Some great news for Units and Regions looking at more online services
Over the last few years, if there's one thing most Units and Regions have heard from their members it is their desire to have the option to do more transactions online, rather than by physical mail and checkbooks. Online processing is not for everybody and certainly not all the time - but it's clear many of our members would appreciate the convenience of more online options from WBCCI.
Why is this important for WBCCI?
In the majority of their lives our Members have the ability to sign up for events and purchases online: they renew their automobile licenses, pay their utility bills, buy airplane tickets, book hotels, download books and much, much more. In fact, our Members are not just becoming more comfortable with online registrations and purchases, in some cases they actually prefer online payments due to the convenience and security, especially if they are on the road or have busy work and/or social calendars.
Why should it be different for our WBCCI activities, registrations and events? Shouldn't we make it easier for our active Members to sign up for our Rallies, renew their memberships and even purchase items online? Can't we offer the same online conveniences widely available elsewhere? Or even more importantly, let's not contribute to potential perceptions that our Club is averse to or unaware of new trends and Member preferences. Finally, let's try all we can to encourage more awareness and attendance at our events. Offering a convenient way to register and pay is one great way to do so.
Well, it's time for some good news!
Over the last year, our WBCCI Electronics Communications Committee (ECC) has been working with WBCCI Headquarters (HQ), the WBCCI Executive Committee, several Regions and a growing number of Unit Treasurers and Webmasters to deliver the infrastructure for more Member-oriented online transactions. So far our focus has been on automating and streamlining some of the paper-based processes that have been in use almost since our formation as Club. Examples include online New Member Registrations, online Courtesy Parking Maps, online Unit Location Maps, online Big Red Number reordering, online WBCCI Amateur Radio Club registrations, online Unit & Region calendaring, etc. More is coming from HQ and the ECC over the next year, but this article describes one of the most-requested set of online services: Membership Renewal and Rally Registrations at the Region and Unit websites.
New Online Renewals and Registration Capabilities
Note: All are available within your Unit or Region wbcci.net website
Online Membership Renewals
Online Region Rally Registrations
Online Special Event Registrations
Online Unit Rally Registrations
Online sales of Region or Unit material
Santa Clara Unit Membership Renewal (http://santaclara.wbcci.net). Look on the left navigation for "Join or Renew".
Santa Clara Rally Registrations (http://santaclara.wbcci.net). Look on the left navigation for one of their Rallies under "Rally Schedule".
More examples are available on the ECC site (http://ecc.wbcci.net). Look on the left navigation for the article on Online Registrations and Renewals. The article on the ECC site will give you direct links to more Units and Region examples. It's a rapidly growing list!
Santa Clara Unit Join or Renew Example:
When asked about online membership renewal I was very hesitant. I was afraid that I would end up doing a lot more work, that it would cost the club too much money and that it would not be safe. After setting up a separate account with a bank officer, I decided to work with our webmaster and try it. There is a little more work keeping track of the accounts but this is balanced out by the fact that checks do not have to be deposited. To date the cost to the club has been minimal. Finally, the extra bank account, I believe, has made the process fairly safe - Ed Dodge, Santa Clara Unit Treasurer
Santa Clara Unit Rally Registration Example:
How to get started:
Two things need to happen to get your Unit or Region going:
1) Your Unit or Region webmaster needs to configure the new online renewals and registration settings, and
2) Your Treasurer needs to setup a PayPal account.
Instructions on both topics can be found on the ECC website (http://ecc.wbcci.net). In addition, if you have questions and/or need some assistance feel free to contact the ECC at their email address (firstname.lastname@example.org). They can get you going quickly, point you to great examples, and even help you configure your first Online event if needed. We've found this new capability to be very easy to use and well within the experience and/or skill level of the majority of our Unit and Region webmasters.
Thank you for taking a look...
In closing, I hope many Units and Regions find this information useful. We're pretty excited about it - we see this as yet another way to encourage people to join our events by removing some very simple hurdles: no "coupons" to print out, fill out, find a stamp, find a check, write a check, find an envelope and mail it. The reality is that we've all seen a shift in our generation (and beyond) where physical correspondence and physical checkbooks are becoming more of a rarity. Certainly not for all people, nor all the time - but more and more true for the new potential Members purchasing Airstreams and considering whether to participate in our events and join our club.
I write this article not only as a member of the Santa Clara Unit, but also as a member of the Electronic Communications Committee - we are a group that truly enjoys working with your leaders to provide such interesting capabilities as Courtesy Parking Maps, Unit Location Maps, Centralized Event Calendaring (Google Calendars) and now truly easy and usable Online Renewals and Registrations!
Region 12 / Santa Clara Unit (#2242)
Electronic Communications Committee Member
Region 12 and Santa Clara Unit Webmaster