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The New Club Website
By President BMW Club
Posted on 5/5/2018 4:19 PM
The move to our new website is nearly complete! The website is active on our domain but not all of the functionality is enabled yet. This is a big move for the club in many ways. 

The primary change for all of our members is that we will have a more formal membership management system, after all, that is what this website/application is! The app is ClubExpress and it is a membership management application (MMA) for many, many clubs and associations. 

For us it means we will have a more defined, professional way to manage our club membership. Over the past years we have taken a fairly casual approach, using a Google Form and Spreadsheet for people to voluntarily sign up and pay. My philosophy has been "If you like what we do in the club pay us $20 and call yourself a member." With this system your membership will expire every 12 months and it will automatically send you reminders to renew, and for the first time you will be able to pay with a credit card online. Non-members can see the website, forums, news, and blogs but to interact with them you will need to be a paid member. 

Secondly, in addition to the membership management aspect, using this system will allow us to consolidate numerous applications that we use. Previously, we paid for an Internet hosting account and we used WordPress for our website, "phpbb" for our discussion forums, MeetUp for our rides, Mailchimp for our broadcast emails, SmugMug for photo albums, and "Brown Paper Tickets" for our rally registrations. Whew, what a mess!

This MMA provides all of those functions and more. It includes hosting, website pages, mass emailing, event/calendar management including registrations, surveys, and a payment authorization gateway so people can pay online with confidence (THEY handle the transaction, not us!). Of course this is not free, it will cost us about $50 a month, but we will also eliminate those other things that cost us about $30 a month. 

Finally, one of my goals has been to simplify the management of all the club functions to make it easier for people to volunteer to be an officer and reduce the learning curve of technology and processes. I built all those applications over the years as the club administrator and managed them with the assistance of Leigh Anderson. But, as I like to say, I ride motorcycles as a hobby, just like you all. If I get hit by the proverbial bus who can take over all that complexity?? With this MMA it is all menu-driven and all the functions are under one umbrella with an 800 number to call or email support. 

That is the big picture. I will write another post or email to explain more in detail. 

Jerry Matson
BMW Motorcycle Club of Houston