Membership, Groups, services etc.

A place to discuss the issues relating to the proposed change in the national CTC’s structure.
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Membership, Groups, services etc.

Postby admin » 14 Jan 2010, 5:49pm

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Simon L6
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Re: Membership, Groups, services etc.

Postby Simon L6 » 16 Jan 2010, 12:05pm

here's a thought. A person joins the CTC. They pay the money, they get the membership card (with the right date on, for this is, after all, the internet, where all things are possible) and they subscribe to Newsnet. But something is missing. An e-mail from their local group saying 'hey, here we are, come out for a ride, or meet up for a drink'. They could, of course, go to the CTC website and e-mail their local group.

Well, the reason why they might not get an e-mail is that the membership service, the one we pay £239,000 for, does a pretty poor job of collecting e-mail addresses. I used to think that South West London was doing particularly badly because only 56% of the membership list has an e-mail address against it - but now I discover that East Surrey has just over 40% and South Manchester less than 40%.

And, should our new member go to the CTC website and look for the e-mail address of his local group - guess what? When I sent a roundrobin e-mail to secretaries, nine came back address unknown.

This goes to the heart of the matter. Chasing work for the Trust has monopolised management's time. The membership system is a disgrace - if you haven't read a copy of the Independent Report e-mail me on fnrttc@yahoo.co.uk for a copy. Member groups get 18p per member per year, which doesn't buy a whole lot of stamps if you haven't got an e-mail address. I've heard the line from management and from the chair about active members being few in number (actually, they're not) - well, they might be more numerous if the service was better.

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Re: Membership, Groups, services etc.

Postby John Catt » 16 Jan 2010, 12:35pm

Simon L6 wrote:Well, the reason why they might not get an e-mail is that the membership service, the one we pay £239,000 for, does a pretty poor job of collecting e-mail addresses. I used to think that South West London was doing particularly badly because only 56% of the membership list has an e-mail address against it - but now I discover that East Surrey has just over 40% and South Manchester less than 40%.

And, should our new member go to the CTC website and look for the e-mail address of his local group - guess what? When I sent a roundrobin e-mail to secretaries, nine came back address unknown.


Absolutely agree on this, but this is an issue regardless of whether or not we are charity.

I want to see the CTC providing groups with free webspace and facilities and help in using it. I also want members to be able to sign up and manage their details on-line so that we are not at the mercy of a membership service that fouls up.

The problem at the moment is I believe that we don't have email addresses recorded for many long standing members and where we do have them, members often don't advise when they change. Also there is obvious room for misreading when email addresses are hand written.

This has nothing to do with whether or not we go for full charitable status.

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Re: Membership, Groups, services etc.

Postby Si » 16 Jan 2010, 2:14pm

The thing that caught my eye in the details about impacts on membership groups (or lack of), was the tone used. In my line there is a saying "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence". Throughout the texts, the document seems very sure of advantages and lack of disadvantages in the Merger. Yet when we get onto MGs and how they will be impacted it gets much more cautious, telling us that they have seen no evidence that MGs will be changed (or words to that effect). This sudden timidity is a bit odd, and the more cynical might see it as an exercise in back covering should things go wrong. Some further information on exactly how hard they searched for evidence might help, not to mention what evidence they have considered.

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Simon L6
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Re: Membership, Groups, services etc.

Postby Simon L6 » 16 Jan 2010, 5:14pm

John Catt wrote:
Absolutely agree on this, but this is an issue regardless of whether or not we are charity.

I want to see the CTC providing groups with free webspace and facilities and help in using it. I also want members to be able to sign up and manage their details on-line so that we are not at the mercy of a membership service that fouls up.

The problem at the moment is I believe that we don't have email addresses recorded for many long standing members and where we do have them, members often don't advise when they change. Also there is obvious room for misreading when email addresses are hand written.

This has nothing to do with whether or not we go for full charitable status.

it has everything to do with it. This is where we started. The Trust has swallowed management time, while the Club has been neglected. The Council needs to get their head around this - stop, consider, work out what's gone wrong, fix it, make an offer that members can back.

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Re: Membership, Groups, services etc.

Postby John Catt » 16 Jan 2010, 5:44pm

Simon L6 wrote:it has everything to do with it. This is where we started. The Trust has swallowed management time, while the Club has been neglected. The Council needs to get their head around this - stop, consider, work out what's gone wrong, fix it, make an offer that members can back.


The issue of whether or not we should go for charitable status is certainly taking up management time. Once we have got the complications of a dual structure out of the way we can concentrate on the essentials. It will be a membership charity so the nuts and bolts of looking after the membership will be just as important as ever.

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Re: Membership, Groups, services etc.

Postby glueman » 16 Jan 2010, 6:14pm

John Catt wrote: Once we have got the complications of a dual structure out of the way we can concentrate on the essentials.


The irony that the 'complications' of the 'dual structure' are a self-inflicted injury won't be lost on you. Charity status may only deliver a larger spade to dig itself out of the same hole. There seems little sign of reflection on the pressing issues or the path that lead us to them but plenty of 'pressing onwards'. To continue the cycling motif, it might be time for someone to get the map out and see where the hell we're going.

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Re: Membership, Groups, services etc.

Postby Simon L6 » 16 Jan 2010, 6:16pm

John Catt wrote:
Simon L6 wrote:it has everything to do with it. This is where we started. The Trust has swallowed management time, while the Club has been neglected. The Council needs to get their head around this - stop, consider, work out what's gone wrong, fix it, make an offer that members can back.


The issue of whether or not we should go for charitable status is certainly taking up management time. Once we have got the complications of a dual structure out of the way we can concentrate on the essentials. It will be a membership charity so the nuts and bolts of looking after the membership will be just as important as ever.

again, that's not right. Management has been neglecting the club for years while chasing work for the trust. Might I recommend a read of the thread on membership services - and if you want a copy of the report I can e-mail it to you.

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Re: Membership, Groups, services etc.

Postby John Catt » 17 Jan 2010, 9:16pm

Simon L6 wrote:Management has been neglecting the club for years while chasing work for the trust. Might I recommend a read of the thread on membership services - and if you want a copy of the report I can e-mail it to you.

Even if this is so it is not relevant to the argument as to whether we become a combined organisation with charitable status. If we chose,, we could as a charity, drop all the work the Trust undertakes that you object to, and put the emphasis on other objects that would still have charitable status.

I quite agree that, as with any organisation, there is no doubt considerable room for improvement in administration, and this is something I am very interested in improving. But in my opinion it is not relevant to the arguement as to whether or not we become a single charity.

workhard

Re: Membership, Groups, services etc.

Postby workhard » 18 Jan 2010, 8:30am

The administration of the Club's membership has been outsourced yes?

Most organisations, though there are exceptions, only outsource activities that they do not regard as being 'core' to their business. It speaks volumes as to management's attitude to the membership that membership admin has been outsourced. The problems that have arisen appear to have been put in the 'too difficult' pile (every organisation has one) and management attention has turned to more interesting challenges. Managing the relationship with members was/is seen as a problem not 'core' to the activities of the CTC. With a merger of Club and Trust there is a real risk that the relationship with members will seen purely as a financial one. the cow will be milked, after all what else do you do with cows?

How much of the Trusts activities is outsourced / subcontracted to paid 3rd parties for delivery and how much is delivered by staff or contractors directly retained by the Trust?

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Re: Membership, Groups, services etc.

Postby Regulator » 18 Jan 2010, 8:40am

Si wrote:The thing that caught my eye in the details about impacts on membership groups (or lack of), was the tone used. In my line there is a saying "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence". Throughout the texts, the document seems very sure of advantages and lack of disadvantages in the Merger. Yet when we get onto MGs and how they will be impacted it gets much more cautious, telling us that they have seen no evidence that MGs will be changed (or words to that effect). This sudden timidity is a bit odd, and the more cynical might see it as an exercise in back covering should things go wrong. Some further information on exactly how hard they searched for evidence might help, not to mention what evidence they have considered.


This is a very important point. Charitable status could significantly affect member groups - I've warned of this and given examples of potential effects. They've been responded to with bland and flippant assurances from the CTC legal advisors...

Council is ignoring the very real disadvantages of charitable status. Basically, the Communication Strategy that National Office and the Chairman are pushing ignores these matters entirely, instead choosing only to emphasise and overstate possible benefits.

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Re: Membership, Groups, services etc.

Postby thirdcrank » 11 Feb 2010, 7:14pm

Simon L6 wrote:... the membership service, ... does a pretty poor job of collecting e-mail addresses. ...


I'm a bit surprised that nobody with an IT background has commented on this because it should be part of the system, rather than a separate "job" in the sense of an additional task.

It's my impression that if you carry out any financial transaction online, be it donating to a charity, enrolling in an organisation or buying something, providing an email address is part of the ordering system. This can even be a bit of a privacy concern but I generally find it's a mandatory field with options to opt in or out of publicity contact etc. Then, at the conclusion of the transaction a confimation email is automatically sent to the address given as an acknowledgment. I cannot imagine it's a big deal if it's specified and incorporated from the outset. Start collecting manually and you really are in the long grass. IMO.

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Re: Membership, Groups, services etc.

Postby gaz » 11 Feb 2010, 8:36pm

Having renewed my membership on line last month I can confirm that the members e-mail field is there but it is non-mandatory.
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workhard

Re: Membership, Groups, services etc.

Postby workhard » 11 Feb 2010, 8:59pm

thirdcrank wrote:
Simon L6 wrote:... the membership service, ... does a pretty poor job of collecting e-mail addresses. ...


I'm a bit surprised that nobody with an IT background has commented on this because it should be part of the system, rather than a separate "job" in the sense of an additional task.


Hmm strokes beard...

twenty + years in IT in commerce, local and central govt, three years running a major international charity's supporter care unit, two years managing volunteers and doing community fundraising/education work, five years running the IT function, amongst others, in another international charity.

....you rang?

Only reason you don't collect email addresses these days is because you have no strategy to use them, so collecting them isn't a priority, you have an out of date e-strategy in general (website ain't exactly web 1.9 is it?) or if you do the third party you employ doesn't give a stuff because they've picked up what really matters is collecting the bunce, or they pay peanuts and the monkeys they employ aren't interested or they aren't using a decent CRM system anyway but the contract holder can't be buttocked to hold them to account (because the bunce keeps rolling in from a loyal member base who will take all kinds of nonsense because they love their club.)

The CTC's membership admin got in a mess, so they outsourced it and got an outsourced mess instead. Same old same old.

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Re: Membership, Groups, services etc.

Postby patricktaylor » 11 Feb 2010, 10:34pm

workhard wrote:... Same old same old.

What's the average age of the membership I wonder, and the average age of CTC Councillors. Getting on a bit I suspect. I imagine if there were more younger people involved, harnessing the benefits of email addesses would be taken as read, as would a modern website. There's no reason the CTC website shouldn't be as enticing as, say, the National Trust's, with a 'donate' link on every page. These shortcomings have nothing to do with funds - only awareness.

Having said that, there must be youngsters in there somewhere, to have set up CTC on Facebook and Twitter. Staff perhaps.