Business continuity for volunteer car clubs


June 11, 2013 by Brian Ghidinelli

If you've volunteered in a car club, you know two things: it's supposed to be fun and it’s just a club, right? While some of our customers have had their teams in place for literally decades, the vast majority see staff turnover on a regular basis.

Like a forest fire that cleans out the underbrush to make way for fresh vegetation, a changing of the guard in a club can be a good thing but at the same time it can also result in a significant loss of institutional knowledge. Finding one volunteer for a task is hard enough, let alone locating a spare to cover in case a key person moves on suddenly. plays an important role as an organization knowledge base. Having a consistent way of dealing with registration and data management means volunteers aren’t left to reinvent the wheel nor head in the wrong direction. Historical data is captured and available 24/7 meaning any authorized staff member has the full legacy of the organization at their fingertips – no computer crashes, viruses, or specialized software to worry about.

A case in point: last year Jana Swan retired from PCA Pacific Northwest Region as registrar and Gregory Erickson picked up where she left off in running the administrative side of their Driver’s Education program. We interviewed Gregory to hear how the transition went from his point-of-view as a relative newcomer to club administration.

Case Study with Gregory Erickson

Q: How involved were you with the program before you took over from Jana?

"I was helping Jana do the hands on portion at the events - handing out registration packets, learning who was who in the club, the scheduling, etc. I assisted for two or three events prior to becoming the official registrar.

"At the end of the season, Jana turned over all the paper files, materials, and ancillary online documents she was using concurrently with She instructed (but no hands-on demo) me to duplicate the previous season's events and provided a critical path work program to get me through the process of putting on a DE event. I worked over the winter to get ready for the season opener."

Q: There is a lot of knowledge transfer required including procedures and policies to be followed. Everything from who is allowed to attend to how to handle special requests. How did function as a support tool to help enforce those rules?

"Our prior registration process merely collected driver information and payment. With the registration form builder, we were able to create a registration process where the driver (or instructor) could make a request for their driving class and instruction group. The assignments and inventory were compiled and regulated automatically. The new dashboard feature meant I could check our event status at anytime and in a fraction of the time it would take me previously.

"Now, instead of spending time every day keeping track and balancing each class and running around collecting information in different areas, I can check progress twice a week (even less for the first two weeks) and process everything quickly and efficiently because most information is on one screen. Plus, the Dashboard feature allows quick assessment of how the event is filling up.

"PCA/PNWR is now confident in expanding our class offerings with more instruction groups, and larger classes."

Q: What factor did our support via email and phone play in getting you up to speed as registrar?

"Jana was responsible for 25% and handled the other 75%. MSR is setting the bar for support of their service. The response is always very quick and support info is always spot on."

We Play the Support Role

While some of our customers have been in their roles for more than a decade, the community features many stories like Jana's and Greg's. This is where we see our value-add; not only are we assisting with the day to day tactical details but we’re also helping with the big picture strategic issues that a volunteer organization has to face.

Talk to us about how our full-time customer support and secure 24/7 data availability can check off one mission-critical aspect of club governance.

Topics: Customers

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