Dutch Celiac Association

“What I particularly liked about working with Procurios, is that they really understand associations with all their peculiarities.”

  • 19.000 Members
  • 11 Employees
  • 200 Volunteers

Members first

The Dutch Celiac Association (NCV) is perhaps the most fun patient association in the Netherlands, with nearly 19,000 members and over 200 volunteers


Everything is linked

After a demo, the NCV was impressed with the specialized and complete member administration software that is part of the Procurios platform


User-friendly online member administration

Thanks to the new platform, the NCV employees can do their job with more ease and a better insight and overview

“It saves us a day of work every week” 

The Dutch Celiac Association (NCV) is perhaps the most fun patient association in the Netherlands, with nearly 19,000 members and over 200 volunteers. In the bureau organization behind it, eleven employees go all out to support existing and new members and the countless volunteers.

The association makes life on a gluten-free diet more pleasant and easier by sharing knowledge, licensing the Crossed Grain quality mark and organizing various events. It also stimulates scientific research into celiac disease and related disorders.

“Our association is growing rapidly,” NCV director Floris van Overveld says. He explains that celiac disease can manifest itself very differently in people. At its core, the immune system reacts hostilely to gluten – a protein from grains – and thereby affects the own body.

“Clinically, this can manifest itself in various ways, such as digestive symptoms, obesity, underweight, as well as fatigue and depression.” This diversity means that celiac disease is not always diagnosed, or that it takes a long time to diagnose. “Yet there is an upward trend,” Van Overveld sees. “There is increasing attention for the disease. We also know more and more, which makes general practitioners and other specialists diagnose celiac disease faster.”

“The Procurios people understand associations very well; they understand what you want.”

Crossed Grain quality mark

The NCV originated in 1974 as a typical for/by association. “And in fact it still is,” Van Overveld says. “Our volunteer base is very large, everyone helps each other. For example, we organize children’s camps and baking workshops, but also markets where suppliers offer their gluten-free products. We hold information meetings and did an extensive gluten-free buffet at Christmas last year.”

All those events have in common that they revolve around food. “That makes our association perhaps the most fun in the Netherlands,” the NCV director smiles. “Because with us it’s always about food.” What also makes the association unique, is that it’s a Benelux licensee of the Crossed Grain label. Producers and suppliers of gluten-free products can apply to the association for a license to use the quality mark for their products. The NCV then arranges for an external audit, and if the supplier meets the requirements, the association provides the license.

A system for the future

“The old system didn’t really suffice, because it was actually a financial system with the member information behind it. We preferred it the other way around: a system in which our members are at the center.”

  • Ready for the future
  • Members at the center of the system
  • Full integration

Scientific field

The scientific field surrounding celiac disease and related syndromes is well-organized. This means that the association has many contacts with relevant professors, doctors and researchers. “This keeps us informed about what is going on and which new insights we can translate to our members. In addition, we can ensure that treatments become better and more accessible, and that research is conducted to eliminate celiac disease.”

His own background as a pharmacochemist helps Van Overveld with this. “I understand the scientific side and that helps when talking to doctors and scientists. In addition, I know a bit about analytical methods.” The combination of his scientific background with his years of experience in various associations, ensures that Van Overveld is in the right place at the NCV as director. “This is where it all comes together.”

New online member administration

Until recently, the NCV used an accounting system for membership administration, once recommended by their accountant. “The system didn’t really suffice, because it was actually a financial system with the member information behind it. We preferred it the other way around: a system in which our members are at the center.”

So the NCV started looking for a system in which the member administration could be kept up-to-date, but which also allowed for links to, for example, the website and financial system. “A big wish was that our members could keep track of their own data via the website. Previously, when new members signed up, we’d receive an email. The data then had to be entered manually into our system. As you can imagine, this is not only time-consuming, but also hugely error-prone.”


Specialized software for member administration

When Van Overveld took office as director of the association, there was already a quotation for a CRM package, but it was somewhat on the pricey side, to say the least. “Moreover, Dynamics is a standard package and not specifically aimed at associations. That would mean that we would need customization, which often results in extra hassle and expense.” To help make the right choice, the NCV engaged an external consultant who did comparative research in the market for solid membership administration software packages.

Seamless integration

After a demo, the NCV was impressed with the specialized and complete member administration software. “The completeness appealed to us,” Van Overveld says. “Of course, it’s also a risk when you only have one system, because it makes you less flexible. Yet it also offers a lot of convenience, because while other, less complete systems claim that they integrate easily with other software, you often see that such integrations cost blood, sweat and tears. Moreover, with such integrations you never know what will happen if you change something on either side.”

Van Overveld called a number of reference customers of Procurios and found out that the platform contains almost all the necessary modules. “Perhaps not all as specialized as separate point solutions, but in the end we found the seamless integration more important than state-of-the-art.”

A true partner

“The Procurios people understand associations very well; they understand what you want.”

  • Partnership
  • Professionally opinionated
  • Expertise
Websitepagina NCV

Implementation process

The implementation had to happen relatively quickly, because the license of the accounting system was about to expire. That had put us under some pressure. In addition, an external designer was renewing the NCV website. Combined with the initial lockdown, which made the implementation process completely virtual, it was “a difficult process,” Van Overveld admits. “For all of us, it was the first time we had to do something like this virtually. It’s very different when you can sit together in the office for a few days.”

For the NCV, it was also the first time to do a project in scrum. “That also took some getting used to,” Van Overveld laughs. “But I really enjoyed being able to daily determine our priorities with the team, and to discuss how we were going to approach this. It’s also very nice to really build a bond with the team. The Procurios people understand associations very well; they understand what you want.”

Going live

Initially, the NCV was hoping to have the new member administration system live just before summer, but because some issues had to be handled and tested, it was postponed until after the summer. “This meant we didn’t have any sprint weeks with Procurios during the summer months. It did make me a little nervous, because our tests showed we still had to make some adjustments. I found it exciting when we went live in mid-September, but Procurios assured us it was going to be fine. Although it felt like a leap of faith to us, after a particularly intensive week, it did indeed work out.”

Robust, specialized system

The new member administration system saves the NCV’s bureau organization a huge amount of time. “I think in terms of man-hours, it saves us a whole day per week,” Van Overveld says. “A whole lot can be done with the system, which surprises me very positively. It took us some time to get to grips with it, but I think the time saved will only increase as we become more proficient with the software.” In time, the NCV would like to expand the use of the new platform, for example by adding the licensing administration of the quality mark.

“With my experience in the association business, I can say that the Procurios system we use at the NCV, really is one of the better ones – If not the best – I have seen so far.”

Van Overveld praises the robustness of the platform and the fact that the specialized membership administration software integrates with, for example, the website and other software packages. “What I particularly liked about working with Procurios, is that they really understand associations with all their peculiarities. With my experience in the association life, I can say that the system we now use at the NCV is really one of the better ones – if not the best – I have seen so far.”

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