What Should You Look For In Club Membership Software?
Chances are that if you run a club of any size, you’ll have thought about computerising your club’s records. So, what things should you look for in your club membership software?
Ease of use
Unless you’re sitting on the door of a busy club, there’s a high likelihood that the software you use to maintain your membership list isn’t used all that often. Which means that whatever software you use – whether it’s a home built spreadsheet or commercial software – should be easy to maintain. There may even be several people using the same data, so swapping it around is another consideration.
Easy to publish
Nowadays, you’ve probably got a website for your club or association. And you may well have a list of either all your members or at least those with a position on your committee or who organize separate sections of your organisation. Whilst you may not want everyone’s full details on the web, you will probably want a way for potential new members as well as existing members to contact the various people involved in running your club. Which means that any program you use to keep track of your members should be able to export them in a format that makes it easy to publish on the web.
Keep track of previous members
Some clubs like to keep their previous members occasionally updated. Universities (in reality, just big clubs) do this so that they can let their alumni know what’s happening. They also use this to ask for donations. If you club does this kind of fund raising or it it’s due a big anniversary soon, you should look for a way to keep details of those lapsed or former club members so that you can contact them about special events.
Whilst home made solutions such as a spreadsheet are good whilst the person who created them is still involved in your club, there can be an issue when they leave for pastures new. You probably won’t realize just how much you involved the creator of the system until they go away, and then it could be too late. The software you choose should be supported by the author so that if there is a change of software user, a change of the actual computer the program runs on or a disaster with the data that needs help to recover, then you have that option. Most commercial club membership programs have the option of contacting the authors either by phone or by email. Make sure that whatever club database program you choose gives you this opportunity.