If your club is new to the notion of having a website then you may have some nagging questions about the matter. On this page we will attempt to resolve those concerns. Private club websites are becoming more popular every year. And while something like half of all clubs have websites, that leaves a huge number that have not yet made the commitment. Why, in a world where virtually every business, service and government agency has a website...why are clubs lagging so badly behind?
Well, first of all, lets qualify lagging behind part. Some clubs have intentionally,
directly and with much forethought, decided against private club websites. They have
all sorts of reasons, all founded on good principles, all thoroughly debated, and
unfortunately, mostly all wrong. There are a couple great arguments against private
club websites. First is that your community has no connection whatsoever to the
internet, and second, that the community
is without electricity! Rare possibilities indeed, but we want to be fair about this
Here are some reasons cited for not having private club websites and the argument against the argument.
Our members are too old and don't use computers. First of all,
a CMAA survey showed that, on average, computer use in clubs is now
above two-thirds of all members. Second, older members are joining
the young and buying computers more now than ever before, often prompted
by their kids and grandchildren to do so as a way to keep in touch
via email. Thirdly, the older the average age of members, the more
the club must be looking for new members and virtually all newer members will
be web users who are very much in favor of private club websites actually,
they expect them.
Private club websites would jeopardize our non-profit 501(c)(7)
status. This is just plain wrong. Clubs of every entity type have websites; there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. It is possible to jeopardize the status of the entity by putting the wrong information on a website but the same can be said of putting the wrong information in the newspaper, on scorecards or posters in the club lobby...reasonable care must be given to content and working with an experienced provider of private club websites is a good place to start. But if there is genuine concern, don't forego having a website with this incorrect assumption; consult a tax expert, preferably one that specializes in tax issues for clubs such as Mitchell Stump. An article by Mitchell Stump on 501(c)(7) website issues appeared in Boardroom Magazine and is reprinted here with permission of the publisher.
We have no need for private club websites because we have
nothing to sell. This argument makes the awful assumption that
websites are only for selling. And while it is true
that most websites are involved in selling, the main
idea of private club websites is communications.
Improving communications between the club and the
members is a tremendous need for almost all clubs.
Think about it: in corporate America, failure to communicate is the biggest
reason for job failure. Okay, clubs arent
corporate America but when you consider the need
to keep members informed and to get feedback from
members, most all clubs can do a better job and private
club websites is one giant step in the right direction.
Private club websites cost too much to maintain. In the not-too-distant
past this may have been true when a programmer was needed and every
little change resulted in an hourly labor charge. That is not the
case today when your website is provided by a company specializing
in user-maintainable websites. Our websites are developed on top
of a sophisticated infrastructure that enables an employee with
simple clerical skills to update all information on the website without
any programmer intervention.
We are a club and we have no business running a website. A
website is certainly not the end-all and be-all of a club. However,
like the clubs accounting system, it is a tool that is very useful in effectively
delivering on the clubs main premise of serving its members. Is the accounting
system essential? Of course it is. Does the accounting system contribute
directly to the enjoyment of the members? No, but without it the
club would be less efficient, more costly and a greater expense to
the members. Websites are an effective way to improve communications
and while they may not yet be judged essential by some, most clubs
are realizing that this type of tool is a very important part of
the clubs communications
There are undoubtedly other seemingly valid reasons why a website may not be right
for your club but the greater likelihood is that the advantages of
having a private club website far outweigh the disadvantages.