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Club membership admin software

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Poll Question: What does your club use to store member details and send out letters?
Poll Choice Votes Poll Statistics
1 [4.76%]
10 [47.62%]
5 [23.81%]
5 [23.81%]
0 [0.00%]
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JohnW View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JohnW Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Sep 10 at 9:59am
Originally posted by marke

Hi

Anyway - should have an open source offering out in the spring if anybody wants to give it a try.  Support will be on a best efforts basis though as I do have a day job.

If anyone has any specific "got to have" requirements please PM me - can't promise to add them, but at least I'll consider it.

Mark
 
Mark, I would love to give it a try. Also happy to do some testing if that would help you out.
 
I think a web centred solution is a good way to go because as you say, a lot of club management is done from home and the data needs to be available to a team of people.
 
John
 
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laser4000 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote laser4000 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Sep 10 at 10:34am
Originally posted by Late starter

In terms of duties, we're still in the dark ages and tend to spend ages at the start of each season agonising over the duty rota's, ie trying to match members to duties they are qualified for, trying to match family members to duties at the same time, and trying to get a balance of experienced and inexperienced members on duty together to effect some knowledge transfer.  There's probably a better way of doing this, its always a pain in the neck to do.


You mean you're not using dutyman? You can set people up at levels relevant to their experience (OOD, AOD, Saferty Boat, safety boat helper etc) and it then makes sure the 'roster is full' and you have enough AOD to OOD etc. Duty swaps easy for the members to carry out etc. Not quite sure how it handles 'family' rostering but it obviously does...

Originally posted by Late starter



One of the most useful technology areas we've found though is providing the ability for members to pay for subs, socials etc via the website, eg through Paypal. This has been incredibly popular.

Funny - I reckon that's ahead of most clubs, but is a great idea...
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Post Options Post Options   Quote samways Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Sep 10 at 10:38pm
Yes, the cost of Medusa does seem a bit much when you have to pay it every year. I looked at the website and can see that appears to have a 'master' database, so that people at home can make changes on their own database, and then control how the changed are synced back to the master.

In the light of instantly-updatabled web-hosted databases that seems a bit like too much work. But there isn't anything else on the market. In fact, each of the main products seems to have a monopoly: Medusa, Sailwave and DutyMan! (Ok there is HAL but I havent seen it used much.)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote A Seabadger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Sep 10 at 4:26am
Anyone know how you get Dutyman to cope with family memberships?

Eg. In our club every member over 16 has to do a duty. As a family of 4 we have to do 4 duties. As only 2 of us sail we do duties for the other 2. We need to have our duties credited to us as a family not as individuals.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote bert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Sep 10 at 7:45am
The easy way round it is just to sign in for the duty as the other family member - that would work wouldn`t it?
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Richard Creer View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Richard Creer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Oct 10 at 6:29pm
 

This is all very interesting to me as a member of the Medusa and DutyMan development teams!

Firstly the poll, albeit of rather few voters, suggests that there is a need for a good membership package for sailing clubs. And secondly price is, not surprisingly, an issue – it always is.
 
Some here think Medusa is expensive yet we have clubs using it at the published price so it is clearly not too expensive for everyone.
 
But let's have a think about pricing. When purchasing software that is going to be crucial to the way they work, people, and that includes sailing clubs, are interested not only in functionality but also support and ongoing commitment. We who develop and support Medusa and DutyMan are professionals and are in it for the long-term. Our aim is to create a thriving and sustainable community of users of our software.
 
A club which invests in software without such ongoing commitment will, I suggest, be little better off than with a home-grown database or spreadsheet.
 
A quick calculation will reveal that we (4) are not going to get rich from providing software for sailing clubs - there are simply not enough of them. But we do need some income to cover the costs of our servers, websites, PCs, phone bills and such and with a bit left over to keep us motivated. If you are receiving fees you have a duty to keep earning them; if you are doing something as a favour you can walk away any time.
 
There are a lot of issues here so please keep up the dialogue either here or offline. And BTW, there is a 10% discount on both Medusa and DutyMan for RYA-affiliated clubs.
http://www.sailingclubsoftware.com
http://www.dutyman.biz
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Post Options Post Options   Quote jeffers Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Oct 10 at 9:21am
Part of the issue here is that sailing clubs range from small, member run affairs (run by the members for the members) and are non-profit clubs and as a result have little if no spare cash and would find it difficult to justify spending money on things like that. All they way up to the likes of Rutland, Grafham and Hayling Island which are run more like businesses and as such will be able to justify the expenditure on something like this.
 
Don't get me wrong I am not knocking this idea at all, quite the opposite in fact, but you may want broaden your horizons and open it up to other types of clubs (Hockey is another sport I am involved in. Most clubs have nothing to register their members in). I would imagine the underlying database would easily cope with that but you would not need some of the functionality that a sailing club would.
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patj View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote patj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Oct 10 at 5:57pm
We're a small paper and spreadsheet club but for duties we have one good system. A blank sheet of all the years' duties is taken to the AGM and everyone attending gets to sign up for their choice of dates. It gets the AGM attendance up considerably! The duties officer then contacts the rest of the members and fills in the blanks. Duties are then held on a website database that I put together and it's easily updated by the duties officer and visible to all on the web. With the buy-in from choosing your own date there are far less swaps than at other clubs.
 
I looked at dutyman but it costs about two memberships and as far as I could see it isn't even hosted on your own servers so you just rent use of it. Then what happens if they fold?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Richard Creer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Oct 10 at 8:25pm

Absolutely – sailing clubs come in all shapes and sizes and so with Medusa and DutyMan we must pitch our offerings at the typical mid-range club with a few hundred members.  We thought long and hard about pricing our products according to club size but that raises all manner of practical difficulties with keeping track of numbers of members. Besides you can have a wealthy 300 member club and a less wealthy 300 member club so we concluded that variable pricing was not going to work and kept it simple with one price for all.

 
However there is always the possibility of ‘Lite’ and ‘Pro’ versions in the future. We will have to see how things go but it is clearly in our interests to make our products available to as wide an audience as possible.
 
Medusa is for the foreseeable future going to be aimed only at sailing clubs and their unique requirements, like boats and boat parking. That isn’t to say that other types of club can’t use Medusa; it just means that the terminology might be a bit strange like when sailing clubs use software designed for golf clubs!
 
What happens if DutyMan folds? My partner and I have no plans, or reason, to fold!
http://www.sailingclubsoftware.com
http://www.dutyman.biz
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Post Options Post Options   Quote marke Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Oct 10 at 11:17am
While I wouldn't disagree with Richard's comment that nobody is going to get rich on the annual licence charged for Medusa/Dutyman, and it provides good functionlaity for the cost, I would dispute that 'bought' software has a longer supported life that open source software.  There is a lot of published evidence (e.g. Easterbrook et al.)  that open source software has just as good support as purchased software - indeed there a number of national infrastructure organisations in Europe and the USA that positively discrimnate in favour of open source to avoid the problems of commercial organisation "just moving on".  Indeed the last time I looked at the research the most likely reason that commercial products don't get supported long term is that they were not making enough profit!.

I use both open source and bought software tools in my professional life and without exception the level of support I get from the 'users' of open source software is at a higher level than the bought software.

Some clubs will feel happier with bought software and some clubs will feel happier having open source software with no license costs and support from a users group at the cost of needing members with some software skills .  Membership software is not exactly rocket science and there will be many clubs who have members with skills perfectly able to install, maintain and locally customise this type of software.

Clubs should be able to use the approach that best fits there own circumstance - if a spreadsheet works why change.  Similarly there should be a place for open source and commercial solutions.

Mark

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