How Do Clubs Communicate to it's Members?

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scottdog007
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How Do Clubs Communicate to it's Members?

Post by scottdog007 » Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:43 am

I've been a member of a few clubs and generally they all have a number of ways to communicating to their members. So news letter, email system, Facebook or their own forum.

In my latest club there are people opposed to using Facebook and at one point they tried to stop Facebook being used. Admittedly not everyone wants to use facebook, but I love it as it is a quick forum, and you get instant responses. An email system and newsletter tend to be slower at getting feedback.

What do other clubs do to get over this? What other forums or media processes do clubs use?

A big issue we are getting is that people are now not using the Facebook page originally set-up, they have set up their own Facebook page so we are now getting cliques building up in a club. People are arranging paddling but are only selecting set friends to come with them which is a shame.

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Re: How Do Clubs Communicate to it's Members?

Post by John K » Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:57 am

We use Facebook as our main way of communicating, occasionally supplemented with emails sent via Webcollect (which we use for memberships and event bookings).

I'm not a particular fan of Facebook, but it seems to work OK for us. I only signed up to Facebook because of the club, and only really use it for paddling related stuff.

We have a separate "peer paddle" page where members can organise non-club activities. Access is pretty open though and isn't too cliquey.

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Re: How Do Clubs Communicate to it's Members?

Post by Kizzie_St-As » Tue Apr 25, 2017 11:09 am

Facebook is by far the most successful system I've seen so far. It's easy to use, the majority of people already have it and it has a lot of usability benefits over other methods like: notifications, events for trips, easy recognition of other members, fast response times for questions and showing interest, easy sharing of outside resources, sharing of pictures after trips, etc etc.
Emails get lost or don't get checked.
Websites don't get checked

If their reasons for not using facebook are just technophobe related, someone else from the club can help them set up a basic account. If my mum can use facebook, so can they...
Done a Scottish river not on the site? Message me!

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Re: How Do Clubs Communicate to it's Members?

Post by cathalferris » Tue Apr 25, 2017 11:56 am

In my club, we have a proper old-school mailing list, we have a phpbb3 forum where everything is done, and we use Facebook to advertise trips and things, pointing back to the trip thread on the forum. The system had been in use now for about 15 years, and has proven to be more flexible and more robust than Facebook.

We found that Facebook was crappy once the conversation rate went more than a few posts per day, as you can't pin messages, moderation is impossible, threaded conversations are impossible, and not everyone will use Facebook. I stopped using Facebook as I'm a professional Unix admin and I do not trust that Facebook is safe, and that's a professional opinion.

In general, use what you feel comfortable. Our use case means that people a few years down the line can access everything through the years easily, given that as a student club the committee has a higher turnover rate than an ordinary club. The setup I've outlined above has been the best solution to our needs.

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Re: How Do Clubs Communicate to it's Members?

Post by twopigs » Tue Apr 25, 2017 12:06 pm

We had an old school forum but it got hijacked by several members using it as an opportunity to continue a feud ..... so scrapped that.
We tried Facebook but the Welfare and Safeguarding issues overwhelmed the Committee.
So now we stick to email.
AS Kizzie says emails get lost or scroll off the top of the page, websites don't get visited or updated - but it sort of works!

Yes we do have side trips - but then we have over 200 members - so trying to put trips on for everybody is a nightmare!
I wouldn't worry about cliques forming - I'd worry about making sure that club members can paddle at a reasonable level and that they know their own ability and have targets for improvement.
Canoeing - bigger boat, broken paddle, more skill!

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Re: How Do Clubs Communicate to it's Members?

Post by PaddyW » Tue Apr 25, 2017 12:31 pm

Club Communication:

Google groups mailing lists and FB group. Free to use and no ads.

Not everyone is on FB so it is still necessary to use group email.

Club Management:

Not sure why anyone chooses to use webcollect or other club management software, which costs the club money or contains ads. Members incur a transaction fee for every payment.

All you need is online club bank account. Some such as HSBC club account allow different levels of assess, (i.e. view only or full access including making payments). Get members to pay in cash or bank transfer to club account. No transaction fees. Committee members with view access can check payments.

Google sheets is free to use and ad free and can be shared online as required. Multiple sheets can be set up for Inventory, Membership, attendances, payments, balances, accounts etc. You just need a committee member(s) who is reasonably familiar with spreadsheets.

I have recently discovered Appsheet is useful if you want to create an app that is viewable on any device or browser and can be given access to specified data on Google, Dropbox, MS onedrive. Free to prototype. Create simple views of your data that is available offline on your mobile. (e.g. list of current members, monies owed etc).

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Re: How Do Clubs Communicate to it's Members?

Post by BobbyR » Tue Apr 25, 2017 12:53 pm

Facebook, Email, Whatsapp. If you are not on Whatsapp then forget joining our club:-)
We also have a web-app so members can sign into events with all their personal and emergency details.

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Re: How Do Clubs Communicate to it's Members?

Post by PaddyW » Tue Apr 25, 2017 1:07 pm

Google forms is useful for online membership forms, surveys etc.
Google sheets can be used as a simple sign in to events. It could accessible via your website or FB group.

You always need to consider what information you share and who can see it, (e.g. FB groups contents can be viewed by whole world unless group is closed). Does the whole world need to know that you are attending a FB event? Membership data can contain data that should not be freely shared. (e.g.health conditions, DOB etc).

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Re: How Do Clubs Communicate to it's Members?

Post by Adrian Cooper » Tue Apr 25, 2017 2:39 pm

Our club started off with a Yahoo Group email system which worked well and we continue to use it. It has the benefit of being entirely private to the members on the list and anyone can be removed by the moderators. Latterly we have a club Facebook page which is public and is followed by people outside of the club. In order to arrange, privately, our trips we have recently set up a private members only FB page. Our website has a calendar which is used for managing events.

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Re: How Do Clubs Communicate to it's Members?

Post by scottdog007 » Tue Apr 25, 2017 4:02 pm

Adrian Cooper wrote:Our club started off with a Yahoo Group email system which worked well and we continue to use it. It has the benefit of being entirely private to the members on the list and anyone can be removed by the moderators. Latterly we have a club Facebook page which is public and is followed by people outside of the club. In order to arrange, privately, our trips we have recently set up a private members only FB page. Our website has a calendar which is used for managing events.
Ha ha, Adrian your club is one of the other clubs I have been a member with and I do like your system. Alas I hate Yahoo because for years and years people hijack it and send corrupt emails out of your yahoo email account. Most recently Yahoo got stuffed because their site was hacked and peoples data stolen. So I hated having to create a dedicated yahoo email account just so I could communicate with other members. But then your club does uses the Facebook site well.

One of the biggest problem with having Facebook for a forum is that when members leave the club very rarely are they removed from the club Facebook site. Adrian I know your club had this issue as well. For my present club I advertised a trip on our Facebook site and found out I had people coming on the trip that had nothing to do with the club, they were not members, but had some how been given access to our closed Facebook site so they got the info for my trip. A bit cheeky that!

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Re: How Do Clubs Communicate to it's Members?

Post by Neptune » Tue Apr 25, 2017 4:17 pm

People using Facebook are signing a 'Faustian pact' with Mark Zuckerberg (just my opinion you understand). The club has a web site, sends out a weekly email and has a Facebook page.

I am not on Facebook (hardly a surprise there really) and won't be signing up to it at any point in the future either. And yes, just like most clubs, people organise paddling trips with their own group of friends that they like to paddle with, cliques if you want to call them that. It happens in all clubs, not just kayaking/canoe clubs.

I like to paddle with an established group of people or clique if I can, but am happy to paddle with anyone if and when I get out. I have even been to Europe twice with groups of people that I had never even met or paddled with before the day we set off and had a great time on both occasions.

Me, I use that old fashion method of 'human interface, yes, actually talking to people face to face, shocking isn't it in this day and age!!! I find out what is going on and arranging to go out paddling, simple really...

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Re: How Do Clubs Communicate to it's Members?

Post by Adrian Cooper » Tue Apr 25, 2017 4:47 pm

I appreciated that Peter, I thought it might be useful for the gathered assembly. :-)

With the Yahoo Group, you don't need a yahoo email address, but you do need a yahoo log-in, all emails go to where you ask. This means you can manage the emails if you need to, for example, I have all emails with the club's name going into a separate inbox so they don't get lost in the melee

With the private members FB page, this is monitored so only members can be on it and they can be weeded out periodically. Tom always checks the members list before adding anyone.

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Re: How Do Clubs Communicate to it's Members?

Post by Jim » Tue Apr 25, 2017 5:20 pm

Not sure my clubs are good examples.
One has a facebook page, I think it is a group not a page, with thousands of followers (not members), it can be hard for beginners to identify what are club trips and what are just mates organising stuff, sometimes mates who have never even been members. But, it does sort of keep people informed, alongside the website which has the programme and booking stuff on it.
The polo team, which is a subsection of the club, organise ourselves entirely through facebook, in fact we got kicked out of club sessions so have very little interaction with the rest of the club at all now, which is a shame.

Another club has a facebook page which only a few can write on, which sort of works. There is also a very pretty website but since the paddler who ran it moved to Czech the calendar is rarely updated. So actually we just meet at the same time and place every week and work things out from there. This club is by far the more active, which is probably why people can keep in touch by just turning up.

Another club is an email list, may even be through yahoo groups. I haven't had or sent an email for so long I have no idea if the club still exists.

Apart from actual clubs, there is another group of paddlers I am associated with which is entirely facebook based. Annoyingly they don't come my way very often, but they are very active.

To me, if you have a traditional club, the primary method of communication should be through regular frequent club sessions whether at a pool or outdoor venue - the first club mentioned I feel suffers from having sessions too far apart and/or not for everyone to attend, so it never really seems to build up a decent community feel. Facebook does not provide that.

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Re: How Do Clubs Communicate to it's Members?

Post by T00mm » Wed Apr 26, 2017 12:18 am

Just Facebook from the clubs I've seen, either by the Pages, Groups or private group messages

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Re: How Do Clubs Communicate to it's Members?

Post by DaveBland » Thu Apr 27, 2017 2:20 am

So not a club, but whole paddling communities here use FB.

As an interesting option mg daughter's water polo club uses 'team snap' app.
It is excellent at distributing info.
dave

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Re: How Do Clubs Communicate to it's Members?

Post by Chalky723 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 8:52 am

Ours is mainly Facebook, with sporadic emailed newsletters.

There's a web page I believe, but I haven't visited it for a while.

One problem is that peer trips etc. tend to get arranged on Facebook which means that some people won't see it's happening - but if there's a trip coming up that a non FB mate of mine would like, I tend to tell them about it & act as an in-between for any Q&A.

I'd like it if there was a "pinboard" type area for FB Club Pages, where you could have 8 or 10 items "stuck" to the board, the problem at the moment is that the one sticky post is about memberships & any interesting posts are washed away in a tide of people sharing videos of people we don't know paddling rivers we'll never paddle or cats......

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Re: How Do Clubs Communicate to it's Members?

Post by feedbackproblem » Thu Apr 27, 2017 1:17 pm

We use a variety of communications channels for different purposes:

Website - this is the primary source of club information and is the public face of the club on the internet. It is largely static in content and is designed for members and non-members to see who we are, what we do, where we are, how to contact us and also provide more general information about the wider paddling community (e.g. British Canoeing) and a bit of background in to the sport. We do have a "news" section and an events calendar which are updated regularly which automatically post links to the news/events to our FB page and Twitter feed.

Twitter - our Twitter feed is almost entirely driven by content automatically forwarded from the website and is little more than a notification tool to point people towards updates on the website. However, some people do like Twitter and it does give us a presence on the platform which means that we are more visible to non-members.

Facebook Page - we use this as the club voice on FB to engage with existing members and advertise ourselves. Our FB page is much more dynamic than the website and is a bit more informal in content, so whilst some of the content is automatically generated from updates on the website we post additional content (videos, links, photos etc) to engage with our members and also generate views from a wider audience and gain exposure for the club. Whilst we use the FB tool as a communication tool to keep our members informed, we also use it to encourage participation in upcoming events either by overtly advertising the event (e.g. a post along the lines of "who's coming on the trip tomorrow") or what is just as effective is to make sure that any events that take place have proper coverage on FB with follow up videos/photos/discussions etc because they act as a driver for participation in subsequent events. The FB page is also a great way to advertise the club to non-members and a lot of new members and visitors are now making first contact with us through the FB page. We use the FB Insights functionality to track engagement and we increase traffic to our page in the build up to events by scheduling more posts in the run up, it also helps of these posts are more popular (click baity) so short videos and photos usually perform better than links and text status updates. A couple of times over the last year we have experimented with paid for FB advertising for big events which has been very successful in reaching a wider local audience outside the paddling community, it's not expensive and it has paid for itself. We also try to encourage members to tag, check-in etc because again this reaches a much wider audience and is basically free advertising for the club.

Facebook Group (members) - this is nominally a closed group for members and "friends" of the club but we are fairly relaxed about who we let join. We treat this as an online clubhouse for members to talk to each other. The "club" has no official presence but admins will often link content back and forth between the page and the group to increase exposure although we try to get individual members to generate most of the content and it's your typical online paddling forum. We also encourage club members to arrange informal/unofficial trips using the group and again use this to drive participation amongst members for club events so we do not kick people out of the group when they leave the club because we want to try to encourage them to come back.

Facebook Group (coaches) - we have an additional closed group for coaches and volunteers. Membership of this is managed and is limited to club members who are currently actively involved in coaching, leading or volunteering. This forum is mostly used to arrange volunteers for coached sessions and club trips and is much more effective than relying on loads of e-mail chains, especially if cover is needed at short notice.

E-mail - we do send out infrequent e-mails to our members, these are mostly about upcoming events but we do also have a news letter which agregates a lot of the content that has appeared on the other comms channels and also contains more lengthier news items such as trip reports.

Facebook messenger - this is becoming increasingly popular amongst coaches and leaders in relation to coaching sessions and especially trips. We leave it up to the individuals involved but if I've organised a trip then my preference is to send out an intitial e-mail to the attendees and then set up a group chat so that everyone can easily communicate with other people on the trip, this is great for organising car shares etc but is also a much more reliable means of staying in touch with each other on the road if the trip leader doesn't have a phone signal.

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Re: How Do Clubs Communicate to it's Members?

Post by PaddyW » Thu Apr 27, 2017 2:00 pm

feedbackproblem wrote: We do have a "news" section and an events calendar which are updated regularly which automatically post links to the news/events to our FB page and Twitter feed.
Which calendar do you use that enables you to do this? I thought that FB only allows FB events and won't allow links to Google Calendar etc. I would be interested in doing something like this if not overly techie. Or could you send me a link to your page/website? (either by PM or by reply)

It seems that most clubs are using FB, however I find that some people will not use FB (even a dummy account with high privacy settings)

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Re: How Do Clubs Communicate to it's Members?

Post by jamiemagee » Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:13 pm

Google calendar and club emails. We have a Facebook page and website but that's more for after events than before.

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Re: How Do Clubs Communicate to it's Members?

Post by jmmoxon » Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:50 pm

scottdog007 wrote:One of the biggest problem with having Facebook for a forum is that when members leave the club very rarely are they removed from the club Facebook site. Adrian I know your club had this issue as well. For my present club I advertised a trip on our Facebook site and found out I had people coming on the trip that had nothing to do with the club, they were not members, but had some how been given access to our closed Facebook site so they got the info for my trip. A bit cheeky that!
As long as someone in the committee is following facebook it's easier to see when ex-members are still on facebook than when they are still on mailing lists - trying to keep non-members off means restricting who can add them...

Mike
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Re: How Do Clubs Communicate to it's Members?

Post by feedbackproblem » Thu Apr 27, 2017 6:00 pm

PaddyW wrote:
feedbackproblem wrote: We do have a "news" section and an events calendar which are updated regularly which automatically post links to the news/events to our FB page and Twitter feed.
Which calendar do you use that enables you to do this? I thought that FB only allows FB events and won't allow links to Google Calendar etc. I would be interested in doing something like this if not overly techie. Or could you send me a link to your page/website? (either by PM or by reply)

It seems that most clubs are using FB, however I find that some people will not use FB (even a dummy account with high privacy settings)
Halifax Canoe Club - website = http://www.halifaxcanoe.org.uk/

Halifax Canoe Club - Facebook page = https://www.facebook.com/halifaxcc/

Halifax Canoe Club - Facebook page automated post (direct from the website) = https://www.facebook.com/halifaxcc/post ... 3177146488

Halifax Canoe Club - Twitter (I think that most, if not all of the tweets are automated) = https://twitter.com/hxcanoe

The website is built with Wordpress and we've only recently started using the "export to FB" functionality so if you scroll through the club FB page you might notice a few little glitches here and there with how the automated posts look in FB (e.g. remaining word count showing etc) as we worked out the functionality. I'm not directly involved with the club website so I don't know exactly how it works but I am one of the club FB admins so the automated posts are visible to me as "Published by WordPress" on Facebook (it usually says which admin has published a post) but this information is not seen by people without admin access and look identical to "normal" posts.

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How Do Clubs Communicate to it's Members?

Post by John K » Thu Apr 27, 2017 9:01 pm

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