Denver Ballet Guild is driving significant increases in event revenue, membership renewals and more since launching their new site. Congratulations to the Denver Ballet Guild for the impact you have made to support and promote dance in the Denver community.

2019 Persi Award Winners

2019 Persi Award Winners

New Features Coming to Wild Apricot in 2019

What follows are a few impressions including some new upcoming features in Wild Apricot that will be rolled out during the rest of 2019. Note that these notes are not announcements, but rather our impressions from the conference. Please consider these observations and opinions, rather than facts.

There were many interesting talks that featured Wild Apricot functions and benefits during the conference. “Product Showcase & Sneak Preview: Wild Apricot” was one of the more exciting talks on April 9, 2019. It was given by Katya Tyukina, product manager at Wild Apricot. Below are some of the screen shots of the slides given at the conference:

1. The first features the new email editor which will bring a more user-friendly experience to creating emails. The new user interface will feature modern technology and best practices in user interface design. The design results will be predictable and on par with the most modern email builders available today. We hope this new interface will be integrated into the website builder too. It looks awesome!

Image from iOS (2)

2. The Colors and Styles feature of the Website Builder is being completely redesigned. The new design features much simpler interface which will allow you to pick a new color pallete and apply your organization’s preferred colors to the whole website. You can choose the preferred font, brand color or just revert to a default. You may still want to use our Wild Apricot Text Manager, but for much more specific text changes rather than CSS changes. This is a welcome improvement!

Image from iOS (2)

3. Wild Apricot Payments, powered by Affinipay, will get 3 useful improvements: recurring donations, issuing refunds directly from the admin interface and saving credit cards for future use. Wild Apricot Payments is indeed the preferred payment platform and will continue to get features that set it apart from any of the other payment systems available in Wild Apricot.

Image from iOS (2)

4. The Wild Apricot mobile apps for members will get a few new features including financial information and push notifications. The admin app will get more features currently available on the web application only.

Image from iOS (2)
Here is a short video featuring the email editor interface coming to Wild Apricot in 2019.

More Breakout Sessions On Wild Apricot and Association Management

Mark Faccia, Tatiana Morand and Shiv Narayanan all had amazing talks at the event and I highly recommend you give them a watch.

Tatiana Morand gave a talk titled “The Three Keys to Growing your Organization with Content.” It was a master class on creating content that attracts new members. 

Hypergrowth! Best in SaaS Techniques for Building Your Organisation was an eye openining and important talk on strategic growth management. Shiv talked about go-to-marketing strategy, what metrics your organization should — and shouldn’t — pay attention to, as well as the skills you need on your team to make real growth happen.

Where is Personify taking Wild Apricot?

There are some other developments that were announced like details on Personify Hub. Support for Wild Apricot in the new integration hub is yet to be announced but it seems likely that the various Personify products are now able to communicate with each other. The Hub makes it possible to integrate with products outside of the Personify family as well.

There is clearly more focus on Wild Apricot being used as a chapter solutions for Personify customers. Alex met a customer who uses Personify360 for headquarters and has over 100 Wild Apricot websites deployed across the country. The possibilities for large organizations to adopt Wild Apricot for chapter management is an incredible opportunity due to the affordability, power and flexibility of Wild Apricot.

The experience of meeting the Personify family face to face and interacting with customers and partners is one of a kind. We highly encourage customers and partner of Wild Apricot to join us at PersoniFest 2020.

Where is PersoniFest 2020?

Here’s a short recap video from PersoniFest 2019. We will see you April 5, 2020 in Colorado Springs!

About the author

Alex is a pioneer in using the cloud to meet the needs of small and medium sized business (SMBs) and membership-based organizations. He has a BSc in computer science from the University of Michigan and has worked as a product manager at two Internet startups. Alex is a father of 2 and plays the trumpet for fun. He is the founder and the president of the University of Michigan Alumni Club of Toronto.