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The British Astronomical Association takes its membership to the next level with sheepCRM.

The British Astronomical Association

Andrew wilson

SheepCRMs membership management software works flawlessly. As a charity, we couldn't spend too much, the price was right, and it had all the features to save our volunteers hours on laborious admin, whilst giving us a very professional edge

Andrew Wilson, The British Astronomical Association

Who they are:

The British Astronomical Association (BAA) are a membership organisation comprised of amateur astronomers who make valuable observations in collaboration with professionals. The BAA hosts workshops and publishes tutorials online to enable its members to hone their observing skills and get the most out of their kit.

The Jupiter Section of the BAA has been working with NASA scientists on the Juno mission, which is currently in orbit around the planet Jupiter. As a result, five papers have been published in the last two years in leading scientific journals that combine observations by Jupiter Section members.

The BAA is a well-respected charity and has 2700 members globally. They are run mainly by volunteers. Andrew Wilson is an IT contractor and is also completing a PhD in Astronomy at the University of Exeter.

The challenges:

Prior to teaming up with sheepCRM, they were using a membership database, but it was installed locally in their head office in London. As a result, it was difficult to dial in to access when everyone worked from home. The connection was slow and prone to failure.

"Although people could work remotely, it was slow because it was a slow internet connection. So if the internet went down in the London office, which was in this old Victorian building, you lost connection to it," says Andrew.

They also had many manual processes, which took a lot of time, and it was very easy to make a mistake.

"We produce a journal every two months. We have to get the list of members' addresses to do that. The office staff had to go to the computer and then manually select the correct criteria to choose the active members to receive the journal and select the postal addresses correctly. They would have to repeat the process for three postal regions before sending the information to a company for printing and postage. It was very labour-intensive and time-consuming. One slip you don't notice, and then you have sent the journal off to the wrong people." says Andrew.

How sheepCRM helped:

Andrew knew there was a better way to manage this, so he looked for membership databases. They reviewed about ten different packages before going with sheepCRM.

"It came down to sheepCRMs balance of functionality and cost. sheepCRM was more reasonable than the competitors we looked at, ranging from two to three times or even five or ten times as expensive. However, some of the cheaper packages didn't have the functionality we needed".

"sheepCRM hit the sweet spot with producing almost everything we wanted", says Andrew.

The future:

Since migrating to sheepCRM, it has made The BAAs processes much more effective, and it's given their members a closer connection to their data. It has also helped new members; they have more automation, and processes can be done with the click of a button.

"In the past, we manually sent the renewal emails, and now they are all automated. When a new member joins, they can sign up and pay immediately. It is much more efficient".

"The team is really friendly, open, and helpful if we have any problems. They often go the extra mile".

"We are saving a couple of days a month in admin time, and we can retain our members as we are providing a much better service now we are using sheepCRM," says Andrew.

BAA are now able to spend less time managing their membership and more time supporting their members to hone their observing skills.

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