Value of subscriptions
Number of subscription transactions
Increase in transactions
Time saved per month
Cost of extra software
Enspiral is a network of groups and people, a DIY collective of social enterprises, ventures, and individuals working collaboratively across the world while fulfilling their purpose. The core company behind the network, Enspiral Foundation, had run for nearly 5 years as a community entity; evolving, growing and changing without documented processes or a ‘single source of truth’ of how things get done.
In 2017 Enspiral was running out of time and money. They faced a short time frame, a globally distributed community and an urgent need to build a financially sustainable model for running the core entity of the network. They needed to audit and clarify all existing costs, tools and processes to redesign a smaller, cheaper, more efficient system to run everything. This was no small task with complexity at every turn.
We helped to discover the need for a new improved membership system, and configured something that ran smoothly with a simple user interface and automations behind the scenes and no need for custom code.
With our help Enspiral was able to:
Build a system to create a single source of truth for membership data. To know who was who, who was in and how to reach them.
Improve the subscription processes to allow people to choose their subscription options painlessly, ultimately contributing to more cashflow for the company and a better experience for each subscriber.
Streamline their process for managing, billing and tracking member subscriptions.
Build a scalable onboarding system and automated communication process for a growing membership.
The system to manage subscriptions needed to use existing infrastructure (Xero, Airtable, Zapier, Slack) and keep to a tight monthly budget for software costs while providing enough functionality to allow subscribers to choose a range of prices and subscription periods.
We reviewed a number of tools that could do the subscription job and decided on Chargebee as the best option (plenty of functionality) for the best price (free for 2 years!).
To make sure the bookkeeping volumes didn’t blow out with all the different subscription options (9) and potential volume (if every subscriber chose a weekly option that’d be about 10k transactions per year!) we used Zapier to integrate Stripe, Chargebee and Xero with Airtable in a way that made Xero reconciliation simple. You can read more about the detail in this blog.
Manual admin processes not scalable for a growing business, creating a lot of growing pains
Hard to grow while still managing 200 contributors via manual Google forms, invoices and Google sheets
Difficult to keep track of who is paying what
Too much time spent on manual admin, including data entry and repeated followups of invoices and forms
No way for the network to “self-serve” their own subscriptions online
Hard to see financial runway
Create a subscription system that could handle the range of flexible options the Foundation was after
Create a single source of truth for all contributor data to simplify the process of follow ups and to give a base for automation
Automate the manual admin work, ensuring consistency and that the right steps are followed each time a subscription is setup
Create a scalable system that can grow with the network, so that a growing subscriber base doesn’t increase costs
Setup everything to be managed by Optimi so the network doesn’t have to worry about it
Setup monthly financial reports for the Board