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Web Geek Web Geek
12/7/2015 9:22 PM
Thank you for your email. I do appreciate it very much. I think a little information going your way is in order so that you can have an appreciation of how much investigation, research, planning, migration work from the old site, and ongoing usage of the new website by Members and Club Management is in order before we start a full conversation on this topic, one which has been discussed about a dozen times in the past during the transition.
First however, if you have some constructive criticism of the new website, something like I don't like this function or could you make this section of the website easier by adding this feature that would be very helpful. Saying the website is simply bad and threatening to cancel your membership is not positive, productive, nor helpful to the ongoing operation of the club and what it stands for.
I personally have 30 years of IT/IM experience. In the past fifteen years I have created and managed hundreds of websites. It is not a small job to create a website and manage it on an ongoing basis so I am not sure you understand the level of initial and ongoing effort that is required of a "member volunteer" to do so. It is no small task. I could have built the website myself personally but then the Club, its Members, and Board of Directors would have been dependent on me and that is something we wanted to avoid because that was the situation with the old website and one of the reasons for the change. The Club needed a website solution that could be easily transferred to the responsibility of a new President every few years as well as a new personnel / volunteer responsible for managing the website in an ongoing fashion with due consideration that the individual might not be too Internet savvy but was eager to participate and help the club. As such ongoing website support from a third party group with experience in this area was important to the website's long term sustainability. So I spent a lot of time researching alternatives for website hosting for the Club. I also wanted to find a solution that would provide membership management and communication features, both of which are also time consuming tasks for club volunteers.
To this end I researched companies that were providing website hosting services specifically designed for clubs and I found three such service providers. I investigated them all and even created pilot websites on two of them. The third was eliminated off the start because it was a one man operation. Of the two pilot websites it was clear that http://www.clubexpress.com/ was by far ahead of their only competitor. I have not regretted the recommendation that I made to the Club's Board of Directors and in fact am extremely satisfied that the club made the right decision. Is the website perfect? No. Will the website address every member's desires? No. Is the website good enough for what the club needs? More than enough and then some in my view as well as the view of the Club's President and many on the Board of Directors and our Members. I think if you review the following webpage at Club Express and read their information about the services they provide to clubs like ours I think you will eventually come to the same conclusion as I did in that we found the best possible independent solution for the club money spent. At $3 per Member per year we could not afford to replicate even closely the level of functions and features that Club Express provides for us.
What is more is that we have accomplished some major objectives during the transition to the new website including:
- the Club is no longer dependent on one member for the ongoing hosting and management of the website
- any Club Member can contact Club Express directly for support regarding our website and Club Express has even dedicated one of their support staff who is very knowledgeable about our website and assisted in a major way during the migration of content to supporting our Members - his name is Geoffrey Walsh and you can contact him direct at firstname.lastname@example.org any time if the office or I am not available at the moment
- In Club Express we now have a great Membership Management and Communications solution that makes the task of running the website (membership invoicing, store sales, accounting, corporate / government reporting, etc) and membership communications (newsletters, regional emails from Directors, etc) much simpler and much more efficient and effective. This is very important Joe because all of the people doing this work are volunteers and the free time they devote to the club is very important so we need to provide them with tools that use their time efficiently and effectively. Our Club Express website enables us to do just that.
- the online Club Store is already receiving orders and helping us reduce old inventory. Eventually the Club inventory will be outsourced which will make it even easier for the volunteers of the club to manage the store and raise money for the club. The Club Express solution makes running an online store very, very easy.
- support for cross platform mobile device including smart phones and tablets of every make and model
- an incredible Document Library that has been expanded tenfold with all kinds of great resource information specifically to our aircraft
Again, I do sincerely appreciate your feedback. The Club is much more than just the website. But the website is an important collaboration watering hole of the club Membership so it is very important as you suggest. Will it ever be perfect? No. Websites for clubs and organizations are always on ongoing and evolving effort to support and bring about positive change within the group. Club Membership feedback is important to this effort to continually improve the website as well as the features and functions it provides to the people that volunteer to manage the website.
If you could please provide some very specific examples of areas where you see that the website can be improved we are all ears and take these recommendations very seriously and sincerely. I have included the Club President and Board of Directors Member Mike Perkins whom I work closely with on the website in my email so that your concerns are brought to their attention. I have also included our dedicated Club Express Support resource Geoffrey as well as Club Express President in my reply so that your concerns and recommendations for the website can be brought to their attention. All of us are indeed open to making positive changes to the club website because we know it is in the best interest of the Membership. So please, bring on the suggestions for improvement and I assure you 150% that they will all be seriously and sincerely considered. You can also call me personally any time to discuss as I share your passion for the club and its website equally. We are all pushing in the same direction.
From: Joe Wilkins (Yak52driver@aol.com) [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: December-07-15 8:25 PM
Message from the website contact page - From: Joe Wilkins (Yak52driver@aol.com)
May I suggest that we spend some dues money to rebuild the website? I won't bitch on the forums, rather I would ask you to address this issues before we cancel memberships. It really is pathetic. Perhaps a member with these skills could be solicited.
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