I joined my local USDF GMO for the first time in 2016, and my first thought upon registering was "Oh wow, this registration process is...clunky."
A long time ago, when I was 19ish, I decided to double major in Equine Studies and Digital Media Communications in college. I thought I would offer equine business owners complete technology services: website, sales photography/videography, stable management software, etc.
|19ish me and Venice, with Mary in the background|
And then I discovered that I HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE websites. They're finicky, they change constantly, and managing them annoys me. And then I fell in love with the high tech industry and my career path totally changed.
But I did get those degrees and I do make the occasional exception. And when I went through that registration process earlier this year (which involved filling out a .rtf file out in WordPad, manually calculating your total, and going to PayPal.com to do a "Send Money" or mailing a check), I knew I wanted to help change it.
|My brain on this .rtf file: "Let me help you!"|
So, as it goes with volunteer organizations, I offered to help and immediately was told I was on a committee. Heh. I never heard from them, though, and started researching platforms, plugins, and prices, knowing I would have to present them with a functional rough draft rather than getting hung up on details with a committee.
Finding a plugin/platform that would allow me to collect PayPal payments and didn't cost an arm and a leg was hard, yo! I eventually settled on hosted Wordpress with a paid-for plugin (one time, $30) called FormMaker Pro. I also had to pay for a new domain name and site because the current site isn't built on WordPress. (My long game is to get them to turn the entire site over to me and consolidate the two...gotta take that goal one step at a time, though...)
For anyone who may be looking for something similar for their GMO or other organization, I really like it. When the user clicks "Submit", it drops them off at a PayPal checkout page with the correct total based on the options they chose. It also automatically sends the user a personalized welcome email, and emails their sign up info to the membership chair. You can also pull an Excel spreadsheet of sign ups at any time.
The committee and the club ended up loving it and putting it straight into service. Right now we are only using it for memberships and generic volunteer interest, but in the future, it could be used for schooling show entries (online Coggins uploads and PayPal entry fee payments!!), actual show volunteer sign ups, committee sign ups, annual meeting dinner reservations, and more.
Here is a link to our new membership form. Since this crowd is savvy enough to set up blogs, are any of you volunteering to do tech work for an equine organization?