Customer Story - The Northern Rivers Bushwalkers Club
Who are the Northern Rivers Bushwalkers Club?
The Northern Rivers Bushwalkers Club (NRBC), established in 1976, has a rich history. The club organises weekly trips and activities for bushwalking, cycling, kayaking, and abseiling in the National Parks and State Forests of Northern NSW. The NRBC is affiliated with the state body Bushwalking NSW.
In their quest to improve their club’s management and reduce the workload of their administrators, the NRBC explored various options. Eventually, they opted for Member Jungle. In 2023, Peter Whitely, the Membership Officer and Treasurer presented to Bushwalking NSW why they joined Member Jungle, the benefits they found, and why they would recommend it to the wider Bushwalking NSW community.
Today, we will look into the problems the NRBC wanted to solve, their decision to choose Member Jungle, and their experience with us. They shared a copy of their presentation to Bushwalkers NSW with us. So, today we are going to share it with you. This way, you can hear directly from a Member Jungle client. If I were making a big purchase, I’d rather hear from an actual customer than an employee of the company.
While researching the NRBC, I came across some of the fantastic kayak trips they host. I was genuinely about to join up myself until I tragically realised that they were based more than five hours away from me. So, with tears in my eyes, let’s get into it.
What Problems Were The Northern Rivers Bushwalkers Club Trying To Solve?
As a little overview, the NRBC has a few hundred members and several membership levels. Because they offer several different activities, they have to have seven independent activity groups. So they aren’t the simplest club out there, but what problems were they dealing with?
Well, in their own words, here are the problems they were trying to solve.
From this, we can see that the NRBC’s members were very happy with their club experience (I can see why). However, the admin team behind the scenes faced some difficulties. Their processes were complex, lengthy and required much manual effort to keep the club organised.
The NRBC encountered several issues, many of which were related to membership renewals. These issues included the lack of an automated renewal system, the need for manual reminders, a complicated renewal process, and using cash or direct transfers for payments. The treasurer was responsible for manually verifying payments and matching them with member names.
Why Did The Northern Rivers Bushwalkers Club Choose Member Jungle?
The first step the NRBC took to fixing these problems was to start looking for ways they could automate their systems and make life easier for their admins while still maintaining the personal touch and quality of life for their members; when starting to look into membership management software the NRBC initially investigated a lot of different options.
They started with the following objectives they wanted their new system to achieve.
So, with this list in mind, they started to explore the following companies:
- Club Express
- Team Up
- Member Planet
- Wild Apricot
- Star Chapter
- Member Clicks
- Very Connect
- Hello Club
- Member Jungle
As we know now, they ended up choosing Member Jungle to help them with their club. Rather than me explaining why they did this let’s just look at what they said.
I won’t go back over all their points, but I just thought I’d clarify one of their points.
Let’s explain what they mean when they say “presented to our committee”. Sometimes when club admins have trouble convincing their board or committees to agree to sign up with Member Jungle, they ask Leigh Clover, our Director of Marketing and Sales, to help them present the Member Jungle system. This way, Leigh can help field any tricky questions your board or committee might have and can help you explain your implementation plan better. This doesn’t cost anything, so it can be a great free way to get your committee over the line.
What Changed After The Northern Rivers Bushwalkers Club Adopted Member Jungle?
So, since the NRBC joined Member Jungle in January of 2023, the overall feedback from both administrators and members has been extremely positive. Based on the presentation given three months after implementing Member Jungle, the time spent by the admins in organising the club had reduced greatly, and there was a significant increase in the number of members. Additionally, the new system facilitated more than 300 online payments flawlessly, thus eliminating the need for manual reconciliation of payments by the admins and treasurer.
Below is the list of benefits they listed in their presentation three months after signing up.
The NRBC are ultimately very happy with their new system and the positive outcomes they are already seeing in their first few months with Member Jungle.
Chris McDowell, the Cycling Coordinator, had this to say about his experience with Member Jungle, “As a coordinator of cycling, where we have 4 to 5 events most weeks, it is important to have a system where it is easy to create new events and clone past events for repeats.
“Member Jungle makes it very easy to create and edit events and add in all necessary links and info. I also find the News feature very useful to publish a weekly newsletter with photos included. The App is exceptional for members to easily find events and register for them.”
Usually, this is where we’d wrap up these case studies on Member Jungle customers. However, the NRBC included something in their presentation that I think would be super useful for you to see.
How Did The Northern Rivers Bushwalkers Club Get Their Members On Board With Member Jungle?
Besides getting your club’s committee to agree to a membership management system, one of the biggest challenges is how to get your members on board. I am in a club, but I don’t run any, so I have no experience on how to do this, but the NRBC does, so here is what they did.
The Concerns Their Members Had
- Why are we changing?
- I had no issues with what we had in place.
- I refuse to use a payment gateway.
- I do not want another phone application.
- It’s all too difficult.
- Why are we being driven by software?
- Lacks a personal touch.
How The Northern Rivers Bushwalkers Club Overcame These Concerns
- Top-down approach with good Committee buy-in
- Meetings and discussions with detractors
- User guides
- Phone Support
- Capability Demonstrations During Events
- Discussing Change And How It Benefits The Club Overall
- Publishing Feedback
This is a pretty comprehensive plan on how to deal with member pushback to change, and it obviously worked. As we saw above, 70% of their members were using the member app within the first three months.
Potentially the best part of this is that it isn’t Member Jungle specific. This means that if you decide that we aren’t the right fit for your club, this advice can still be helpful with which membership management software you end up choosing.
“NRBC started the membership automation process with the goal of simplifying our membership renewal and new member processes. With Member Jungle, we quickly became aware of how much more was on offer to our club through event management, ticketed events, website hosting, chat rooms, news, document library and the ability for members to update their own personal details online.
The reduction in administration time cannot be overstated; it is significant. I find the Member Jungle team very responsive to any questions that we raise, and even in our short time with Member Jungle, we have benefitted from several enhancements to the mobile application, which continues to be refined based on customer feedback. The recently released feature, which enables the automatic creation of Chat Rooms for each user registered on an event, is now being used regularly to keep event attendees up to date with last-minute changes or other planning details.” Peter said
The Northern Rivers Bushwalkers Club One Year On
The Northern Rivers Bushwalkers Club has witnessed remarkable growth and increased the number of events they are organising since becoming a member of Member Jungle a year ago. The club has experienced a 36% increase in its membership, and the club admins have been able to concentrate on promoting and enhancing their club instead of dealing with tedious paperwork. Organising events has become more streamlined, resulting in more events being hosted by the club.
The Northern Rivers Bushwalkers Club don't just recommend using the Member Jungle system; they have been actively helping other bushwalking clubs sign up with Member Jungle.
If you want to find out even more about how the past year has been going for the NRBC and just how much they have grown, please read Northern Rivers Bushwalkers Club - 12 Months On.
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