I’ve spent the last month or two developing a membership system to allows clubs and societies to securely store member details. This post explains why I decided to write another membership system, rather than using one of those that already exists.
Why write a membership system?
I am currently the Chairman of Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Organisation, a charity which rescues people from mountainous regions and inhospitable terrain in North Wales. The Team needs to keep records relating to its members. We also have a support group called 333. Members of 333 pay an annual fee which helps fund our charitable work. They get a newsletter and we put on some events in return for their support.
Historically the Team has stored information in Excel spreadsheets. Whilst this has worked effectively it has a number of issues. Specifically it is difficult to share information appropriately, and it needs someone to keep the information up to date. On a number of occasions I had considered writing a dedicated membership system to resolve these issues, but things came to a head with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
I’ll write a future post about how the membership system meets some of the requirements of GDPR, for now let’s just say it is much better than using a less controlled spreadsheet.
The Team I.T. Group looked at a lot of membership systems that already existed and found that they were ever very expensive, based on a subscription model, or didn’t have all the features we wanted. The main features we were looking for included:
- Storing details of team members and 333 members.
- Allowing 333 members to sign up and renew their membership online using Secure Trading.
- Support different types of membership e.g. individual, senior, and family; each with their own annual fee.
- Allow members to edit their own personal information.
- Allow authorised people to view members’ information.
- Mail merging should be possible using an Excel spreadsheet.
- Intergate with MailChimp to allow members to subscribe to mailing lists.
- Send members automatic reminders when their membership is due for renewal.
During a quiet period I decided to write my own membership system, which is now available and is being used by Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Organisation.
Making the membership system available
After spending a lot of time writing the membership system I decided to make it available to the public for a small fee. It needed a few new features adding to it, and some documentation writing. This has now been completed and the system is available to purchase. Details about the system, including a comprehensive list of features and how to purchase it, can be found at Membership System.
Trying it out
If you would like to see how the membership system works from a member’s point of view you can try out my demonstration system.