Background for Guild Database Project – Extracts from existing Guild Documents

Key projects for 2015-18

  1. Communications – establish a Guild database of members and new Guild website
  2. Education – support educational initiatives, especially those improving the quality of ringing teaching in the Guild area
  3. Belfry Stewardship – reform and review the work of the Belfry Stewardship Committee
  4. *Recruitment and Retention – (added June 2016)” Guild Action Plan Current Version Sept 2016

“The database was approved in principal by the Exec and by members at the 2015 AGM, as part of the Guild Action Plan, so members of the project team are free to start work and report back to the Exec and Members as they go.

It was strongly felt among those present at the meeting that we are currently planning almost blind, guessing what the ages, skills and aspirations of the membership are, and that it would be advantageous to have an accurate view of the members.

What worked very well in C&S was to ask all members for their contact details (name, email, FB etc) but then to separately ask for information for planning purposes, a census if you will, such as age, skills level, training needs, and other things, which was processed anonymously and a report was used to overhaul the District’s program of events.

The “database team” is flexible and (because of time available, and technical knowledge) will be led by Rosalind Martin. Graham Hounslow (who can contribute technical understanding) has also expressed a desire to help.

Discussion about the email system led to agreement that we should use email to send out weekly news to all members in geographical zones starting with districts to keep things simple. (C&S and A&P are already up and running but only to their email groups, not to all members of course). All the District News pages are already prepared for this so it can be quickly implemented if webmasters are added to the relevant email groups.

The first stage will:

Identify key stakeholders who could benefit from using a database of members, eg the Treasurer, Guild and District Secretaries, Organisers of special events, etc, and report back with a list of future benefits to the Guild of having a database.
Identify possible problem areas (Data Protection, Data Management and changing roles of District and Tower Secretaries, are already on the list) and address those properly.
Then the second stage (of identifying suitable technology, and implementation) can be planned and shared with the exec and membership.

The key perceived benefit of the new system is that news and information will be delivered directly to each member rather than (as at present) going through several layers of the organisation where news may be lost at each interface. The current system is complex and there are is a patchwork of different email systems in place, only some of which have any relationship with the website at all.

The website has already given grass roots members the facility of being able to look up news and information online; the database takes it one step further, a regular delivery of relevant news by email…….

…..The communications team will need strong support from the Principal Officers to design and implement the database, so their active involvement and engagement is needed……


Consideration will be given to the membership details being transferred directly from the database to the Guild report. This was noted and will be included into the database planning process. It also should be noted by the Guild Report Working Party…” Minutes of the Communications Committee Meeting August 2016

“I would like to see a Guild database of contact emails so each member can receive their District and Guild information directly, with options to avoid unwanted emails.”  Mike Winterbourne on election as Guild Master

“The WP Guild site holds contact information for each tower and for each committee member. This is a vital function and is part of the new site. Design ongoing, and will eventually link with the planned membership database.” Purpose and Objectives of Oct 2015

“The Guild has no central record of members at present. All records are held by District Treasurers.

At the ‘Future of Ringing’ conference, held earlier this year in Winchester a speaker from Sussex reported on their experiences when setting up their database. There are people available and willing to advise the W&P working party which is currently researching what might be put in place. The working party is to report back at the next Guild Executive meeting in March.” Andover District ADM Jan 2015

“Proposal regarding Guild Database and website

The Master proposed and the Vice-Master seconded that a Database of Guild Members be set-up and maintained to enable improved communications to all members, and a new Guild website be developed and implemented.

Andrew Johnson asked what data would be held, how it would be protected and what would happen if the data were released. Simon King, who had been involved with the implementation of the Sussex County Association database, referred to the supporting paper and said security would be put in place to ensure compliance with the Data Protection Act.
John Davey wanted answers before agreeing to go forward.
The Master said we need agreement in principle so that the details could be worked out. Peter Niblett said it was giving authority to the officers and Executive Committee to go forward without delaying another year.
Elizabeth Davey asked about the time frame and the Master said as soon as possible.
Steve Castle said the implication was that current communication paths were not always working and the Master agreed.
The motion was passed against one vote.”  Minutes of 2015 AGM

“A further paper on the Proposed Database of Guild Members had been distributed. It was agreed that a proposition, including projected setup and running costs, would be put to the AGM. The Hon. Gen. Treasurer asked that the information be distributed to the towers in good time.” March 2015 Exec Meeting

“The Master read from a paper on a Proposed Database of Guild Members that had been distributed to District Secretaries. Guild Officers are continuing to research the setting up of a database to enable enhanced communications to all members. They would ensure that the Guild would adhere to any legal requirements and expect to hold very limited information. The current record of members is held by District Treasurers. It is recognised that there may well be considerable effort needed initially, for example in setting up records, but they are satisfied and convinced that there will be much benefit in being able to have a central database of the names and contact details of members. It is a way of engaging with members directly, as appropriate. They’d work to ensure that members were not overloaded with material. They are working towards reporting back fully at the March 2015 Executive Committee Meeting with a view to proposing a way forward so that positive decisions can be made at the July 2015 A.G.M.The Master asked that any comments should be submitted to the Hon. Gen. Secretary.”  November 2014 Exec Meeting





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