Why did your u3a join Beacon?
We wanted a better way than spreadsheets of administering membership records and the peripheral activities such as labels, mass emailing, addresses for TAM, Gift Aid applications – all of which took the membership secretary a lot of time and manipulation. While spreadsheets are useful tools each Membership Sec & Treasurer have their own ways of using them leading to difficulties when passing the duties on to successors.
How has Beacon changed your u3a experience?
As the administrator it has made me more aware of personalities among the members and has made it easier to regularly communicate with them (the email function)
What are the benefits of using Beacon?
Principally the security and safety of using Beacon’s encryption and remote storage against that of using, and possibly losing, the information on personal computers. We have had some difficulty in the past of replacing retiring Membership Secretaries and Treasurers so the continuity of having a particular structure and set ways of handling administrative matters using the same system from one user to the next should lessen these problems – at least, that is the hope.
What has your personal involvement with Beacon been?
I was Chair when Beacon came to my attention and I encouraged our Committee to get the demonstration and then to adopt Beacon. From that time I have been the system Administrator.
How much engagement is there from members who use the system?
Membership Secretary, Treasurer and Groups Coordinator have fully engaged. We introduced Beacon to our Group Leaders and co-leaders during the summer and just over half registered to use it. Almost all of those have now used all, or most, of the functions for their groups. We have not yet introduced the wider membership to its use and probably will not until the login method is simplified.