Membership Pro Tip: An Easy Way to Digitize Member Files

Looking for a way to streamline membership applications? There’s a good chance you already have a tool that can create digital forms quickly, easily, and efficiently—minus the bad handwriting.

Digitizing member files and applications has many advantages, but is there an easy way to do it? A recent thread on Collaborate [ASAE member login required] revealed there is, with a tool you likely already have: Adobe Acrobat Pro. It has a variety of features, including the ability to scan documents into PDFs that can be transformed into fillable forms for membership applications—and more.

“It allows you to make an exceptionally useful tool, both for yourself and your customer, to fill out the document and submit it,” said Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine Assistant Director of Membership Stephen Brock.

How Does It Work?

You can create a fillable form in Adobe Acrobat Pro from a PDF that is scanned or saved as a PDF from another application like Microsoft Word, Excel, or others. “I have found using an existing form saves a lot of time,” Brock said.

It’s also possible to add email buttons at the bottom of the form that people can click on once they have completed the form and send it directly to the person specified (e.g., membership staff, accounting, or customer service).

The fillable forms also have tools that can be set up to make calculations. For example, if your membership application offers choices of specific journals, the prospective member can choose among the journals, and the form fields will then calculate each add-on to the membership dues and total it.

Why Is It Effective?

Eliminating handwritten forms creates a clear document from the get-go. Because people are typing, “you get a very clear, readable set of information,” Brock said, which means you won’t inadvertently end up with the wrong data.

What’s the Benefit?

“It is super easy for your client or prospective member,” Brock said. It also makes submission easy, so staff can respond in a very timely manner.

Do you have a membership pro tip? Please share in the comments or send me an email.

(gorodenkoff/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Lisa Boylan

By Lisa Boylan

Lisa Boylan is a senior editor of Associations Now. MORE

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