Enspiral Foundation

 
Mapping Enspiral’s subscription challenge

Mapping Enspiral’s subscription challenge

 

$47k

Value of subscriptions

1836

Number of subscription transactions

1200%

Increase in transactions

7 hrs

Time saved per month

$0

Cost of extra software

 

The client

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. 

The challenge

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.

Design requirements

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.

enspiral subscriptions process map.png

Solution

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.


Client Painpoints

  • 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

OPPORTUNITIES FOUND

  • 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


Enspiral simply couldn’t run without the team from Optimi. They often operate behind the scenes but are integral in the design, maintenance and ongoing optimisation of all the tech, operational and financial systems required to keep us together. They are the silent, reliable implementers of all the plumbing and wiring needed to keep a community of 150 entrepreneurs aligned, connected and enabled to spend their time working on the projects that can make the world a better place.
— Ants Cabraal, Director, Enspiral Foundation

Tools used

 

Workflow automation

Workflow automation

Book keeping and reporting

Book keeping and reporting

Instant messaging

Instant messaging

Subscription software

Subscription software

Email automation

Email automation

An easy to use, web based database.

An easy to use, web based database.

Payment gateway

Payment gateway


Find out more about Enspiral