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  • 07 Jun 2012 09:16 | Anonymous member

    The Boy Scouts of America® helps its 2.7 million youth members to be Prepared. For Life.™ The value of that preparation lives in the heart of every person involved in Scouting who has ever overcome one of life’s challenges, and it helps inspire a lifetime of character and service.

     

    Nowhere is this better exemplified than in the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest attainable rank in Boy Scouting. Scouts must demonstrate proficiency in leadership, service, and outdoor skills at multiple levels before achieving the Eagle Scout rank; fewer than 4 percent of Boy Scouts earn the coveted rank. Over the past century, the hard-earned rank has become widely recognized both in and outside of Scouting as a mark of distinction.

     

    History

    The Eagle Scout badge was first given in 1912 to Arthur Eldred, a Scout from Brooklyn, New York. By 1982, more than 1 million young men had reached the rank, and the 2 millionth Eagle Scout was recognized in 2009. In 2011, the BSA welcomed more than 51,000 new Eagle Scouts. The organization has averaged more than 50,000 new Eagle Scouts per year over the past six years. 

  • 07 Jun 2012 09:15 | Anonymous member


    A 2012 independent research study conducted by Baylor University found that Eagle Scouts are more likely to volunteer, donate money to charity, vote, and work with others to improve their neighborhood than men who have never been in Scouting. They were also found to be more goal-oriented, have higher levels of planning and preparation skills, and be more likely to take a leadership position at work or in their local communities. On a personal level, Eagle Scouts report closer relationships with family and friends and are more likely to regularly participate in recreational activities in their free time.
  • 02 Jun 2012 17:39 | Anonymous member

    I think that you would agree that as a member-based organization we should be looking for ways to do things faster, better and cheaper in this economic climate.  As we know first hand, volunteer labor hours are very hard to come by, and cash is even harder to get!

     

    It has been reported that forward thinking associations (such as the one you envision) believe that Association Management Systems (AMS) can help.  According to Lehman Associates, “Today’s AMS products are critical tools to understand and engage members, support e-business, and e-marketing, power association websites, streamline business processes and enable management to see beyond the day to day operational reports to spot emerging trends and new opportunities.”

     

    I think we would all agree that choosing an AMS, organizations of any size are better served by looking at return on investment (ROI) than initial costs alone:  Cheaper offerings (Excel Spreadsheets and Microsoft Word Documents) may lack certain functionality, but more expensive products may pose a different problem: Function Overload.  The key is to find a good balance.

     

    I believe that the Proposed Solution will;

    • Maximize Volunteer Time & Productivity
    • Reduce Costs
    • Maximize Revenue Opportunities
    • Improve Customer Service and Satisfaction
    • Make Smarter Business Decisions with Data
    • Market Efficiently and Effectively

     

    And will only cost us around $50 a month, no set up fee, and a 30 day free trial membership was proposed. 

     

    Please take time to consider my thoughts in each of these areas on the attached pages.

     


     

    Maximize Volunteer Time & Productivity

    As you know, organizations can improve their productivity through the use of technology.  With one integrated system for membership management, content management, E-Commerce, E-Marketing and more, the solution should be designed to help member-based organizations manage and serve their members while streamlining operations and increasing volunteer efficiencies.

     

    The proposed solution automates time-consuming processes, including the new member application process, membership renewal, dues payments, and event registrations thereby reducing the level of effort required by volunteers, and freeing them up to focus on higher value activities.  Rather than spending time processing data and payments, volunteers can focus on pursuing the organization’s mission and let the technology do the heavy lifting.

     

    If the Membership Chair is spending time stuffing envelopes and processing data,  one of the biggest returns on investment we can get from the proposed solution is to move our Membership Chair from spending 6 hours processing data to 6 hours focusing on member services and programs. 

     

    Additionally, ESA can reallocate resources from handling the membership process to other further advancement of Scouts and Scouters, providing service to others, and participating in fun activities.

     


     

    Reduce Costs

    By making more effective use of volunteer time, eliminating disparate manual systems, and reducing the need for “Key User Technical Skills”  the proposed solution should reduce cost and risk and help ESA to feed the savings back into serving our mission.

     

    Instead of using and maintaining disparate software systems for memberships, events, e-commerce and more, ESA should expect to save time and perhaps money by managing all of these tasks in one comprehensive solution. 

     

    For example, the proposed solution uses WYSIWYG website editors, which build HTML code for website content automatically, thereby negating the need for advanced technical or coding experience.  Using standard tools found in Microsoft Word, most ESA volunteers can design and continually add content to a website with members-only features that enhance membership value.

     

    No longer will ESA have to rely on a web designers, now we can do it ourselves, on our own time schedule, and not be dependant upon a web designers schedule. 

     

    And with the rise of on-demand – also known as Software-as-a –Solution software, this proposal is being offered via a subscription model. The proposal is one of those systems, and there are no hidden costs for upgrades, hosting, maintenance, and predictable costs ($50 per month for up to 500 members).

     

    Maximize Revenue Opportunities:

    With all memberships, event registrations, and perhaps (future merchandise offerings), the ability to pay for multiple purchases via one credit card transaction, simplifies the purchasing process for both members and volunteers- translating into better volunteer efficiencies and higher non-dues revenues.

     

    I anticipate that members will be spending more money per order than in the past.  I expect that as we offer more items for choice; memberships, events registration, and other donations, I predict that our members will spend more than 25% more than in the past years.

     

    The shopping cart functionality of e-Commerce gives customers the online purchasing experience they expect, while automated check and credit card processing save valuable volunteer time previously spent tracking down payments. 

     

    And by simplifying the planning, coordination and execution of events, the proposal saves time and resources while helping drive one of the greatest sources of non-dues revenue.

     

    Event registration is conducted entirely on-line, with registration forms integrating directly with the database- so no data needs to be re-keyed, and any last minute changes are made in real-time.  Payment is processed and confirmation e-mails are sent.

     


    Improve Customer Service & Satisfaction:

    Improving member services should always be the goal.  Without members we have no association.  By empowering customer self-service, equipping volunteers to better address member prospects and member needs, and providing efficient e-Commerce sales, this proposal helps ESA improve the customer experience- and consequently our recruitment, and retention rates.

     

    Similar to Amazon.com, this proposal provides self-service functionality that allows members to manage updates and update their own profiles, opt-in or –out of specific communications, purchase memberships, event registrations, track their history (purchases, event attendance, etc.) and  give members the online experience they expect.  That means volunteers previously spent handling membership requests can be reduced, and members can get the personalized information they need on demand.

     

    People are accustomed to doing their own transactions on-line, and they really see it as being empowered.  Self-service functionality will save our members from having higher dues by reducing volunteer burn out, and will allow us to operate without “specific volunteer skill dependencies. 

     

    In addition, the easy retrieval of data empowers volunteers to quickly and easily meet member needs.  Imagine how successful a volunteer will be when they get a phone call or e-mail from a member prospect or member, and they are able to provide the information they need very quickly with a few clicks of a mouse.  By just typing in a last name or little piece of information, we should be able to access a person’s record or to the information they’re looking for.

     

    One of the most significant opportunities for ESA to improve their membership satisfaction is by adding new features, especially in the area of E-Commerce.  With the proposal ESA can create an on-line store that allow members to pay dues, settle existing invoices, and register for events, make donations, and more.  Credit cards are charged in real-time, and all transactions are automatically batched for accounting and order fulfillment.

     

    It is no secret that member service and member recruitment and retention are integrally linked!   

     

    Make Smarter Business Decisions with Data:

    When armed with information, ESA volunteers can make better decisions.  How many hours a week do our volunteers spend looking for data, complaining that information is not shared, stating they cannot determine if information is current, compiling data, reconciling data, etc.?

     

    The benefit of the proposal is that it consolidates data and puts it in the hands of many, translating raw data into queries, reports, and snapshots of information that users at all levels can use to make faster, better decisions.

     

    Currently, there is really only one person in the organization who can enter things or pull reports.  With this proposal people can locate the information they need themselves.

     

    ESA needs to develop a holistic view of our members.  A complete history of member activities, awards, interest, location, membership activities chairs can easily pinpoint core members and identify idling members to then direct recruitment and retention efforts.

     

    With this new information, I will predict that ESA will realize new opportunities for growth; membership segments that weren’t serving, events, services, products that were not selling.  Perhaps even holes in accounting.  Such as uncollected dues, and recover lost revenues.

     

    Market Efficiently and Effectively:

    By tracking demographics and aggregating data for a complete view of membership, the proposal should assist ESA to better know and communicate with our members.  With customer backgrounds, locations, interest, participation history and more collected information in the database, ESA can slice the data and begin creating events and targeting relevant messages directly to individual groups.  The result?  Reduced marketing expenses, as well as increased recruitment and retention rates.

     

    For example, events designed for specific interests – thus spending its limited marketing dollars more wisely and yielding a greater return.

     

    As a small association, marketing dollars are hard to come by.  We have a lot to market with limited amount of dollars to do it. The proposal’s ability to customize data improves our ability to market efficiently and effectively.

     

    Some organizations have created a five-tiered system to classify members based on their past responsiveness and engagement, which can be used to tailor future marketing.

     

    Instead of sending 65 e-mails to someone who has never attended an event or activities we could send 15 a year for things that were more qualified.  It’s all about making marketing materials more relative to members past performance. 

     

    Conclusion:

    Grow our membership? Run more efficiently? Save more money? ESA is under pressure to do more with less – and a robust system makes that possible.  With the time and cost savings enabling ESA to refocus on cash generation, and member-serving activities, the system is not only an investment that pays for it – it’s a critical component of ESA success. 

     

    At this point in the 21st century, the amount of functionality that we can get for a relatively low price makes it inexcusable not to have a commercial off-the-shelf system in place.

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