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FFA Streamlined Their Tech Stack and Improved Member Engagement

The Challenge

FFA has only two full-time staff members and they were using several separate tools for their marketing (Mailchimp), website (WordPress), resource documents (Google Docs) and events.

The Solution

Higher Logic Thrive enabled them to streamline their tech stack with one cohesive platform and improve their member experience which lead to higher member engagement. They also used Higher Logic Thrive Design Services to help!

The Results

The Film Festival Alliance (FFA) used Higher Logic Thrive Platform alongside a rebrand to refresh their member experience; consolidate and integrate their membership community, communications, and website; save staff time; and drive higher member engagement.

After launching their community, they saw:

108% Increase

In the number of members on their email list and community

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“We appear a lot bigger than we are and then people are surprised to find out we only have two full-time staff and one hourly, part-time employee. Higher Logic Thrive Platform helps us do that. It’s easy to use and it has everything we need in one place - I don’t have to worry about to transferring links or uploading email lists or figuring out what account information is where because it’s all there in one tool. It helps us achieve so much more than we could with just the two of us and it boosts our reputation really well.”

Gray Rodriguez

Director of Communications, FFA

An Opportunity to Streamline

As FFA undertook a rebrand after 10 years with the same brand design, they felt it was important to back up their shiny new look with added value for their members. They decided to use Higher Logic Thrive Platform to build a highly interactive, integrated, and engaging new website and community.

“We were examining what our product is at FFA, and we identified that our value is really in our community and connecting our members,” said Gray Rodriguez, FFA’s Director of Communications. “So when I found Higher Logic it was a great fit because that’s what Higher Logic Thrive Platform does. It allows us to connect our members and manage and facilitate conversations in a sustainable way.”

Prior to using Higher Logic Thrive Platform, FFA was piecing together multiple different platforms and tools to connect with their members, which could be tricky and time-consuming. They used Mailchimp for marketing, WordPress for their website, and occasionally Google Docs to host documents. The member experience wasn’t ideal and their ability to communicate with and connect with their members was limited because they only had one point of contact for each member organization.

While members could log into their WordPress site to download resources, they couldn’t really interact with each other there. Additionally, there is a large Facebook discussion group that’s sometimes misattributed to FFA, but they can’t manage or moderate that community. FFA wanted to have a community and website that would allow them more oversight and would integrate with their communications and resource library.

“Since launching, we’ve seen the community and our email list grow from around 240 to 500 people. And on our Zoom events we’ve seen new faces we’ve never seen before. Higher Logic Thrive helped us reach and get to know a whole new group of people who we didn’t have access to before.”

Gray Rodriguez

Gray Rodriguez

Director of Communications, FFA

Better Segmentation, Easier Personalization, and More Member Engagement.

In addition to membership experience improvements and staff time savings, Gray described how using Higher Logic Thrive has led to more member engagement and a better understanding of their members.

“What was frustrating for us pre-Higher Logic Thrive was that we didn’t know everyone. We only knew the person who signed up for FFA, and that could be anyone from the billing person to the executive director. Since we only had that one contact for each organization, that person had to pass on our communications and resources to the rest of their team. With Higher Logic Thrive Platform, we have a place for more members from these organizations to get involved and access our resources individually. We’re able to communicate with more members, see who they are, and gain a better understanding of their titles, experience levels, interests, and more.”

“Another thing that’s really great – and that I even told our board – is that community lets us mine the brains of our members. We can see what they’re asking and react to that and develop programing around that. It’s almost like having another employee because it’s collecting research on our membership just by existing.”

Higher Logic Thrive also made it easier for FFA to implement segmentation, personalization, and automation. They use automated email campaigns to communicate more regularly with members without having to undertake manual work. They also save time by using dynamic content to share specific messages – like discount codes – with targeted email recipients without having to set up a bunch of different messages.

"Member communications have a much better flow now because we have a better understanding of our touchpoints. We’re communicating with our members more regularly and it’s helping with retention because members are more aware of their membership and are engaging with our community and site more… It’s so easy to personalize too. I can look into, for example, people interested in development, and then be able to email those specific people with a related resource or customize their experience on our community and site.”

Gray Rodriguez

Director of Communications, FFA

Preparation, Expert Support, and Communication

FFA worked with Higher Logic Thrive Design Services to craft an aesthetically pleasing and highly navigable site that aligned with their new brand guidelines.

They also coordinated a multifaceted launch plan with their Higher Logic Advisor, which included:

  • Using Higher Logic’s Advanced Starter Kits to prep automated communications they wanted to use post-launch.
  • Conducting beta testing with a group of 50 members to collect feedback on the community before it went live.
  • Populating seed content in the community to encourage member participation.
  • Hyping the new community at events and in communications and encouraged their member contacts to forward the news to their colleagues to encourage them to join the new community.
  • Lanching their new community at the Sundance Film Festival with a big membership brunch. During this event they showed off the community functionality and collected contact info from any members who weren’t yet using the community and wanted to sign up.
people reviewing community design options

“For us, the look and feel of the new community and website was just as important as it functioning well. We wanted to work with association and design experts who could support us in creating a clean design and cohesive brand experience. Higher Logic Thrive Design Services made it easy for us to create a really cleanly designed and engaging site.”

Gray Rodriguez

Director of Communications, FFA

About Film Festival Alliance (FFA)

The Film Festival Alliance (FFA) creates a collaborative global community for mission-driven film festivals, advocating for a sustainable and inclusive environment within the cinema exhibition ecosystem. They work year-round to celebrate and support the art of film, filmmaking, and film presentation by connecting festival professionals with one another, and with other industry stakeholders including the greater filmmaking community. FFA offer’s professional development and engagement opportunities and cultivates a voice for film festivals and the people who run them. FFA is home to more than 230 members from the United States, Canada, and the UK, including large, mid-size & start-up festivals, festival consultants, and programmers.

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How can Higher Logic Thrive grow your community?

Let’s set up time to talk about your needs and how we can help you deepen member engagement.