We all remember the heady days of running car clubs several decades ago. Each committee meeting was a social affair, with club business taking a back seat to discussions of the cars themselves. A manila folder full of renewal forms and bank cheques would be pulled from someone’s bag, the President would run the meeting from a rough agenda scrawled on pad paper and the Secretary would take brief minutes to be filed away somewhere indefinitely. Membership records were recorded on an Excel spreadsheet and all that counted was that the club had enough funds to run the year’s events.
These days, the running of a car club has changed almost as much as the cars themselves, and the incoming GDPR regulations are just another step in a process that has been happening for years. Like it or not, but even the smallest car club has to be run like a business these days, and clubs need to have business practices in place.
Through our work with car clubs, we’ve seen the need for dedicated Membership Management software which is designed and built for the specific needs of car clubs of all sizes and addresses these issues.
Clubs need a system that keeps accurate membership records, that keeps member’s personal data safe and stores it in compliance with legislation, that provides financial data at the click of a button, runs inventory management and front-end sales for the club shop, houses news and photo galleries on club events, and runs the website.
Systems like this do exist, and they work very well. Some software has its roots in retail loyalty programs and others in the charity sector, and some have been developed especially for clubs. But the size, activity and financial health of a car club will dictate what is the best membership management system for it.
We feel that a club-based system needs to be affordable, it needs to provide accountability and it needs to be based on an architecture that anyone can modify in the future. And more important than anything else is that it needs to genuinely reduce the administrative workload. Less time spent on administration gives paid staff more time to work for the benefit of members and volunteers more time to enjoy their cars!
Next Step Heritage is working in collaboration with several large UK-based clubs to pool our resources toward developing a system that works for clubs of all sizes. The system we are developing will address current and future legal concerns while enabling significant time savings for the dedicated few who run our clubs.
What has been your experience with managing your membership? What are the challenges that you’ve faced, and are there any features that would make your life easier, and allow you to focus on the only thing that really matters – your members?