Wednesday, 15 June 2016 11:17

VP Membership annual report 2015-2016

Vice-President (Membership) – Harry Huffman

Another busy year for me but I did manage to participate in most of the CSBE-SCGAB Council meetings via conference call as well as the ASABE Membership Development Committee meeting in December (also via telephone conference call).

We were able to introduce a new membership fee category for international members working in countries with lower income status which began for 2016 memberships.

New membership certificates and a welcoming letter were prepared and distributed in November, 2015 and again in May of 2016 for those people first joining our organization in each of these years. Thank you to our very capable Society Manager, John Feddes for doing all of the paper work.

Any current members who do not have a membership certificate and would like one should contact our Society Manager, John Feddes or myself.

The term of initial membership for students was clarified as being between 5 and 16 months. A membership application made in September at the start of fall school term would run until December 31 of the following calendar year. Any application received between January and August in the current year would only be effective until December 31 of that same year.

Along with Ontario Regional Director, Hugh Fraser, we promoted membership in the CSBE-SCGAB at a careers night held at the University of Guelph in January 2016 and gave out 10 free 1-year student memberships to CSBE/SCGAB as a way to introduce them to our organization.  

I was in contact with Mark Crossley, Membership Director of ASABE regarding the possibility of streamlining membership renewal with the use of automatic credit card debiting after email communication with the member. However, ASABE was not receptive to the idea given a number of pit falls that they have discovered with this type of approach. Mark’s response was as follows: “We have discussed this in the past, and while it seems easy enough, other organizations that do this have told me it’s nothing but trouble. Not only do you have to worry about outdated credit card information (exp dates, security codes, updated card numbers, etc…), there’s also the security issue. As it currently stands, we don’t retain credit card information (it’s encrypted), as it goes through PayPal. While I know PP has been problematic for a lot of Canadian members, we’re very close to having an alternative processing system in place for taking CC payments going forward. I’ll keep you posted on that.  Regards – Mark”

Again this year (2016) our big concern was the large number of members who did not renew their membership for 2016. As of the end of March 2016, 53 members and 118 students had not renewed their membership (total of 426 paid memberships received to date). I requested that the Regional Directors try to make a personal contact with these potential members as I did with all of the unpaid international members to give them a gentle nudge to re-join the fold.

It would appear that the various personal contacts by Regional Directors and the Vice President (Membership) were effective, since the over-all 2016 membership numbers did rebound significantly but are still lower than 2015 final numbers by about 14%. It is likely that we will pick up a few more student members once the fall semester begins but that does not address the decline in the general membership category.   




Number of Members

December 2013

692 including 288 students & grad students

December 2014

689 including 300 students & grad students

December 2015

632 including 265 students & grad students

May 2016

541 including 223 students & grad students

I believe that declining membership numbers is an issue that will need to be addressed by the incoming vice president of membership and the rest of council.

Ending on a bright note, we have welcomed 3 new full members, 52 new student members and 10 new graduate student members for 2016.

Published in VP Membership Report
Wednesday, 15 June 2016 10:30

Webmaster Annual Report 2015-2016

Last year was quite busy, especially with the Annual Conference in Halifax where a new system for paper submission and registration was implemented and more tasks were transferred to me. I managed the website as usual and I'm now looking for a major version update to ease future maintenance, enhance mobile compatibility, and improve security.

Annual General Meeting 2016 in Halifax

I was involved in the meeting organization at different levels:

  • Contracting, configuration, management, and support of the new system for paper submission and registrations (Conftool).
  • Configuration and maintenance of an event section on our website (http://www.csbe-scgab.ca/halifax2016).
  • Sending of several emails to current members (list of about 600 emails) through our mail server platform (Mailchimp) and to conference’s delegates and authors (through Conftool mail server).
  • Training of members of the committee for the use of the paper submission system and registration management (sessions, database, reports, Paypal, online invoices).
  • Updating the conference program (online and printed version).
  • Participation in committee’s meetings.

Newsletters and Notices to members

A total of 20 newsletters and notices were sent between July 2015 and June 2016 to a list of 605 members. The opening rate increased from 30% last year to nearly 40%. We now use the Mailchimp online service to send mass mail.

Executive Council Election

For the 3rd year, CSBE used the ElectionBuddy online service for Executive Council elections. With the help of Grant Clark (communication with nominees), the online system was set up and voting tokens sent out to members.

Website statistics report (www.csbe-scgab.ca)

Between June 2015 and June 2016, CSBE website was visited 16617 times (1384 monthly average) with 42000 pages viewed which is 15% more than the previous year (about 14500 visits). An average of 2.55 pages per visit with duration of about 2:15 minutes was met.

The audience was mainly English (70%) and French (8%) and came from Canada (53%), USA (10 %), China (8%), India (3%) and many other countries (Brazil, Germany, UK…). 

Main traffic came from organic search (53%), followed by direct access (27%), site referral (18%) and social media (1.2%).

Main pages/sections viewed were the home page, Halifax 2016 portal, Publications, Edmonton 2015 portal, CBE Journal information page, and Join CSBE page.

Visitor browser preferences were Chrome (49%), Safari (16%), Firefox (15%), and Internet Explorer (14%). 82 % of visits were from a desktop/laptop station while 15 % were on mobile (phone and tablet). Mobile access increases from previous years (11% in 2015, 8% in 2014).

Social Medias. About 200 visits were referred from social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Research Gate…)

Help needed for Social Media management

My tasks as webmaster are mainly to manage the website, to publish the newsletter, and to assist the CSBE Council and the Conference LAC with online services. That said, I have only limited time to manage our Facebook and LinkedIn account. I would appreciate some help from one of our member who is comfortable with social media management. It’s a great opportunity to get involve in the CSBE. The time devoted to this activity is 2 to 3 hours per month.  This task involves:

  • Post news items, announcements and job opportunities on Facebook and LinkedIn
  • Initiate discussions and interact with members online;
  • Manage access requests to our social media pages.

Please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to seize this opportunity!

Published in Webmaster Reports