Volunteering to help the volunteers

Isaak Dury, TidyHQ’s CEO and founder.

Volunteers are the lifeblood of sporting clubs and community organisations, but how often does someone put their hand up to help them? Enter TidyHQ, which is gaining traction with larger member-based organisations such as the Australian Football League (AFL) and the Law Society of NSW.

By Martin Lenehan

For TidyHQ’s CEO and founder Isaak Dury, years spent toiling on committees and exhaustedly running a football club were the catalyst to launch a platform to streamline operations.

Volunteering is hard enough, Dury thought, and those at club land deserve more time enjoying their passion and less time in administration.

At one stage, Dury was balancing his role as president of the West Coast Amateur Football Club in Perth with a burgeoning professional business portfolio, which made the crusade for developing TidyHQ a personal one.

In partnership with his uncle, Alan Barkla CPA, Dury set out in 2010 to develop club management software for people managing sporting clubs. 

“I was on a range of other committees and each of these experiences was equally as bad as the next because there was no succession planning, no transparency and little governance,” he says. 

Each generation of the committee struggled as it went through the same learning curve as the previous administration, and Dury decided there had to be a better way. 

Australia’s 70,000 amateur sports clubs and 300,000 other non-sporting bodies can face constant pressure to attract and retain volunteers, and Dury and Barkla believed it would be easier to attract and keep people if the job was made easier. 

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“I feel there are no fewer good-hearted people in the world than there were in previous generations, but people are now more time-poor and more critical of what they are spending their time on,” says Dury. “If they are going to put their hand up and volunteer, then it needs to be an easy job for them to understand.” 

During the development of TidyHQ, Dury was studying a master’s degree in IT, which included a focus on enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems such as Salesforce and Oracle, which considerably helped the development of TidyHQ. 

“I knew I wanted something like that, but it had to be so simple that any volunteer at any level could pick it up without training and intuitively carry on,” Dury says. 

“Version one included linking together other third-party solutions, which included linking MailChimp with PayPal and a website and have them sync together. 

“It was all working well, but then I got a job in New York and when I went away it all fell apart because the guys at the football club weren’t sure how it all worked together.” 

On his return to Australia, he became club president and decided to rebuild the system. 

He and Barkla changed the name from TidyClub to TidyHQ as other associations, schools, playgroups and professional bodies joined up. 

Now, 700 organisations in 32 countries including the UK, the US and New Zealand use it. 

“If they are going to put their hand up and volunteer, then it needs to be an easy job for them to understand.” Isaak Dury.

Dury admits he could have thrown in the towel many times but is glad he persisted, as TidyHQ is gaining traction with larger member-based organisations such as the Australian Football League (AFL) and the Law Society of NSW. 

“The likes of the United Nations of Australia, various chamber of commerce groups, and recently the Law Society with 30,000 lawyers, are starting to validate what we are doing,” says Dury. “More customers are the best validation there is. Our agreement with the AFL has been ongoing since 2015, and we are talking to other national sporting bodies as well.” 

One of the biggest issues he has faced has been working out how to monetise the project, which is something Dury and Barkla have addressed during the past 12 months. 

“Prior to 2017, the TidyHQ product was basically free, but with a change in our marketing in the last six months we are now seeing increasing revenue month on month,” says Dury. 

“The majority of organisations fit into the A$39 per month pricing plan. That gets them all the tools they need to run their club, which includes customer relationship management [CRM], the ability to send communications like newsletters in group mails, basic finances, running events and event ticketing.” 

The program allows clubs to do treasurer’s reporting and invoicing through TidyHQ. 

Dury says the meetings functionality is another popular feature, as club secretaries can get fully formatted minutes with the click of a button. 

TidyHQ has also introduced a shop facility for clients to sell merchandise use add-ons like the Pages app, which allows organisations to use TidyHQ for their website.

“It’s been a hard journey, but fortunately our customers genuinely love what we’re doing and that keeps us going,” Dury says.

One Piece of Advice:

“Patience, hard work and persistence are never truly illustrated and often bear a cost beyong any monetary value, so you need to do it for yourself and for all the right reasons.”

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November 2018
November 2018

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