Gone are the days of volunteers sitting around for hours folding programs, stuffing envelopes and licking stamps. Or are they? Make your club administration more efficient by going digital. You will save the committee time, make life easier when trying to communicate last minute changes, and save money.
- Create a Website and Internet Communications Policy setting out who can edit the website or send out information in the club’s name, and under what circumstances. You don’t want every committee member to edit your website at will, or send out alerts without authorisation from the other committee members. The policy should also refer to privacy issues.
- Keep your Constitution, By-laws, Policies and Procedures on your public website for all members and the public to access freely.
- Open a free Dropbox or Google Drive account and deposit sensitive committee documents in it, such as membership lists. Invite all committee members to share the folder. This way all committee members have instant access to important information from their own computer.
- Save money, time and effort by sending members your newsletters and programs using a free online service such as MailChimp. You do not need a program installed on your computer, just access to the internet. This site has excellent help pages to show you how to use it and it only takes a little practice to use it confidently. Remember that the club exists for the benefit of members, not vice versa. If members don’t all have access to computers you will still need to mail hardcopies to a few people.
- Consider posting your program on the website so that both members and potential visitors can see the latest activities on offer.
- Most clubs now email the program rather than printing and posting. Consider offering a monthly emailed program instead of the traditional quarterly. This means the Program Secretary’s duties are spread evenly across the year rather than clustered in a couple of months. It also means leaders don’t have to commit to an activity 4-5 months in advance.
- Send members last minute alerts and program changes via free services such as MailChimp. You can also authorise several members of the committee to use this service in your absence, but you should set some guidelines on who can issue alerts. Alternatively, encourage members to regularly check the club website or Facebook page, for late notice activities.
- You can also set up templates on MailChimp for things like membership renewal notices and then program the system to send an alert when membership fees are due. If your renewal date is variable and starts at the date each member joined, you can set up an alert for each month. To do this, create a hidden field on the sign-up form for the month of membership renewal, and use the market segmentation capacities of the site to group members by their month of renewal. The program can be set up to send out a reminder alert on a specific date each month for each of your 12 segments.
- Larger clubs should engage a web designer to create online membership application forms and set up an online payment system. Although this may cost more initially, it will reward you in saved time and effort and allow the committee to go bushwalking rather than become bogged in administration.
- Use Survey Monkey, Survey Gizmo, or similar online programs to survey members on important issues. It’s easy to set up. It’s free for a few questions, or inexpensive for slightly larger surveys and instantly produces easy-to-read reports on the results.
- Keep members actively involved in club activities by setting up a Facebook page. Set some guidelines with a Facebook Usage Policy first. The page needs to be regularly monitored by a committee member who can answer messages and delete unsuitable material.