Communications channels are the means by which the group maintains contacts with its members. The web and email have the potential to significantly improve the communication with and between members.
|SumpThink||A4 pdf newsletter|
|Distributed electronically to the email list, available from website||Trip and activity descriptions, and group night information, contact information||good reference for activities, delivered promptly electronically (very economical for club), archived on website||information may be dated or arrive late. In the past delivery has been erratic and late. Requires committed enthusiastic editor to be successful. Requires content from club members|
|Annual Report||Paper A4, b/w|
|Members||Formal report of group activities||Formal report, historical record||Not provided to members for several years. Group officials not solicited for input. |
Generally not retained
|Monthly meeting||Meeting, spoken announcements and notices|
|Attendees||Speaker, with notices and advise of trips.||Personal contact with group officials and some trip leaders||Members with families, or conflicting engagements, or who live farther afield (eg Upper Hutt, Kapiti Coast) find it difficult to attend|
|Officials phone||Ad hoc, anytime, evening||Anyone, advertised on SumpThink, brochures, and website||Personal response to queries||Personal contact and information||Reliant on personís availability.|
Do we know what queries we receive?
|Email queries||Ad hoc, anytime||Anyone, advertised in SumpThink, and website|
|Website||Electronic web browser, 24x7||Anyone with web access. Note web access is available gratis from many libraries||Trip list|
Introduction and how to join
Description of group activities, facilities, and publications
|First point of contact for members and prospective members. Can provide as much information as required. Available all the time. Useful resource for members. Can attract new members. |
Available to anyone
|Limited support from group officials in provision of content.|
Hampered by missing information (eg descriptions of all activities and contact details, official activity) and slow turnover of news and updated trip information.
|Email lists||Electronic messages, 24x7||Anyone with email access. Note most people have web access from work or home||Group announcements|
Members can participate
Members can administer one details (eg change of address), moderators can ensure appropriate use.
|Requires support and recognition from group officials. |
requires strong support from Committee
|New members pack||Once, on joining. Printed material||Members||Provided by NZSS? |
|Great way to encourage people||Not currently used by WCG|
|Brochures||Annual, or erratic||Anyone||Promotion of group and activities, eg join the group; new members night; instruction evenings;||Distributed via retailers, libraries, community groups, other groups||Variable consistency and quality |
Needs support from committee and members
Communication Discussion points
Membership Services vs Open Community
Should there be additional services available to members from the website?
Some clubs provide additional services or information to club members via members only sections on their website.
Others view their websites as a portal that attract new members, acts as a community, retains current members, and keeps friends, potential members, and previous members in touch.
Membership of the Wellington Caving Group has its benefits, including
- participation in group affairs, eg Annual General Meeting
- Subscriptions to the Tomo Times, and NZSS bulletin (although this can be obtained independently by joining NZSS)
- use of the group library
- hire of group gear
- discounts, eg to Caving club huts
- preferential bookings on trips and activities
On the WgtnCaving Yahoo!Groups email lists we allow both members and non members to join and participate.
Membership only services:
Email is now a fairly ubiquitous technology. Most people have it at work or at home. It should not be used to replace paper based communications, although if offered as an option some members may choose to, say, receive the SumpThink by email (eg as a PDF) or download it from the website, especially if it arrives earlier than the printed version. In general people prefer to be able to select the level and topics of email (and other communications) they receive. There are a number of providers of quality free (advertising supported) email discussion lists, that not only provide a good service to subscribers, but provide additional web based features to list administrators and moderators. The group has had an excellent run with its existing Yahoo!Groups. Email provides a timely facility to notify group members of group activities, eg the Monthly meeting speaker, or changes in trips, and can be targeted (by group member opt in) to their area of interest. It is an effective way of promoting participation in the group. Recommendations
- Continue with open services community based club vision
- Commit to use of email as a means of communicating with club members by general and social committies
- Use free Yahoo!Groups as service provider, retaining the following:
- the news list
- the special interest group
- use by committee to provide access and an archive of committee business, and well as potential use of file sharing and calendar features (as was done previously)
- Continue to support the webmaster and sumpthink editor in developing the website
- Consider the website as the first point of contact for many club members and prospective members
- Make more information available on the website, eg
- annual report and statistics
- committee decisions
- noticeboard information
- role descriptions
- club policies