How our database transition affects you
The new Association Management System (AMS) rolled out Nov. 14, with a smooth transition and minimal service interruptions. For the average member, access to our website and their member data are fully functioning.
A few tools that primarily affect Local Group officers, however, are still being upgraded to work with the new data. These include month-end, newsletter-upload and various tracker processes. (A full list of interruptions can be found in the FAQ below.) For assistance during the transition, please call 817-607-0060 ext. 199.
You’ll Notice Some Changes to the Website
The first thing you may have already noticed: An updated homepage. Additionally, users have a new place to log in (by clicking "login" at the top-right of any page), and all members need an email address on file to log in.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does this affect me?
It depends. Primarily, you can no longer log onto our website — or any Local Group website that relies on us for user authentication — using your membership number. (Previously, users could use either their membership number or email address.) Additionally, multi-member households need to provide unique email addresses for each member to continue to have online access.
Local Group officers are obviously be further affected. Basically, if you perform any action through our website that requires user input you should expect service interruptions at some point. There’s light at the end of the tunnel, though, in that this new database will increase flexibility at every level of the organization.
Logging in for the first time
Your initial login to our website will require you to click "forgot password," then enter your email address on file. You'll receive an email with a one-time-use URL, which when clicked will allow you to choose a new password.
Why can't I continue using my membership number as my username?
The new database system uses each individual's email address as the unique identifier for online access as part of the system's "out-of-the-box" structure. Further customization would be costly and puts us at risk of not receiving future updates and support.
What happens if I don't update my account with a unique email address?
You will not be able to log in. (This means you will no longer have access to your Local Group newsletter, the Events Calendar, or Officer Tools.) To update or confirm your email address on file while we transition, please call 817-607-0060 ext. 199.
My child is a member, but I am not — how does this affect me?
Youth accounts are be set up so that parents (member or not) have the ability to log in as their child through their own account to do things like renew memberships, register for events, etc.
Does Mensa provide free email addresses to members?
We do not. Mensa International provides free vanity email aliases (@member.mensa.org) to our members but not email accounts. However, there are plenty of services that do provide email accounts free of charge.
Which services are still unavailable?
The following services are still undergoing maintenance and will be brought back up as they are made operational:
- Prospect Tracker
- Lapsed Member Tracker
- Membership Dashboard
- Testing vouchers
- International Mensa account registration
Need emergency access to one of these services (or another service) during the outage? You can always contact National Office staff via email or call us M-F, 8-5 at 817-607-0060 ext. 199.
What's the best thing I can do right now?
Because the new AMS operates using your email addresses as the unique identifying factor (we’re transitioning away from using membership numbers), members are encouraged to make sure their contact information is up to date (especially email addresses). Member numbers are no longer be used as usernames.
Why do we need a new Association Management System?
The software that powers our current database — Access 97 — explains a lot. Our needs have long overgrown the database's capability, which is pieced together through various systems without one central system of record. This makes data analysis challenging in the best of cases and impossible in the worst. A modern system enables the organization to reach various strategic objectives and have a resulting impact on members and their experiences and on the perception of prospects interested in Mensa.
How does the new AMS help us serve members better and improve their experience?
Consider the member or prospective member conducting a transaction through our website. Once complete, staff currently pull that information from the website and enter it into the database — a process that can take anywhere from a few minutes to days or longer, depending on timing of the transaction, staff workload and other factors. At least one day’s wait is common, depending on what is being requested (testing takes longer), when it is requested (weekends mean longer waits), etc.
Unless a physical mailing is required, such as for a materials request, the new system makes instantaneous responses to member needs, improving member experience, reducing staff production time and increasing overall efficiency for the organization.
Other benefits for members include:
- Instant access to member information
- Local Secretaries being able to make group, officer and distribution changes themselves
- Elimination of delay in processing customer transactions
- Decrease in error resulting from data entry
How does the new AMS benefit Local Group officers?
In general, the new system will have more functionality, which most Local Groups need. (The level of that functionality was determined based on feedback from the Local Group Survey, RVC feedback and other input from Local Group leaders. In addition, several current elements — such as the Member Tracker, Prospect Tracker and group email — will be built-in areas for Local Group officers to manage their membership and make updates.
Do I really need to be this engaged and informed about a membership organization I'm in changing databases?
Ehh, maybe not. We'd just rather you not be unpleasantly surprised. Make sure we have an updated email for you, know that some parts of the website will be down for brief periods in the coming weeks. And, if you're a volunteer, hopefully your job is about to get easier.