Beacon site administrator Andy from Canterbury and District U3A explains what led his U3A to implement Beacon and how they have benefited.
Canterbury & District have been Beacon users since December 2017.
In common with many long-established U3As, in the early days we did admin with spreadsheets. Later, we progressed to a Microsoft Access database. This grew and grew in functionality, but became a liability. It became stiffware – modifications carried increasing risks of errors, because of its multiple-author evolution, and changes in the underlying software, but the biggest problem was that everything became concentrated on one PC in a central office, with access to it only during the working week.
For us, the most important advantage in moving to Beacon was that Chair, Treasurer, MemSec and other committee members can now all do what they need to do, from home, at any time of day (or night) convenient to them. Beacon has provided us with a multi-user, 24/7, safe, Internet-based platform, without anyone in our U3A having to wrestle with building a hacker-resistant website. Long may it last. I’m sure many U3As will have benefited from this, but I haven’t seen it mentioned as a benefit in the various experiences related in Beacon News.
We still use Access, particularly for the handling of places on activities (we don’t use the Groups functions yet), but the Beacon database is the source of all member information.
If you would like to learn more about implementing Beacon in your U3A, just send us a message