#1: Welcome to Member Assembler!

Welcome to Member Assembler, Small Farm Central's member management solution.

The Member Assembler is a service for CSAs and other farm membership programs which integrates online sign-up tools with member management, balance tracking, and more. It saves time, reduces mailing costs, increases accuracy, and makes sign up more convenient for members. This document will introduce the steps you will take to set up the Member Assembler to model your CSA or membership program and show you how to get started by accessing the Control Panel.

Setting Up Your Member Assembler

There are 4 key areas that you will become familiar with when setting up your Member Assembler:

  1. Create Member Types that represent the kinds of memberships (ex. Vegetable Shares or Spring Shares) or size options that are available.

  2. Designate Pickup Locations. Your members will need to choose where to pick up their share. You will use these locations to send emails and more.

  3. Set up Custom Forms to collect data from you customers like their favorite vegetables, volunteer interest, or any other information that you would like to know.

  4. Enable online Checkout by giving your members a variety of payment options. You can send them on to use PayPal's credit card and other payment services or give them instructions on sending you a check. There are also a number of extra features from customizable emails to downpayments and more!

Once these four steps are completed, the Member Assembler is ready to accept memberships via the web. There are many other tools which will help you to manage your CSA memberships, send invoices, create pickup lists, etc. The initial set-up and getting comfortable with the system should not take more than a few hours. However, there are lots of options to tweak as you go along, so give yourself some time to explore. If you need help along the way simply navigate to:    Control Panel > Member Assembler > Help

Read on to learn how to access the Control Panel, or move on to other helpful articles in the Getting Started with Member Assembler section of the Knowledge Base.

Accessing the Control Panel

Before we can move on to setting up your Member Assembler sign-up process, you must first access the Control Panel for your website. This is the administration area of your site. It holds all the tools you will need to build and customize the site with pages, photos, and content, as well as manage all aspects of your Small Farm Central account. Only you can see the Control Panel. Your customers will not be able to see or access this section of your website.

Access the Control Panel by visiting the SFC website and clicking on the LOGIN button on the top right corner of the homepage.

This will take you to the following screen which requests your login information:

   Figure 1. The Control Panel Login Screen

Use the username and password which we provided you to log in to your account for the first time. Once logged in, you may change your username and password in the "Administrate" section.

Can't find your login information? Don't worry! Give us a call us at: 412-567-3864 or send an email to: support@smallfarmcentral.com.

Creating Your Initial Season

Your CSA or farm membership program will likely be broken up into certain periods of time or sessions. Maybe your customers sign up for your CSA for a full year or perhaps you'd rather have them sign up for shorter periods of time such as a Winter Session or an April - November membership term. In Member Assembler, we call these time periods "Seasons" and we use Seasons to group membership information according to the sessions that your members have signed up for. You can think of Seasons like files that hold all your CSA information. You can see information from any of your sessions by accessing your different Seasons.

When you first set up your Member Assembler, your Initial Member Assembler Season has already been created for you. It's a good idea to change the name of your first Season to correspond to the way you run your CSA. Likely, you will either set up one Season per year, or have multiple Seasons based on your different CSA sessions. Including dates into the name can help you keep track of your Seasons chronologically. For example: CSA 2011, Summer Session 2012 or April-November '09.

To change the name of your first Season, log in to the Control Panel and navigate to:

Member Assembler > Configure > Seasons

Click on the "edit" link next to your "Initial Member Assembler Season" to change the name. There is also a description field so that you can add notes. Your customers won't see this section.

For more information about navigating around the Control Panel read the "Accessing the Control Panel" article in the Getting Started with Website Tools section of the Knowledge Base.

Ready to move on? Read another article: