We have been using StarChapter for 3 years, and I have been the technology director for all of that time. StarChapter is a life-saver. It makes it fast and easy to upload/create content, post new meetings, email our community, manage members and non-members, etc. We used to have to use a combination of an HTML site, Eventbrite, PayPal, and Mailchimp to do what StarChapter can do all by itself. It definitely provides more value to the board and to our members and community.
The majority of the software makes it very easy to manage our chapter's website, from meetings and payments to board transitions and communication. StarChapter provides ample live and pre-recorded instructional videos, as well as an extensive "knowledge base" of articles. When I can't find what I need, or when there is a problem, I can submit a support ticket. I always get a response in under 24 hours, usually less than 12.
If you want to create complicated web pages (more complex than the template pages that are provided), you need to know a bit more about website design. It's not as user friendly for those who aren't tech savvy. Also, sometimes the editing/formatting features can be a bit frustrating, like using tables and things for page design.
Likelihood to recommend: 10/10
It’s 100 times better than the Wordpress platform we used previously, especially with regard to the membership piece. The four pieces of advice I would give are that: 1) it will make your life a lot easier if you have a central person who will be mostly responsible for knowing how to use the platform and doing most of the work on it. 2) If you are switching from an existing membership platform to StarChapter, anticipate that there will be bumps. Not horrible, but it will take a decent amount of time once it launches to get your membership acclimated to the new system and make sure the information is correct. Not everything will transfer over exactly the way you thought it would. Emails will need to be verified before anyone will be able to receive what you are sending. There is some hand holding of the membership during this stage. 3) Take time to get your members and non-members verified so that people are actually receiving your emails. 4) If you can, have a payment portal as part of your StarChapter system.
There is a learning curve to get familiar with the program, but once you do, it is pretty straightforward and relatively user friendly. It is nice to be able to use one platform for the website, events, and email communications.
Creating the events and communications can be frustrating from a formatting perspective if you aren’t used to it – but that is the same in most platforms. And also like most platforms, there are some quirks that you end up just working around to get it to do what you want. It’s hard to keep the bookkeeping 100% accurate, so I wouldn’t utilize StarChapter’s reporting as your only source of financials.
Likelihood to recommend: 8/10
I like being able to edit any portion of the software at any time. I like that it is a word-friendly software to make the text appealing as well as being able to add images. I also like the payment portal; setting up the customer ticket options gives you the ability to make items required during a registration of an event.
At this time, the only item I do not find easy to navigate through are the reports. The reports are not easy to build or customize for each event. I tend to have to make an extra step in my process to match the entries.
Thank you for your feedback, we really appreciate it as it helps us improve our product. We are sorry to hear that you're experiencing difficulty with the reports. If you could please enter a support ticket, our team will get in touch with you to get more information.
Likelihood to recommend: 8/10
I've used Star Chapter now for 10 years. Over this time things have gotten much better and easier to use. It is important to small chapter associations with multiple volunteers to make something simple they can use, and then actually do use it to get things done. I am the only paid staff person for my associations so its great to have the support and help with my committees.
Its simple and has the website/database/financials/surveys/emails all in one.
The email system is not pretty and has too many templates hidden/buried to update. Make it look more like constant contact and I have no more complaints. Love it
Thank you for your feedback, we are happy to announce that an update to the email functionality and templates will be available soon.
Likelihood to recommend: 10/10
There are some features of the software that are excellent. I really like the email communication interface. Our biggest concern is that there is very little ability to customize to your association needs. Customization of the site is not an option and work around options are complicated, confusing & time consuming for the board. Communication between the front and admin end can be mismatched. If you are ok with small things like application field names not matching profile field names and back end names, but being similar it's fine. If you are ok with having drop down menus on your application, but not on your individual profile editors, which results in somewhat of a mismatch of information, you will be fine. For our Association, it's all small things that you will encounter with the software, scrolling down pages of data, the overall display of profile editors, etc... that will make things difficult for the board and for membership. It's very important to understand that these items can't be changed even with a work order and in our eyes this is a major limitation of Capterra. Overall, the system functions, but it isn't the easiest software to manage and it will take a MAJOR commitment on the part of the associations board to make this system work as best as it can for your association. If your Association is small and doesn't need much in the way of tracking and display, CME, spreadsheet export, and more, Capterra will be a good solution. I will say compared to a fully customized website development it is more economical for all involved, despite the commitment it requires.
The email communicating system.
The mismatch of options on the front end, individual profile end, and admin end of the site. The inability to set standard views for daily use (defaults for individual members) The complicated way the profile editor is displayed. The inability to have custom drop downs made (similar to the State drop-down) for large comprehensive lists - these need to be on both the front end - application and member profile editor as well as the admin member manager area.
Likelihood to recommend: 4/10
StarChapter plans have a monthly fee and a one-time setup fee.
To find your pricing, choose the plan with the number of members in your organization:
STARTER plan: Under 50 members, $44/month, $399 one-time setup fee.
ESSENTIAL plan: 51-150 members, $83/month (billed annually), $779 one-time setup fee.
GROWTH plan: 151-300 members, $105/month (billed annually), $1,079 one-time setup fee.
ADVANCED plan: 301-600 members, $133/month (billed annually), $1,319 one-time setup fee.
PRO plan: 601-1,200 members, $165/month (billed annually), $1,559 one-time setup fee.
Do you have more than 1,200 members? Talk to a StarChapter Account Executive to learn more.
Get a 90-day satisfaction guarantee (excludes Starter).
Most members of nonprofits and professional trade associations are volunteers, and often don’t have a lot of time available in their schedule to set up events, manage members, create content, increase member involvement and communicate with fellow volunteers. StarChapter was created to make the lives of board members and volunteers easier by offering a complete, cloud-based business app designed specifically for the industry.
With role-tailored access to all features, board members, volunteers and members can access and update areas relevant to their profile or position, reducing the dependency on a webmaster’s intervention, and increasing membership engagement. The user interface will be familiar with anyone with even limited technical knowledge, making it easy to access and get up-to-speed on quickly, as and when board transitions take place or roles within the organization change.
StarChapter was specifically designed for a volunteers, leaders or administrators of a member association or a nonprofit, with functionality tailored to their exact needs. It helps consolidate regular tasks that volunteers or leaders carry out, with features focused on membership management, email communications, website content management, event registration, board management and payment processing. StarChapter provides full training and support on the software- allowing all users to get up to speed quickly- as well as regular webinars, video tutorials, articles, and online courses that make sure all volunteers and board members can get the most out of the app. Beyond technical support, their team is experienced with the world of association management and offers industry insights as well as coaching on improving performance such as getting more revenues and member participation.
The StarChapter team automatically migrates all content from old system, while completely designing and implementing the new website, meaning membership organizations and chapters don’t get stuck in the onboarding process and training users.
In StarChapter, there is a central Admin Area, which contains sections for creating content, managing members, communicating with these members, organizing events, and processing payments.
With StarChapter, organizations can choose from ten different layouts that can be customized by StarChapter’s in-house graphic designer based on color scheme, logo, branding, or national organization specifications. Each layout is suitable for the kind of features membership associations typically need on their website. To provide a good user experience, each layout features responsive web design, meaning it is optimized for whatever size and type of device you view the website on.
Behind this, is a built-in content management system (CMS) that is specifically tailored for non profits where you can easily upload newsletters, create events, and add member spotlights. This area of the admin panel is not just for written content, there is also the ability to place logos, manage ads from sponsors, and work with design and layout of each piece of content. You can edit different webpages and create new ones easily without previous knowledge of coding and website design.
Boards change, members move on, and new members join. An issue any professional trade association or local chapter faces is keeping this member list up to date, and ensuring that all contact details are correct. Hosting an up-to-date member directory on the website is a main benefit of joining the organization in the first place, thjat’s why for volunteers to work off spreadsheets creates more problems than it solves.
With specific member access, every member can edit their own details, saving the webmaster (if you have one) valuable time. You can also manage non members, as well as create groups for different types of members, and easily search within these groups. StarChapter’s system updates the information in real time, meaning that any other part of the system that uses this information (such as email newsletters), will always have the most up-to-date details. Each chapter can also create customized fields, which they would like members to have to fill out.
Getting together in meetings is a huge source of revenues for any nonprofit organization. Some events are center around discussing issues, networking, welcoming new members, or interacting socially. It’s important that as many people show up to these meetings and events as possible. To create meetings, member organizations can choose from pre-built, industry-specific templates, or set up (or copy) templates of their own. Information about which groups of members to invite is pulled from the membership data, which is updated in real time. This way, event organizer can invite people based on their affiliated group, no need to copy and paste from excel or other systems.
Through the meeting feature, organizations can see the guest list, the fees collected, and group attendees according to members and guests. There are options to print badges, email attendees, create reports, process payments, manually add guest registrations, and track attendance at the entrance. Events and meetings are automatically removed from the site when they have already happened, ensuring your website is always up to date.
To improve member engagement and grow your chapter, it’s important to regularly communicate with members between events or communicate announcements as they occur. This is an area where a lot of organizations struggle due to out-of-date information, poor branding, technical issues, and inability to manage their lists. StarChapter’s email manager lists all the different emails that have been sent in the past, with reports around how many have been opened or bounced. Each chapter can schedule emails and opt to send them on a recurring basis, for example your regular monthly email that keeps members informed on upcoming events. StarChapter also comes with industry-specific templates such as happy hour networking events, board get togethers, golf outing, and new member welcome days.
All emails are branded according to an organization’s logo and website, ensuring consistency and professionalism throughout all communication. Just as important as having the right email look and feel, is sending it to the right group of people. Integrated with the membership data, you can choose which group of people to send to, such as a people who have registered but are not members, or members who have registered but have yet paid for the event. There is also the ability to build a survey, for example one after an event in a timely manner, which you can filter only to send to attendees, as well as automate emails, such as welcoming new members when they join. The data for this comes from the central membership management portal and the meeting management area, making email creation very quick and easy.
As StarChapter is a one-stop-shop for professional trade associations and nonprofits, it does not integrate with any other software. They do offer an option to include RSS feeds for social media posts/tweets on the site.
There are four plans: Lite, Standard, Premier, and Elite depending on the size of the association and number of members. Plans start at $49 per month with a setup fee of $399 for up to 100 members and 400 non-members. Large organizations with 5,000 members and 30,000 non-members will pay a max of $150 per month.