Online Membership System for Ely Diocesan Association of Church Bell Ringers

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Association news-Update for Membership Secretary-Update for the district offices

At the recent Ely Diocesan Association AGM, the decision was made to go ahead with an online membership system, with the aim of this being in place by the end of this year. The software most likely to be used is an off-the-shelf commercial package ‘MemberMojo’, which is already being used by many clubs and organisations across the UK. It is important to note that Ely D.A. is by no means ahead of other bell-ringing associations in implementing an online membership system. For instance, Essex is already using MemberMojo and Oxford is in the process of implementing a system.
At this time the most important thing we can do as a District to prepare for implementation of the new system is getting our list of member email addresses up to date. In the coming months, we will also be ensuring that the information we need for each member is as accurate as possible. Hence, I have recently been chasing members for whom either we do not have an email address or the email address we have does not appear to work. Out of 201 current members we now have 192 email addresses and have identified just 7 members who are not on email (3 of whom are no longer ringing). To already have email addresses for 96% of the membership bodes well for a good implementation within our District. Going forward, those with an email address will find it easier to communicate with the Association than those without. Those without an email address will be accommodated, but it will not be so easy for information to be passed directly to them about Association events. This is no different to the current situation for those without, but an improvement for those with. Of course, if you received this message directly then we must have a valid email address for you! But is that true for everyone in your tower?
With any online system, people may have concerns about the data held about them and how it will be used. The first thing to say is that a great many organisations are using online membership without any security issues. Secondly, the system will allow members to view the information held by Ely DA and correct any mistakes. This is a very important point as currently all the information about members is held on a spreadsheet and members do not have easy access to it. Thirdly, the system being considered will allow members to make decisions regarding what information they receive from the Association. No one wishes to ‘spam’ members with inappropriate emails, but I would imagine that most members would like to be kept aware of District and Association events. For those that would not, then you have the option to opt out of such emails (but we would greatly appreciate everyone being opted in for receiving reminders about their annual membership fees being due!). In summary, the new system will give you much greater control over the information held by the Association and over the flow of information to you from the Association.
Once the new system is implemented each member will receive details about how to log in securely. Please login as soon as possible so that you can review the information about yourself and make any corrections needed. Towards the end of 2024, you will receive an email regarding the payment of subs for the coming year. The good news is that payment will be possible by credit/debit card, BACS, cheque or cash. Using a card or a BACS transfer is strongly recommended as it makes life easier for the Membership Secretary! Already Hunts District is doing well at using electronic payment as some 90% of membership fees in 2023 were paid by BACS and it is anticipated that many members will make use of online payment by card when it becomes available. Conversely, just 3 payments by cheque were made in 2023 covering 12 members and only 4 members paid by cash.
Any new online system can be a challenge to implement, but Hunts District is very well-placed for a smooth transition. The benefits of such a system are numerous and both members and the Association will be impacted positively. Once we are ready to go live, take a deep breath and dive into the 21st Century. Would anyone prefer to go back to times before an online Dove and Bellboard? And how many ringers now have methods on their phones? So, why not an online membership system?
Roger Beaman
Membership Secretary
Hunts District

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