The Club is Getting a New Database System
What It Means
You may already be aware or have heard something about what the Club is doing in an effort to improve the enjoyment and facilities available to current members as well as attracting and encouraging new members to join. We have to recruit new members to our club in order to maintain membership levels which then benefits all members with the facilities and events that the club can offer. It is this Committee’s intention that we do just that so that the Club will prosper and flourish.
One of the main planks of the new strategy is to adopt a new data management system that will interlink the different operational aspects of the Club while ensuring compliance with the new data protection requirements that will be coming into force in May this year. The new regulation, GDPR, puts further obligations on any individual or organisation with regard to data retention and security.
The benefit of the new database system is that it will integrate all the current data that the club uses to operate under a single package with protected access on a “need to know” basis. This package is called Sailing Club Manager (which we will abbreviate to SCM) and with it comes a whole range of benefits that will be advantageous to the Committee and other club officials but also to the members themselves.
We have a free 90-day trial version of the package with which we have been experimenting and understanding how it works. We are at day 75 and it is our intention to move forward with the fully functional subscribed version before the end of February.
RENEWALS: The new platform will enable members to receive their membership renewal letters online by e-mail and then by simply following a link and signing in, accept or change the renewal as required and pay their subscriptions, we hope, online via a range of different payment options. We are going through the process of setting up these payment methods but we hope to include up-front lump sum payment via BACS (as today) or by debit card/credit card via the Club’s PayPal account or regular monthly payment by Direct Debit through a third party collection company called GoCardless.
We believe this expansion of ways to pay will be an advantage to many of our members and we would really like to encourage use of these payment methods and move away from cheques as much as possible. The reason is that cheques are so difficult to track from an administrative point of view and can go missing so easily.
DUTY ROSTER: SCM will provide a duty roster system that all members will be able to access online via the member portal. This will be set up by our Duty Roster Manager, David Moore, as he does currently, and it will show the forthcoming duty rota. It will give the opportunity to arrange duty swaps via the portal with other club members who are qualified to undertake that duty. Notification and reminder e-mails will be sent out by the SCM system to alert anyone of their duty well ahead of the due date.
CALENDAR: The Club’s calendar will be published on the portal. This will always be up to date and more information will be available about any event in the calendar. In this way, members will always be able to see what is coming up in the way of racing, open meetings, training, social events and so on.
ONLINE BOOKING: Some events in the calendar will be bookable (and payable) online. Members will be able see the prices of events, the availability of spaces and then book the event and pay for it through one simple transaction via the members’ portal.
RACE RESULTS: It will be possible to record race results. All race results will be safely archived. SCM is able to calculate race scoring and publish the results via the portal.
CREW FINDER: One of the options available with SCM which we think will be very useful for the two-man boats is provision of an online crew finder or boat finder for an event. This will help helms to find crews or crews to find boats, all via the members’ portal.
MEMBER UPDATES: Members will be able to see the data held about them by the club via the members’ portal and be able to update their details directly for any change of contact (telephone, postal address, e-mail address, etc.).
For the club, SCM will have the advantage of keeping its important data in one place that can be accessed by those needing it. It will assist enormously in complying with our obligations under the new data regulations which come into force in May this year.
We will all be working on the same dataset which will always be as up to date as possible. Sailing events, race organising, social events, training, memberships, boat park and race results will all be feeding from the same database which will be secure and backed up at a remote site which is professionally set up to store and handle that data. The benefits of this are numerous including the ability to advertise and take bookings and payment in advance for events such as open meetings, social events, new member applications, …the list goes on. All this will make the club more friendly towards its current and prospective members.
Of course, there is a cost associated with buying the licence to run the software which is in the range of £730 per year but this will be almost entirely offset by the saving on postage costs when duty rota notices are no longer posted out.but replaced by e-mail notifications. Other clubs using the software have found that the addition of booking and flexible options for paying online for events and subscriptions has helped to increase their event participation and membership.
Not all of these aspects of running the club that SCM offers can be switched on simultaneously. It will take time to set up so we are prioritising the different functions to get running as needed.
By providing new payment methods, we hope to be much more attractive to prospective new members and to bring us more up-to-date to be able to compete with other clubs and sports. Renewals, bookings and payments will all be traceable within the SCM environment making it easier to control and monitor the various activities of the Club.
Obviously, the operation of SCM is via e-mail notification and online contact between the Club and its members via a Shustoke Member Portal. However, for those who do not have access to e-mail or internet, the current traditional methods of communication and payment can be accommodated. We are exploring other ways for non-connected members to be able to interface with the system.
You need to tell us your latest active e-mail address, please. Having an accurate record of your e-mail address is and will be essential so please notify the Membership Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org to advise your latest and active e-mail address. Please do that now. Apart from that, you do not have to do anything.
Please be prepared to receive notification e-mails from the Club via SCM and act on those notices.
We are working hard to get SCM up and running in time to effect online renewal notices by around the beginning/middle of March and receive online payments as a first priority.
Next is the Duty Roster to get that started in SCM. E-mail notifications will start to be sent when that is ready.
Lastly, we hope to have online booking and payment for the Gauntlet which is already set up as the prototype. We hope that can be accessed via the member portal which can be found through the website. More details later. Once that is proven, it can be rolled out to other open meetings and social events at the Club.
We hope that we can count on your cooperation and patience while this is set up and beds down. There will be teething problems, of course, but please bear with us and try to help us through. It will be a steep learning curve on both sides. Thank you in advance for your understanding.
A little later, we hope to be able to set up shop in the club house on a couple of weekends where we can demonstrate the system and answer any questions and listen to any concerns you may have.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact myself at email@example.com or ask one of the committee members or club officials who will pass the query on. You can read more about Sailing Club Manager on their website at: https://www.sailingclubmanager.com
Look out for further news about SCM and how to use it in the coming weeks.
Thank you in advance.