Advertising Photographers of America

  • Claresco Corporation announces a partnership with Los Angeles-based Advertising Photographers of America (APA). Under the terms of the agreement, Claresco will design, implement, and host a total web-based solution for the national organization and its local affiliates.

The APA represents advertising photographers across the United States. With a membership of over two thousand freelance photographers, it is the largest trade organization of its kind in the country. The software project being designed and implemented by Claresco is a turnkey solution for the APA, which was looking to expand its membership but realized that before new regional chapters could be started, the organization’s infrastructure needed an overhaul.

“We realized that we needed a way to integrate our internal and external systems in such a way that we could market ourselves nationally,” says APA national president George Fulton. “But we had to take a systematic approach to doing so. We needed to integrate marketing, accounting, and information technology. We also needed to enable our regional chapters to automate many of the tasks that previously were done by hand, such as member billing and member renewals.”

The Claresco solution will improve on APA’s current web presence in several important ways. It will centralize the national membership database to allow regional chapters of the organization to take advantage of newly-automated tasks like membership renewals and other accounting and billing tasks. It will also provide an automated membership sign-up procedure using secure online billing, and will automatically add new member information to key databases accessible via a web browser at both the national and regional levels.

Other enhancements to be included are a calendar of events for each of the APA’s six regional chapters and a discussion board for members to share information about their work.

“The executive directors were getting bogged down in tasks like manual billing every month,” says Charles Cormany, past president of the APA’s San Francisco chapter. “We have very few paid employees and we were finding that we were using them as assistants, not in their executive capacity. We want to use them to develop new chapters and expand membership. Claresco’s work will help us to do that.”

The agreement between Claresco and APA reflects the flexibility Claresco is able to offer clients who are developing revenue-producing software products but who do not have the ability to put out a large cash outlay in advance. Claresco is developing the project using open-source software in exchange for a percentage of APA’s membership dues. Claresco will maintain ownership of the program and will be able to customize it for use for other nonprofit clients.

“We understood the financial constraints of this particular organization,” says Claresco founder and CEO Brett D’Ambrosio. “It’s a volunteer organization, and they didn’t have a lot of money to spend up front. Because they were looking for a long term deal, and they had no interest in owning the solution, we saw opportunity to put together a turnkey solution that can be customized for other organizations and businesses.”

“We had looked at some other firms and we found Claresco to be the most flexible and all-encompassing in terms of their perspective of who we were and where we wanted to go as a nonprofit trade organization,” says Fulton. “The good news is they viewed our project as a way to help grow our organization and our membership base, not just as a database.”