British Fencing are delighted to announce that from 5th October we will be rolling out phase one of a project to create a new membership portal for members.
The portal is based on the Sport:80 platform, which British Fencing & England Fencing already use for event entry.
In addition to the current membership functions, users will be able to sign up and manage multiple members using one account and set up direct debits.
The membership system will also integrate seamlessly with the event entry system, providing the much needed real-time link between the two systems.
This is the first step in our long term goal to provide an online portal for British Fencing members to access all the personalised services associated with their membership. The next steps will include automated rankings and online qualification management.
The system will be rolled out in phases, and all members will be receiving further information via email. In the meantime, if you have any issues or concerns please contact [email protected].
What does that mean for me?
We are rolling out the new system in stages. If your membership renewal falls after October 5th you will receive an email explaining how to login to the new system. Please just follow the instructions and give us a call (0208 742 3032) if you experience any issues.
Why are we having a new system – what are the benefits?
Short Term: In the initial roll-out our focus is on a replacement system that provides the existing basic membership management functionality, with just a few important improvements most often requested by members:
Direct debit is a critical and overdue piece of functionality as we build a sustainable future for BF and the Home Countries. The system is also capable of supporting future changes to the Membership Scheme.
Medium Term: – BF has taken the decision to go-live with limited new functionality as the introduction of Direct Debit functionality is the priority at this time. Within 12 months we will upgrade the system – incorporating further feedback, improving the user experience and adding access to other services, including:
Automatic ranking calculations – this will reduce the delay and manual effort currently involved in rankings. It will also allow us to produce regional rankings and other types of ranking lists to support wider participation in fencing.
Officials’ qualification management – this will allow members to add and manage the qualifications (e.g. coaches, referees) they hold with British Fencing. This will allow the BF registers to be published directly from the system, minimising data duplication and potential error that exists in the current process. There will be an approval process managed by British Fencing to validate any qualification changes.
Referee training system – this system will provide various resources, including video clips from our WCP resource library to assist referees training for their exams or simply looking to improve and learn.
Long Term: Our long term strategy for membership management is to create an integrated online membership portal through which members can access and manage all the relevant services that they receive from British Fencing.
Why are BF partnering with a supplier – why not build our own?
We have very limited membership resources (time and money) within British Fencing to design, build and maintain our own IT systems. Therefore, our strategy as agreed by the Board of British Fencing, is to use systems built and maintained by other organisations on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ or ‘license’ model. This approach gives us the advantage that we can plan and control IT costs as the membership size changes.
After reviewing the market for pay-as-you-go membership management systems, we chose to work with sport technology provider, Sport:80, who worked closely with BF & EF to customise a version of their existing sport management platform.
The Sport:80 platform will allow us to integrate other services (potentially supported by a range of providers) which gives us flexibility to integrate and offer additional services to our members.
Why are one-off payment fees being introduced?
At this point in time we have not increased membership fees to cover the additional cost of direct debit. However, we are taking the step of introducing one-off payment fees to encourage members to use the direct debit functionality, and cover the cost of the additional administration involved in managing one-off payments and chasing renewals. Please note that registered BF coaches will be able to purchase multiple one-off memberships without incurring this fee – this is aimed at coaches who manage all the administration for their fencers (eg for beginner courses) or have a high proportion of fencers (or parents) who aren’t in a position to sign-up for direct debits.
A final thank you!
Through this project we have been supported by a team of volunteers and Home Country representatives who have been involved in testing the system. All BF members were given the opportunity to get involved with testing the system and we would like to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to those that gave their time to help improve the system.
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