Lenz lead developer Ricky Pattillo had an opportunity to solve a problem for longtime client Leadership DeKalb: How can we completely automate membership renewal communications to a 1,200-strong membership database?If this could be achieved using the WordPress system, it would save Leadership DeKalb many hours a year of manual, time-consuming labor.

After several meetings with the client, Pattillo recognized that the system had to be designed to send at least five discrete messages at varying date intervals, to help remind the members of their status, and urge them to rewww.

After further studying the problem, Pattillo coded a WordPress plugin that uses the cron system to schedule daily processes that send out email notifications to members one month, 21 days, and the day before their membership expiration. Emails are also sent out if necessary after the renewal date as reminders to membership.

Each cron process identifies all the members who match the criteria generated by the code running in the plugin, and then sends each of those members the appropriate e-mail-merged notice. All without human intervention.

Early on, I started thinking of software development as a tool for making tools; this plugin is a tool that will help Leadership DeKalb grow and become stronger as an organization,” Pattillo said.

In the past, the process that Leadership DeKalb used for membership renewals was to manually run a report at a desktop computer with an Access database, print mailing labels, mail merge into a letter, stuff envelopes, add postage, and mail.

Now, the staff at Leadership DeKalb can move on to more important tasks such as building leadership connections for the citizens of DeKalb County.

Developing technology just for the sake of doing so is work Lenz shies away from: We develop technology that solves real world problems.

The ROI of this software tool will continue to grow day-by-day for Leadership DeKalb.