Washington Fly Fishing Club / wffc.com
Founded in 1939, the WFFC has become one of the most respected fishing clubs in the United States, and a leading voice for conservation and sportsmanship. Over the years, however, their member rolls began to shrink as members aged and recruitment efforts waned. An ornery group with an average age of 70, the club realized that they would need to grow and attract a new generation of fly fishing enthusiasts into the club to sustain. With immeasurable cumulative knowledge and skill, inside tips and techniques, members had a lot to contribute to younger anglers. To attract them, they would need a stronger online presence and get social (online).
With this in mind, we asked a lot of questions about the club, and attended one of their monthly dinner meetings. We wanted to know how events were organized, how members joined and paid dues, and how the club’s officers managed the many administrative tasks of the organization. We looked at their policies and procedures and thought through the workflow of attracting, signing up and inducting new members, as well as renewing annual memberships of current members. From this exercise, we developed a plan for the build.
WFFC put a lot effort into determining the aesthetics and layout of their desired website before we started. We brought their ideas to life with some iterative modifications in collaboration with the club officers throughout the build. The bulk of our efforts, however, were spent building out a robust back-end that would provide online solutions for a majority of club operations.
Under the Hood
Functions ranged from easy online application for membership, online and recurring payment of membership dues, registration and payment for club events, extensive reporting of event attendance, printing of name badges for attendees, email broadcasts to various member subsets, upload and display of monthly downloadable newsletters, a gallery of hand-tied flies, online donations to the WFFC Foundation, and gateways for members-only content.
Twelve23 designed a user interface that would be extremely simple to navigate for new visitors, as well as club members. We knew that many current members are not web savvy, and would need an interface that was easy to read and understand. To that end, in-page navigation was clustered into categories with no-nonsense way-finders that effectively represented the nature of the club.
WFFC had compiled video interviews with legacy members over the years. We digitized these videos and introduced the club to YouTube. We consulted with them on social media strategy, and advised them to use Meetup.com to attract non-members to participate in club events, thereby getting exposure to potential recruits. We set up WFFC’s account for them, and posted their first few events. With the power of online services, these outings were highly successful.
With these new tools in hand, WFFC has begun to embrace new policies and procedures that streamline administrative efforts and encourage new memberships. In the first two months, they received nearly twenty applications for new membership. We continue to consult with and enable WFFC in their efforts, including technical support, coding new functionality into their website, advising on social media efforts, and introducing new online waters into which they can cast their lines in their quest to grow the membership rolls of their club.