Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Letter from the Executive Director: New Technology Means Less Paper

I’ve been gradually trying to free myself from paper for the past few years. I used to love to write on paper, but now I prefer struggling through the process of writing on my laptop—writing one sloppy draft and then editing each line with the taps of my keyboard. The same is true for filling out forms: I would much rather fill out paperwork on my computer through an online system or by filling out a document and emailing it back to someone. The alternative is more time-consuming: 1) Pick up the form or print it out. 2) Search for a pen that works or a pencil that is sharpened. 3) Fill out the form. 4) Attach the check or other necessary items. 5) Look through my desk for an envelope. 6) Address the envelope and search for a return address label. 7) Dig through my junk drawer for a stamp. 8) Go to the post office to mail it.

We don’t often think about it in these terms, but the old-fashioned way is also a lot harder on the environment. We’re using unnecessary paper and the form has to travel by vehicle to get to its destination. (Vo von Sehlen, the Green Efforts Director for the Missoula Marathon is loving me right now!)

You may have noticed that Run Wild Missoula has gradually made some changes to eliminate paper and do our part to save some trees and reduce pollution.

Online Membership & Training Class Registration
Since May of last year, new and renewed memberships can be purchased through www.runwildmissoula.org. Everyone with an email address has a unique username and password. If you don’t know your username and password, click “forgot password” in the upper right hand corner of the web site. If we have your email address on file you will immediately get your username and password emailed to you. Once you have this information you can also register online for training classes, log your miles for the 1200 Mile Club and communicate with other members through the forums.

Please, please, please renew your membership online and register for your next training class online. This saves staff and volunteers so much time. Plus we don’t have to store your membership and training class form in a box for 7 years. (Instead, we have it saved in a computer file for 7 years, which takes up a lot less space.) We hope you will also find online registration more convenient as you won’t have to go through the 8 steps outlined above and spend extra money on a stamp.

We don’t have race registration through www.runwildmissoula.org right now, but we do offer it through other registration web sites such as active.com and webconnex.com, which are linked from the RWM web site.

Kiosk at the Runner’s Edge
Don’t have access to a computer? Run Wild Missoula recently installed a kiosk for online registration and RWM web site browsing at the Runner’s Edge, 325 N. Higgins Ave. The Runner’s Edge has been kind enough to let RWM leave membership, race and training class forms at the store for customers. They have even gone as far as to let Run Wild Missoula leave a credit card machine at the Runner’s Edge so customers can pay for RWM events with their debit or credit cards. And most recently the Runner’s Edge agreed to let RWM install a kiosk at the front of their store. We hope the kiosk will take a little pressure off the Runner’s Edge staff and that people will start using it to register online for membership and upcoming events. Thank you, Runner’s Edge. You are amazing in all of the ways you support Run Wild Missoula.

Try out the kiosk and let us know what you think. Please email websupport@runwildmissoula.org if you have problems or questions.

Running Wild Newsletter is Online
Running Wild, the monthly newsletter, tirelessly put together each month by Newsletter Editor Chris Everett and other RWM members, will be available online ONLY starting May 1. Yes, you heard correctly. This is something we have struggled with for over a year. We encouraged members last year to get the newsletter by email instead of having it mailed to their home. Many of you responded—thank you. This helped our printing and mailing costs, but they are still not as low as we’d like them to be. We know many of you enjoy having the newsletter in your hands like you do your newspaper and coffee every morning. Once the RWM newsletter goes paperless you will still get an email each month with a link to the newsletter. You can still view the newsletter and past newsletters on the web site: http://www.runwildmissoula.org/index.php/fuseaction/newsletter.main.htm If you think you’re more likely to read it if you can hold it in your hand, consider printing it out on scrap paper and then recycling the paper when you are finished. Chris Everett will also continue to print extra copies to be left at the Runner’s Edge for those who really want a hard copy.

Online Forums
Races, training classes and group runs are great places to meet and talk to other runners and walkers. But when you need a little extra support late at night or when the weather is so horrendous you can’t go outside (like last week) it’s nice to have some cyber support. Facebook and Twitter are great tools to communicate with others. Run Wild Missoula also has online forums at http://www.runwildmissoula.org/index.php/fuseaction/forum.main.htm. Lately, there has been some interesting dialogue on the forums. Check them out. Also, if you are interested in helping RWM pique more interest in the forums, please contact me at eva@runwildmissoula.org.

Thanks for doing your part to help cut down on paper by taking advantage of Run Wild Missoula’s recent technological changes.

Keep Runnin’ & Walkin’,
- Eva Dunn-Froebig

1 comment:

b2theburns said...

It is awesome all that you are doing to reduce the amount of waste. Are there going to be fee free ways to register on line?