There's no catch. The software was written as free and open source. In addition, by leveraging the generosity of other members of the software community we have few ongoing costs. Notable examples of this generosity are...
It's fair to say that without the generosity of this resource our project would have not gotten off the ground. Microsoft provides an ongoing grant for nonprofits on it's Azure cloud service. This provides solid infrastructure on which to build our software.
To reach its full potential good software requires good documentation. Help + Manual provides a great toolkit to create that documentation.
Getting software to look great on any device large or small is hard work. Browserstack assists in providing virtual environments in which to do our testing.
There are two ongoing pay-by-subscription costs that we recommend...
Domain Name. A domain name is the first step in obtaining reliable email delivery. Domain names such as YourU3A.org.au or YourU3A.au can currently be purchased in Australia for about $20.00 per year.
Reliable email. Sure, you can continue sending email to your members using a personal email account. However, it will increasingly be considered spam and bounce in high numbers. You're much better off paying about $5.00 per month to use the services of a professional Email Service Provider. In doing so you will find that 99% of your email is reliably delivered.
Need further proof? Take a look at the results from a 30 day period for one of our U3A groups...
In addition, we optionally process new member payments and member renewals via the Eway online payments system . The merchant fee structure is available on their website but budget $1.00 for a $50.00 membership payment.
The first source of assistance is our online help system. You can view it by clicking here. You may notice the lack of images in the help documentation. That's because it is designed to be context-sensitive meaning the help displayed is determined by what you are doing with the software. You don't need images because the image is the software. Here's an example ...
The second source of help will be one or more knowledgeable members within your U3A. These members will be nominated by your U3A and will be known to U3Admin.org.au. They will be the points of contact between your U3A and our organisation and will provide frontline assistance to your members.
The third source of help is our growing U3A user base. Feel free to contact our community for assistance. As your U3A becomes proficient in the use of the software, you too can participate in our community of members helping members.
Our software is web-based and therefore any device (phone, tablet or PC) capable of running a web browser will execute the application with the following caveats ...
Apple iOS devices (iPhone and iPad) version 12.5 or below are not suitable. These are devices that are now more than 5 years of age and unfortunately, Apple does not update its Safari browser on these older devices. Apple iOS devices version greater than 12.5 have no problems.
We are using modern secure web technologies available on all other internet browsers. Just make sure your internet browser is up to date.
Our Administration Website is the system's workhorse. There are some screens that contain a lot of detail. Do yourself and your office volunteers a favour and use a quality minimum 13.5 inch screen with reasonable resolution.
Our Administration Website also allows an authorised person to process online payments on behalf of members. It allows office staff for example, to process membership renewals. To do so they will need to execute the software in a special environment optimised for security. If you choose to use this facility, a device running the Microsoft Windows operating system version 10 or higher will be required.
A great question!
Consider your data a pot of gold. By keeping that pot small, we minimise it's value to bad actors. Therefore, we only collect members data considered absolutely necessary to manage and administer your U3A and, when it is no longer considered necessary we proactively delete it.
Secondly, your data is encrypted at rest and in transit. That means it is encrypted when it is stored in the database and when it is transferred over the Internet. The only time it is not encrypted is when the data is displayed on the screen of a person authorised to view it.
Thirdly, your data is housed in a Microsoft Azure datacenter located in Australia. Click here for details on Microsoft security.
Finally, our software provides role-based access to your data. A person must authenticate to gain access to our software and that authentication determines the level of access or authorisation that person has to our software functions and your data.
We do not store any password created by you. Never, ever.
We do not store your bank account or credit/debit card details. Never, ever.