Chapter Resources

Webcasts make life a little easier for chapters

In today's busy world we are always looking for a faster or easier way. Technology is helping all of us accomplish this.

GCSAA recently purchased webcast software, allowing the association to deliver online education and information to members. (A webcast is a real-time broadcast of an event or a recording of an event over the World Wide Web). Webcasts provide an easier way for online business collaboration, communication and learning. Online business collaboration allows for meeting coordination, and saves the time and expense of business travel.

Will webcasts work for chapter board meetings?

The California GCSA has used the GCSAA webcast tool to host two board meetings. This provides board members with the convenience of sitting in their office or home while being fully engaged in a chapter board meeting. What a great tool. Meetings are facilitated in an orderly manner, board members raise their hand to speak, and can be heard by all members in attendance. At the same time, disruptive side conversations are eliminated. However, text chat messaging may be done among board members during the meeting.

California GCSA President Pat Finlen, CGCS, says, "I was originally skeptical of webcasting since I had no experience with it. But once I had participated in two different webcast seminars from GCSAA, I became convinced that this would be a useful tool for some of our chapter board meetings. The ease at which a meeting can take place and the comfort level for all participants has made this an easy way for our board to meet. For those times when a face to face meeting isn’t necessary, this is a great way to meet and keep those issues that are pertinent still in view of your board."

The Sierra Nevada GCSA used GCSAA webcasting for the first time in July. Irene Cline, association manager says, "The SNGCSA webcast was a huge success. The board wants to do this at least quarterly."

Sierra Nevada GCSA director Kevin Breen, CGCS, says, "The Sierra Nevada GCSA board meeting went extremely well. The board members picked up on the webcast tools and the pace of the meeting was smooth.”

What other benefits does it provide?

The California GCSA board members are golf course superintendents and affiliate members, and all have full-time jobs. Being a board member is a volunteer position and their service means time away from work and family. The California GCSA holds board meetings 4-5 times a year. Meetings are normally scheduled on a Saturday. This allows the board members to attend meetings and not be absent from work. But, as we all know, our plans normally involve family on the weekend. This is a key benefit of using the GCSAA webcast tool – not having to leave work or family.

The time and expenses saved by using webcasts may vary per chapter, but for the California GCSA it saves a lot of time and money. We are experiencing a cost savings of $2,250, plus approximately 5 1/2 hours of volunteer time per board member.

The travel expenses are divided between the California GCSA and the board member's local chapter. So you can see that it’s not just a savings for the California GCSA, but also for all six regional chapters in California.

Is this the only way meetings should be held?

Meetings should not be held strictly over the Internet. The personal contact and body language is lost; many times facial expressions are worth a hundred words. This is especially true when a controversial subject is being discussed or decisions are being made.

Breen says, “At the end of the [Sierra Nevada GCSA] meeting, the sentiment was that we need to do webcast meetings about half the time and hold face-to-face meetings the other half to allow a more free flow of ideas and conversation. Overall, the Sierra Nevada GCSA board feels much the same as the state board. It is a great tool and benefits most in time-savings for travel, while helping to keep meetings on track and on schedule."

How does the webcast tool work?

Webcast participants log in to the software via the Internet from their office or home computer. Participants will need speakers and a microphone for their computer, or a headset that has a microphone built into it. (A microphone with a built-in headset can be purchased at an electronics store for a nominal cost). This allows participants to hear discussion, ask questions, make comments and respond to feedback from other meeting participants. Participants can also view meeting documents and slides on their computer screen during the webcast.

When attendees register for a webcast, they receive an e-mail message with a link to the webcast site. They open the link, log in to the webcast software, and participate in a webcast event. Prior to a webcast, participants are able to conduct a system check to ensure their computer system is compatible with the webcast software.

A rehearsal is scheduled with the webcast presenters and chapter board members in advance. This allows them time to become familiar with the webcast technology. That way, the actual chapter board meeting (webcast) can be devoted to discussing and transacting association business.

This is where the fun begins!

I believe that after you have used the webcast technology, your chapter will discover the benefits that this tool offers in conducting chapter board meetings.

Note: GCSAA is currently working with four affiliated chapters to host their board meetings via webcast. If your chapter would like to do this, please contact Leann Cooper at 800-472-7878, ext. 3648.

Submitted by Bob Tillema, CGCS, Association Manager, California GCSA.

 


To share your chapter's success stories, please email them to Leann Cooper.

 

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