OV couple to help schools streamline communication - The Explorer: Business

OV couple to help schools streamline communication

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Posted: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 4:00 am

Tanja and Jens Eltze created a software program for Parent Teacher Organizations and Parent Teacher Associations while they lived in Texas. Now, living in Oro Valley, the couple wants to bring their cost-effective and simplistic approach to organizing the thousands of names, addresses and contact information to school groups in the Northwest.

The Eltze’s were volunteers in their PTA while in Texas and learned of the struggles of having to get numerous volunteers on the same page, while keeping the repetitive workload to a minimum.

Tanja found that the person in charge of organizing the memberships was doing some of the same work as the directory volunteer. The volunteer in charge of the book fair also was compiling the same information, too. They all were gathering their own contact information, rather than sharing across the board.

“If we put all the data that everyone needs into one database, it would be much more efficient and faster,” Tanja said. “It is also easier for everyone to just put it in once and then use it in different ways.”

With the consolidation, the president of the group could then send out mass emails to families to let them know about school events. The volunteer in charge of the book fair could search by volunteer status to see which parents are willing to help with a book fair.

The couple approached the idea of making Members & More with three things in mind. They wanted it to be safe, reasonably priced and easy to use.

“All of this student data is very sensitive,” Tanja said. “You can tell if somebody is male, female, how old they are, where they live. So we decided to go with the solution that it is not online.”

The directory of information is given to people. In turn, they need to have a particular access code that works just for them with their copy of the program.

The couple says the program is affordable and reasonably priced at a one-time fee of $179 for each organization. This includes unlimited support over the phone and email.

Tanja said there are other programs similar to theirs where there is an annual fee for the cost of their one-time fee.

“We don’t think it is right to charge a lot for something that is financed by donations,” Tanja said.

After two years on the market in Texas, the couple has sold their program to about 75 different PTAs and PTOs.

Susan Baker, who lives in Frisco, Texas, volunteers on two different PTAs and has been involved with them in some fashion for the past nine years.

Currently, Baker is the president for the PTA at an elementary school and the treasurer for a middle school.  

“One of the optimal features of their software is the ability to communicate with everyone via email,” Baker said.

She said they used to do a lot of paper communications. Each week hundreds of copies would be made and sent out to the families.

“What they have allowed us to do is to communicate over email and text. That has allowed us to be greener, obviously, and it is easier to give people last minute reminders and keep people more up to date without having to plan ahead as much.”

In the past, her PTAs would have to plan ahead of time what they wanted printed, have it approved, then printed, followed by physically getting it to the families.

To find out more about the Members & More software, go to www.membersandmore.com.

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