WSPTA Membership Database - memberplanet
Washington State PTA provides each local PTA and council access to an online membership database through a platform called memberplanet. Each PTA is required to report its membership roster and elected board members in memberplanet. It also serves as our hub for dues invoicing and payments.
memberplanet offers a bevy of additional free features, including communication tools, a basic website builder, and the option to set up online member registration.
This page will be updated frequently to share database resources and guides. We encourage all PTAs to visit the memberplanet success site for help navigating the platform.
Do you have a question not answered here? Please don’t hesitate to email us.
Helpful How-To Videos
Access these videos here and use the password WSPTA-LocalLeaders2020, or use the direct links below.
- Database Relaunch Checklist: Prepare For the New School Year
- How to Set up Online Membership Registration
- How to Manually Report Your PTA Members
- How to Verify Your Membership Numbers
- How Members are Counted & How to Create a Distribution List
- How to Invite Last Year’s Members to Join Online
- How to Report Your Local PTA Officers
- How to Use the Website Editor
- How to Navigate the Group Billing Menu (Invoices, Paying Dues, Etc.)
- How to Set Up Invoice Autopay
- How to Input Next Year’s Board/Officers
- How to set up Subsidized/Scholarship Memberships
- How to Add and Remove Database Admins
Resources & Guides
2022-2023 Database Relaunch Checklist – An excellent resource for new and returning PTA leaders taking their first look at the memberplanet database with an eye to being ready for the new school year. Topics covered include contact info, board reporting, online join packets, etc.
Database Housekeeping Checklist – The definitive checklist for PTA leaders who want to maintain updated contact info and settings. This guide covers officer reporting, invoice recipients, and admin roles.
The memberplanet Guide for Local PTA Treasurers – The memberplanet database contains lots of resources relevant to a PTA’s financial operations. This guide will help new and returning treasurers acclimate to the system and learn where to find the most important reports.
The memberplanet Guide For Councils – This short guide will help familiarize you with the basics of the memberplanet database. The goal is to help you monitor and communicate with PTAs in your region, as well as to illustrate some differences between how local PTAs use memberplanet and how councils use memberplanet.
End of Year Database Checklist – A straightforward guide for downloading a roster, making final payments, and preparing for officer transitions.
WSPTA memberplanet Success Site: Curated by memberplanet, this site contains uniquely tailored information designed to help PTA leaders navigate the database and learn about the many features available, including the website builder and newsletter management.
memberplanet Admin Role Management: Learn how to manage your PTA’s database admins, including how to create additional roles with different access privileges.
Membership Cards Through memberplanet: Learn how to manage your PTA’s membership cards, which can be sent to your paid members via email.
Membership Setup Checklists: Learn how to configure your PTA’s membership settings. There are separate checklists available for setting up online membership registration versus manually entering the names of your members.
Frequently Asked Questions
I don't have login access to memberplanet. What do I do?
Just email us at the WSPTA Support Inbox and we can get you sorted out. Please let us know your name, the name/number of your PTA, and your officer role.
Admin logins to the database are unique to the user, rather than to the PTA. That means each admin has their own distinct username (usually your personal email address) and password. We suggest PTAs do not use a shared admin account between multiple officers.
At the end of each school year, the transfer of login privileges should be part of the transition process between outgoing and incoming officers. If this step is missed and a new slate of officers is on the outside looking in, just email the WSPTA Support Inbox to request access.
You can learn more about managing admin roles here.
Who should have admin login access to our PTA's account?
The decision about who should hold admin privileges is up to each individual PTA. That said, WSPTA recommends that each PTA grant full-access status to its president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary.
Some PTAs may choose to grant access to others, including officers in charge of Membership, Communications, or other responsibilities. At a minimum, two officers should be full-access admins.
WSPTA Support is automatically set up as an admin for each PTA. Please do not attempt to remove WSPTA Support’s admin role.
You can learn more about managing admin roles here.
Should our PTA create different database admin roles?
Our recommendation is to just make everybody a Full Access Admin. Some PTAs may find it useful to get more advanced than this, but we feel it creates more work than is necessary.
To clarify: Memberplanet includes an option for customizing admin access privileges. For example, you could create a role called COMMUNICATIONS and allow people with that access level to only have access to email tools.
Again, this works for some larger PTAs, but tread carefully because managing these roles can be a complicated task.
How do I report our PTA's officers?
Each PTA is required by the Standards of Affiliation to submit to WSPTA a roster of current elected officers and key unelected officers. This is handled within the Committees menu in memberplanet.
You can find a step-by-step guide to reporting officers here.
You can watch a step-by-step video tutorial here.
If you do not see the Committees menu when you log into memberplanet, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to I set up online membership registration?
A full checklist for this process can be found here.
A step-by-step video tutorial can be found here.
The set-up process includes some key steps:
- Set your membership tiers and pricing
- Determine what personal/contact information you want to collect from your members
- Designate a bank account into which collected membership payments will be deposited
- Customize/personalize the sign-up form
For more information about designating and verifying a bank account, click here.
How do I set up subsidized or "scholarship" memberships?
This is a common question/request. There’s unfortunately not a simplified way to set this up because memberplanet does not allow for a free membership level that can work in our system, so subsidized memberships cannot be “purchased” through the online join form. Your membership admin must instead record subsidized memberships manually. Here’s a video that runs through the best practice:
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Please read below for details about best practices for subsidized memberships.
On Free/Subsidized/Scholarship Memberships
It’s exciting to see so many PTAs come up with creative ways to break down barriers to membership, especially for folks experiencing financial difficulties. This has led to many questions about how to configure an Online Join form to align with these policies. Unfortunately, there are limitations here that we can’t circumvent.
You cannot set up a free membership level
Although memberplanet has a “Free” membership level available to its other clients, WSPTA requested this be removed for our members. There are two reasons for this:
- First, you cannot submit the online join form without submitting payment. It’s something baked into memberplanet’s system that we cannot get around.
- Second, we found “free” membership levels caused problems in the database. Memberplanet’s system is designed to treat “free” memberships differently to “paid” memberships. For example, people who were manually assigned to a “free” membership were not showing up on dues invoices and their memberships were not being included in the PTA’s member count.
We recommend handling subsidized memberships manually
Since you can’t have subsidized members sign up through the online join form, each PTA will need to design a system of identifying and reporting subsidized members. It’s something that a Membership officer will need to stay on top of.
Recommendation: PTAs can use a survey form – either memberplanet’s in-house version or something like Google Forms – to collect the names and contact info of prospective subsidized members. The Membership Officer can then use the information submitted to manually add these folks to the database. PTAs can even include a link to this survey form on their Online Join Form landing page, basically saying “If you want to apply for a scholarship membership, submit this form instead.” Set things up so the Membership Chair receives an email every time the form is filled out. Then, the chair can manually add the new member to the system. The Membership Chair should keep track of how many folks receive subsidized memberships. You might want to use a special membership level to distinguish these folks on your roster.
Collecting funds for member “scholarships”
Some PTAs have come up with creative ways to collect funds to subsidize these memberships. Always remember that you will need to decide as a PTA whether to use dedicated or general-use funds. Always be transparent when requesting donations for this purpose. Here are some recommendations:
- Upgrade to use Payment Forms – A PTA can pay $100/year to upgrade their memberplanet account, which opens access to additional fundraising tools. One tool is the Payment Form, which allows PTAs to sell items through an e-shop form. Many PTAs use this feature to sell yearbooks, spirit wear, etc. Some PTAs use them to collect money to pay the dues of subsidized members. These forms allow PTAs to maintain records of who has donated what, and how many subsidized memberships they can give out.
- Build donations into membership levels – This is an approach that does not require an account upgrade, though is a bit more complicated and involved. PTAs can create a special member level that is more expensive than a standard membership to collect funds via a built-in donation. For example, if a PTA sells a Standard Membership for $10, they can create a second member level called Standard Membership Plus Donation for $20, and then note that members who choose that level receive a standard $10 membership while also donating $10 to the PTA. The PTA treasurer can then use memberplanet’s financial reports to sort through donations each month.
- Handle it completely off-platform – At the end of the day, it might make the most sense to use a non-memberplanet solution to this problem.
What is the difference between "Member" and "Membership?" How about "Active" and "Inactive?"
This is a great question!
memberplanet uses some terminology different from what we use in PTA, specifically the word “member.” The easiest way to approach this is if you treat each instance of “member” as synonymous with “record” or “profile.” If the database says you have 50 total members, it means that there are 50 individual records in your database. This does not necessarily mean that your PTA is reporting 50 paid memberships.
“Membership” is the term that we use to account for your current paid members. Your PTA’s quantity of memberships should match your overall headcount of paid voting members.
To illustrate, here’s a screenshot from a PTA’s Membership Dashboard within memberplanet:
There are currently 78 total member records in this PTA’s database (21 plus 57). The distinction between “active” and “inactive” is a quirk of how the database categorizes information; don’t get too hung up on those. Here’s a quick explainer on Active vs. Inactive:
“Active” member records are individuals who:
- Were added to the database this year, or;
- Were previously “inactive” but have since been assigned a current year’s membership.
“Inactive” records, on the other hand, are the carried-over names from last year. At the end of the school year, all “inactive” records are archived and removed from your database.
In the example above, there are 21 records that are “active” for the current year. Among them, there are 20 total memberships being reported. This implies that there is probably one record in the database that is new but has not been designated with a membership. (If a PTA wanted to identify this one record, they could do so using the Member Database page.)
The number of memberships (i.e. current paid members) being reported by this PTA is 20.
How do I download a current roster?
There are two ways to do this.
Option #1 is quick and painless, but the resulting report will only have limited information about each member (email address and membership status).
Option #2 takes a little longer, but the resulting report will have more data for each member (contact info, membership history, etc.).
- Click Membership on the left dashboard
- Click Membership Levels Report
- Click Members
- Find the dropdown menu labeled Filter by and select All Members on Levels
- Click Export
- Click Members on the left dashboard to open the Member Database.
- Click the filter icon (to the right of the magnifying glass) and select All Paid Members.
- Export this list by clicking Download Excel in the top right.
Note: Depending on how much data you are exporting, the processing of the spreadsheet could take some time. A pop-up menu will ask for an email address so that the system can send a notification when the download is ready.
- To access the download, return to the Member Database screen, then click History and select Download History.
- Press the download icon next to your generated report to download an Excel. Every list you ever export will be stored here for future reference, which is very nifty.
How does dues billing work for memberships sold through memberplanet?
The heart of this question is the chain of custody of funds collected through memberplanet’s online membership registration format. A detailed explanation can be found below, but the key points are these:
- WSPTA doesn’t touch the funds collected by individual PTAs through memberplanet. Instead, that money is transferred into the PTA’s bank account via ACH transfer either weekly or monthly, depending on what the PTA has chosen.
- If your PTA has collected funds through memberplanet but has not yet received them via direct deposit, the most likely explanation is that you have not yet designated a bank account to receive those funds.
- Members who purchase their memberships online will still appear on the PTA’s monthly invoice.
Let’s take this step-by-step:
- Each PTA designates a bank account into which collected funds will be transferred. PTAs can elect to receive those funds on a weekly or monthly basis. We recommend PTAs go with weekly transfers. If the PTA has not yet designated/verified its bank account, the collected funds will sit in limbo waiting to be transferred.
- When a member purchases a membership through the online join process, memberplanet collects that money into a lump sum. That entire lump sum is deposited into your designated bank account each week or month (depending on what was chosen) on a Wednesday. WSPTA never has custody of those funds.
- Every month, usually on the 5th, the memberplanet creates a snapshot of your total membership numbers. This snapshot is compared to the previous month’s. Any new memberships are included on that month’s invoice. Any removed memberships are credited for dues already billed. PTAs may make payments through the online portal. These payments go straight to WSPTA.
You can click the REPORTS button on the memberplanet main page to open the All Payments Report, which shows each transaction that has been made through your database system. Select Transfers from the dropdown menu to see all transfers made by memberplanet into your PTA’s bank account.
To summarize, the chain of custody for the funds is:
- Member purchases membership, funds go to memberplanet
- Memberplanet transfers all collected funds into PTA’s bank account
- WSPTA (and the local council, if applicable) bills the PTA based on that month’s membership snapshot
- The PTA pays dues fees via memberplanet’s payment portal
- Memberplanet transfers those payments to WSPTA.
How do I report "family" or "bundled" memberships?
The answer depends on a few factors. For context’s sake, when we use the terms “family” or “bundled” memberships, we are referring to a membership tier that allows multiple individuals in a household to join at a reduced rate. The key thing to remember when reporting these members in the database is that we’re looking for a headcount, not a number of memberships sold.
Is your PTA set up with memberplanet’s online membership registration?
If so, there is an easy way to configure your membership tiers to allow for family memberships. You can find a guide for that here. This process is also covered in the video tutorial found here.
Are you reporting your members manually?
If you’re collecting payments offline and are just reporting your memberships manually, then don’t worry too much about different membership levels. All that’s necessary is to report an accurate headcount of paid members.
There’s an important distinction there: paid members versus memberships sold. Your PTA should be reporting the former, rather than the latter.
For example, let’s say ABC PTA has 25 total paid members. Fifteen of those members are individuals who purchased a single PTA membership at $15. The other ten members are each part of a couple (i.e. five groups of two) and became members by purchasing a Family Membership at $25.
Again, the total headcount is 25, but the total number of “memberships sold” is 20 (15 Single and 5 Family).
Your PTA should report all 25 paid members. A couple should be reported as individuals, not as one single membership shared between two people.
What if I don't know a member's name?
Some PTA members may sign their spouses or partners up, but don’t disclose that person’s name. What should you do if you’re tasked with manually reporting your members in the database?
The best practice is to create a placeholder record for the spouse/partner.
For example, let’s say Minnie Mouse, pays for two memberships but does not tell you the name of their second person.
Here’s what you should do: Create a second record for this mystery person and name it something like “Mr. Mouse” or “Spouse Mouse.”
You’ll end up with this in your database:
Mouse, Minnie – Membership – Qty 1
Mouse, Spouse – Membership – Qty 1
Later, if you find out that the spouse’s name is Mickey, you can go into the database and change the name “Spouse” to “Mickey.”
Ultimately, the first name is not super consequential. It’s more important for the person to be properly accounted for than for all information to be accurate.
The online join form won't let me mix and match member levels. How do I purchase more than one in a single transaction?
The short answer is that memberplanet is not equipped to operate this way. You will need to purchase these memberships in separate transactions, or you can get clever with the member levels you offer. We’ll cover that at the bottom here.
As mentioned, PTAs are able to create multiple member levels on offer to registrants. For example, a PTA may choose to offer a Single Membership for $15, a Student Membership for $10, and a Staff Membership for $8.
Due to the way the online join form is integrated with the database roster, you cannot mix and match separate member tiers in the same transaction. For example, you would not be able to choose 2 single memberships and one student membership. It does not operate like a digital shopping cart, where you can add multiple items. The system allows purchases from one member level at a time.
There are two options to circumvent this restriction.
First, you can encourage members to purchase from separate member levels in separate transactions. This would require the creation of a new memberplanet profile under a different email address.
Second, and the option we would recommend, is to tailor your member levels so as to combine multiple membership options into one item. For example, you could offer the following membership levels:
Individual Membership – $15
Student Membership – $10
Combination Individual and Student Membership – $25
Combination 2 Individuals and Student Membership – $40
Combination 2 Individuals and 2 Students Membership – $55
And so on…
This way, your members may choose the one option that works best for them.
When assigning memberships, what should I input in the "quantity" field?
The answer is almost always “1.”
The quantity field, shown below, is located on the Assign Memberships page. It is used when manually reporting members to tell the system how many memberships per person you want to assign. It is not the total number of memberships you want to report.
An easy way to understand this is to remember that the number in the quantity field will be multiplied by the total number of boxes you check on the member list.
For example, if you input “1” and then check the boxes next to Abraham Lincoln and Babe Ruth, the total number of memberships to be recorded will be 2 (1 x 2).
If you input “2” and then check the boxes next to Abe and Babe, the total number of memberships to be recorded will be 4 (2 x 2).
If you input “2” and then only check the box next to Abe, leaving Babe blank, the total number of memberships to be recorded will be 2 (2 x 1).
As the goal is to simply record an accurate headcount, inputting “1” in the quantity box is the best way to achieve it.