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John Truscott home page screenshot

EAB has successfully completed a responsive website for John Truscott, a church consultant who also runs the UK Church Administrator Network (UCAN). The new website design is responsive so it displays well on small mobile phones, tablet devices and on larger desktop computers, making it more convenient for John's clients and more than 1100 members of the network to access text and audio resources, news, events and share their own advice and experience.

John was keen that the website redesign not be run-of-the-mill but reflect his unique approach; so we designed a site navigation that embeds attractive cartoons in a dynamic responsive fashion. We'd love to hear from you if you can find another website that looks the same!

The section of the website dedicated to UCAN has a different design in order to clearly separate John's consultancy and training work from UCAN's shared community resources and information.

Based on the eZ Publish platform, the website leverages technologies such as HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery but can also fall back to obsolete technologies such as Flash to support those older web browsers that need it such as Internet Explorer 8 running on Windows XP.

EAB specialises in developing web based applications to assist membership organisations. Please contact us to find out more.

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Cartoon from UCAN

Church administrators let the UCAN network take the strain!

Congratulations to our membership organisation client, the UK Church Administrator Network (UCAN) whose numbers went through the 700 barrier yesterday, almost exactly three and a half years after the network was set up.

The UK Church Administrator Network (UCAN) links people employed by their local churches as Administrators, ranging from a part-time Church Office Assistant up to a full-time Director of Operations in some of the UK’s largest churches.

Launched in May 2009 membership has grown steadily to over 700 today with a current growth rate of 175 pa.  Everyone joins online.

The network is run by church consultant John Truscott from an eZ Publish website, designed and hosted by EAB.  The Administrators’ section offers an online database, a range of specialist resources such as a remuneration survey and audio files, web forums, details of area training events, annual conferences and bimonthly e-mailings.

UCAN is now starting to establish local groups and a distance learning course.

While much of the success can be attributed to the positive word of mouth John receives about his services, he has worked hard to market the network:

  1. Data marketing:  He used a mailing list of larger churches in the UK to get it off the ground.
  2. Market research: He used the internet to research churches with administrators on their staff by checking out websites and making email contact.
  3. Promotional events: He ran a continuous series of area training days with discounts for members and getting these publicised to churches through various networks.
  4. Content marketing: John loaded his website with many useful free resources covering all aspects of church organisation: his website now has over 100 items freely available.
  5. Customer communication: John distributes a bimonthly e-newsletter and maintains an active Twitter feed to promote resources to followers.

Andre Bottin, lead consultant at EAB, comments:  
“UCAN is a shining example of how using eZ Publish can help run a really effective membership organisation online with the minimum of human resources. John Truscott uses it to maximum effect to co-ordinate the work of UCAN and communicate with members. Used effectively, eZ Publish can become the powerhouse of any organisation, large, small or rapidly growing. The potential for continuing membership growth is considerable. EAB's client-centered approach and eZ Publish's flexibility and scalability have helped UCAN grow and will continue to support growth in the future.”

The UCAN membership organisation is hosted on the John Truscott website.

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How to increase engagement with your online community

You have created a beautiful new online community website. It’s well-constructed and it ticks every box.

So why aren’t people taking part?

There could be a host of reasons. We take a look at some of the barriers and highlight solutions:

1. No one knows it's there

They do have to be told! Look closely at your communications processes and points of contact with existing new and potential members and ensure that you are not overlooking the obvious. The online registration should state benefits very clearly and provide clear instructions and easy to access support. If your community also meets offline you need to take every opportunity to integrate discussions and information on your community website. Make it a critical hub for communications and visitors will soon arrive. Read how we helped the Executive Forum Alumni build member engagement.

2. People are too shy

Often people feel inhibited from making comments and contributing to public conversations. This can be countered with opening gambits that are easy to engage with such as photos, surveys or hot questions.

3. Resistance to online sharing

Here are some great ideas from Dawn Foster, author of Companies and Communities on what motivates people to participate. Your web solution and call to action must emphasise one or more of the following:

  • Status and recognition
  • Passion
  • Work help
  • Giving help to others
  • Career advancement
  • Skills development
  • Financial benefit
  • Learning
  • Social
  • Fun

We would add ‘mutual support’ to this list.

4. Make the site bespoke

There‘s a lot of competition out there from free web 2.0 platforms. For example LinkedIn gives groups of people fast access to sharing content and making personal connections. A membership community website must offer something bespoke to the needs of the community it serves.

For our client SOFT UK we found out the real needs of members which were sensitive, deeply private yet yearning for mutual support.

Our education sector client Yorkshire & Humber Grid for Learning comprises a network of teaching professionals linked to commercial training providers, course booking and an online platform for CPD. We constructed a profile section which allows each supplier to promote its brand.

5. Give people a reason to come

Are you using your community site to host information that can be relayed to the membership by their preferred medium? We helped our client Herts Visual Arts, to produce email and web-based newsletters like clockwork to keep interest and engagement high.

6. Make your website a workhorse for your organisation

Voluntary-based organisations frequently suffer from a lack of commitment from volunteers where administrative processes are time consuming and committee member roles and responsibilities are not clearly defined. Use your community site to define roles and ideally provide the tools to help the steering committee do their jobs efficiently. For example we have developed applications in the eZ Publish Content Management System for our clients to build and distribute announcements, meeting minutes and reports; manage membership registration and subscription renewals; conduct online accounting and allow members to fill in expenses forms online.

About us

Our Government, Education and Non Profit clients

We are the UK’s leading independent developer of eZ Publish web solutions for membership organisations.

Take a look at our list of clients:

eZ Publish is a world class content management system selected by membership organisations worldwide for its amazing power. Top international users include:

The Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID)

AWID is an international membership organisation connecting, informing and mobilising people online in three different languages.

Living Beyond Breast Cancer

Living Beyond Breast Cancer spotlights LBBC’s “Community Connections” which is a multi-faceted sharing network consisting of forums, experts community content and their blog all supported by eZ Publish.

INFORMS

INFORMS is the largest society in the world for professionals in the field of operations research (O.R.), management science and business analytics. The society website integrates content with member accounts, events registration and online purchasing.

See the eZ Publish world class Government, Education and Non profit client list.

Are you looking for an online solution for your membership organisation? Talk to us first.

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Online Training Screencasts aka Online Tutorials are useful to share with staff, customers, users of your website or online services, or prospects. You can use the format to introduce a service or explain a process to your membership.

Sometimes you need to encourage members to engage with an online community. A simple ‘how to‘ screen cast can be embedded in your website.

Tempting prospective members

You can use the ‘how to register’ process to reveal content that would be otherwise hidden. This is a great way to attract new members, users or subscribers by showing some premium or compelling feature which is inaccessible to non-subscribers.

Screen Recording Software

There are many types of screencast software. We use BB FlashBack Pro screen recorder an easy-to-use screen recorder to create compact, high quality movies for tutorials, demos and presentations. It's easy sharing with quick upload to YouTube and other video hosting sites.

Examples of screencasts

Here are two screencasts we have just produced for our not-for-profit UK client Executive Forum Alumni of St Albans. These tutorials have been designed to encourage engagement and increase access to the brilliant features of this online community website.

The first shows how to register or log in, to find opportunities, register for updates and apply.


The second tutorial is aimed at companies and entrepreneurs. It explains how to publicise a job or business venture opportunity with members of the EFA online community.

Sharing

Once complete you can upload and share your screencast on YouTube and Facebook or you can embed it on your website or blog. To publicise it directly to your database send an email to your users, members or prospects.

Help

Good luck with your screencasts. For more information about screencasts or other forms of online engagement for your membership community call EAB – we are experts in online community sharing solutions. See our Associations page to see which clients we support.

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SOFT UK

SOFT UK, Support Organisation for Trisomy 13/18, provides support and impartial information about Patau's and Edwards' syndromes (trisomy 13 and 18) and related disorders such as mosaicism, deletion, ring and partial trisomy. SOFT UK is a registered charity founded in 1990. The charity recently launched officially the new website at the 2011 SOFT UK Conference.

The new SOFT UK website, developed with eZ Publish, offers a wealth of functionality to members and SOFT UK Trustees and Volunteers.

The site has been configured to allow parents to write blogs and upload photos and videos for their loved child. The SOFT UK Trustees (based in various parts of the UK) can use a range of online applications such as bookkeeping, TO DO lists, etc, allow them to operate more effectively and raise the quality of services offered to the members at reduced expense.

Read the full SOFT UK case study.

Visit the SOFT UK website

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John Truscott, the leading UK Church Consultant has relaunched his own website (www.john-truscott.co.uk) and created an online presence for UCAN.

UCAN, The UK Church Administrator Network website, an online community for Church administrators, provides membership management and interactive functionality like forums and user comments. This website is currently an integral part of the re-developed john-truscott.co.uk website and is based on eZ Publish.

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Herts Visual Arts is the voluntary organisation for everyone in the visual and applied arts in Hertfordshire, England. EAB has designed and developed a new website for HVA, based on eZ Publish 4, the leading Open Source Web Content Management System (CMS). The website enables HVA members to showcase their work, promote their exhibitions, and network with each other. It includes a membership management system that handles everything from membership subscriptions and participation in the annual Open Studios event to keeping track of artist's skills. Anyone interested in the visual arts can keep up to date with HVA's latest news via RSS feeds and online newsletters.

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