British Cycling Club Tool

by SteppenHerring   April 25, 2014  

I know it's unlikely, but has anybody on here used this or know anyone who has used or tried to use this? It looks like a reasonable idea - all your club management stuff for free(ish).

Failing that I was thinking of tinkering with some code myself. I want something that will hold events we need helpers for, members, members status (paid, 1st/2nd claim etc.) and manage that so it's easy to hassle slackers.

13 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Short version:
It's useable and may be OK if you don't already have a system in place but it has shortcomings.

Long version:
Been using it since late last year, though I'm not overly enamoured. It's a bit clunky and you can't customise it.

When I joined we had ~150 current and past members listed on there who had listed us as their club, not the current membership. You can upload a list using an Excel template. Club members don't need BC membership but the person administering it does, so while my first year was free it will cost me money to use from next year (I would not join BC otherwise).

We thought it may help to get people to pay their subs more readily and we can send notices of events. We have had a few renewals and a couple of new members pay via BC but it's not made the membership sec redundant. Slackers don't appear to respond any more readily and I haven't noticed anything to manage helpers.

If anything, it has created extra work. I'm logging in frequently to check for new payments and I have to remember to update members' expiry date on the site when renewed as well as in the club's simple Access database I inherited (though I'll be switching to FileMaker as I much prefer it).

Have used it to send renewal reminders and notice of imminent events but I don't know if it helps. I don't get notified if it bounces or if a member has no email address in their profile.

If you want an online facility then a couple of google docs spreadsheets shared with key members could hold the same data.

You are welcome to message me via my profile on here if you want to ask me anything.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2186 posts]
26th April 2014 - 20:00

4 Likes

Simon, could you not strip the code and then make it work for your purposes?

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9166 posts]
26th April 2014 - 20:24

2 Likes

I wouldn't know where to start Keith! HTML (not 5), CSS and a bit of ASP is my limit, I stopped doing that kind of stuff for my job 10 years ago.

But the BC facility doesn't offer anything I really need. Access queries/filtered lists are pasted into Excel for anyone else (e.g. monthly list of members for committee). Same to pull out email addresses while if I send notices or reminders I can subsequently see the recipients, which you don't appear to get with BC. Any replies come into the same account.

Struggle to see what more is required...

The best tool I have, set up by my predecessor, is that I can send all membership emails from my personal gmail account but send them as membership sec, not from my own address. I use gmail's filters to file emails and have created templates (called 'canned responses') to save repeatedly typing the same acknowledgements, reminders etc.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2186 posts]
26th April 2014 - 21:31

2 Likes

Thanks Simon. Our membership sec already does a great job of tracking down people. When you say it created more hassle, I half expected that. Most people now are happy to pay by standing order which saves a lot of time. We have quite a few members who want nothing whatsoever to do with BC.

Might tinker with something myself. With over 300 members and a lot of events it's not that easy to manage with spreadsheets.

Oh and I use gmail and have set it up so I can mail from (one of) my club persona(s) when I need to. Helps on filtering stuff that comes in.

posted by SteppenHerring [245 posts]
26th April 2014 - 22:07

0 Likes

If you want to make sure that people are getting and opening the emails on top of bounced ones, you could load it all through something like mail chimp

It just gives you a little help when someone says "I didn't get that email" Wink

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9166 posts]
26th April 2014 - 22:36

0 Likes

Gkam84 wrote:
If you want to make sure that people are getting and opening the emails on top of bounced ones, you could load it all through something like mail chimp

It just gives you a little help when someone says "I didn't get that email" Wink

As I understand it if someone has previously opted out of receiving Mail Chimp emails from anybody, not only from the sender, then Mail Chimp won't include them.

abudhabiChris's picture

posted by abudhabiChris [619 posts]
27th April 2014 - 6:17

0 Likes

Spamming the whole club is something I try to keep to a minimum. Getting people to volunteer has been made a bit easier by dangling carrots - for instance I've booked the Lee Valley velodrome for an afternoon. No helping out? No playing on the track. Sometimes when you need people to stand on roundabouts at stupid o'clock on a Sunday morning in the pissing rain, it's useful to have something to offer in return.

posted by SteppenHerring [245 posts]
27th April 2014 - 11:37

1 Like

mailchimp would be overkill. The only mass emails I send out are things like notice of AGM, renewal reminders and the very occasional urgent message that something significant has been rearranged. Can't see why it would work better than normal email.

That's a good carrot Stephen. Like most clubs, we find that it's the same few people that offer to help each time. Far too many members, particularly parents of youth racers, think we exist merely to indulge them and their offspring so just ignore requests for help, even when they are at the race already.
Angry

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2186 posts]
27th April 2014 - 11:59

2 Likes

Well, I've only just stepped into this role on the basis that no other bugger would do it. The nice thing is to have a fairly free hand but the downside (for me) is that being fairly new to the club world I feel I have a lot to learn. It can be good though - despite adverse stuff our event this morning passed off smoothly.

We don't have a youth section at the moment so we're spared that. There are a few though with the "You ask me to pay nearly 50p a week to be a member. All I get in return is 100+ organised rides a year, discounts at all the local bike shops, evening TTs, club races, affiliation to a bunch of organisations. And you have the nerve to ask me to help out once a year?".

There will always be a hardcore of people who will pull more than their weight. It would be nice if the club didn't collapse when one of them decides they've had enough though.

posted by SteppenHerring [245 posts]
27th April 2014 - 12:28

0 Likes

Mail Chimp doesn't have to be mass emails, it can monitor individual emails to make sure they are read

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9166 posts]
27th April 2014 - 13:00

0 Likes

Keith, I can see it might be handy for some but frankly I've got plenty to do without worrying about whether club members bother to read their emails.

Stephen, welcome to the world of volunteering. If it's any consolation, it is the same everywhere else, and not just cycling clubs.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2186 posts]
27th April 2014 - 14:05

1 Like

Simon E wrote:
Stephen, welcome to the world of volunteering. If it's any consolation, it is the same everywhere else, and not just cycling clubs.

It's a slippery slope. At first I said I'd help at some events. Then I said I'd lead a few rides. Then after a couple of years of that we were short of someone to run a TT and before you know it, you find yourself running a cycling club.

Still, it makes a nice change from the day job. There I have no spending authority can only recommend. In my evening job I can book the sodding Olympic velodrome for the afternoon without having any meetings.

posted by SteppenHerring [245 posts]
27th April 2014 - 19:20

0 Likes

Another downside: I now get spammed daily by people advertising holidays or training camps in Spain, riding in the Alps and so on, events, and the typical non-cycling stuff that I wasn't getting before Sad

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2186 posts]
28th April 2014 - 9:48

1 Like