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Building Coalitions of Support
The ROCKS, RBA, AFCOMA focus on strength in diversity

In the intense environment of the Fort Leavenworth Command and General Staff College (CGSC) in the 1960s, a group of eight African American officers—out of a cohort of 750—held study sessions and group meetings to ensure that they all succeeded in the 10-month officer training program.

“If they failed a test, they would be sent home,” said Sharene Alexis Cook, the President of WSC Associates, a management company located in Maryland. Sharene provides association management services for the group that would become known as The ROCKS, Inc. “They wanted to make sure they thrived together.”

They built camaraderie, and after completing the program, many of them were assigned to posts in the Washington, D.C. region and continued to meet to support their colleagues in new work assignments. In 1974, the informal group became The ROCKS, Inc. in tribute to the leadership of Gen. Roscoe Cartwright, a member of the group who died with his wife in a plane crash the day the group decided to formally organize and rename. Now, The ROCKS comprises 16 chapters worldwide with a focus on mentoring and fundraising for scholarships for ROTC members.

“We’re strong because of the focus on diversifying the Army,” Sharene said. “Our 1,000-plus volunteers provide professional development and scholarships to military officers and ROTC cadets.”

As the organization grew, managing membership, fundraising, and events through spreadsheets and Microsoft Access became more and more frustrating, Sharene said.
“I thought we could grow together, and I was right,” Sharene said. “With ClubExpress it’s easier to track members, to pay online, and help us run our systems.”
“My husband and I thought there had to be a better way to manage online,” she said. They looked at several popular software programs in 2007, and ultimately chose ClubExpress for The ROCKS and then several other organizations.

“I thought we could grow together, and I was right,” Sharene said. “With ClubExpress it’s easier to track members, to pay online, and help us run our systems. Over the years the process has gotten smoother.”

After the national organization of The ROCKS saw success with ClubExpress, she said the 160-member Washington, DC ROCKS chapter launched with the software in 2009. Then, a third organization Sharene works with, the RMOA Business Association (RBA), began using ClubExpress.

“That was a little trickier because it was smaller and they were using Access and didn’t want to pay at first,” Sharene said. RBA, an organization of about 80 veteran entrepreneurs designed to network and strengthen their businesses. Among other benefits of ClubExpress RBA found was not having to pay to print out and mail its membership directories—an important feature for networking.

In addition, the Air Force Cadet Officer Mentor Association (AFCOMA) began using ClubExpress in 2014. The organization of about 25 members provides mentor programs, scholarships and fellowship to ROTC and Military Cadets.

Sharene, who is involved with all the groups, said she recommends ClubExpress to most of the groups she works with because of continual improvements to the software and custom solutions like the newly designed ROCKS home page.

“I love that they let us know what’s changing and improving,” she said.

Illinois Paralegal Association: Increasing Education, Community

About five years ago, the Illinois Paralegal Association (IPA) was struggling to get support from its association management software provider. Since the 2008 financial crisis, membership had fallen and they needed a solution to help, said Yvonne Kriss, Executive Director.

The board began to research alternatives and found ideas on Capterra, a website with descriptions of different types of software. ClubExpress was one of five options they reviewed through demonstrations, she said. They chose ClubExpress because of the price, the quality of the demo, and the fast, personal support.

“ClubExpress’s support is just unrivaled, in my opinion,” Yvonne said. “I can send an email and within three minutes have a response. Most association management companies don’t have that kind of support.”

IPA’s mission includes promoting communication among members of the paralegal profession and helping them get together across firms and fields; enabling continuing education; and promoting the profession among high school students. With 10 board members, 10-20 chairpersons, more than 800 members and one paid staff member—Yvonne—ClubExpress helps reinforce that mission, she said.
“ClubExpress’s support is just unrivaled, in my opinion,” Yvonne said. “I can send an email and within three minutes have a response. Most association management companies don’t have that kind of support.”
“I’m able to definitely save time in the financials—running financial reports, importing information from credit cards, running reports,” Yvonne said. “That saves us a lot of time. That means we can spend our time doing other things like reaching out to members. It has increased our ability to communicate with members.”

There is a lot to communicate! IPA offers members a mentor program, job posts, discussion forums including topics such as seeking resources for issues that come up in their work, social activities, and training and discussions in sections of law and changes in the profession.

And at a time the organization wants to build and retain membership, she said, the ClubExpress online renewal process has “definitely helped.” Since they implemented ClubExpress in 2014, IPA has been able to add a mid-month email to members and enhanced forums because of the ease of the communications functions.

“It’s also helped us lower our expenditures,” she said. “Every online association has gone toward more technology. I started in 1999 printing renewals and manually mailing them. I would get maybe 300 renewals and then have to mail them a second time. That’s a lot of money. It’s helped us lower our costs for sure.”

Yvonne also recommends ClubExpress to her own clients, other associations. Why?

“The support. I kind of feel like our support contact is an additional employee of IPA,” she said.

“Making Democracy Work” League of Women Voters of Boulder County

About 18 months ago, the League of Women Voters of Boulder County were tired of juggling spreadsheets to manage membership, events, volunteers and other aspects of its work. After six months of research and consulting with other LWV chapters, the board chose ClubExpress, said Ruth Stemler, membership director and past president.

“We were doing things by paper and pencil,” Ruth said. “With ClubExpress, we’ve saved some time and become more streamlined and efficient.”

As a chapter with 230 members and one employee who works ¼ time, it was a challenge for the club to run a nonprofit organization with all volunteers and a small budget, she said.

“ClubExpress has helped with these challenges,” Ruth said. “First of all, ClubExpress makes us look so modern and so up-to-date and that’s a very good thing because we’re trying to attract younger, more diverse members.”
ClubExpress makes us look so modern and so up-to-date and that’s a very good thing because we’re trying to attract younger, more diverse members.




Other benefits were the ease of members to volunteer at events, renewing membership, and communications in newsletters and forums. In the past year, membership has increased 15 percent, she said. And they’re busy with new projects and events to help build the organization’s mission of informing voters on issues and encouraging participation in elections.

According to Ruth, one new program for the LWVBC is a series of educational events for voters as part of the League of Women Voters national theme of “Making Democracy Work” during this mid-term election year. Topics will include gerrymandering in Colorado, get-out-the-vote efforts in the 2018 election, and alternatives to the Electoral College.

One education series will be “Drinks and Dialog,” an hour-long session after work hours at a bar or restaurant, with expert speakers on an issue to learn about a topic with a beverage of their choice.

The chapter members are often at community events to encourage voter education and registration. Recently, they started a youth group, waiving membership fees for students who commit to 20 hours of service.

Coordinating all the activities is a challenge, Ruth said. One key feature of ClubExpress—the volunteer sign-up module—has been particularly helpful, she said.



The Saints Come Marching In And Bring in the Chicago Literary Club

The Auditorium Theatre wanted a new accessible door because the current one required those who needed accessibility to follow a fairly difficult route. The Saints provided a grant to the theatre.

The Saints began in 1980, as what they believe is the first and only citywide volunteer support group for performing arts organizations in the country. The Saints provide volunteer ushers and direct financial grants to not-for-profit organizations to support the performing arts, like the Auditorium Theatre’s accessible door, said Frank Lackner, current Publisher and past President.

Members—more than 2,300—volunteer to usher among hundreds of performances across the Chicago area each year. They are able to see a huge variety of shows free of charge in return for their services, and their membership dues enable the organization not just to communicate the opportunities, but also to fund grants to support the performing arts community, Frank said.

The grants provide funds for expenses the organization otherwise couldn’t afford, such as Equity actors for non-Equity organizations, lighting, a dance floor, or drapes.

“It’s the kind of thing that not a lot of people think about, but that they need to be successful,” Frank said. “And, like the Auditorium Theatre door, not the kind of thing they would go to a large funding source for.”

Volunteer coordinators work to connect the performing arts organizations that need ushering support and the members who want to volunteer. The Saints put out a monthly newsletter to let members know what’s available. Another publication goes out twice a week to help fill any last-minute ushering spots that are needed.

Until The Saints started working with ClubExpress in 2004, the logistics were old-school: telephone and paper & pencil, Frank said.

“People are a little hazy now as how we got started with ClubExpress,” he said. “We’ve sort of grown with you and you helped us grow.”

And with ClubExpress support, online membership renewals have gotten easier, he said. “It has helped with retention.”

He said the organization is particularly excited about a new function ClubExpress is creating: the Ushering Module. The new module will let members know about available shows and make it easier to sign up for them entirely online. Instead of the newsletter that currently has 40-70 pages of listings with internal links, members will search for shows by name, venue, date, area, time and type, then just click a box to request an assignment to a specific performance.
Frank, who is also Webmaster (and past President and Secretary, etc.) of the Chicago Literary Club, thought the successes of The Saints with ClubExpress could also help the Chicago Literary Club.
Members will have a personal calendar of events, and coordinators—now managing the assignments manually—will be able to focus more on coordinating than paperwork, Frank said. “It makes the whole process simpler.”

Frank, who is also Webmaster (and past President and Secretary, etc.) of the Chicago Literary Club, thought the successes of The Saints with ClubExpress could also help the Chicago Literary Club. The Club, founded in 1874, is one of Chicago’s oldest surviving literary clubs. The approximately 175 members, mostly not professional writers, read their manuscripts at meetings.

Frank said the Club had been storing manuscripts on a simple website, but suddenly documents would disappear, and the ISP weren’t able to fix the problem.

“After that happened, I thought ‘enough, I’ve had it; if you can’t be dependable I’m out of here. Then, OK, now what do we do?’ I started looking to see what was available and knew about ClubExpress.”

The Chicago Literary Club joined ClubExpress in 2014. Like The Saints, many of its members haven’t been particularly computer savvy, so ClubExpress’s ease of use was key for both current and future users. Frank tells a story about the beginnings of the group’s efforts to use the Internet in the mid 1990s.

At one of the group’s meetings in the mid-1990s, the scheduled presenter wasn’t able to attend, so Frank read a manuscript from the early 1940s by a Federal prosecutor and Club member who helped British authorities catch a 1930s-era Chicago mobster, originally from Britain, named Jake “The Barber” Factor. After the event, the Club Secretary decided to try posting the then-paper newsletter online. It included a description of the manuscript.

Not long after, a relative of Jake Factor reached out for a copy of the article because he had been the “black sheep” uncle of their family, the family of Max Factor, the cosmetic company founder. This was in the early days of the Internet and provided a wake-up call to the members about the reach and power of the now-ubiquitous Internet.

“We found a way to get it to them,” Frank said.




Case Studies

Building Coalitions of Support.
The ROCKS, RBA, AFCOMA focus on strength in diversity.
Read More
Illinois Paralegal Association:
Increasing Education, Community
Read More
“Making Democracy Work”
League of Women Voters of Boulder County
Read More


The Saints Come Marching In
And Bring in the Chicago Literary Club
Read More

New Case Studies

Building Coalitions of Support.
The ROCKS, RBA, AFCOMA focus on strength in diversity.
Read More
Illinois Paralegal Association:
Increasing Education, Community
Read More
“Making Democracy Work”
League of Women Voters of Boulder County
Read More


The Saints Come Marching In
And Bring in the Chicago Literary Club
Read More


New Blogs


ClubExpress provides powerful tools that allow administrators to communicate with members and non-members via email.
Read More
ClubExpress includes a powerful discussion forums module, allowing members to participate in online discussions on a variety of topics.
Read More
Get more information on how to watch all 3 webinars describing the new features of version 8.0
Read More


New Webinars


ClubExpress Overview for Ski Clubs and Councils - 08/08/2018
Read More
ClubExpress Version 8.0 announcement - Part 3 - 08/01/2018
Read More
ClubExpress Version 8.0 announcement - Part 2 - 06/12/2018
Read More

Blogs

Recent Blogs
Recent Blogs

Videos

We have created a collection of tutorial videos to demonstrate the various feature of ClubExpress. More are being added, so check back here often. In the list of video categories below, click to see the videos in that category.

Webinars

Recordings of previous webinars are listed at the bottom of this page. Click the category name / arrow to see a listing of videos for that category.

Upcoming Webinar Schedule

  • Wednesday, September 12 -Creating an Emailing
  • Wednesday, September 26 - Emailing Configuration and Administration
  • Wednesday, October  3 - ClubExpress for Car Clubs
  • Wednesday, October 10 - Creating Events
  • Wednesday, October 24 -Event Configuration and Administration
All webinars start at 12:00 Noon US Eastern time, 11:00 AM Central, 10:00 AM Mountain, and 9:00 AM Pacific.

We use Zoom.us to host our webinars. Zoom requires a simple download for your PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, or Android device. Click this link now or a few minutes before the event: https://zoom.us/j/8474572582

Please RSVP with your name, club name, and seminar to rsvp@clubexpress.com. Note that ClubExpress webinars are limited to the first 200 attendees. If you can’t make it, a recording of the session will be available within a couple of days.

New Privacy Laws and How to Handle Them

By now, everyone has heard about the new Privacy Laws that take effect in the European Union on May 25th, 2018, aka GDPR. Whether we like it or not, these laws will affect your club or association. And the Europeans have actually done us a favor because they are forcing everyone to take privacy more seriously, even here in the US where our laws are very lax by international standards.

ClubExpress has been working diligently to implement these new privacy regulations. This webinar (Version 8.0 - Part 1) on May 30th, 2018 explained the issues and the changes being made to your websites that impact everyone: admins, members and non-members!

Read the Announcement Details Watch Webinar Video Privacy Webinar - Slide Show Privacy Webinar - Chat Transcript

Recorded Webinars

What others are saying about ClubExpress :