Planes, Trains, Automobiles
All great ways to get to the Ontario Membee User’s Group meeting on October 27-28, 2011 in Guelph. The members of that group take the time out of their busy schedule and use all means of transportation (planes, trains, and automobiles) to get to the meeting. Past meetings have included sessions that provided participants with: …
All great ways to get to the Ontario Membee User’s Group meeting on October 27-28, 2011 in Guelph. The members of that group take the time out of their busy schedule and use all means of transportation (planes, trains, and automobiles) to get to the meeting. Past meetings have included sessions that provided participants with:
- An opportunity to network and share best practice information with their peers in other non-profit organizations of all types. The best practice information has saved staff time and provided innovative ideas using Membee for generating income.
- Training on new and coming enhancements to Membee. The participants often receive training on things that haven’t even made their way into the production version of the software yet. This provides a great opportunity to “hit the ground” running when the new features are released!
- A chance to provide face to face feedback to Membee staff. They tell us what is important to them, discuss great ideas for new features, and offer constructive criticism. These sessions are the part that we like the most! Many of the ideas generated by this group have already found their way into Membee.
- Sneak peeks at the new things our developers are working on and reviews of significant recent improvements they may have missed.
Here at Membee we believe that user groups are a great idea but we wanted to see what the participants think so we spoke to a few people who have attended meetings in the past to get their perspective.
Soumidh Mondal at the Real Estate Institute of Canada, Toronto, Ontario (1 Hour Drive)
“One of the best things about attending the meeting is to see what’s up and coming in the software. That’s pretty neat. An example of this is the redesigned directory. I can tell you one of our members, whose listing contains a picture and social media links, is a member of several other associations. He called to tell us that we are the only one of those associations who not only take the member’s social medial info but who displays it publicly on the directory so that people can find and click on the links. We are one of the first associations to promote social media links and have jumped ahead of other organizations and we learned about this by attending the user’s meeting.
Another benefit is that we learn from others in different organizations. For instance, if you talk to 5 different people who use the software you get 5 different perspectives and you always learn something. I was able to speak to others already using E-billing about their experiences and now we are almost ready to roll that out here ourselves. We heard from others who were selling different features in the directory to generate new income and are now charging for images in the directory.
Even though the participants are from different kinds of organizations we have common interests. I may not work for a Chamber of Commerce but they have many of the same problems as I do. It is like if you have a shoe store or a clothing store. The merchandise is different but the money and the transactions are the same.
The other thing that I like is that the meeting is one great way to tell Membee what I want from the software, what I like, and what I think needs to be fixed.
What is most important is the ongoing learning and becoming better and more efficient. The bottom line is that it may cost you once to attend the meeting but, in my experience, that money is translated into savings in data entry time on an ongoing basis. Plant a seed to grow a tree!”
Sharlene Sissons – Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, Sudbury, Ontario (5 Hour Drive)
“The best thing about the user groups is the peer to peer sharing that takes place. We learn about the innovative ways that other people are using the software and I take my ideas with me and share them too. You learn a lot more about the software by talking to others who use it.
One of the ideas that came out of one of the last meetings was a User Group Facebook page that I find very helpful. It means that you can ask a question of the group at any time, even when you are at home.
The other thing the meeting gives us is an opportunity to put forth our ideas and suggestions. We discuss the ideas and vote on them and I think this influences the direction the software takes.”
Dale Bennett – Membee, Calgary Alberta (Plane – 4 Hours)
“Our goal is to be the best membership management system out there. We think that getting great feedback from the horse’s mouth helps us attain that goal. Here at Membee we are always pleased to be invited to participate and are happy to send our staff whenever possible. Nothing beats collaborating face to face.”
The Ontario Membee User’s Group meeting is once again being graciously hosted by the Guelph Chamber of Commerce. If you are in Ontario mark your calendar for October 27 – 28, 2011.
Thanks to everyone who took the time out of their busy schedules to talk to us. Thanks also to Wendy and the staff at the Guelph Chamber of Commerce for the championing this meeting and for inviting us to attend.
If you are interested in starting a user group of your own please contact us. We would be glad to provide help to get you started. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.