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Unison™ uActive Benefits

Case Study

Recently an existing GBST union client using Unison™ as its in house membership system implemented such a solution and integrated between their web processes and the Unison™ database.

Posted In: gbst digital, Life and Policy Administration, Memberships and Associations
Published: 25/09/2012


Many unions over the years have invested in on line information for existing members including methods for members to make payments and for potential members to join the union. True paperless joining systems in the trade union industry are few. Most unions talk about having a paperless join system as they allow potential members to download forms from their website for the new member to complete and return. This has mainly been because of a concern to have physical proof that authority has been given for direct debit or credit card payment options by having a signed form at hand. Even though a union may have an electronic method of joining they may still manually input the completed forms into their database and save the hardcopy for their files.

Unions see the advantage of allowing members to join and access information on line as it enables the member to join, make payments and access information at any time available to them rather than try to contact an office that is already working at maximum capacity. Unions see new memberships coming from their web pages as a tremendous bonus to their membership base as no organising time is used to recruit these new members.

The Challenge

The challenge for a trade union is that due to the large demand for their industrial, professional, training and legal services, in house manual processing of these requests plus a potentially large number of new membership requests, member detail updates and payment processing is placing a tremendous workload on their membership department. The staff is focused on the timely processing of these requests which leaves little time for other membership related work or staff development.

The Solution

Recently an existing GBST union client using Unison™ as its in house membership system implemented such a solution and integrated between their web processes and the Unison™ database. Unison™ is widely used within the organisation for all membership and organiser related work and reporting. The union want to reduce the amount of processing resources required for their web related requests, improve accuracy and timely processing. This required a re-design of their current membership related pages for new member joins, member payments, member updating of details and downloading tax statements and PI certificates.

The proposal included, when a new member joins on line all the information collected is batched and automatically entered into Unison™ ready for final processing also including a copy of the form in the member’s correspondence record; member credit card payments are processed real-time on line and recorded in their financial records in Unison™; change of details are also updated straight into Unison or can be pending membership approval. Union members will also be able to download their tax statements and PI certificates via the new web site.

The Results

The very successful integration and streamlining of both web and database processes will result in a number of tangible savings to the union not only in time  saved but in increasing the value of member services available on the union website.

The following estimates are based on a union with approximately 50,000 members.

  • New Member Forms: Real Time and cost savings
    • Estimating that it takes half an hour to process each new member form manually (or reentering details from a joining form from the current website) and estimating 500 joins/rejoins a month.
    • This is a saving of 250 hours a month – or 1.5 fulltime staff (plus cost savings for collecting CC and DD details without need to call member).
  • Member Updates: Previous updates have been received from current website or from member via email
    • Estimating – 20 mins per update and 150 updates per month.
    • This is a saving of 50 hours a month – or 0.25 fulltime staff
  • Member Payments:
    • Estimating – 10 mins per payment and 450 payments per month.
    • This is a saving of 75 hours a month – or 0.5 fulltime staff
  • Downloading Tax Statements: Members will have the ability to download their tax statements from the website. This will save postage costs and staff time.
    • Estimating – 48 cents postage for 50,000 members.
    • This is a saving of $24,000 per year in postage + huge savings in mailing house costs, stationary and man time.
  • Downloading PI certificates (or other statements or reports): Members will have the ability to download their PI certificates from the website. This will save the postage costs and staff time.
    • Estimating – 48 cents postage for 50,000 members.
    • This is a saving of $24,000 per year in postage + huge savings in mailing house costs, stationary and man time.

Estimated Total Saving per year 2.25 staff members + $48,000 postage costs

Please Note: These are examples only and each union should use their own estimates to determine total possible savings.

Further Benefits

  • Increase membership.
  • Attract more members and have them join online.
  • Attract younger members to join once they begin their training and then convert to full members upon completion of their qualifications.
  • Easy online joining and membership fee payments that integrate with Unison, limited or no double handling.
  • Members to update their details online and to feed directly into Unison.
  • Promote members knowledge and use of services and benefits of membership.
  • Provide easy to use information for self service.
  • Logical and clear information architecture to ensure information is easily found and read.
  • Provide members with personalised membership information.
  • Once a member has logged in provide information about their membership fees, courses and conferences attended, how many continuing professional development hours (CPD) achieved, their enterprise agreement or modern award, pay rate etc.
  • Savings in staff time released to work on other membership related areas and projects. This will also lead to an improvement in staff morale and job satisfaction as they will be able to increase their Unison™ knowledge and training and be part of other project work.
  • Increase in processing new memberships, no membership backlogs easily process 100+ new membership applications per day.
  • Data collected on joining can be more detailed, complete and useful.
  • As data is not double handled and manually re-entered, the data entered is more accurate leading to less direct debit or credit card payment failures; and less member anxiety over failed payment.
  • Membership do not need to follow-up new members to collect Credit Card information.
  • Members can download tax receipts, professional indemnity certificates whenever they need them.
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