We are starting a new series of Customer Case Studies, in which we take your stories and share your challenges and successes as a learning tool for other RunSignUp users. At the RRCA Convention, we found our first willing case study, the Maine Track Club. This Case Study focuses on the initial transition of a club to the RunSignUp system. We know it’s long for a blog post – you can grab a PDF Version, if you prefer.
Overview: The Maine Track Club navigated the switch to RunSignUp for Membership Management, and came to us to explore expanded features and options for their future.
“Matt helped with a ton of emails and creating custom fields. I felt like someone was helping us the whole way through…not just sending us off like ‘good luck!'”
Club Background: Based in Portland, ME, the Maine Track Club is Maine’s largest and most active running club, with 500+ members throughout the state. They support runners of all ages and abilities through group runs, training clinics, annual races, and club social events.
Membership Management History: Victoria took over as a Membership Manager in 2011 and inherited an old system of collecting information through Active and downloading it into excel spreadsheets.
Challenge, Part 1: Switching to a new registration platform with minimal disruption to current membership.
Making the Switch: The decision to change membership platforms was a part of the club’s strategic plan. The main drivers for the change were member complaints over the high fees associated with signing up, and the need for a platform that would integrate more easily with email lists and renewal reminders. Along with the Club President and the Webmaster, Victoria explored other membership service options and selected RunSignUp based on the information she found on the website.
The Transition Process: The initial import of members took about a week of collaboration between Victoria and the Webmaster, Bob. RunSignUp Sales Engineer, Matt, helped with the transition. Victoria commented, “Matt helped with a ton of emails and creating custom fields. I felt like someone was helping us the whole way through…not just sending us off like ‘good luck!'”
Helping Members with the Transition: In preparation for the switch, all members were notified that they would be transitioning to RunSignUp. Overall, members had been asking for a change, and were really excited to see it happen. However, there were 2 concerns that the Club had to address:
Some members were resistant to the change and uncomfortable with online registration, and elected to continue with paper registrations. Victoria faced some hesitancy about the manual input of those registrations.
Victoria chose to tackle the registrations a little bit at a time, and discovered that once she started, the manual uploads integrated more easily than she expected, with a relatively small time commitment.
When members were initially contacted with instructions to claim their account, some members were confused and/or concerned that it was spam.
The Maine Track Club chose to again address members directly, and sent out a 2nd, follow-up communication to confirm the legitimacy of the claim email and to ensure that members were confident in the claim process.
Communication was key to overcoming member concerns.
Overall Results from Challenge #1: Victoria has been happy with the ease of the transition, and the convenience of having information in one system, and on the whole believes Maine Track Club members are happy with the transition as well. The initial successes include:
- Members feel that their concerns about high fees were heard, and addressed.
- Accurate mailing list: One of the benefits of a membership to the Maine Track Club is access to the local running information included in their mailings. RunSignUp will make it easier to verify that only current members are accessing those mailings, thus preserving the value of membership and encouraging lapsed members to renew.
- Decreased workload for the Membership Manager through more online registrations and the elimination of spreadsheet management. Additionally, the automatic renewal emails will eliminate the need to track expiring memberships and send manual emails.
Challenges, Part 2: Requests from the Club:
Volunteer Tracking: Members of the Maine Track Club are expected to volunteer at 3 of the 9 races that are either hosted by, or supported by, the Club each year. The tracking process for this has been unwieldy. We gave them 2 suggestions for this:
- Utilize a notes field: Each member profile has the ability to keep notes. Following each of the 9 races, the Club Officers will update profiles to indicate their progress in completing the volunteer requirements.
- Custom Questions: The Maine Track Club could include a custom question upon registration, with check boxes asking members to choose (at least) 3 of the 9 races that they believe that they could volunteer at. From this, the officers will know which members to follow up with at the conclusion of (or in advance of!) each race to ensure that they follow through on their commitment. Similarly, if a member only chooses 1 or 2 races, they will know that the member needs a reminder to find some more races to volunteer at.
Graphical Reporting: The Maine Track Club would like to see more graphical reports than are currently available, akin to the reports available for races.
The RunSignUp developers are on it. Stay tuned for more availability of Graphical reports for clubs!
Other suggestions from RunSignUp for the Maine Track Club to discuss and consider:
- The Maine Track Club can use RunSignUp for ticket purchases, or simple (free) RSVP’s by setting up “races” and changing the language to indicate an event other than a race (this is available on the first page of the “race” wizard). The Club can then choose to either sell tickets to the events through the website, or simply collect RSVP’s for number-tracking – if the registration is set to free, the RSVP’s will be free. This will also allow members to see what events they have RSVP’d for directly on their RunSignUp account.
Member Coupon Management: For each of the volunteer events that they participate in, members receive a $5 voucher to use towards membership the following year, or towards one of the social events.
- By using RunSignUp coupons, members could receive the vouchers as coupon codes to use to sign up for membership (and/or events!) directly online. While there is no “coupon stacking” to allow for multiple codes, they can receive a different code based on the number of events that they complete…so someone completing all 3 volunteer events would receive a coupon code for $15.
RunSignUp Calendar Widget: Currently, the Maine Track Club calendar is managed manually, with local race directors paying a $25 fee for the advertising of their race on the calendar.
- A RunSignUp calendar widget would take the manual labor out of maintaining the race calendar. However, the club does rely on the revenue of the calendar for club expenses; to compensate for that, they will explore the option of becoming an Affiliate.
We left the Maine Track Club with a number of recommendations, and some options to consider. There are a lot of considerations for any changes made to the operation of a Club, so we’ll circle back to them in a few months to see what they have decided to implement, and how those changes are working!
If you have a success story about your race or club, big or small, email us…we’d love to explore a Case Study on your topic!