Wild Apricot’s site promises an escape from Excel hell. So, naturally, we were interested to see what they have to offer. These days, the spreadsheet is no longer the best way to stay organized. They get messy—fast and organizations like nonprofits, NGOs, and private companies can’t access updated information in real-time.
What Wild Apricot brings to the table is a long list of features aimed at keeping your data organized—so all relevant staff and volunteers can get an up-to-date snapshot of various goings-on.
Unfortunately, the website aesthetic, the templates, and the reports included in this platform don’t look especially nice. With slick platforms like Virtuous CRM, Neon CRM, and others, Wild Apricot seems like a relic from the mid-2000s web.
Ugliness doesn’t necessarily mean that a tool is no good, though. Plenty of people seem to like the platform. It’s reasonably priced and comes with a lot of features.
In this review, we’ll look at how Wild Apricot compares to other donor management platforms. Keep reading to see how it stacks up.
What is Wild Apricot?
Wild Apricot is a membership management tool aimed at helping nonprofit organizations and clubs keep track of their members and keep them updated.
The software is pretty simple. Signup for an account, and you’ll be up and running in no time. The tool allows you to import your spreadsheets and configure your contact details.
The platform encompasses many aspects of nonprofit administration. For example, the platform allows you to manage members and donor information, set up websites, online applications, and create members-only pages.
Wild Apricot also integrates several embeddable widgets that pull data into your site and it integrates with WordPress. So, in all, it sounds pretty good. Still, some people didn’t love how the reporting was set up. Or, that the data didn’t sync up to QuickBooks or other accounting programs.
Wild Apricot stores all member information in a cloud-hosted database. Here, you can customize membership levels and automate your renewal process.
Managers can see all member records from event registration to donations, status, and more. Members, too have access to the portal and can easily update their information through a secure log-in area.
For organizations, this tool brings the capability to set up a searchable online directory that makes it easy to access records and view activity.
Wild Apricot’s website builder allows administrators to create a public website for collecting donations and member signups. You can also use this feature to create private pages for member-only access.
Wild Apricot promises to make website creation a breeze. Get started with a professionally designed template, then add your logo, color scheme, and web copy. From there, you can add your custom domain name and you’re up and running.
Wild Apricot comes with the ability to create custom registration forms and tailor them to your specific need. So, you can add in costs of meals or additional sessions, or include a field for coupon codes and early bird specials.
Mobile App for Events
Wild Apricot provides members with the option to add a mobile app for events to their event planning toolkit. The goal here is to give event attendees the ability to manage registrations on-site, check-in pre-registered guests, and more.
The app is available through Google Play and the App Store and allows you to sort through notes, view lists, and add registrants without a computer. All updates made through the mobile app automatically sync up to your membership database, so the full system can give staff on-site and in the office—the same real-time reporting access.
Online Payment Processing
Wild Apricot removes the headaches from collecting payments Members and supporters can pay you online—through their computer or mobile device.
You’ll have the ability to set up recurring payments so subscriptions are processed automatically, ensuring you get paid and member don’t need to remember to renew.
Additionally, this feature allows you to manage donations made by credit card, cash, or check—tracking transactions, taxes, and VAT, if applicable.
What’s more—users can process payments through a variety of online methods such as PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net, and others. There’s also the Wild Apricot affiliate, Affinipay, which comes with free support, no set up fees and recurring payments.
Wild Apricot automatically creates invoices and receipts when you collect a payment. You’ll be able to customize the appearance of invoices and receipts, as well as the content, and the conditions under which they are sent out.
When payments are confirmed, the system will create a payment record and update the related invoice—marking it as paid or partially paid.
Finally, users will be able to customize triggers based on payment or other activities. For example, when someone becomes a member, they’ll receive a welcome email.
Self-Service Financial Records
From the self-service page on your website, (think private, members-only pages) users can access a record of transactions, pay for membership, change billing details, and make donations.
The reporting section allows Wild Apricot users to access a full picture of their financial situation. Track your organization’s income, view donations, refunds, aging receivables, and more.
You can export reports to Excel or QuickBooks, if you’d like, making it possible to incorporate Wild Apricot data into your accounting system.
Some users have mentioned that this feature isn’t ideal. Importing isn’t exactly seamless and some users mentioned the process was difficult and time-consuming.
It’s also worth pointing out that the reporting interface isn’t very attractive. Charts look like something you’d come up with in an outdated version of Excel. Meaning, they’re functional, but don’t provide that easy-to-view breakdown you’ll get with competing tools with a greater focus on design and utility.
One of the few specifically donor-related features in the Wild Apricot suite, you can set up fundraising campaigns and connect them to the online payment processor. Create separate pages for different campaigns and track efforts through progress bar you can add to your site.
While you can manage donations, you can’t manage donors on a really granular level. Treating them like members could work, you could use that data in conjunction with an email marketing tool and track interactions that way, or signup for a standard CRM.
Blogs and Forums
With Wild Apricot, you can create your own blog, forum, or news section, which can help you improve your content marketing efforts and engage with your community.
Use this feature as a way to create private members-only forums or as a public section on your website. In any case, the platform aims to give organizations the ability to set up a diverse selection of communications tools.
Wild Apricot provides a content management system chock full of templates. We mentioned the website templates and forms, but this section also allows you to set up an email campaign.
Based on our look through the site, the email templates aren’t all that attractive. Still, you can send as many emails as you’d like (though you’ll have to import your contacts each time) and you can add links and calendar invites right there in the body.
Pricing ranges from a free plan with limited features to a network-level solution. All plans come with the same stack of features, but the cost is determined on how many contacts you can store in the system.
Here’s the breakdown:
- Free, 50 contacts
- Personal, $40 per month, 100 contacts
- Group, $50 per month, 250 contacts
- Community, $90 per month 500 contacts
- Professional, $160 per month, 2,000 contacts
- Network, $290 per month 5,000 contacts
- Enterprise, $350 per month 15,000 contacts
- Global, 50,000 contacts, price available on request
We can’t really imagine paying $40 a month on a program that allows you to keep contact information on hand for just 100 contacts. The caps seem really low, here, though we suppose you could use the tool with
Wild Apricot is a cloud-based solution that provides access through both the web or mobile app. This platform supports Windows, Mac, web, iOS, and Android.
Who is this For?
Wild Apricot will likely work best for clubs or other membership organizations. We went into this review assuming it could work as a donor management tool, but it’s not quite right for serious relationship management use.
We should also mention that based on the contact caps listed in the price breakdown, that it probably won’t work for large organizations.
According to the website, Wild Apricot is designed to be a fully self-service piece of software, which makes sense, given that even the Enterprise plan doesn’t house too many contacts (relative to other tools).
You can contact customer support or consult the help documentation center if needed. They do provide a phone number for tech support, but billing and sales inquiries are only supported through email.
Some of the customer service benefits associated with Wild Apricot:
No Credit Card Needed for Free Trial
All you need is an email to get started with the tool. Users get 30-days to take the tool for a spin and if they like what they see, they can then choose a plan that works for them.
While this isn’t the most robust feature, we did like that the company believes in the product enough to avoid the cancellation trap other SaaS products often employ.
Wild Apricot Academy
The Wild Apricot Academy gives users access to several webinars, free courses and knowledge hub articles.
Right now, the site offers users the opportunity to take two mini-courses—one that looks at how to boost membership signups through Facebook ads. The other looks at how to use Wild Apricot’s event planning module.
If you scroll down to look at the knowledge base articles, you’ll find written instructions for using most of the tools included in the suite.
We should mention that if you do signup for a webinar, you’re likely to receive an influx of emails. Someone on Software Advice mentioned that they complained about this and immediately received three more emails. So, we suppose, email at your own risk.
Reviewers on Fit Small Business mentioned that while the Wild Apricot site appears to contain a wealth of resources aimed at helping consumers understand the platform. One person mentioned that they typically check out this section before calling and that the content is insufficient.
What’s the Verdict on Wild Apricot?
After looking closely at the platform we’ve found that Wild Apricot is a decent membership management tool that comes with some big benefits. You’ll get email marketing, financial reporting, plus a basic website builder.
We think this solution works best for a club-type organization, as it lacks some of the more sophisticated features you’d find in professional-grade donor management software.
If you’re running a nonprofit with a large constituent base, Wild Apricot probably isn’t your best option. However, if you’re planning events here and there, it might work.
It’s also worth pointing out that it doesn’t offer much in the way of social media integration, which will make it more difficult to promote events to a wider audience. If that’s what you’re after ClubExpress and Zen Planner might be better options.