It appears that several erroneous automatic e-mails were sent out by our new website last week saying that some members’ memberships were cancelled. We are having issues editing the web site’s data base, and not all payment updates were entered in time to prevent some cancellation e-mails from going out. Our apologies if you received a cancellation notice even though you paid your dues. We are working to resolve this issue, and ask for your patience as we resolve this problem.

As you may know, we tried something new for membership renewal this year.

We first solicited membership renewals by e-mailing renewal requests to members back in December to go to GCEAonline.org and renew on our website. We solicited renewals again in January with a printed generic membership renewal insert in the VCJ to once again invite members to go to GCEAonline.organd renew on our website. Our goal here was to drive members to the website to establish/update their profiles so that their contact information is correct when we send out Association correspondence and publications.

In early February, when we sent out the third issue of the Communicator, it contained a personalized membership renewal form as one of the pages of the Communicator. This was done in an effort to reduce mailing costs, to implement and model the technology of variable data printing to produce an individualized issue for each member, and to connect with members that we did not reach in our first two renewal solicitations.  Those members who had already paid had that payment noted on their form, while those that had not already paid were invited to renew.

Finally, we sent the traditional individually specific paper renewal by mail (the green form) in March to all of those that did not respond to the first three requests. In some cases, given the data base issues we have with the new website, it looks like we did not update our records in time to prevent the expiration notice. Again, I apologize.

In evaluating the response of this new renewal strategy at the Board’s mid-winter meeting, we concluded that we may have been too ambitious in counting on electronic requests and responses to be as effective as we had wanted. The Board has already decided that next year we will sent out the variable data renewal form in your Communicator issue that comes out around December, and while we will still send out other electronic notifications and reminders, we won’t rely on them as much as we did this year. Hopefully our collective experience this year, and our updated timetable next year, will reduce membership renewal problems in the future.

Thank you for your understanding and support as we incorporate these newer technologies in the operation of our Association.