On-line membership management
A number of ringing associations have set up, or are setting up, on-line membership management systems. By providing a centralised record of members and automation for requesting and renewing membership these have potential advantages over the Association’s current manual processes.
For members, advantages include on-line membership application and renewal with emailed reminders and the option of card-based on-line payments. Also direct on-line management of the data held about them - names, addresses, etc. For district membership secretaries and the Association treasurer such a system could reduce the work of managing and chasing up subscriptions, and provide a consistent system across the Association for recording and managing the membership. More widely, it could support centrally-managed mailing lists to improve internal communications, and provide an on-line directory giving members up-to-date access to selected information about other members without having to rely on a report published only once a year.
However, implementing on-line membership management is not without drawbacks. Apart from anything else it represents ‘change’ which may not be welcome and will involve some work. As with all organisations the Association has quirks in the way that it works and an on-line system would need to support these. For example, it would need to support manual processes for members who don’t want to (or can’t) use on-line systems; it would need to cope with our “unusual” rules, such as about when new members start to pay subscriptions; it would need to handle edge-cases such as the small number of members who belong to more than one District; etc, etc.
The Association’s Administration Sub-committee is investigating the idea of on-line membership management for the Association, but without widespread support from the membership, and in particular from those in the Districts involved in actually managing members, this wouldn’t be appropriate or possible. Someone from the Administration Sub-committee plans to be at every Annual District Meeting in January 2024 to talk briefly about this and to take the views of members. In addition, everyone is welcome to comment directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The sub-committee would particularly like to hear the views of those currently involved in managing members and subscriptions.
The sub-committee have a list of features that they would like to see available in any system adopted by the Association.
Following the ADMs, this issue is expected to be discussed by the Association General Committee in February. The General Committee will consider if a concrete proposal should be put to the Association AGM in May. The earliest such a system might be implemented would be in late 2024 in time for 2025 subscription renewals.