W.W.&F. Discussion Forum

WW&F Railway Museum Discussion => Museum Discussion => Topic started by: Mike Fox on December 28, 2015, 02:27:06 AM

Title: Membership Update
Post by: Mike Fox on December 28, 2015, 02:27:06 AM
Membership is climbing again. We gained 6 new members from Victorian Christmas alone, and one member was upgraded to life member as a Christmas present. We gained a membership from our hospitality on 12/5. In case anyone has forgotten, that was the first trip to AC with #9, and this couple was lucky enough to be there to enjoy. I will have some year ending numbers after the 1st in where we are membership wise compared to last year.
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Mike Fox on January 01, 2016, 02:08:58 AM
So sitting here in the membership office, waiting for my personal computer to finish rebooting so I can check my email, I thought I would share some year ending stats.
Annual Members, 428 vs 407 last year. Life Members, 592 vs. 571 last year. Charter Members 34 vs 35 last year (one passed away). So that translates to 1054 members in 2015, versus 1013 at the end of 2014. This is a significant gain, 41 members.
We also gained a pile of new friends. They are new donors from the Boxcar 67 Appeal. Of the 36 donors on the list I have, over half are first time contributors. Plus I see there are more on the go fund me site that have donated I have no info for yet.

Overall, a great year for our museum membership. Thank you all and have a safe New Year.
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Mike Fox on January 13, 2016, 02:09:58 AM
For the first week of January, we gained 6 new members. The second week an old member reactivated. The more support the better. #9 seems like it was a boost to membership, and with B&SR Boxcar 67 we have gained more interest from people who have never donated before. This is because someone took initiative and thought outside the box. Great work.
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Rick Rowlands on January 13, 2016, 05:40:24 PM
You have gained another member.  I just sent $30.00 via paypal to the WW&F for my membership.
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Mike Fox on January 14, 2016, 12:54:40 AM
Thank you Rick
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Bill Baskerville on January 14, 2016, 02:04:50 AM
Rick,

I think I saw a link on one of our web pages to your restoration project as I remember watching a couple of them as you were tearing down the locomotive.  Welcome to the WW&F Ry.

Bill
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Rick Rowlands on January 14, 2016, 03:14:40 AM
Thanks! 

Glad to be a part of the effort and look forward to doing what I can to help the WW&F.  Going to try to get up to Maine this July for a visit.
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Philip Marshall on January 14, 2016, 03:32:09 AM
Welcome aboard, Rick.

-Philip
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Ed Lecuyer on January 15, 2016, 03:19:10 PM
Hi Rick,

I have added you to the museum roster on the forum so that you can see the museum-members only discussion and newsletters.

Maybe you can bring your engine to the WW&F someday! (I can can hear Jason screaming "NO!" from here - thinking about the rail weight in Sheepscot yard.)

-Ed
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Mike Fox on July 14, 2016, 05:12:06 PM
It has been a while since an update. So I will provide some numbers later for comparrison. We have been on a steady gain for about a year now. Every month the new member colomn has more than the no longer active column.

The 15th of the month I send out renewal notices for the following month. This month is 36 notices. Not bad when you look at the high months of around 80 notices. Only a couple of them in the September/October range.

I did receive word recently of how surprised someone was that they had gotten a thank you for their annual membership renewal. We work very hard to make sure every donor gets a thank you, no matter how large or how small. Keep our donors happy and let them know how much it is appreciated, and they will continue to provide the support we need.

So a big thank you to all of our members, donors and friends. Without you, no gains can be made.
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Bill Baskerville on July 14, 2016, 06:24:52 PM
Mike,

A thank you for renewing membership is a great idea.  Personal feedback showing we appreciate every level of participation will help keep our membership numbers up. 

So, Thank You Mike, for all that you do both in the visible world, and the hidden, behind the scenes world of our museum.

Bill
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: James Patten on July 14, 2016, 06:41:02 PM
We've approaching the level of the year of our highest membership, which I think was 2007 (the year of the last convention) when we reached over 1110 members.  After that (2008) our membership started tanking and we ended up eventually just around 1000 members for many years.

Interestingly enough before the recession we had larger numbers of annual members than life.  The trend reversed during/after the recession.
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Bill Baskerville on July 15, 2016, 02:15:46 AM
James,

I think our life membership rate is very attractive.  Of course the thing I like about life membership in organizations is that when my dotage increases to the point that I can't remember to pay my dues, I am still a member.... 

Now if I could only remember....

Bill

Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Mike Fox on July 15, 2016, 11:25:17 AM
Without actual numbers to look at at the moment, if I recall correctly the annual members are in the mid 400's while life has climbed to the high 500's.
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Mike Fox on September 03, 2016, 01:15:31 AM
It is the beginning of a new month so I thought I would give some fresh numbers.

Charter Members...34
Life Members.......596
Annual Members..456

That Totals 1086 Members.

Now, lets see what the convention brings us. Will we make 1100 for next month?
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Mike Fox on September 08, 2016, 03:15:41 PM
Might not be convention related, but I have added 5 new members this week, one becoming a Life Member. Most if not all of these new members visited before joining.

Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Bob Holmes on September 16, 2016, 05:29:11 PM
Mike, how do I get listed on the discussion group as a Museum Member?  Thanks.

Bob
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Ed Lecuyer on September 16, 2016, 05:35:17 PM
Hi Bob,

I have added you as a museum member in the forum database.

[If anyone is a museum member and does not have access to the "members only" sections (such as Newsletters) please let me know: ed@spongeawareness.com.]

Thanks,

-Ed
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Bob Holmes on September 16, 2016, 11:27:15 PM
Thanks, Ed.  I never cease to be amazed by how responsive you guys are....
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Mike Fox on December 16, 2016, 09:34:22 AM
15Th of the month is always busy in the membership office. Renewal notices go out for the next month, and reminder notices go out for the last month. For January, there are 58 members up for renewal, and 7 members from November that have yet to renew. Add those and the 10 thank yous I did and you get this stack for my rural mail carrier.

(http://i1132.photobucket.com/albums/m573/miketrainnut/1215162039_zpskpzahmmq.jpg)
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Bill Sample on December 18, 2016, 06:35:59 PM
Become a Life Member and reduce Mike's workload! ;D
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Mike Fox on July 25, 2017, 05:40:51 PM
Well the current Membership laptop that contains the database seems to be having some sort of display failure. I had tried a few things, asked James what to do, and he said I tried what he would have. I hooked it to an external monitor and was able to retrieve some information last night. Still not easy to work with. But everything was backed up a week ago, so no danger of loosing any membership info. Just slows down the process of processing the donations for now. Working on a permanent solution.
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Mike Fox on July 27, 2017, 10:50:24 AM
I have made progress. We now have a back up program of our software running on my personal computer. This will become the primary database while we decide what to do with the museum laptop. We have always made and kept backups, with James running the same program off of my backups, so we will never have a complete failure of the database.

Luckily this happened before the annual fund drive when it is really busy. Hope to get the rest ironed out before then too.

Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Allan Fisher on July 27, 2017, 10:12:45 PM
Anything is possible. After Harry got sick, I took over the membership duties. We had 485 members and everything was handled on an old Brothers word processor. (i.e) every letter was customized and then typed out by the machine - it took forever.) James Patten - bless his hard working soul - got me on a new tailor made membership and donation program that I used on my PC at home. From 1998 until 2003, I picked up all mail at the Alna Post Office daily and all work was done in Maine at my home in Nobleboro.

Come December 2003, Ellen & I bought a house in the East Bay across from San Francisco. We lived in California 6 months of the year from 2004 thru 2008 when I gave up the administrative duties at the WW&F. During those 6 month periods, ALL WW&F mail was forwarded to my California address, and all dues, donation and business letters for the WW&F was originated by me and mailed from California. We know of no delays or lost mail during this time. There were over 1115 members by that time.

The difference back then was that all correspondence of any kind for the museum was done by me and me alone - sort of a dictatorship (but there was no lack of communications as I saw and controlled everything) - but thank goodness it seemed to work.

All should give many thanks to Mike, James, Gordon, Elizabeth, and the other volunteers that now handle this vital work of the museum.
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Bob Holmes on July 27, 2017, 10:32:08 PM
As we consider upgrading our membership systems, have we given thought to data storage on the cloud.  An advantage of that is -- if we have more than one person involved in membership duties -- each could access the db independently.  The potential disadvantage is having more than one person accessing the db.  But that can be solved with appropriate rules and procedures.

The other advantage of course is that we don't have to worry about backups on individual computers.

Also if the s/w were on the cloud (if that is even possible -- I don't know), each user could access the entire system from their own hardware.  If not possible, would we be using readily available s/w such as Word, Excel and Access?

Just Wondering...

Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Mike Fox on July 27, 2017, 10:54:48 PM
The current program we are using has the cloud feature. We just have not moved to that yet, but is in the works.
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: John McNamara on July 27, 2017, 11:18:04 PM
Another possibility is a backup service such as Carbonite. That's what I use, and it has saved my butt a couple times.
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: James Patten on July 28, 2017, 12:07:52 AM
The cloud option is available for our software (BTW it's called Giftworks), but when I talked to them in June there were some features we use that weren't available yet in the cloud.  As soon as those features are available, we can go to the cloud.  They estimated in September - which disappointed me a little, as I was hoping to be on the cloud before the big hammer drop of mail from the fund drive in September, so that Mike's load could be spread out a little.  Once on the cloud, Mike may not need a museum laptop. 

Dealing with laptop monitors can be difficult.  My personal laptop a few years started having monitor issues (really dim).  I tried fixing it a few times, but it didn't help.  I'm not sure how old that laptop that Mike has is, but it's probably at least 5 years old.  It doesn't owe us anything.
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Mike Fox on July 28, 2017, 01:11:18 AM
And yet, still having issues. Fortunately I was able to get the newsletter addresses ready to go as well as email the newsletter around.
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Bob Holmes on July 28, 2017, 12:16:05 PM
Five years is really old for a laptop.  Mine was pushing 4 and started showing symptoms.  So I replaced it recently before it could crash and burn.  The good news is that they aren't nearly as expensive as they used to be.
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Mike Fox on July 28, 2017, 11:22:58 PM
My personal computer is about 8 years old. Much, much, much faster that the museum Dell. Even running the Giftworks program there is a huge difference.

Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Mike Fox on August 01, 2017, 04:04:25 PM
I have solved the problem I was having, getting the software installed and running on my laptop. And used it successfully several times.
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Mike Fox on October 04, 2017, 10:51:10 AM
So far this month, we have gained 7 new members, and one member has upgraded to a Life membership. Of those 7, 2 are life members. Most of these came through the gift shop, so these were a direct result of a visit. 

Other news, running a total in my head, we have surpassed $50,000 on the fund drive. I won't know until tonight when I can hopefully finish entering the last of the donations for this week,  run a report, and verify that against all those donation slips.
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Gordon Cook on October 04, 2017, 04:15:36 PM
I second the warnings about a laptop's short life span. I lost a considerable amount of work and pictures on a 5 y/o Dell laptop when the hard drive just died. No warning, hiccups, or anything. Just stopped.
Estimated cost to maybe recover the data was $300 and up.
IMHO anything important or irreplaceable should be backed up even if only on a thumb drive. Ed or James could suggest an automatic back up program. As far as I can tell the Windows backup is a file structure that isn't very useful.
Desktop PC's tend to be much faster and more reliable simply because the guts don't have to be compromised by being small and low power. Dust and pet hair is their downfall, however, since many get placed on the floor.
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Mike Fox on October 04, 2017, 05:48:46 PM
I now back up externally. Especially the membership stuff..
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: James Patten on October 04, 2017, 06:31:06 PM
Membership database & program will soon be going to cloud.

I try to weekly back up my day-to-day Quickbooks to the Museum laptop.  I thought I was also backing up files on a regular basis, but when I went to look for something from last year on the Museum laptop, I found the most recent files were 2014  >:(
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Bob Holmes on October 05, 2017, 01:52:37 AM
Cloud is good!  We could buy external backup drives (they are now very cheap), but cloud is even better.
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Al Michelis on October 15, 2017, 01:24:00 PM
Cloud is good!  We could buy external backup drives (they are now very cheap), but cloud is even better.
Backing up to the cloud and an external drive is the best scheme. There are programs that will do both on a schedule or whenever the computer is idle.
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Bob Holmes on October 15, 2017, 10:57:00 PM
Totally agree.  Backup redundancy is the best way to go.  If we were to get a backup hard drive, how would we use it?  I guess part of the question is how many different computers contain key parts of WW&F admin systems?
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Mike Fox on August 14, 2019, 02:45:02 PM
I am pleased to announce the Museum has now reached 1200 Active members. 29 of which are original Charter Members.
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: ALAIN DELASSUS on August 16, 2019, 02:11:42 PM
Thank you Mike.  It's still a proof of  the  WW&F tremendous success. I don't want to be prying but I'd like to know how many foreigners among them and if I am the only Frenchy.
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Dave Buczkowski on August 16, 2019, 02:50:38 PM
Mon Ami;
If I remember correctly, we made a special exception for you.  ;). We have members from England, Wales, Australia, New Zealand and Germany. I even think there is one from Japan. Mike can confirm this.
Dave
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Bill Reidy on August 16, 2019, 03:00:55 PM
Wayne Laepple has recently written an article on our membership statistics, which I expect will appear in the September/October Newsletter. 

Without spilling too many details:
-- Alain is our only member in France; and
-- We do have a member in Japan.

Bill
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Mike Fox on August 16, 2019, 03:08:42 PM
Bill beat me to it.. We have about 30 Foreign members, which also includes Canada. I am anxious to see Waynes article for the Newsletter, so I will say no more than I have. Keep everyone wondering..almost like trying to sell a good book.
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: ALAIN DELASSUS on August 16, 2019, 03:34:51 PM
Thank you so much Dave and for the exception too . It's fine for the WW&F to have an international  repute it deseves it. I wish I would decide a few friends of mine on joining the WW&F . I think the language is a real obstacle but I keep on  posting photos and news of the WW&F on my fb page and the fb page of two groups.  A French one named Chemins de fer touristiques à voie étroite ,métrique ou normale in English all-gauge tourist railroad group and an English one named Narrow Gauge  Enthusiasts Group, you sure know. Moreover the Musée des Transports de Pithiviers  webb site has featured a nice WW&F fb team pic and a short caption in French for over a year.
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: ALAIN DELASSUS on August 16, 2019, 03:55:53 PM
Thank you Bill I wish I weren't the only one. I can't wait for reading Wayne Article;
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Roger Cole on September 30, 2019, 07:40:39 PM
Just received my membership card today.   I've been a lurker here for several years and thought I'd make it official.  Unfortunately, my health precludes me from making the trip to the WW&F in person.  With all the excellent work coverage and photos I feel like I've already been there.
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Mike Fox on September 30, 2019, 11:57:57 PM
Welcome Roger. Your requested Newsletter is in the hands of the USPS. Sent this morning. Back issues of the newsletter can also be found on this forum. If you have trouble viewing them, connect with Ed and he can set you straight.
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Ed Lecuyer on October 01, 2019, 12:24:10 AM
@Roger -
You are now flagged with Museum Membership in this Discussion Forum. You should now see the Members-Only sections, including Newsletters and BOD meeting minutes. If you don't see them on the main Forum page, log out and log back in again.

@Everyone else -
If you are a museum member and do not have access to these sections, please let me know.
If you are reading this and you are not museum member, be like Roger and JOIN! Be a part of "our" railroad - even if you may never get a chance to visit!
Title: Re: Membership Update
Post by: Roger Cole on October 01, 2019, 03:02:06 PM
Yup, I now see the "Members Only" section.  Thanks for letting me in on the secret handshake.