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Ugh. I'm so glad I'm almost done with this part of the job. As VP Membership for the AWC, I not only have to call new members when they register, activate them and keep track of whether or not they've paid their dues but every year when our new season starts, and membership fees are due for everyone, which is the end of August...I have to keep track of ALL the payments (with the help of our excellently patient treasurer) and finally deactivate all those who have moved, are not renewing or who never answer.

I put several notices and reminders in our monthly newsletters leading up to the deadline. I send out numerous email reminders. Once the deadline has passed, I send out some more to those I haven't heard from. In years past, once the deadline has passed and then a month had gone by, I actually CALLED every single member that I hadn't heard from, mostly because I'm nice and I hate to deactivate people who have just forgotten or who might not have received the notification for some reason. And even then, I wait until 2 months have passed before I start getting nasty. Since we hit 200 members however, I am not up to calling all those who I haven't heard from. It's nearly always half the club.

But honestly, how hard is it to remember to do this? It's once a year, but with all the reminders, why are there always some who go months past the deadline? The thing is, IF I deactivate someone, it's quite a bit of administrative work. I have to deactivate them from our database, remove their email from the distribution list, remove them from my membership tracking Excel sheet, send them an email to say thanks & goodbye, and add them to the alumni page on our member site.

If they THEN reply and say, Oh! Oops! I forgot! I am paying! I promise! and then actually DO pay, FINALLY... I have to do all those steps in reverse: reactivate them, add their email back to the list, add them back to my Excel, and remove them from the alumni page. It's a giant pain in the ass, considering how many chances they've had and how much time has usually gone by before I actually start deactivating people.

I like the calling people to welcome them to the club, and giving them info about how things work, and I like greeting people at the meetings and I even like keeping track of things... but I could really do without this part. At least, I could really do without the slackers and the people who never bother to respond, who, despite my request for them to LET ME KNOW EITHER WAY, they just assume that if they don't reply I will just go ahead and deactivate them. Which I will, eventually, but why is it so hard to just send me an email in reply and say I AM or I AM NOT renewing my membership??

mood: cranky
music: Nine Days—Crazy

From Megsie

I think you should send them the "good bye" email/letter first, wait a week or two and THEN start deactivating them. Sometimes the good bye is what kicks their slacking ass into gear!

It also sucks that this happens at a busy time of year! Ugh!

Sending you calming thoughts...xoxo

Re: From Megsie

I second this idea- sounds like a good way to deal with it. Love, Lizardmom

" #$&%*! " is right!!

Ugh yeah I can absolutely understand your crankyness in this matter. It'd drive me bonkers too plus it's just such a waste of time?!

It's been suggested in the other comments, but maybe sending them the Goodbye msg first, then wait a couple of weeks before actually going through the process of deactivating them may save you some time for those who suddenly are all like "omgosh I forgot"..

Or maybe, not sure whether this is possible, you could start chárging them an extra fee if they get deactivated - after all your reminders and the like - yet want to remain a member.. charge them an extra fee to get reactivated again. After all it does mean there's extra work to do once again? Having to pay extra somehow often helps folks get into motion when they have to arrange something... ;-)

I don't suppose auto-renewal and something like a direct deposit would be possible? A lot of memberships do turn to those measures here these days.. that way it's up to the member to make sure they give their notice in time or they've paid yet another year, instead of the other way around.

We don't have the possibility for auto-renewal, unfortunately... we're a very simple, mostly manual organization, still. It is all direct deposit here, but people have to set up the payment themselves. But it's the same every year... we've never even raised the dues!

People are really lazy and they do take advantage of your goodwill. I've been in a similar position to you when doing that job for my son's soccer club, my daughter's dancing classes (try getting parents to pay for costumes!) and with the boat club. There's always that percentage of complete slackers and it's ALWAYS the same people year after year - I bet you know who they are already. It's so frustrating and they wheel out the same goddamn lies excuse every time.

You have to learn to be a little more assertive and businesslike. You've been far too nice and understanding. As those above suggested, a piss off and don't come back sorry to see you go letter FIRST, then a delay before you do the final cull might save your sanity and a whole lot of work. And absolutely a reactivation fee. Unfortunately people only change their behaviour if you hit them in the hip pocket.

Heh. It IS almost always the same people every year! Very frustrating, especially when it's people that I like. At least I have stopped calling people...that always made me feel very uncomfortable, even if I had people tell me they appreciated it.

A well-deserved rant! I think you should polish it up, and send it out to the non-responding members, so that they better appreciate the effects of their (in)actions. :-(

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I can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.

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