Customer Story - Merewether Bowling Club
Who Are Merewether Bowling Club?
Merewether Bowling Club is a lawn bowls and social club providing the Newcastle region with a fun social environment to enjoy lawn bowls and a drink with friends since 1956. Like many clubs, Merewether Bowling Club has had to constantly change and adapt to keep pace with the ever-changing world around them. One of the ways they have done so is by implementing the Member Jungle system to assist them in running their club. They were, in fact, one of Member Jungle’s first customers and have been with us since 2016.
To better understand Merewether Bowling Club’s experience with using the Member Jungle system, I sat down with their Treasurer, Lee-Anne Baxter.
One of the most interesting parts of the way Merewether Bowling Club uses the Member Jungle system is that they have slowly implemented it part by part over several years. Initially, they brought it in in a limited capacity to do one task and gradually replaced more and more of their old system with Member Jungle. This is a good example of the fact that while many clubs implement Member Jungle all at once, you can stagger your implementation by switching out parts of your system bit by bit.
So let’s walk through what they did, step by step and how it was received at the club.
The First Round Of Implementing Member Jungle At Merewether Bowling Club
The original reason that Merewether Bowling Club decided to bring in Member Jungle in a limited capacity was to help with their women’s bowling events. When Lee-Anne originally joined the club, all the bowling events were organised with pen and paper. The sign-ups were on one piece of paper, the results on another, and the schedule and upcoming events on others still.
It was a mish-mash system that Lee-Anne described as being a struggle to find the one point of truth. On bowls day, members used to have to come into the club by 9 a.m. to put their names down for that days competition. Members who worked often struggled to make it into the club in time.
So, they started to use the Member Jungle system in an extremely limited capacity just to organise their women’s bowling events.
Lee-Anne had this to say on how that early implementation was received at the club, “I wasn’t sure how they would take it, so I just slowly did some things. I started with one event, and I was surprised how easily they took to it. Someone would work out how to get the app on their phone, and someone else would ask how to do it, and they’d show them. So it was rare that I’d actually have to show them how to use it.”
At this point, they also started using the Document Library to store their meeting minutes and their bowls competition draws. This meant that the members could log in to the app wherever they were to check who they were playing against and what time. They no longer needed to come into the club at potentially inconvenient times to check.
The Second Round Of Implementing Member Jungle At Merewether Bowling Club
Merewether Bowling Club only used the Member Jungle system to help with their women’s bowling events for a few years. Eventually, they decided to use the Member Jungle system to replace their outdated website.
This went very well; their members took to the new website well, and they were able to start using a good-looking and functioning website to start managing their club more efficiently than ever.
The Third Round Of Implementing Member Jungle At Merewether Bowling Club
At this point, Merewether Bowling Club was using the Member Jungle system for communication and as their website provider, and it was all going very well. Until the first wave of COVID came along and made usual club activities much more difficult to organise.
“For a lot of ladies, this is their social thing, and we couldn’t get together. So, we started using the chatrooms. It became this great communication tool, and it's still being used now,” Lee-Anne explained.
The Member Jungle chatrooms became a great way for their members to communicate and socialise with each other even when they couldn’t physically go to the club. Though they originally started using the chatrooms for just the Thursday women’s bowling group, its success has caused them to put the chatroom function into wider use within the club.
Not long after Merewether Bowling Club first introduced the use of chatrooms, they came up against a challenge that many clubs faced during the COVID Lockdowns. How to renew memberships during lockdown. This was made extra difficult because the Merewether Bowling Club used its Point of Sale (POS) system to renew their members’ memberships. Without their members being able to come into the club to use the POS, they couldn’t renew their memberships. So, they needed to come up with another plan.
As they were already using Member Jungle in a limited communication-based way, they decided to try renewing their memberships that way. They were able to feed all their member data from their POS system into Member Jungle, send out renewal reminder emails to their members via Member Jungle and then sit back and let their members renew online. By doing so, they were able to get their membership renewals done despite members not being able to come into the club.
They were also able to use Member Jungle’s email module to keep reaching out to their members and keep them engaged with the club, even if they couldn’t physically visit the club at the time.
Covid has thankfully now ended, but Merewether Bowling Club is still giving its Members the option to renew their membership online.
How Merewether Bowling Club Is Using Member Jungle Today
Since the first implementation of the website at the club, they have slowly been including more functions on their website. They have started using the Member Jungle system to do all of the following at Merewether Bowling Club:
- Using Member Jungle’s digital membership cards to scan at the POS system at the counter for points and member discounts
- Allowing Members to join or renew their memberships via the website
- Allowing the public to make restaurant bookings via the website
- Allowing the public to book function and meeting rooms and take payments for those bookings via the website
- Allow members to sign up for bowls competitions via the website
- Allow members to check bowls club championships draws and results via the website
- Promoting their club sponsors via the website
- Multiple group chats between members
- Email marketing
- Recruiting club sponsors via the website
Overall, the implementation of the Member Jungle system into Merewether Bowling Club has gone very smoothly. As they have an older and less techy demographic of members, their slow introduction of the system has allowed their members to get used to the gradual changes. Their members really enjoy it, with the use of the system with the club still growing to this day. Lee-Anne said that several of the women using the group chat features have enjoyed surprising and impressing their grandkids with the fact that they are in a group chat.
Overall, implementing the Member Jungle system has been a positive change for Merewether Bowling Club. It has saved the admin team a lot of time, and they are reinvesting that rediscovered time into making the club better than ever before.
“The fact that it’s all online and available and that members can update their own details frees up the membership coordinator to focus on other things and make the club more successful,” Lee-Anne explained.
“You don’t have to try to do everything at once. Just phase it in, even if you just phase in one kind of membership at a time. People get scared of it because it is electronic and they’re used to the paper system, but it is surprisingly easy and has been quite helpful,” Lee-Anne Baxter said.
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