The Ski Club of Washington, DC (SCWDC,) founded in 1936, is one of the largest ski clubs in the U.S. SCWDC currently has around 1,400 members and offers 15 ski flight trips and over 500 different sporting, social, and cultural activities each year. The Club offers the largest tennis program in the greater DC metro area, as well as a very active sailing program. To manage its complex membership structure and activity programs, the Club was using PayPal for payment gateway, Eventbrite for event management, Constant Contact for its weekly newsletter, and Memberize for its website.
SCWDC is a membership-based organization, so their membership management platform is an essential piece of their operations. They were using Memberize, which a few other large ski clubs used, but there were problems. There was no online support, and SCWDC had to make system changes themselves by altering the underlying code. A denial of service attack that took their website down for a weekend woke them up to the fact that their servers had no backup or disaster recovery capabilities, and online payment options and event management were clunky and time-consuming. Finally, the navigation and interface were so convoluted that users couldn’t find essential content, like SCWDC’s “bread and butter” ski trips.
Frustrated with the recurring issues, the Club decided to migrate their website and contacts to the Wild Apricot platform. They found Webbright through the Wild Apricot list of trusted service providers, and after Gary Rubens, current SCWDC webmaster, researched several local firms, reviewed Webbright’s client base, and conducted an in-depth interview with two firms, “it quickly become apparent that Webbright offered the skills and experience I was seeking.”
What finally sold Rubens on Webbright, though, “was the design of Webbright’s own website. Webbright’s design approach was perfect for us to use as a blueprint to showcase our many different events and programs, and make it easy for our users to quickly get to and sign up for our events.”
The Club wanted assistance migrating its website and contacts to the Wild Apricot platform and creating a strong visual design and simpler navigation structure, along with improved event management and online payment functionality. While this could seem like a tall order, Webbright delivered and the Club and its members are very happy with the result.
Several of the Wild Apricot features that Rubens particularly appreciates include the wealth of online resources, webinars and tutorials, the quick response and follow-through for difficult issues, the platform’s reliability, security and backup servers, easy-to-set-up payments with a wealth of transaction detail, and an interface that allows users to reach any event with one or two clicks. Additionally, Wild Apricot allows SCWDC to set up separate calendars for each of their program, with the result that, “our ski trip schedule looks fantastic!”
SCWDC experienced immediate benefits after the transition to Wild Apricot as Rubens noted, “our cash flow improved significantly after we transitioned to the new system [Wild Apricot] because we were able to collect payments online. Cash flow has been an issue for us around this time of year, when we have to place a lot of deposits for lodging and airfare, but we don’t usually have payments this early.”
“Our cash flow improved significantly after we transitioned to the new system [Wild Apricot] because we were able to collect payments online." - Gary Rubens, Executive Director, Ski Club of Washington, DC