u3a - Beacon

Beacon is the U3A movement’s integrated membership, groups, finance and mailing system. It has a dedicated webpage at beacon.u3a.org.uk.

Beacon was developed within the U3A and has one job: to support volunteers in their day-to-day work. Beacon will evolve to meet the future needs of U3As. The upgrade is being specified now by the Third Age Trust and by volunteers from U3As based all over the country.

Beacon’s membership module supports the maintenance of membership records in an intuitive way. It provides useful statistics, and it allows members to apply for and renew their membership online. The U3As that use this feature report increased member numbers, as it’s easier to join and renew online than by post or in person.

U3A Groups, something central to U3As but not other organisations, are an important and integral part of Beacon. Beacon allows the membership secretary to be confident that those attending groups are members of the U3A, and it allows group leaders/conveners to keep track of their members. It even provides a simple book-keeping ledger for the groups to use.

The Finance module provides the tools a U3A treasurer needs to maintain and report on accurate financial records. While some U3As use commercial finance packages these are expensive and require considerable, scarce, expertise. Beacon does not attempt to replace Sage. It provides the facilities to run the accounts of a U3A but stops before the complexity becomes more than a U3A volunteer can handle.

The Beacon mailing feature allows membership secretaries, group leaders/conveners and committee members to create customised mailing lists of their members and to send them information, complete with delivery tracking.

 

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