The next software product we will look at this week is the ClubNite Manager.
If you looked at the comparison chart I had over the years, you would have noticed that in the last update, I removed ClubNite Manager from the main list because I was not able to verify updates and features.
I was very surprised, and pleased, when I got Ed Campbell’s responses to my interview about the software. So you have probably realized that I have not met Ed personally and I have had no real communication with him which might explain his more detailed response. So now let’s take a look at my interview with Ed:
I feel the need to share that I do not receive any compensation of any type from any of the software products on my website. The information is made available to help you decide which product meets the need for your club.
Please share your heart behind why you developed and still offer/maintain the software.
This software was originally developed for use in our own club.
We were originally doing everything by hand but as our club grew we found we were unable to accomplish everything we needed to during our club time.
After developing the program to the point where it handled the needs of our own club, we decided after a couple of years we to share the program with any local clubs (in Hawaii) that were interested. A bit later decided to see if other clubs across the country might be interested using ClubNite Manager.
Despite charging for the use of the program, we do consider this to be a ministry. We came to realize that record keeping is a huge part in running a good club and we wanted other clubs to be able to put less time into managing record keeping and more time into the hands on work with the boys and girls.
It does take a lot of work to keep the program updated and to provide technical support, but we feel privileged to be able to be a small part of different clubs across the country.
The other factor that constantly encourages us to persevere is that we’ve found the users of ClubNite Manager to be amazingly understanding when it comes to dealing with support issues. Technical support issues can sometimes be frustrating and the fact that program users have been so kind and understanding is a real testimony to God working in the lives of His people.
What operating system(s) does your software currently run on?
Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows NT, Vista and Windows 7
Are there plans to have it available on Mac?
Unfortunately not at this time. The number of Mac users just isn’t large enough yet to justify developing a Mac version at this time.
With the proliferation and popularity of Smart Phones and Tablets (iPad, Droids, etc), have you considered having an app for the software? Would that even be feasible?
Again, at this time it would not be feasible, but it is something we may look into in the future.
Do you think that there will ever be a commercial web-based recordkeeping database for club use?
This is something that we’ve discussed and are interested in looking at what would be involved.
We feel that there are a number of users who would prefer working with a web-based application.
In this culture where people want immediate responses, if someone has an issue with the software during club, or at an odd hour of the night, is there any help for them? What type of support do you offer for the software?
We are located in Hawaii and that is an advantage when support is necessary during club time. Even if it is early evening (ex: 7:00pm) we are a minimum of 3 Or 4 hours behind the rest of the country so we are still available for any support issues that might arise. Our normal support hours would be from approximately 8:00am to about 7:00pm (Hawaii time).
We handle about 95% of support issues via email with perhaps 5% over the phone. Phone support is available on request and appointment. We are adding extra staff to assist with this year’s updates and new club startups.
How often do you update the software, and what do you do to help you decide what updates, or features, to add?
We offer a paid upgrade once a year, usually toward the end of summer (between late July and early September, depending on how much is involved). Free updates to the current registered version are made available through out the year. These contain both bug fixes and usually some small additional changes or new features.
Decisions on what to put into an update come from two sources. One is based on any changes Awana headquarters may make to the upcoming years material. The other is from current users and the suggestions that they offer. We are always looking for input from our users as they know what it is that they need and see things that we would perhaps not think of.
What are the key features of your software?
- Starting with version 7.0 program features are much easier to find as they are all available from the main toolbar. From the main toolbar you can access the clubber and leader tables, all reports (in a customizable report table), individual club settings, program settings, club calendars, data backup/restore, transfer clubbers option, automatic team setup option, etc.
- Individual settings are available for each club (as opposed to one general set of settings).
- Clubbers can be “checked out” of one computer and “checked in” to another computer. For clubs with out networks this option enables multiple computers to work with selected clubbers and then send them back to the main computer whenever you wish to have all information available from one computer. This can be a very useful feature.
- The clubber table has a powerful query feature that makes it possible to select clubbers to pass to certain reports
- All reports have the ability to select what club or combination of grades you wish to run the report for
- All reports have the ability to be sorted and do page breaks on a combination of about a half dozen fields (ex: grade, gender, team, leader, etc.)
- There is a year end forecasting report for determining what clubbers will most likely complete their handbooks and what year end awards they will earn. This is a very powerful tool that can reduce the stress and work of figuring out what awards to order and making sure you have awards for all clubbers that are suppose to receive them.
- Clubbers can be “selected” by clicking in the select column on the clubber table. This then allows you to run different options using only the selected clubbers.
- Using the help button or right clicking on the clubber table will bring up a table of options that can be applied to the highlighted clubber or selected clubbers. A few of these options are the ability to change the team, church, leader, etc. for all selected clubbers
- There is an option to help you automatically create your teams based on how many points clubbers earn by passing sections and for their attendance check-in categories. You can fine tune your teams after they have been created by simply dragging and dropping clubbers to the different teams and seeing how the average team point total changes.
- Data backup feature has an option to automatically upload your backup to ClubNite Manager Tech Support in cases where Tech Support is needed to resolve a problem of some sort.
- This summers release (v8.0) will contain a new club night summary report.
- Many of the tables (all of them in version 8.0) have the ability to change the font of the table and the size of the individual table rows.
- For clubs just starting to use ClubNite Manager there is a “quick update” screen for all handbooks that will speed up the process of getting clubbers current handbooks entered quickly.
Some people think that some of the record keeping software is an Awana product. I know that you are a “third party” product, meaning that you are not developed by, or supported by Awana, you are completely independent of Awana. How do you find out about revisions to the Awana program (like the change to bones and patches from seals for T&T)?
There are a few sources from which we find out what changes have occurred.
ClubNite Manger purchases all new handbooks that have been promoted as changed or new and we examine those and update our software. Last year the Sparks club added Book 3 and we were ready to help clubs with the new records need to track clubber progress.
We are personally involved in our local club and look into the training that is available. We talk regularly with our local AWANA commander and records keepers to stay in tune with the needs of clubs. We also have a few clubs that help us out by passing on any news that they hear regarding changes or additions.
Finally, we can contact our local Awana missionaries and talk to them regarding any changes. This is actually our best source as they are the closest to the source of the changes.
What is the best way for someone to see and evaluate your software?
The best way to evaluate ClubNite Manager is to download the full evaluation version from our website (www.clubnitemanager.Com\download-eval.htm).
This is the full program with all features of the program active and working.
The evaluation version comes with a full set of sample data (436 clubbers, 165 leaders) which makes it very easy and useful in testing out all the different features of the program under real circumstances. To enter live data all the user must do is to switch from “Sample Data” to “Live Data”.
This evaluation version is good for 30 days and any live data that is entered into the “Live Data” section is still available if the user purchases the program and enters their registration key. The sample data will always be available in the “Sample Data” folder and users can switch back and forth from live data to sample data. This is useful if you want to do some experimenting but don’t want to risk messing up your live data.
Please share anything else about you and the software that you think would benefit clubs that are looking at which software package to use for their club.
ClubNite Manger is working diligently to have the best software for automating churches tracking AWANA club and their clubbers. ClubNite Manger is dedicated to providing the best software for churches of all sizes. We try to treat each club with the same quality of support and with a personal touch, whether your club has 20 clubbers or 200.
Also, we understand that Awana clubs, just like individuals, are effected by these financially difficult times, so if you are looking for a record keeping program but finances are an issue please contact us and we will work it out so that you are able to use ClubNite Manager.
As mentioned above, we do see this as more of a ministry than a business, so if that means supplying clubs with a free license we will do so. We have done this in the past and will continue to do so if it helps clubs run more effectively.
God has made this it possible for us to develop this program and we understand that it belongs to Him, to use for His glory, not ours.
To learn more about the software, please visit their website
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