Welcome to ClubRunner's BlogSpot

Welcome to ClubRunner's BlogSpot - the place to stay on the pulse of hot off the press news updates about product developments, service announcements, local events and so much more!

Also, you can initiate discussions and share information among fellow ClubRunner users.

Your feedback is always welcome and necessary to help us make ClubRunner better. We want to know what you like, what you don't and what's on your wish list. Please let us know how we can enhance our service.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 - Year in Review

2015 has been a whirlwind year for us at ClubRunner with lots of changes and growth. It is only with your support and encouragement that we are where we are today and why we were able to hit so many milestones.

Connecting with Clubs

We love when we get the chance to connect with our customers and share in their success stories. 2015 began with our first stop at the 2015 Rotary International Assembly in San Diego, where we met with our District champions and had the opportunity to meet some great new leaders and establish new relationships. We're proud to say that as of December 2015, we serve 122 Districts and more than 5,000 clubs worldwide. From mid-February until March end, we continued our journey by attending 17 President-Elect Training seminars. Seeing champions reunite at our booths and sharing best practices, we brought home some great memories. At home, we had the opportunity to welcome several visiting Rotarians to our own office for training, best practice and even focus group sessions.
We look forward to meeting everyone once again next year with even more features to unveil!

More Solutions, New Versions

In July, we released new levels of ClubRunner to meet the unique needs of each individual club with the release of ClubRunner Lite to clubs of all sizes and ClubRunner Admin Only in addition to the Standard Version.
ClubRunner Lite is a great option for clubs that need just the necessities for public relations like a website or newsletter, while the Admin Version is for clubs that still want to take advantage of all the administration and member management features but maintain their website outside of ClubRunner. 
Now, no matter what your needs or budget, we have a solution just for you!

Customer Wish List

Every year, we receive hundreds upon hundreds of suggestions from customers about features they would like to see in ClubRunner. Our goal is to incorporate as many suggestions as we can. This year, our development team worked very hard to meet these requests and implemented 596 new features into the ClubRunner system, both big and small. From new website and bulletin themes and color variations to page and widget customization properties; from improving the Photo Albums module to making enhancements to the Events module - we made a lot of remarkable changes to ClubRunner. View our Service Updates from this past year by clicking here.

Taking Attendance

You asked for it, and we delivered! We redesigned the Attendance module based on all the feedback we've received over the years. Giving you the ability to bank and track make-ups, record guests and visitors, open up past meetings to recalculate attendance, customize attendance rules based on member type, and more, this module caters to the unique attendance needs of each club. Learn more by clicking here.

Seeking Volunteers

This year, we re-launched the number one feature all volunteer groups need - the all-new Volunteers module! Redesigned and revamped, the Volunteers module was created to cater to virtually any scenario where you need to co-ordinate people in various commitments, organized by time, day, task or group. Great for event shifts, volunteers, committee signups or anything involving a schedule, you can now build your own signup sheets and automate the communication process behind it, so you can focus on more pressing matters. For more information on getting started with this module, click here.

Support in a Nutshell

The support team had a busy but great year answering more than 23,390 support emails alone. As part of our mission to provide you with the best support and access to support resources, we  added new on-demand videos in addition to  recorded webinars to help you familiarize yourself with the all features available to you. New guides and help articles were added throughout the year to the library so you can find answers to any questions you may have. Visit www.ClubRunnerSupport.com to view our updated knowledgebase, access new on-demand videos, help resources and more.
Here is to a great 2015! In the new year, we have even more resolve and commitment to continue improving ClubRunner for you.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Happy Holidays from the ClubRunner Team!

Happy Holidays!

...from the ClubRunner family to yours.

 (Click to play, make sure to have your speakers up!)

As the year comes to an end, our thoughts turn graciously to those who made our success possible this year. Thank you for all your support!

Here's to all of you and your accomplishments in 2015! May 2016 be a prosperous, joyous and service above self year for all!

Please note that our hours of operation during the holiday season are as follows:

  • Thursday, December 24, 2015 - Closed
  • Friday, December 25, 2015 - Closed
  • Monday, December 28, 2015 - Closed
  • Tuesday, December 29, 2015 - 9:00am - 5:00pm EST
  • Wednesday, December 30, 2015 - 9:00am - 5:00pm EST
  • Thursday, December 31, 2015 - 9:00am - 12:30om EST
  • Friday, January 1, 2015 - Closed

Friday, December 18, 2015

Tip of the Week: Story formatting

Story with different fonts

Your new story is ready to go but you notice that the font and font size for the paragraphs is not the same. The look of the text you typed in directly into the editor looks different than the text you copied in. Some sentences are in a different color, and you want to change this. Short of having to rewrite your entire article, isn't there anything you can do to remove all that extra formatting?

A hidden secret, did you know that you can easily remove all formatting from your stories and widgets? Think of it like a 'restore to default' option!

When you want to remove the formatting that appears in your stories, simply highlight the text you want to edit and click on the "Remove Formatting" button. This changes the font, font size, and color to what is set as the default for the website theme you are using. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Tip of the week!

We've featured many articles on making bulletin preparation and sending easy and the focus today is on Plain Text bulletins. What is a plain text bulletin? Simply said, it's your newsletter without the images or text styling - it's text only.

Some of your members use email clients that do not render HTML messages. When this happens, their email client automatically displays the plain text version of the newsletter, if one was made available. If there is no plain text version to go along with your newsletter, you run the risk of having readers see garbled HTML code rather than content.
Visually impaired members may also have trouble with a graphically intense bulletin, as it may present a challenge for the text reading software they may use to help them navigate the web.  As such, they require a plain text bulletin, one that contains no images or text formatting.

Another reason to create this alternative text version is that email filters are more likely to identify a image heavy bulletin (one with many images and links) as spam.
To create the plain text version of your bulletin simply click on the Text Version button at the top right of the bulletin editor. This will take you to the Bulletin Text Version editing page, from where you can copy in your text into the editor.

Suggestions to create a nice looking, readable plain text email

While you cannot add colors or change the font size of your text in the plain version, you can still modify the appearance of your text. For instances where you want to identify headlines from the main text, you can use symbols to separate the two:

Volunteers Needed  for our Annual Fundraiser
You can also use these line breaks between paragraphs and articles to break your text up or use lot's of white space to break them apart, so it's easy to scan for important bits and pieces. White space is important as it breaks the plain text version of your email nicely.

If the HTML version of your bulletin contained bullet points, consider using hyphens or asterisks to list your points in the plain text email. 

* Volunteers Needed  for our Annual Fundraiser
- Volunteers Needed  for our Annual Fundraiser

If you'd bolded a few words in your HTML version, you can add an asterisk before and after the word(s) in your plain text email to place the emphasis.

 Volunteers **Needed**  for our Annual Fundraiser

For every link that is included in your bulletin, make sure you copy and paste the links to the plain text version of your bulletin as well. If the URL you want to share is really long, use URL shortening services such as bit.ly or Google's URL builder. Always make sure you label what the link is meant for, so the reader can easily identify the call to action. 

View Available Shifts [www.clubrunner.ca] 

Read More [www.clubrunner.ca]

For help resources or to view more best practices on bulletins, check out our knowledgebase

Friday, November 27, 2015

Tip of the week: Cancel scheduled emails

Sometimes you may need to cancel an email and stop the system from sending it. While emails that have already begun to be sent cannot be stopped, did you know you can cancel scheduled emails?

Cancelling a scheduled email is just as easy as scheduling it. To cancel an email and revert it back to draft mode, navigate to the Email Message Center first. Under the Status column, you will see a list of emails scheduled and when they are set to be sent out.

Simply click on 'Cancel' under the Actions column and confirm your action when you see the pop up box. Your email will be reverted back to Draft mode, after which you will be able to edit it, modify the distribution list, delete it or simply reschedule it for another date or time. It's that simple!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Avoiding spam filters

You and your organization rely on the smooth flow of communication between members to share important information. If your emails are being blocked or identified as spam, it creates a disconnect in your organization because important details may be missed. All email clients now have automatic spam filters that rate every incoming message according to set criteria to determine whether or not they might be spam.While it isn't possible to predict every factor an email client uses to identify spam, it is possible to adopt some basic practices to help avoid having your organization's messages get blocked or get relegated to the junk folder.

Know what spam sounds like

Spam filters check the entire content of your message and detect certain factors, phrases, and wording they regard as spam and then score your email. The filters analysis is largely based on what others have identified as spam in the past. If your message reads too much like previously identified spam mail, they will mark it as spam as well. So how does spam exactly sound? Think about all the phrases all those emails you move to your junk mail contain. Talking about large sums of money, including words like 'free' or using 'dollar signs' in your subject line, excessive use of exclamation points, all are indicators of what is considered a possible spam message. SpamAssassin, a mail filter used to identify spam shared a sample set of criteria that if found in your email results in a higher spam score:
  • Money back guarantee (2.051 points)
  • Contains urgent matter (.288 points)
  • Talks about lots of money (.193 points)
  • Describes some sort of breakthrough (.232 points)
  • Looks like a mortgage pitch (.297 points)
After accumulating all points, if your spam score exceeds a certain threshold, your email will go directly to the recipients junk folder.

Know what spam looks like

Your words aren’t the only thing that gets your messages marked as spam. The appearance of the email can also trigger the spam filters. Things like brightly colored fonts, image to text ratio, emails containing large attachments, all are factors that lead your email directly to the junk folder.

Let's consider the following legitimate email:

“Our Rotary Club is on the verge of an IMPORTANT BREAKTHROUGH!!!! Over the last decade we have RAISED almost $800,000 from the community to help pay-off the outstanding mortgage on the recreation center. We NEED TO RAISE ANOTHER $15,000 BY THE END OF THIS YEAR in order to set our fundraising record!! If we manage to do this, the state charity fund will MATCH our 2015 donations DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR and invest that sum back into much needed community improvements!!!!! Wouldn’t it be nice to get some of our TAX MONEY BACK? Our town needs this money and we NEED YOUR HELP! Together, we can make history! Help us today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.” 

Clearly, this message is an important one for the club and while the thought behind capitalizing, highlighting and using different font sizes certain phrases might be to draw attention to those points, the reality is, that by doing so, you increase the risk of low email delivery rates. The use bright of colors, especially red and green and using fonts that are too big or small are triggers that flag emails as spam.

Avoid sounding like an ad. Skip the sales pitch language whenever possible, reduce technical jargon and keep your message as simple as you can. The same concept also applies to your bulletin. Check out our Best Practices section for bulletins to learn more about how you can ensure you're sending filter friendly bulletins.

Spam filters also look behind the visible text and images, at the source code of your message. If your email is formatted with buggy HTML the spam filters might flag it as malicious code, which is why we never recommend copying content directly out of Microsoft Word to an email editor, but rather pasting your content from Word to a program like Notepad first, and then to your email editor. This is because when you paste content directly from a software like Word, you unknowingly also copy all the invisible formatting code used by that software. Not to worry! You can still prepare your content in Microsoft Word. Just follow the instructions we have on how to safely paste your content into the ClubRunner Editor window.

When you use ClubRunner to send your emails to members, your message is sent through our servers and we take great care to ensure that our sender reputation remain high with ISP's. We'll always do everything we can to combat factors that we can control to reduce spam scores but for more information on dealing with spam or blocked emails, visit our knowledgebase.

Using ClubRunner to Improve your Fundraising Efforts

Fundraisers are the fuel that keep your service club’s engine running. The dollars they raise are a tangible indication of your ability to perform good work in the community and of the goodwill and awareness the community has for your mission. There are multiple ways to fundraise for a good cause but did you know through your ClubRunner website, you can collect donations year round? Setup is simple and you can easily run an online fundraiser campaign to support your various initiatives.

Create a fundraiser campaign as an event 

No doubt a creative use of the Event Planner module, you aren't limited to creating standalone events through it only! In fact, you can also use it to create and organize ongoing campaigns such as fundraisers and community appeals. How so?

1) Simply create an event as usual and set your start and end dates and proceed to add a description of your campaign. . Within the Event Type field, select Fundraiser.

2) To get the maximum visibility, be sure to set the 'Show Event in Home Page', 'Show in Calendar', 'Show in Events List', 'Show in Bulletin' Bulletin' and 'Display Social Media Share Bar' options to Yes. Doing so will ensure that the event details are listed and appear in as many places as possible.

The social media share bar will allow visitors to publicize this event via different social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Email and more.

3) Edit the 'Registration Options' to ensure the event is open to members of the public, so that you can have non-members support your campaign.

4) Set a nominal fee for the fundraiser within the Event Fee field, and select your payment method. If you have the Online Payment and eCommerce module activated, non-members and members can donate to your cause easily via credit card. Members also have the option to pay by check. As an event chair, you can also collect check payments from non-members and add them as supporters through the Admin area.

5) Once the event is created, you can display it on your home page or custom page using the Upcoming Events Widget or a Custom widget. Visitors can then see, register and donate to your cause easily and even share the event.

Make use of donation buttons
If your club has been set up to accept online payments, another way to collect donations is to add a 'Donate Now' button on your homepage. Website visitors can easily click on the button to make a donation in any sum they wish and you can just as easily direct people to your website to do so. Follow these directions to set up a Donation button if you use Sage Payment solutions to process your payments. If your club makes use of Beanstream, follow the instructions here to set up a donation form.

You can add this button on your home page, custom page or even a site page and can then direct your audience to this page by promoting your campaign.

If your club is located outside of North America, contact our support team on the options available to get Online Payment setup.

Report your progress

A common mistake made by charities and fundraising committees is failing to update their donors on the progress of the project. If someone is willing to make a donation, they are clearly invested and interested in your project. It's important to keep your donors aware of how the campaign is going and to have them join in the celebration of benchmarks along the way. They after all are your biggest advocates.

Consider keeping them informed through special editions of your bulletin, or show potential donors how much more you need to collect through visuals such as a fundraising meter.

Does your club collect donations year round? Have tips to share with other clubs? Comment below and let's start a conversation.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Tip of the Week: Contact us form

While you can use the contact us form on your home page to have form entries go to the website contact, did you know you can add a contact us form as a widget on Custom pages, and choose who the results should go to? 

That's right! In fact, you can add multiple contact us forms on Custom pages to have each form go to a specific individual, without displaying their email address. This widget is only available for Custom pages and can be found under the Essentials tab.

Simply drag the widget to where you want to place it on the page, and then define who you want to send the inquiries to. To do so, click on the cog wheel to open the widget properties. Here, you will need to give a title to the widget. We recommend adding details on who the form is going to (ex: Contact Volunteer Chair). You can choose to hide the title as well by ensuring the checkbox next to the "Show Title" label is unchecked.

Next, scroll to the settings section, from where you will be able to add the email address of the individual that should be receiving all inquiries. On the properties page, you can also add design elements to your form by adding borders and defining the border color, thickness, style, padding and more.

All inquiries through these contact forms are sent securely without revealing the recipient's email address.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Increase your online engagement

September was once New Generations month, a time dedicated towards focusing our attention on the youth through leadership development activities and other projects. The push to have younger members join Rotary has been a goal that all clubs have been relentlessly working to achieve, so naturally we begin by targeting them where they spend most of their time, online. After all, it's the younger generation that will take Rotary forward. It's not just the younger generation but all of us that spend the majority of our time online. Whether we need help looking for information or are catching up on news, we're doing it online, which means that as a Rotary Club, your focus should be on improving the way you engage with your audience online. 

We all know that at the bare minimum, we need a website, a place where the public can find contact details and information about your mission, though solely meeting the bare minimum if done haphazardly can harm us in the long run. But even with a website, how do we ensure that we can be easily found online and that we can engage with our audience. How can we share the programs we have to assist with youth development, Rotaract and RYLA projects? How can we attract more members to join the Rotary mission? What does it take to stay visible and make a memorable impact where it counts the most? The question really comes down to how can we engage with our audience to keep them informed; the answer: we have to be visible online.

Your ClubRunner site offers a fantastic level of customization, making it easier for you to adapt to new trends as they appear and encourage a high level of online engagement. In other words, you never have to worry about whether you are visible to your audience or not.

Mobile Connectivity

Did you know that connectivity to the web on a mobile device is actually greater than desktop? 
According to a recent study from ComScore, smartphone usage is actually up 394% from 2010 and tablet usage is up 1,721%.  This amount of sheer usage just goes to show the importance of having a mobile compatible site. With such high usage in place, even Google updated their search display algorithm to have mobile friendly sites rank higher.

Did you know that your ClubRunner website is already mobile friendly and you can control this setting from your Website Settings page? All ClubRunner websites are mobile friendly already so you can be sure that your message will always be delivered to your audience. Additionally, you can also add meta tags to help improve your ranking on search engines. Here, you can add keywords, descriptions, names of content authors and even custom HTML tags. Click here to see learn more about Website Settings that you can control.

Keep it Fresh

Remember how we said even having the bare minimum on your website can harm you in the long
run? If you aren't updating your website with fresh information often, your ranking actually begins to fall, which means it will become more difficult to engage with your audience online, if they can't find you.

Additionally, if you aren't updating your content often, you aren't giving a reason for your website visitors to come back to your site, and that can have a huge impact on whether or not you are able to attract younger members or any members for that matter, to your club. Make a point of adding new stories to your News or Stories widgets and place them centrally on your site. An even easier way to ensure new content appears, even without your input, is to make use of the RSS Feed widget. The RSS feed automatically draws content from sources around the web, updating the site regularly.

Keep it Simple

While you definitely need to keep your page content current and fresh, you should avoid overloading your visitors with information, that's overwhelming. Keep the essential items front and center. Content like your contact details and mission statement should be visible immediately, along with one or two items of fresh content. Other items can be placed in links in the sidebars or in the navigation menu. Building your homepage content doesn't have to be difficult. Watch our 2 part series on homepage content design to become more familiar with the Website Designer, so you can get one step closer to building a simple yet informative website.

Make it Shareable

More and more people are sharing interesting content via social media sites.  While Facebook and Twitter currently represent the lion’s share of this interaction, other social sharing sites like Tumblr and Pinterest are growing rapidly. People are engaging with the web in ways no one could have predicted just five years ago. If you want to be found by your visitors, your content needs to be available where your audience is, and that includes social sites.

Did you know that you can add a social share toolbar to your stories and site pages to allow visitors to share your content across multiple platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Blogger, Pinterest and even via email.

Make it Easy 

Have you ever visited a website that was a morass of confusing links and navigation that led you to unexpected places? One of the best ways to keep visitors engaged with your site is to make the navigation clear and intuitive. After all, as the designer of the site, you define the visitor's journey.

Categorize links to subpages clearly and always make it easy to return to the main page. The use of a Home link in the navigation menu is a good way to achieve this. Check out the articles that you have available on how you can build your website navigation menu, a great place to start categorizing content.

There's a whole lot more you can do to try and attract younger members to sign up for Rotary, youth programs, and more. Check out one of our previous articles on attracting members and be sure to comment below with your own tips!

Site Highlight - Rotary District 7300

We can’t help but feel happy when we come across a ClubRunner website that shows a balance between creativity and good design. This month, we set our eyes on District 7300’s website in Pittsburgh.

Fun fact, did you know that Pittsburgh has a long history as a transport hub and center of industry and culture. Coincidentally, that’s exactly what a website is as well – a central hub of information. If you can tie in your core message and relate your overall website back to what defines your group, you’re one step closer to mastering the essence of what makes a good website.

District 7300 ties these elements in a very creative way, starting on their website banner, which features a backdrop of the bustling Pittsburgh skyline and a cartoon train, which proudly carries this year’s Rotary theme flag. They even went one step further to add a personal touch where District Governor Bill Segar is whimsically depicted as a passenger aboard what we’ll call the Rotary Express. Tie in the additional Rotary branding, with the Rotary wheel that is placed in position of the sun, their website banner itself is a prime example of creative branding at work while the text reading "All Aboard" sets the tone of a welcoming site.

Did you know you can add your own custom banners to your ClubRunner website? For best results, we recommend keeping the image width under 960px. If you don't have your own background image but really want to add some sort of design element, take advantage of the banner library. There are lots of background options you can choose from as well.

Consistency plays a huge part in good website design, whether that is consistency in font, color, page layout, language or more. A website visitor needs consistency to easily navigate through the website without having the elements on the page act as restrictions. Even having too many colors all over the site hinders the user's journey. Here, you see consistency in the colors used and even in the branding. The same Rotary theme flag is used within the welcome widget where we see a picture of the district Governor and his spouse and the color scheme is kept consistent throughout. Adding real photos allows the visitors to relate to your site as it puts a face to the name.

The use of videos engages the viewer with a dynamic and interactive presentation through which they've easily shared details on what service above self truly means, Rotary's ambitious membership goal, a youth project the district is involved in  and even one about what Rotary clubs do. Videos allow you to 'upsell' or convey a message in a shorter time, evoking feelings in the viewer to have them relate back to the message. While they could have had a write up on all of these topics, through the use of videos, they were able to get their message across without having to worry about whether the amount of text is overwhelming for the reader.

Fun fact, another benefit of adding videos to your website is that they actually help with your ranking on search engines, as search engines base your ranking on how engaging your site is.

One particular innovation of the site is its use of a "President's Briefcase", which if clicked on prompts the visitor to log in and then directs them directly to the resources a club President would require. This is a great use of linking to internal pages with the help of graphics, which attracts the eye of the reader. As a design tip, always ensure that all of your images have an "ALT tag" associated with them. An alt tag stands for alternative information, which will appear if for some reason the image does not load. Ideally, you would just add one or two words to describe the image or its destination. For website visitors that are using screen readers to navigate through the site, having an alt tag present will ensure that they are aware that there is an image present and what it is.  In ClubRunner, you would add your alt text within the "Alternative Text" field when editing the image properties.

Another creative use of resources is using Site Pages as a job board for clubs to browse through. The Job board link is accessible via the main menu where visitors can download detailed job descriptions. There are a lot of small things you can do to make an impact through your site. Perhaps District 7300's website will inspire you.

Click on the banner below to view their site.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Coming Soon: Next-Generation Website Themes!

Give your website a new look with ClubRunner's new responsive themes.

Times have changed, and so must we! You asked for fresher, newer and more modern website themes, and that is just what we are going to deliver.
Designed from the ground up on a new framework that is fully responsive and scales beautifully on all screen sizes (yes, we mean true mobile compatibility!), we're happy to announce the upcoming release of our modern line of website templates.

These new website themes include new wider page styles with menu navigation items above the fold, rotating banners, and even homepage options without banners. Best of all, you can choose your theme and edit your content using the same familiar interface you are used to, the ClubRunner theme library and Website Designer 3.0. Simply select the theme, layout option and color variant and let your website shine!

Currently, these new themes are being offered as part of our Early Access Preview phase and we're looking for a few beta testers to join us during our pre-launch phase. To participate, simply email us at rotary@myclubrunner.com with the name of your club.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Club Site Highlight: Rotary Club of Hope Island

In our last edition, we took at a look at a dynamic district site in Canada, one that covered a territory including dense urban areas and remote northern towns. In this edition, we’ll take a look at a club at the opposite end of the globe. The Rotary Club of Hope Island is located on Australia’s Gold Coast, in Queensland. Hope Island is a community perhaps ideally located between the greatest urban and natural attractions Queensland has to offer.

The Rotary Club of Hope Island’s website is clean and welcoming, especially for visitors. In fact, their homepage for the most part caters to website visitors and non-members and is full of interesting information about the club, while member-specific information is available on secondary pages, with simple navigation to reach it. They do an excellent job of keeping the visitor engaged in a variety of different ways, with their call to action being learn more about the club and visit.

One of the many factors that add to a great website is branding. Often times, in the race to design a good looking website, many forget that the design of the website should cater to who your audience is. Of course, design is not just limited to graphics and fonts, but the use of colors, page layout, page breakdown, and the placement of content all contribute to the overall look and feel. The Rotary Club of Hope Island opted to use the Rotary theme for website found in the ClubRunner theme library with a 2 column layout. The addition of the Rotary logo on their banner and the use of limited colors (Rotary Blue & Grey) which are in line with the Rotary's visual identity and branding shows that they tailor their website to Rotarians and showcase their brand as so.

Once you land on their website, your eyes are immediately drawn to a beautiful picture carousel with
member photos and a caption that directs visitors to where they should go on the site for more information on topics related to the photos. They even use the carousel to showcase their own newsletter with a beautiful and colorful graphic. The club accomplished this using a third party tool called Cincopa from where they created their photo display and used an embed code within a custom widget to add it to their website to elevate the look of their site. As a general reminder, ClubRunner is not affiliated with Cincopa and as it is an independent platform, we are unable to provide support with its use.

Right below the carousel as you continue to browse through the top fold of the website, also known as the prime real estate of the webpage, we see a live example of what a positioning statement is. Their level of branding continues here through a succinct message where they engage their website visitor by describing their club and its members in just a few sentences along with a call to action to visit the club and learn more. This speaks to their visitors directly and elicits a feeling which makes them to relate to the club. The use of real member photos makes the club more relatable and ties in the positioning statement and website content together.

As you scroll further down, the content gets even more focused on the activities of the club which showcases how active the club is. They show a great balance of member-centric vs. visitor-centric content with the way they use the Stories widget, with visitor-centric information being added to the story brief which is what we see on the home page. As you click to read further, the content gets more member-specific. By breaking the content up into the story brief and content sections, the club also does an excellent job of bringing an element of balance onto their home page rather than making it very text heavy, which is overwhelming. 

On the left column, they made creative use of custom widgets once again showing the power of ClubRunner's Website Designer by adding a search function to their website which sifts through all their secondary pages to display the information one might seek. The club accomplished this with the use of a third party application which they added to their site using a custom widget. 

In between the subtle grey colors, we see a pop of color on the left column within the Club Meeting Information widget which is showcased with a light shade of blue, attracting the visitors eyes directly to their meeting information and a link to their events calendar to see when their next meeting is. It is little enhancements like these that help elevate the look of a website in a big way.

One of the most common website design mistakes is making pages difficult to reach.  How often have you been on a website and have had to click through a number of links until you found the content or the page you were seeking? Clicking is expensive and having visitors click through a number of links is comparable to creating a digital obstacle course. If a visitor or even a member has to click through dozens of links, chances are that many will stop midway. The Rotary Club of Hope Island combats this through their navigation menu, making important information such as how to join, what the club does, its history, and much more just one click away. Similarly, even for members, they've added secure internal pages which require members to log in, by adding these built-in pages to the menu, making them just one click away.

Click on the club banner below to check out and explore their site. Perhaps you might gain some inspiration for your own website!


Five Ways To Take Better Advantage of ClubRunner

Did you know that you can add up to 30 custom fields (text, date range, or even a yes/no flag) to the member profile area to track information that is specific to your club? Did you know that you can auto-assign a makeup from a members' pool of banked makeups for attendance tracking? How about the fact that you can store a list of contacts categorized by groups and labels in your very own club address book? With ClubRunner, you get access to a suite of powerful features to help manage every aspect of your club or district and there sure is a lot you can do!

We often get asked by incoming executives how they can make sure they can take better advantage of the suite of features to boost their productivity, which is when we work them to track usage patterns. In fact, these are some of our most favorite conversations! We spoke with a lot of new executives in July, which is why this month we thought why not share the top five ways to take better advantage of ClubRunner and its features.

1. Assign more than one site administrator

ClubRunner provides functionality for all members regardless of role. Did you know that there are 7 access levels to choose from to assign to your members, each giving them access to certain features, such as bulletin editor, club executive, content editor, and more? We always recommend having a minimum of 2 site administrators to manage your club from an overall perspective and a committee of members in charge of other various aspects.

In fact, you can also get more people in the club involved by giving them ownership to a site page to maintain for example. This means that even a member with an access level of 70 (Regular Member) can contribute to the club by updating the site about a recent project they undertook, without receiving access to other areas.

Take advantage of the private documents area to store members-only documents which you want them to access upon logging in. This is a great resource to add secure documents to your website which encourages members to log in regularly. Similarly, you can also change the view settings of custom pages and site pages to private which means members would need to log in to view them.    

These are just some functions that enable all members of the club to log in and stay current on club activities. Did you know that you can track who is logging in and who isn’t, by accessing the Login Activity page from the Reports link? Here, you can view a graphical representation of your member login activity and can dig deeper by month to see exactly who in your club is making use of the site on a regular basis.

2. Keep your membership data up to date

If most of your members have empty profiles, or have profiles with outdated information, it's time to have them update their profiles. There’s an easy way to encourage your members to log in and update their information and it's called the Request Member Update feature.

A great tool to help encourage your members to explore the site and keep their profiles current, use this feature to remind members to log in to update their data. In fact, you can even modify the message to encourage them to view their commitments, such as volunteer tasks, club events they've signed up for, meeting responsibilities assigned to them for the next meeting and more.

If you would prefer to target only a few members for this email or want to generate a report to look into who those specific members are that you perhaps need to speak with at the next meeting, you can use the Download Member Data function to a build a report to identify those members whose profiles are most out of date. To do so, click on the Reports tab on the Admin page and then on the Download Member Data link. Simply filter the results by the “Last Modified On” field along with the names of members and generate your report.

3. Better track attendance with ClubRunner

Attendance tracking and reporting is one of the most powerful functions of ClubRunner, and it takes a great deal of work off the hands of club secretaries and executives. Besides simple attendance tracking, ClubRunner's Attendance 3.0 allows you to bank and track make-ups and auto-assign them from the members' pool of banked makeups. Additionally, with this newer and updated module, you can track attendance for honorary members, record guests and visitors, customize attendance rules based on member type (excused vs. exempted), and even open up your own past meetings to recalculate attendance. Get started with this module and better get acquainted with its features by viewing these helpful guides available on our knowledgebase.

4. Keep your website up to date

If you neglect your website, so does everyone else. Your website is your public face and should be treated as a resource haven for both members and visitors alike. If members do not see any relevant news or updates, they likely will not visit the website again. Similarly, if visitors interested in Rotary land on your website and notice the top story on the site is about a charity BBQ that took place two summers ago, they too are not likely to visit your site again, and your chances of recruiting new members can decline significantly, as their perception about your club gets affected. Additionally, if you’re not providing fresh content on a fairly regular basis, your site will fall in search engine rankings and become harder and harder for casual visitors to find.

ClubRunner’s Website 3.0 Designer feature was designed to remain simple for basic users and more than powerful for experienced technical users. You can easily place fresh new content on your site and even reuse your articles in your bulletin. With built-in widgets, it's easy to post about club events, Rotary news, and more. Easily update the look of your website by selecting a theme and page color combination from our theme library. Prefer to upload your own design? Not a problem, we support custom CSS!

5. Gain valuable insight into your own club

Do you know how many seniors are in your club or district? Do you know how many of your members are married? How many are under the age of 30? How many have served the club for more than 20 years? How many the Rule of 85 applies for? Figuring out your member demographics is an essential step toward determining a strategy for the future growth of your club or district.

ClubRunner’s report functions make this fast and easy. You can generate reports on years of service, age and gender distribution and much more. You can even see at a glance which members of your group qualify for the Rule of 85. Don't see a report you need? You can even build your own!

The power of ClubRunner and what is available to you is extensive and we're always working to make ClubRunner more customizable for your needs.

How do I get up to speed on ClubRunner?

ClubRunner exists to empower your club and make the work of Rotarians easier and more effective. You get the most impact from ClubRunner when you understand how it works and apply that knowledge. We’re here to help you achieve that goal and have a number of resources available for you.

First, our growing knowledgebase contains hundreds of articles about both the Club and District versions of ClubRunner that are constantly updated. We also have a library of helpful video tutorials and webinars where you can learn more about commonly used functions. Check out our schedule of upcoming webinars where you can interact live with a member of our product support team to have your questions answered. Can't attend our scheduled sessions? Not a problem, they're all recorded, so you can always view them at your own time!

Tips from ClubRunner Users

We love hearing from you about how you make use of ClubRunner and how you get your members more engaged. Below are some tips shared by other users:

  • We use the Enhanced Committees module to ensure our leadership remains active. We use the committee email function to communicate and have created our own repository of information using the Private Committee Documents area. The level of high activity keeps us all motivated to keep our ClubRunner account current.
  • We use the new Duty Roster 3.0 to keep track of everyone's responsibilities because we love how these commitments can be tracked in each member's profile. When members are able to see everyone's assigned tasks, the level of responsibility just rises and we've found that this helps us stay current as we can always track where we let the ball drop.
  • To make sure our website remains up-to-date, we update it with pictures and new stories during our weekly meetings itself.
  • We hold membership drives every 3 months. So, we constantly generate the available reports in ClubRunner to view the breakdown of our club in terms of age, gender and the number of new members that joined. Then, we set new goals for our next membership drive based on this information.
Every club is different and everybody does something unique to remain active and get the most out of ClubRunner at the same time. Share your tips in the comments below!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Five Ways to Show Appreciation for Your Members

August is membership month for Rotary, a month dedicated to clubs celebrating the people who make Rotary a reality. It's a time to focus our attention on members and thank them for everything they do, and to bolster their motivation for the work. It’s important that Membership Month does not simply turn into lip-service, expressed only via a special banner on your ClubRunner site or bulletin, which is easy to do. There are many ways to thank your members in a concrete way which can every month memorable.

Celebrate their lives

When a club member marks a milestone, such as a birthday or anniversary – why not celebrate that along with them? Mention the day at the meeting closest to the date of the milestone and mark it in a tangible way. This could be as simple as bringing cupcakes to celebrate a birthday. For particularly big events (such the birth of a grandchild or a milestone anniversary) consider maintaining a small budget for gifts or tokens. Similarly, if a member is facing a difficult time in their life (such as the death or illness of a loved one) ensuring that the club is there to provide practical and emotional support goes a long way. This sort of recognition goes a long way in making members feel appreciated and part of a community.    

Build your community

Photo Credit: © Rotary International/Alyce Henson
In addition to honoring the members as individuals, celebrate their dedication to the club and Rotary once in a while. One way to do this is by scheduling regular team-building and socialization events. These events help build a positive dynamic and also give your members a chance to build friendships outside the context of Rotary. By doing so, they will improve their teamwork within the club in the future which will help foster a sense of family and belonging.

Give them a chance to shine

Photo Credit: © Rotary International/Alyce Henson
Your members became Rotarians because they wanted to help their community and make a difference in the world. As such, whenever possible you should give them the chance to get involved in the projects and causes that matter to them. Give them the chance to take leadership and offer them ownership of these initiatives. Your club members are more likely to give their all in the service of a cause they care for. Sometimes, clubs have the same people who run a particular event every year and as a result members think they can't get involved. Simply rotating co-chairs every year gives everyone a chance to participate and get involved. It's simple things like these that show members that their involvement is welcome and needed.

Recognize and reward individual achievements

Photo Credit: © Rotary International/
Alyce Henson
When a club member goes above and beyond to achieve something of worth, it is important to formally recognize this. You could even use Membership Month as a time to offer special recognition to members who have worked particularly hard in the preceding year. A donation in their name to Polio Plus or the Rotary Foundation is a tangible acknowledgement of the work they’ve done.    

Spread the word

While internal recognition is invaluable, don’t forget to spread the word. Let everyone know about the good work of your membership and about the fun they have. Your ClubRunner bulletin and website are excellent tools for this. When a member wins an award from the club or community, take a photo and publish it on your site and bulletin. When your group hosts a particularly member event, put up a photo gallery or a write-up. Invite your members to share these through social media and blogs. Doing so increases the profile of your club in the community and serves to attract new recruits. And, going beyond ClubRunner, community newspapers are often hungry for content. Invite the local media to record memorable events in your club life, such as Paul Harris award ceremonies.

How does your club celebrate its members? Comment below and share!