Two membership platforms in one site with several integrations

Membership platform supporting the work of over 6,500 ecologists globally.

Client: British Ecological Society
Location: London, UK
Aftercare: Hosting, support, and maintenance
What we did
Stakeholder research
User experience mapping
Migrated large amount of existing data
Integrated membership platform with third party CRM
Integrated with Wiley Journals site for members
Integrated with credit card and direct debit payment gateways
BES logo

The British Ecological Society (BES) is the largest scientific society for ecologists in Europe. It is a welcoming and inclusive home for everyone in ecology and has over 6,500 members globally. By supporting new ideas, making connections and increasing the impact of ecology, it is working towards a world in which nature and people thrive.

We’re very proud to have delivered three major projects for the BES:

Building a WordPress website

Integrating a new CRM

Building a membership website

BrightMinded are great to work with. They absolutely know the technical side, are always willing to offer advice quickly and implement new ideas well, and they really take the time to understand you as clients. It’s a real partnership, one that is full of trust and has been fruitful over several years. That’s led to some great results and real support of our digital offering.

Jonathan Wood Head of Society Programmes, British Ecological Society

1. WordPress website

The Brief

The British Ecological Society was undergoing a rebrand and needed a new membership website. The old website was difficult to navigate, and it was hard to find resources among the thousands of pages. As it had been pieced together over many years, the decision was to start from scratch to give the society a digital presence they can be proud of.

Implementing the design

Design and brand agency, MadeNoise, led the rebrand. We are fortunate to have worked together previously, and we quickly got up to speed with the design concept. We believe it’s vital to have close relationships with our partners, and we pride ourselves on working well in multi-agency teams.

Each major section of the website needed its own colour and logo variation. We worked with the designers on how these brand variations could be pulled into different areas of the site while maintaining a consistent brand look and feel.

Content migration and integrations

As part of the content migration, we imported thousands of blog posts from the old website. We ensured that they inherited styling and layout from the new site, while maintaining their SEO reach.

We initially developed light-touch integrations with both Wiley journals and the ThankQ membership portal. We also packaged together the site styles in an easy-to-use template for use by third-party development teams on these related sites.

The third-party membership portal never quite matched the user experience of the site we had built, so as a follow-on project we rebuilt the portal from scratch – bringing it fully into the WordPress site. The new portal allowed members to manage their accounts, register their interests, and book events, which are central to the BES’s offering

The client was delighted with the look and functionality of the new website and how their members received it.

BES Journals on tablet

Building a long-term relationship

Since launching the new website, we have continued to enhance the BES’s digital presence and surrounding technology. Work included:

  • creating a bespoke MailChimp template to complement the new brand
  • enabling members to register and renew with credit card and direct debit payment options, updated to handle the Strong Customer Authentication changes
  • granting members full control of their data and communication preferences in time for the introduction of GDPR
  • granting access to the BES journals through integration with Wiley
  • granting access to more information about British nature through a searchable database for the Biological Flora of the British Isles.
BES membership page tablet

2. Integrating a new CRM

The British Ecological Society’s existing CRM was not very flexible and was on-premise rather than cloud-based. They needed a new CRM that would allow them to serve their members better.

We helped consult on the final system selection and worked closely with the new CRM provider, Bluelight, to implement the functionality required. We integrated the new CRM with the WordPress website with minimal interruption for end-users, safely migrating all required data.

The project was well organised across all stakeholders and run with agile project management and strict two-week sprints.

The new CRM has resulted in around a 25% saving in admin time for the membership team and much better functionality for the team at the BES.

This result highlights the business benefits of working with an experienced legacy software migration company like BrightMinded.

3. Membership website

For our most recent project with BES, we developed a new Applied Ecology Resources (AER) membership platform within the existing website.

The platform is open to any organisation that produces evidence-based information on the management of biological resources. Members can upload their work such as open access articles, research summaries and grey literature.

The site allows you to filter content by member organisation, content type, topic, organism, location and language. You can also register for weekly emails that summarise newly published content tailored to their interests.

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