Membership Solutions Ltd

Top tips to take you and your members from Welcome Week to Graduation

From our SU22 session: Starting with what you could be doing right now to make it easy for your new members to engage with your organisation and wrapping up with a look at many of our great employability features. In between, we'll delve into some fantastic events, elections, advice, and student group features, with plenty of examples of how your Students’ Union colleagues are using these tools.

SU22 DIGITAL was a week-long virtual conference bringing Students’ Unions of every shape and size together to share best practices and to learn and discuss hot topics with industry peers. Watch the session run by Lizzy Iles or check out the tips included in the session below.

Getting ready…

Make it easier for your members to engage with your website

Get in touch with us to hear more about our new version of Single Sign-On (SSO) setup and discuss getting this set up on your website. If your students know their SSO login details, they can log into your website and have an account created for them before they're added to your University data file. No more Account Not Matched messages! It’s also great for those of you who sometimes have issues with the frequency of your data file being updated by your University.

We can also enable SSO on your StudentLink app – just let us know if you would like it enabled.

Make more time for the important stuff - add all your Freshers events in a few clicks

If you run lots of events and would like to import these in bulk rather than manually adding each one to your website, you can download, complete, and upload your events import spreadsheet to the Import Events List area in your Admin Website. Great for your Give it a Go sessions or all your Welcome Week events! And while bulk event creation doesn’t currently bulk create tickets, if you add tickets to one of the events in the series then you can get in touch with us to copy those tickets across the rest of your events.

Another time saver - create brands for your regular events. By using brands, you can quickly populate event information, display lists of upcoming events belonging to certain brands and view attendance reports by brand.

In addition to our recurring event options, we’ve also recently released a copy event feature, and remember that ticket requirements can now be added and edited directly from the Events Admin screen!

Help new members discover all the great things you do in a one-stop-shop for your SU

Our fully mobile-friendly Welcome Week template is a one-stop-shop to help your new members discover clubs and societies, events and get great deals and offers. As always, it's free to use - just let us know that you'd like to use it and we'll enable it on your site.

Lots of you used our free welcome site templates last year; here are just two great examples of them in use, from The Union of Brunel Students and Ulster University Students’ Union, so you can see how personalisable the templates are.

No more abandoned baskets! Simplify your website’s checkout process

Over the past few years, we’ve increased the number of integrations with payment providers for your website shops, giving your members more choice when they’re checking out. We still support the Opayo payment gateway, which has an optional Tokens feature we can enable if you’d like your more regular purchasers to be able to save their card details on the Opayo checkout page.

We can also link your website to Stripe (giving your members the option to pay by Apple Pay and Google Pay as well as by card) and PayPal. These two options are particularly great for your international members who sometimes have issues checking out with debit/credit cards when they first arrive at University.

Welcoming your members…

Show them what they want to see - personalise their website events feed

A brilliant example of the different event display options can be found on UPSU's website. Aggregate event content from across your SU into a central event list that can be filtered by type, date and view, and displayed in a tiled and calendar view.

UPSU has also made use of some new settings on our events list widget, allowing their members to personalise their events feed under the “Your Events” area.

The event list widget, used to display your events, can be set to show only events held by groups your members have joined. Rather than seeing all events taking place at the SU, your members visit their own “Your Events” page to see events being run by groups they’ve joined. A “Your Tickets” page can be created using the “Tickets held only” widget setting to show your members upcoming events for which they've bought a ticket

No one likes a queue - Save your members’ time getting into events

Manage your venues and entry points with Web Door Entry, improving door entry speed, and giving the best experience to your student members. Our product tour below shows you around this new release.

To speed up the process further, once we’ve configured your card swipe pattern, you'll be able to bring up a student's account by swiping the card against a card reader to redeem tickets purchased on that member's account. Alternatively, our e-Tickets feature delivers individual emailed tickets to your purchasers as PDF attachments and each attached ticket contains a unique barcode (or ID) for validating individual entrance to an event or venue.

For attendance monitoring for your free events, our Attendance functionality can be used or, by adding your Current Students group as a guest list to your event, you can admit event attendees to your event without them needing to buy a free ticket.

In the swing of things...

Everything they need in one place - optimise your members’ profile page

Update or add a Profile link to your website. Check out Leeds Beckett Students' Union's profile page! Their members have easy access to their profile and see what groups they've joined, self-identify for elections and their student community groups, view their purchase history and go straight to their volunteering profile for speedy hour and skills logging.

Support your members’ participation in campaigns and networks

We know you understand the importance of your members being able to find like-minded people when they arrive at University demonstrated by the many examples of community and campaign groups on your websites!

Leeds Beckett Students' Union links to student community pages from the profile area, so their members can easily join community groups - and group pages are set up just like sports clubs and societies with a committee and organisation admin tools such as messaging.

Cambridge SU has campaigns on the website with events, news, and mailing lists for each campaign so student members can join in with campaigns they’re passionate about.

CUSU displays opt-in lists on their About Me page for everything from Activities to Liberation and Campaign Groups, where the member is studying to what they want to get out of Welcome Week to make sure they’re giving them information about the stuff they’re interested in.

Help your members “earn while they learn” – searchable job opportunities

Create a job listings area on your website to help your members work while they study and subsidise their student loans using our jobs functionality. This also gives you control of the types of jobs you’re offering to your members, with a built-in approval process before the jobs are listed on your website.

For example, Strath Union has made a promise to their members browsing jobs on their JobShop page that every job listed on their website will pay at least the Living Wage, and they won’t approve zero-hours jobs.

New year…

Increase participation in your officer elections with a voting quick link

If your website has a Single Sign-On (SSO) login, create a quick link SSO URL you can use in your social media posts, email communication and website links to take your members straight through your website login page to the election ballot. There’s information explaining how to create this URL on our Creating a ballot page quicklink support page.

Help your officers be more discoverable

You all have passionate teams of officers and I imagine you’ll be working on setting up your new officer pages as I speak! It’s a good idea to provide your officers with their own space on your website to communicate with your members about what they’re working on.

As we can see here on South Bank Students' Union’s website, UEA SU’s homepage and Cardiff Students’ Union, you can present your officer pages using an image navigation menu on any website page with each officer page listing a bit about them, manifesto pledges with progress indications and any news articles and/or blog posts the officer has created.

You could also create a per officer mailing list so your members can opt-in to receive email communication from officers they’re particularly interested in hearing from.

Connect your members quickly with their reps and peer groups

By running your committee elections (which can be run as one big election or individual elections run by each student group) through your MSL System you can make use of our election count functionality which adds them straight into their committee role.

Remember to use our newer publish election results feature which, once the count has been completed, approved and published, lists the election winners via the election list widget.

To display each student group's committee members directly on their website page, you can add a member list widget to those pages, dynamically pulling the committee names and, optionally, photos once they've been added to their roles. 

Similarly, the find my rep feature can display academic reps to your members so they can easily get in touch with their reps to provide course feedback.

Help your members discover new activities all year-round

With many of you running Refreshers events in the new year it’s never too late for your members to discover new interests, clubs and societies.

Two new features you can use to help with this; by adding a YouTube widget to your student group pages, your committee members can record and add an introductory video to their page telling prospective members all about the group they’re thinking of joining. You can also give your committee members the ability to add their Facebook group chat ID to their organisation tools allowing prospective members to chat directly with the committee members through Facebook chat on the group’s page on your website.

Another feature helping your members find a group that’s right for them - add multiple attributes to your student groups. For example, on your societies A-Z your members could search by the society’s category (academic societies, art societies etc.) and perhaps, the campus those societies are based on, or accolades you might award your societies with.

Not long now…

Ease the stress of finding housing and housemates

Your members will be thinking about accommodation for the following year, and if they’ve not already signed a contract they might be looking for some guidance.

Warwick SU has been using our Forums functionality to find housemates for their members for years, giving their members a place to list spare rooms where they know only Warwick students will be able to respond

Similarly, CUSU offers a similar housemates forum and a hub of information all about housing including checklists so their members know what to look out for during viewings, and contract check drop-in sessions with the Advice team that can be booked via the website

Our News functionality has also been put to use here to help facilitate a local letting agents rating page, with the ability to list from highest rated to lowest, helping members feedback to each other about their lettings experiences.

Bring sales and collection points to your members wherever they are with Web Till

Like web-based Door Entry, the Web Till allows operators to carry out sales transactions and collections using any modern browser on any device, making your tills more mobile. Link the shop to a Quick Add product catalogue to save your staff time searching for your most popular tickets, memberships and merchandise - and reduce your members' time queuing during Welcome Week! Look at the Setting up and managing Web Till support page.

web till

If you offer collections for your Graduation Ball tickets, for example, by linking a collection point to your tickets you can also use Web Till as a collection point, find the purchaser’s account, and mark the products as collected without a paper checklist.

Support for your members when they need it - streamline the creation of new advice cases

Whilst University can often be the best years of your members' lives, there are bound to be times when they need someone to turn to for support, guidance or advice. With many of our customers experiencing a doubling in academic enquiries during the exam period, as well as handling enquiries about many different issues throughout the year, it’s vital your members can easily contact your advice team.

The Student Case Manager enquiry form, being used here by the University of Essex Students' Union, allows your students to generate an enquiry in your Student Case Manager system via your MSL website. The enquiry generates an unallocated case within your Case Manager system which can then be assigned to an advisor for further progression within your system.

Gearing up for Graduation…

Evidence their learning and skills - create a volunteering and skills framework

With our Volunteering functionality, you can list opportunities run by your SU, and external partners can list activities with a full approval process built-in.

Once your volunteers have set up their volunteer profile, they can record hours logged, and skills gained and work through a system of one, or multiple award schemes.

As part of the volunteering module configuration, you can create a skills framework, like the one you see here so that your volunteers evidence their learning and skills gained.

skills framework example

And on their volunteer profile, your members can download their awards certificates and view and download their skills record to track their accomplishments during their time at University with a great example below on Aberystwyth Students' Union's "Aber Award" volunteering profile.

Help your members commemorate their time at University

Using our online shop functionality, create a catalogue containing mementoes like hoodies and t-shirts and my personal favourite – teddy bears wearing mortar boards!

These can be sold online or face-to-face, and with delivery options, your members loved ones can buy them a present to celebrate their time at University.

You can also optionally enable a non-logged-in shop, which means friends and family can make purchases through the website (as long as the products have no requirements) without creating a website account.

Let your members tailor their Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR)  

And finally, while your members' academic achievements will be listed in their HEAR, the HEAR also contains non-academic achievements over a student’s time at University.

We can set up HEAR functionality on your website - designed with the HEAR statement in mind - that provides information on how your members were involved with your SU.

You control which memberships are included in the HEAR export and specify how long a membership must have been held to qualify for inclusion in the report.

A HEAR user preference page lets your members customize their report, unchecking any memberships they don’t want to appear on the export sent to the University. This gives your members control over what information appears on their HEAR to be viewed by potential future employers.

Thank you!

We hope you've found some of these tips useful - please share your tips with us or get in touch by emailing support@ukmsl.com for help using any of these features.

If there is a particular theme or topic you'd like us to cover, please send us your suggestions and we'll bear them in mind when planning our next post.

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