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“So if I understand this table we only had a total of 959 members last year 2017”
No – this is the number of members whose expiration is at end of 2017 i.e. they have not yet renewed or are in grace period.
“Also, we should indicate how many members request hardcopy mailouts of notices.”
We can as soon as Dave, you and I confirm the new criteria for “mail_out” status.
So if I understand this table we only had a total of 959 members last year 2017, and so far 672 have renewed for 2018. It would be good to have a total at the bottom of each column. But why so few Board and regular members? We had over 300 regular members in the past and we’ve at least 11 Board members at the moment. Also, we should indicate how many members request hardcopy mailouts of notices.
Please start posting the agendas for all Board meetings on our website. It’s important members know what we discuss. Thanks!
Ditto…not sure what I’m reviewing/commenting on?
Oops, there’s the text and the new map
I agree with Maura’s edits. No additional edits from me.
Annual memberships are $20 and are due in January.
Memberships are open to any individual or group with a shared interest in the South Skyline area.
Join by clicking on the Join/Renew button below.
Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael, you also think we should add the word “shared” to the words taken from the bylaws?
Regarding the “group” comment raised by Maura. I don’t think we need to amend the Bylaws. “Group” is a legitimate designation for membership. The Chesebrough Scout Reservation would be a valid example of a group that could join SSA.
Lakeside School is a lapsed member, not really a group?
Hi Larry, is there a specific block of text you’d like me to comment on? Or the whole page? Let me know.
oops. Let me get back to you
Looks good. A small tweak suggestion. I don’t think it’s grammatically correct to have an apostrophe after Users’. It looks like there is an extra space between “to” and “propane” in the second paragraph but I can’t be sure.
How about this:
Members of South Skyline Association are also members of the Skyline Propane Users Group (SPUG).
To join us click the Join/Renew button below.
For more information about SPUG, send an email to email@example.com or a self-addressed, stamped envelope to:
blah blah blah
It looks good Larry. I didn’t know that a group can be a member. I’ll have to find out more about that.
A small tweak to the main body of the text is suggested here:
Annual memberships are $20 and are due in January.
Memberships are open to and an individual or a group with a shared interest in the South Skyline area.
Join us today by clicking on the Join/Renew button below.
Thanks for your comments, Maura. The chosen words were copied from the SSA by-laws: ” An associate member is a person or group who has an interest in the South Skyline area,… “. In my opinion, an interest only in cheaper propane is an inadequate qualification for membership currently. The By-laws could be changed.
Hi Larry – I’m in! I’ll look over the text that needs input and comment.
Please suggest corrections or changes
Join Page should have both New Applications and Renewals
Lapsed members go to renewal
Sonja? Can the 3 or 4 red text boxes be Posts by the Membership Chairperson?
HOME PAGE “Join Us” BOX suggested changes to accomodate online Renewal or New Member Application.
Annual memberships are $20 for one calendar year and due by January 31.
Join or Renew your membership today by going to the Join Page.
At the Join page you can print out a membership application to mail
or pay online.
For questions firstname.lastname@example.org .
Here is my suggested text. It will need some editing depending on how the on-line process works.
JOIN text: To join SSA fill out and submit the on-line application (click here). Payment may be submitted separately via a check to the Membership Chair or online via PayPal or with a credit card. Please do not send cash. After receipt of payment, Membership Chair will notify the applicant when their membership is active and if applicable, notify their specified propane provider of their status as a new member. If applying after January, your $20 dues can be prorated.
RENEW text: To renew send a check to the Membership Chair or log in to the SSA website and then pay on-line via PayPal or with a credit card. Payment must be received by January 31 to remain an active member. Please do not send cash. Please also remember to update us with any change of contact information or propane supplier. If updating contact information, fill out a new application/renewal form and submit it on-line or to membership chair with your check.
(be sure to include membership chair address somewhere highly visible)
Here is the text on 2016-02-17
Annual memberships are $20 and due in January. Join today by printing out thismembership application and sending your check to:
SSA Membership Chairperson
7405 Alpine Road, La Honda 94020.
For questions email@example.com .
If we could provide to the propane providers a list of current members without contact information quarterly or more or less often as needed, the providers should only need to verify membership standing on our list. All contact information should be supplied by the members as they apply for the discounted rate with the individual providers.
What are we expecting and encouraging people to post to our website? It seems only Board members and authorized editors should be posting to our website.
I am unfamiliar with how Mailchimp works, but am all for anything that reduces volunteer time.
Provided we have a map with clear boundaries of the regular membership area, the membership chair (me at the moment) should be able to determine when receiving an application if regular or associate. So the challenge is to agree on the boundaries and have this translated clearly into a map.
I feel a 30-60 day grace period is ample, although I’d prefer until the end of February. If we send out notices at the end of January, this should be ample time to attend to and pay a $20 dues.
I recommend memberships should be on an annual basis starting January 1 thru December 31 and prorated when joining later in the year. An email or hardcopy notice should be sent out by January 31, and if dues are not paid by end of February, then membership is automatically considered lapsed and we send a notice to the propane providers and the ex-member to alert them. If the member then renews, they should be billed for the entire year and not on a prorated basis. Presently I am seeing a significant number of “demoted” or lapsed members sending in their 2015 dues in November or December and assuming they will benefit from membership for the entire 2016 year and this is not fair to others who pay on time. We don’t charge enough to warrant giving a grace period of more than two months.
Another topic on the Board Page – ‘Design: Membership Consideration 2 – grace period on delinquent dues’ asks
“What should be the grace period on delinquent dues? Membership chair has ability to override?”
Sounds like you would rather have a Board policy decision than exercise your override power?
ISSUE #6 SECURITY
This is very important to me, and to our provider, Sonja London. I would compare the CURRENT membership database to the planned WEBSITE membership database in several areas regarding security.
CURRENT Personal Data: names, addresses, email, phone numbers.
WEBSITE Personal Data: same.
CURRENT Platform: Bento (unsupported database system) hosted on Ruth’s Apple Macintosh desktop.
Although most malware is primarily directed toward Window’s systems, Mac’s are also vulnerable http://discussions.apple.com/docs/DOC-2435. The threat is most often “trojans” that infect other computers.
Secure access, wireless router passwords, and all the other things mentioned in the article above help reduce the threat.
WEBSITE Platform : WordPress on “Industrial-strength” LAMPP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, php, Perl). There are open source products, globally-supported, and the most widely used website platform (approximately 60%) by companies, governments, and other organizations. Every effort is made to maintain the security of this platform.
We have multiple levels of firewall protection: router, LAMPP, and WordPress.
Frequent scanning for integrity by matching against original source (at WordPress) so intrusions are caught rapidly and Sonja notified immediately.
All passwords are encrypted with a one way encryption, meaning they cannot be unencrypted.
WordPress is written to prevent intrusion, unlike most programs on personal computers.
Frequent backups are taken, just in case.
ISSUE #1: Currently, on the Contact page is a “Contact the Webmaster” email link (Contact page). In 14 months, I have received approximately 10 emails, all but two were redirected to Membership. Do we need a better mechanism to report problems or suggestions for improvement?
I shall be out of town for the March meeting.
I plan to attend.
I agree with Barbara; posting the map on the “About” page would make it easier to find and should be part of the description of what SSA is “about”.
The message I received only asked me to set up a password, and did not give me a password. The passwords I tried were all very weak or weak so I could use some help getting a stronger password.
The Welcome Page is easily understandable, but as Larry says, it’s hard to teach old dogs new tricks. But I’ll work on it.
Based on reviewing notes from a conversation I had with Ruth in March, 2014, I created a post on the Board page of the website entitled: Design: Membership Database – Use Cases. The link is at http://southskyline.org/membership-database-use-cases/ You must be logged in to see the Board menu item.
I revisited these Use Cases and want to make sure that all are addressed in the migration of the membership database to the website. Here is that list from the web page with discussion following:
1. Recording new memberships information, updating information regarding renewals or changes.
2. Validation of eligibility for propane providers: 2x/yr to all vendors, email for other updates – new or lapsed renewal.
3. Subsequent to database update from paper Application forms, checks are sent to Treasurer for deposit
4. Export backups from Bento for Jer and Connie.(Need similar functionality in website.)
5. Print labels for mailing the newsletter, secure supplies, arrange for help.
6. Print membership list for a General Meeting when necessary (only regular members may vote).
7. Print ballots when needed for a General Meeting.
8. Organize the distribution of the quarterly newsletter.
9. Organized mail-outs: supplies and help.
10. Provide email addresses for Skylines email distribution
11. Answer inquires about membership (most are propane related)
12. Send out lapsed membership notices
We have been focused to this point on Use Case 1, including the options for self-registration/renewal and online payments. We are making great progress.
Use Cases 2,3,8,9, 11, and (the US mail portion of) 12 are out of scope of the current project (contract) and will continue to be done by the Membership Chairperson or designated backup.
We need to determine how Use Cases 4,5,6,7, 10, and 12 will need be accommodated before migration can occur. Here that portion of list repeated:
4. Export backups from Bento for Jer and Connie.(Need similar functionality in website.)
5. Print labels for mailing the newsletter
6. Print membership list for a General Meeting when necessary (only regular members may vote).
7. Print ballots when needed for a General Meeting.
10. Provide email addresses for Skylines email distribution
12. Send out lapsed membership notices (or print labels)
Obviously, one option for these Use Cases would be to export from the website membership database, and then reimport to Bento for these tasks, i.e.the “Let Ruth do it” approach. Alternatively and preferably, we can determine how these tasks can all be addressed at migration, and designed in such a way that tasks could be distributed to others using identified common tools.
I’m soliciting input on these decisions we need to make.
Regarding Current Newsletter box, I only partially agree with Ruth. The out-dated “announcements” don’t make sense, but I do like a summary of topics in the current issue…I think that is useful.
Here is my hybrid version:
Welcome to the homepage of the South Skyline Association, a not-for-profit (501)(c)(4)) association of the residents of the South Skyline area of the San Francisco peninsula (California, USA).
The South Skyline Association (SSA) is a community organization created to provide benefits for the residents and property owners along Skyline Boulevard (CA 35) from Los Gatos to Skylonda within the greater San Francisco Bay area of California. SSA strives to foster a sense of community spirit, to keep residents and property owners informed of public agency actions or other items of concern in the South Skyline sphere of influence, to protect the rights and represent the interests of the residents and property owners of our area, and to engage in various projects to enhance the unique South Skyline environment. The SSA does not endorse candidates for political office, or engage in commercial activities.
Regular, voting members live within the area defined in our bylaws of the South Skyline Association. Associate, non-voting memberships are available to those with interests in the area, or nearby residents wishing to share in SSA benefits.
change “informs” to “informed”. In the last sentence, I would drop “everywhere” and simply say, “we welcome interested parties.”
These anonymous comments (mostly complaints) are of limited value. Please ask website visitors to use the email link, webmaster, on the home page so that interaction is possible to better understand the issue.
Comments that discuss going back to the old site have been ignored.
Other unique comments have been added to on-going considerations on the Board page.
Patti sent this colored version of one of the new logos under consideration for a possible banner idea:
I definitely like the colored version of the logo. For the record, I prefer Logo “image 1”.
Board member Kim enrolled Linda in this discussion:
Here’s a proposal that looks warmer and friendlier, but involves very little actual change– just substituting a photo for the deadly black graphic and adding a green band for warmth. (The photo is one I pulled from my files quickly… you could even run a contest to get submissions.)
(click to enlarge)
Everything in the design of the new website had a fundamental consideration for user bandwidth. We want the site to be usable by those limited to dial-up. Our site’s mobile-ready features also support this requirement. We must consider image size especially on the home page since most visitors land there first.
For comparison to the previous southskyline.org site:
The old website has this theme:
<BODY background=”_themes/skylinesandstone/sandstonebk.jpg” bgcolor=”#FFFFFF” text=”#000000″ link=”#993300″ vlink=”#CC6633″ alink=”#660000
Like the new site the background color is white and the text is black. Links are this color brown:
and the real background is an image named sandstonebk.jpg and here is an image magnified so that individual pixels can be seen (click for larger image):
This looks like a good start.
I agree with others that “mountain colors” would be more inviting… perhaps a subdued texture for the background would be softer on the eye?
It seems if we use a new banner, it would need to repeat across the top of the pages or be limited to the center, or top left corner.
How hard is this to implement and maintain? Given that it duplicates the Yahoo group and FB is it worth the trouble?
The Facebook page is listed twice.
Most of these links seem to be broken.
I would like to see the map the is currently on the “Contact” page moved to the about page.
Subsequent to a conversation with Web committee and Board member Marianne about prototyping page colors, she created these two prototypes as starting points for discussion. Click on the thumbnails for a larger image. Thanks to Marianne.
I use color-calibrated monitors on my desktop system (and recalibrate monthly)…so I have an accurate rendition of the colors. In my opinion, I think the beige background in these examples is a bitt too much…I’d prefer more of an ivory color shade (I’ll go find the color code after I complete this comment). I do think the links should remain blue. I like the green accents. What about a brown color for text? Sort of makes it an earthy-wodsy theme.
Thank you for your research Barbara, I looked at your suggested changes and like them.
I like the current colors but went looking at examples on the web and found this combination at
It is blue for accents, pale beige for background, and dark grey for text. I think we need to keep the links blue.
I like this background color that Barbara found. Ditto for the blue. Is this background color the one Marianne used in the mock-ups below? They don’t look the same to me and I prefer #F6F6E8 background. I’m still thinking I’d like a shade of brown for text…need to go pick a color to suggest.
#522900 Brown for the text would be my recommendation.
A Goldilocks of an introduction. Not too long, not too short, but just right.
It looks like a good start, but some time for learning and mistakes will be necessary for us old guys.
Agree with webmaster’s idea about migrating “Contact” and “Join” to the about page.
Larry, I liked the intro.
I like it
This was discussed at the 5/8/2014 Board meeting. From that discussion and personal opinion, I would summarize that all memberships run from January 1 until December 31. Dues are late on February 1. Currently membership cancellation for late payment has a grace perod determined by the membership chairperson. When southskyline.org will provide optional self-payment and automated email late notices, the grace period will be until 5/1 unless overridden by the membership chairperson.
Previously Ruth suggested this text for the “Home Page – Welcome Text” which is the SSA Mission Statement –
South Skyline Association (SSA) fosters a sense of community spirit, keeps residents informs of public agency actions and other issues of concern in the South Skyline sphere of influence, protects the rights and represents the interests of those in our area, and engages in various project to enhance the unique South Skyline environment. South Skyline is a not-for-profit (501(c)(4)) association of the residents of the South Skyline area of the San Francisco peninsula (California). We welcome interested parties from everywhere.
This would be my choice for the About Page text.
Here’s a screenshot of a scan of the letterhead with black text (click on image to enlarge):
I think it looks better on paper than on my screen.
Somehow my reply above got attached to the wrong comment…should be below Marianne’s examples below. I do like this ivory shade that is used on the letterhead.
RUTH: Why not use colors that are used on the SSA stationary?
RUTH: . I would choose a light beige background. [in response to Larry’s statement in an email that he thought the background was light beige but in fact is WHITE. It appears beige on his laptop screen – his only display]
Ruth, Patti, and Larry maintain concurrent expirations
RUTH: “Propane suppliers should NOT have logins. The SPUG agreement required the SSA Membership Chair confirm that a SSA member is current and qualifies for the SPUG price. In the past there have been too many lapsed SSA members (or non-members) who contacted their propane supplier and claimed to be valid members but who were NOT.”
RUTH: “A little longer period should be allowed before SSA membership are considered lapsed, such as 90 days.
RUTH: “SSA Memberships are due for renewal every January. Major work will be required to change to renewing from 12 months the members date of joining or renewal. “
PATTI: “I like Bill’ s idea of a certificate for SPUG. That puts the onus of contacting suppliers on the SPUG users, instead of SSA.”
RUTH: In the past there have been too many lapsed SSA members (or non-members) who contacted their propane supplier and claimed to be valid members but who were NOT. The propane companies who have agreements with SSA ask that the SSA membership chair validate the membership.
BILL: “6. It would have to be a special sign-in, if at all. Propane vendors should have access to only SPUG eligibility, and nothing else. It might also be possible for members to get some sort of “certificate” that they could send to the propane vendor. The propane vendor could then just validate the certificate through the web site.”
BILL: “5. Yes. Also should have a kapcha of some sort. When we had the SSA bulletin board, 80% of the signups were hackers/spam.”
BILL: “3. Good plan.”
BILL:”2. I have no opinion about this; but 30-60 days would seem reasonable.”
BILL: “1. The annual renewal scheme lends itself well to a manual process. If we are to have most people renewing through the web site, then when people renew is not an issue. Decoupling from an annual renewal also eliminates having to prorate members dues. However, I would not expect all members will go this way; I would expect a ~~ 60% adoption rate.”
• I don’t think this violates the privacy that SSA guarantees SSA members, (as Ruth stated) if it is done right.
• There should not be any way that the propane suppliers can get into our data base and acquire any info other than validation of a name. If the name is not validated then the suppliers will deny SPUG prices and the customer will have to join, or contact the membership chair if they think they have paid.
• Having this option takes a big load off of the Membership Chair duties, and would be one of the biggest values of this new website..
• We should find out if the suppliers would use this capability. If they won’t, then someone will still have to manually send a list to the suppliers. How can we make that job easier?
• This might be a good way to keep out the riffraff. But also closes out potential members who live in the area. We could keep it open, then change it if there are problems.
• Will the membership chair receive an online notification of new members?
• 30 days
• Can we automate a reminder that they will be taken off the list until payment is received? [If they pay online, reminder sent to their email. If paid by check, email sent to membership chairperson who sends out postcards]
• Ok for override capability but should be used very sparingly with guidelines. Say – if someone is ill or out of the area or other circumstances that might cause a hardship if SPUG membership was removed.
• Ok to do 12 month from join or renewal, but bylaws should be updated.
• Probably easy to do online. Is it so easy to do manually?
• Will names be removed from the SPUG list if dues are not paid within a year?
RUTH: “More discussion is needed for online memberships.”
RUTH: “Although SSA membership acre due for renewal in January, many forget. Postcard reminders are sent about April 1. In June I send lists of current SSA members to the propane companies that have agreements with SSA for SPUG pricing for SSA members. “
RUTH: “This violates the privacy that SSA guarantees SSA members.”
Reviewing the page view statistics for the menu pages on the old site, suggested to me that you give the most people what want on their first page. The sum of just the SPUG and Newsletters views was greater than the number of Home page views, indicating many skip the home page via bookmarks or searches.
Issues and Interests 7%
membership form 4%
membership form previous 3%
Chuck Schoppe of the Skyline Historical Society in an email communication: “I would agree with Janet that, given the level of interest in the history of our area, I would recommend moving the SHS section up one level such that “Skyline History” or “Skyline Historical Society” appears in the home page banner with a direct link to what may be provided in terms of historical interest on the website.”
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