The Case Management System happened in very much the same way. There was a need for a way to collect UFO reports from the public and assign them to MUFON Field Investigators (FI’s) for follow-up. And afterwards be able to go back and retrieve a case and the investigation files on a moment’s notice. Before CMS everything was paper files, and trying to retrieve a case once it had been submitted was a laborious, if not impossible task. Yes, there was an initial attempt to create an online system by the name of WUFOD (Worldwide UFO Database) in the late 80’s, early 90’s, but that collapsed under its own weight due to not being user friendly.
For CMS the initial development team consisted of Tomas Karlsson, Bob Rawlinson and myself, and took six months of almost daily meetings to complete. After a year or two of working with CMS it became apparent that there were improvements that could be made to make it even more useful as a tool for our State Director’s and UFO investigators. So a second effort was mounted by Tomas Karlsson, Terry Groff and John Jenner to update CMS and create CMS II. Today CMS II is the primary tool for our Field Investigative organization to receive UFO reports from the public, perform a scientific UFO Investigation and post the results, as well as be able to retrieve that report and all of its documentation days, weeks, or months later.
But the true heart and soul of MUFON is our Field Investigator organization starting with each and every Field Investigator up through the State Section Directors (SSDs), Chief Investigators (CIs) and finally the State or National Director (SD/ND). The number of volunteer hours poured into the FI effort is staggering. Somewhere between 500 and 1000 sighting reports are received by MUFON each and every month and need to be reviewed and investigated. And yet, there is always more that needs to be done.
Projects are stacking up at headquarters and at the state and national level looking for leaders to run them, as well as people who just want to be part of the team to make it happen. These projects include everything from scanning document files, to posting old paper case files into CMS so they become part of our online CMS repository. Also, our new website needs fresh content daily as well as help keeping it current and up to date. We need knowledgeable technical people from CIOs and IT Strategists on down to web programmers and a webmaster to help keep MUFON on the leading edge of technology. People with Perl and MySQL programming skills are also needed. On the membership and marketing side we need professional fundraisers and marketing people who are proficient with tools like Constant Contact and GiftWorks to keep us on the cutting edge as a membership organization. The list is endless and always will be. If you have one of these talents and have a fire burning within to help, please let me know. No one person can do this alone, it will take all of us working together to make MUFON the world class UFO organization we are now, and will continue to be in the future with your help.