Is it time to move on from Excel Spreadsheets..?

Is your Fishing Club run on a system that was never designed to run a Fishing Club?

If you’re a typical Fishing club, you’re probably using an Excel spreadsheet to manage your members, to store their personal details, record whether they’ve paid or not and to keep an overview of all things membership.

It seems like the best option – it’s budget friendly, most people have heard of it and it’s probably how your predecessor used to do run things.

But when your predecessor started out, there weren’t any alternative options. It was paper or Excel.

And whilst it works ok, the longer you use Excel, the more you’ll start to see how it has its limitations and can potentially place the future of your fishing club at risk.

In this post, we’re going to take a look at some of the challenges clubs face when they rely on Excel, compared to using a software platform that was designed for fishing clubs (hint hint).

It Is Difficult To Share Information

Have you tried sharing spreadsheets with fellow committee members? If so, you’ll know its a logistical nightmare.

Who has the latest version? 

Where did that member come from?

Has someone deleted my last update?

Whats the password again?

The risk of data being deleted, overridden or placed in the wrong boxes (with no way of cross checking) becomes incredibly high when spreadsheets are shared.

This risk often results in clubs  restricting access to their member data to one club official, which in turn slows the club down, restricts the ability to grow and creates a whole world of new problems.

And what if your computer crashes and the file is lost forever?

It’s Far Too Easy To Make Mistakes

Making mistakes are surprisingly easy with Excel. All it takes is for somebody to lean on the “delete” key accidentally and entire rows of information can vanish in an instant, often without anyone noticing. 

Of course, accidental deletions aren’t the only problem. Entering the wrong text is another big issue. You may also wind up deleting columns or rows, or even duplicating member details accidentally, creating additional administration and confusion. 

Manual Payments = Manual Effort

Excel might be a repository for information, but aside from that, it is pretty useless. You can’t use it for the things you really need, such as taking payment and automatically recording a member as paid. 

The reasons for this are simple; Excel was never designed for running a Fishing club.

But guess what? Rather than find a system that works the way a fishing club needs it to, clubs adapted their processes to suit Excel! That means, cheques, cash, bank transfers – all manual processes that suit Excel but not its members.

This limits growth, especially with the next generation of angling.

(And does anyone actually use their cheque book for anything other than their fishing club memberships nowadays? What year are we in?)

Clubs that offer automated, online payments make life easier for volunteers and a lot easier for members to pay their subs… which means they’re more likely to do it.

Members Do Not Have Self-Service Options

Your members don’t stay in the same place forever. Over time they change addresses, emails, phone numbers and even their names.

Excel only gives you one option for updating your customer information; manually by yourself. 

But collecting this information is a massive headache. You either have to rely on your customers updating you – in which case you’re dependent on them going to the effort. Or you have to contact them to check you have the right information.

Sending out club information year after year to the wrong address is not only a waste of time but a waste of club finances.

But if members had the option to do it themselves online, they’re more likely to keep on top of things — meaning they do you work for you.

And the best bit, you no longer need to try and decipher their handwriting!

Security, Boring But Essential

Sharing member data via Excel is almost impossible to keep secure, let alone comply with data protection regulations.

How do you know if your colleague deleted the previous file? What if they leave the organisation? Did they remove all of the old files when they resigned?

What if a member asks for their member data to be deleted? How would you locate all of their information? Who has it? Where is it??

Sending Excel spreadsheet attachments back and forth over email creates opportunities for hackers to intercept the data – it leaves your club and its integrity wide open. 

Storing member data securely and compliantly with GDPR might not be a glamorous topic but it’s incredibly important. Removing the need to transfer data, keeping it stored securely online ensures both your club, and its members are protected.

Bailiffs Can’t See Membership Details

Bailiffs are there to ensure that members don’t break the rules. But if they don’t have access to spreadsheets, how do they know who your members are let alone report on their behaviour?

Providing bailiffs with immediate access to relevant member data, empowers your bailiffs to enforce club rules and help remove unwanted anglers from your waters.

It Doesn’t Play Nicely With Emails

So, if you’re using Excel to store member data, that means you’re probably managing lots of other tasks manually too. It just doesn’t sync with anything automatically.

Something as simple as sending a message to all of your members becomes a huge task. Just because you’ve got some email addresses in a spreadsheet, doesn’t mean it’s as easy as just copy and paste!

You’ve got to decide who should receive the message, filter out the recipient list, select & copy the relevant cells, open up your email account, select the right email address to send your email from, copy the email addresses from your spreadsheet in to the BCC field, double check you have everyone you need and then at last… you can type out your message. And then you’ve got the ad-hoc responses, bounce backs

In any membership organisation, keeping members engaged is extremely important if you want them to remain a member. If sending a group message becomes a chore, you’ll find that you don’t send as many – meaning your members feel less informed and ultimately, less loyal.

Still Love Excel?

In summary, Excel spreadsheets were not designed to manage Fishing Club memberships – so why are you still using them?

If any of these points ring true with your club, it might be time to give Clubmate a try.

Get Started button

Our all-in-one member management tool helps save you time and can grow your club by more than 20%, some of our solutions include:

  • A secure online database that’s automatically backed up in the cloud, ensuring member data is always accurate and accessible to anyone that has the rights to see it.
  • Self-service options, so members can easily update their own profile without you needing to get involved.
  • Unlimited users, with a variety of admin roles so that different members of your team can have different levels of access
  • Secure online payments that are automatically reconciled with your members record.
  • Payment processing, so you never have to worry about another cheque getting lost in the post
  • Easy group or individual messaging, straight from your database. Keeping track of who said what and when.
  • Online bookings enabling you to sell Day Tickets, Guest Tickets and any other kind of activity. From your website or ours.
  • A dedicated support team who is ready to help get you set up, trained and looked after, for as long as you’re a Clubmate customer.
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