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.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Club Highlight - Rotary District 5550

In our last edition, we highlighted a very active club in Castro Valley, California. Today, we’ll set our sights northward. Rotary District 5550 covers a vast range of territory, encompassing the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan and much of northwestern Ontario.


District 5550 makes excellent use of their ClubRunner site and is a great example of an active Rotary district. Upon landing on their website, your eyes are drawn directly to their banner which is a striking photo of the new Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg, a dramatic and vibrant image. By customizing the size of the banner and adding Rotary branding, the overall effect of the image comes through stronger.

Did you know, you can increase the height of your banner simply by adjusting the pixel count within the Edit Banner page under Banner Height?  For best results, keep in mind, that the background image should not exceed 960px in width.

Notice also how the district has clearly branded their banner with the Rotary wheel showcasing their affiliation to Rotary. Did you know you too can access a wide variety of Rotary-themed logos to use not only in your banner but also throughout your website from the Rotary Images folder in your site's image library, where we've already added official Rotary logos and images.

One of the most important tips to keep in mind for a great website design is that you as the designer have full control of how you want to define a visitors journey on your site. You have to understand who your visitors are, what their motivations are, and then based on that, decide how best to present relevant information, which is easy to access. A great place to start is the navigation menu.

On District 5550's website, you see a well defined navigation menu packed with useful links to information about Rotary International, the District, and the programs undertaken by the clubs within it. It makes effective use of drop-down menus linking to built-in pages and custom content. By categorizing all pages according to subject, they've made it easy for visitors to delve into the history and work of the district. In fact, their menu itself is a great example of what it means to map a user's journey.

As you continue past the menu, the first thing you see is a prominent and simple graphic greeting from the District Governor, with a photo attached. They customized this widget to include an email link to get in touch with the DG directly and a link to the current edition of the newsletter, providing an easy way to read the DG's message without taking up real estate on the main body of the homepage. The use of photos is always a great idea, adding a warm and welcoming touch.

As you view the remainder of their site, they've made excellent use of custom widgets to display a variety of things which showcase how active the district is, which also helps their website stand out. From the creative use of displaying all 48 clubs within the district on Google Maps to featuring Rotary themes of the month and fundraising events and goals, the addition of graphics opposed simply to text elevates the look of the site.

The use of the sponsors front and center on the right is also ideal especially for their visitor demographic. Fun fact, did you know that western readers typically look at a webpage from left to right, and as such are actually less likely to find the ads to be intrusive, yet intriguing enough to click on should the content of the ad capture their attention.

Scrolling down, you can see their page is a treasure trove of information about both the District and news about the clubs.  There are a dozen stories online, and fresh new information seems to be added on a regular basis. This is a good way to keep members informed and draw non-members to their site as a source of information. 

Click on the banner image below to explore their website!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Happy New Year - Top Rotarian Questions for ClubRunner

A lot of work has to get done prior to the beginning of Rotary New Year, and a lot needs to get done in the weeks that follow. From preparing goals for the next year to preparing new executives, this naturally is one of the busiest times for all clubs, which is why we thought we'd cross off one item from your list by exploring some of the most common questions we've found clubs have during this time of transition and answering all of them here.

1) How do I email all my members?

Contacting all your members at once is easily done through your ClubRunner site. You can access your ClubRunner email by clicking on the Communication tab on the top of your Admin page and then on the Email Services link. This will bring you to the Club Communication page, where you can compose a new email.

On Step 1 of the Create Email page, you are asked to identify the recipients of the email. Here, you will see a list of all your distribution lists, whether system generated or custom. To learn more about how to create custom distribution lists, click here.

Simply click the check box next to the recipient category to select everyone in that group.  You can see this step highlighted below:

If you only wish to email your active members, click on the plus icon to expand the category. Then, click the checkbox next to Active and leave the Honorary checkbox empty. You can even select specific members to email by clicking on the Expand List link next to each sub-category.

Then, simply type up your email as part of Step 2.  For more information on sending emails, refer to our KnowledgeBase or check out our video walkthrough.

2) How do I ask all our members to update their profiles?

It's important to have accurate member data as you enter the year ahead. The most efficient way to achieve this is to have your members update their own information.  ClubRunner has a specialized feature called Request Member Update that allows you to request each member to check and update their profile information. To access this feature, login to your ClubRunner site and click on the Membership tab. Then, click on the Request Member Update link.

On the page that appears you have the option to send the request to selected members, or to all your members. If you wish to send the request to given members only, click the checkbox next to the name of each member you wish to contact. Then, click the button labeled Send Update Request to Selected Members. Or, if you wish to send the request to everyone, simply click on the button labelled Send Update Request to All Club Members. This automatically sends an email to members with a link that allows them to access and update their profile if needed.

For step-by-step directions guiding you through this process, refer to this help article in our KnowledgeBase.
3) How do I update the President’s Message?

With the New Year comes new direction and new leadership.  One excellent way to express these changes to your members and site visitors is through use of the President’s Message widget. This widget displays a customized message from the President of your organization, along with their name and photo. You can also modify the properties of this widget to include a link to email the President and even display a preferred phone number, both of which are taken from their ClubRunner profile, therefore, if they were to update these items on their profile, this widget would automatically be updated as well.
The use of this widget is a great way to both introduce a new president and talk about your club’s plans for the year ahead. For more information about the customization and use of this widget, check out this article.
4) How do I change the website banner and logo?

With the new year comes a new theme. This year, the presidential theme is Be a Gift to the World. Rotary International president K.R. Ravindran chose this theme as a way of encouraging Rotarians to give the gifts of their time and talents in improve lives in their communities. The theme logo is already available through your site’s Rotary image folder. You can utilize these new graphics in places such as your site banner, club logo or throughout your site.

Click here to learn how to create a new banner or customize your existing one. And, don’t forget to update your club logo with the new graphics! To find out more about this year’s theme, and to access the new theme logo and supporting materials, visit the Rotary Presidential Theme page.

5) How do I send out the Bulletin?

Another excellent way to spread the message of the New Year and the new theme is through the use of your bulletin. Of course, the new year is also concurrent with a handover in positions and roles within the club. The club newsletter is an excellent way to share information and keep all members up to date with the changes.
If you need help putting together a bulletin, we have a number of helpful articles and videos to help you get through the process. And, if you need just a little more help, you can always connect directly to our support team.

6) How do I check if we are properly integrated with Rotary International?

Your club’s annual invoice from Rotary International (RI) is calculated based on your membership numbers.  As such, it’s very important that RI have an accurate count for your club. If you have Rotary Integration turned on at your site, your membership information should be passed along automatically anytime there is a change. However, even if you have integration turned on, changes can take a few days to show up in the RI database. In either case, it’s a good idea to manually check your membership on the RI website.  For more information about RI integration in ClubRunner, refer to our KnowledgeBase.

Have more questions that we didn't cover here? Check out our Knowledgebase for answers to many other questions or contact our support team with your questions, suggestions and feedback! We're happy to help.

The Story Behind July 1

Happy New Year, everyone! Though it may sound strange to hear that in the middle of summer, July 1st marks the New Fiscal Year for Rotary Clubs around the world. To find out why, we’ll need to delve into the history of the organization.

1910 Rotary Clubs of America Convention (Image courtesy of Rotary International)

Did you know that the July 1st New Year has been a Rotary tradition for over a century? When Rotarians had their first convention, way back in 1910, the New Year was set as the day after the convention ended in August. They made the same decision in the lead up to the 1911 and 1912 conventions, which also took place in August. At the 1912 meeting, the Rotary board of directors ordered a financial audit of the International Association of Rotary Clubs. The auditors went on to recommend that the Rotary fiscal year end on June 30, in order to give clubs time to prepare their financial statements in advance of the convention. They’d also be able to determine an accurate number of delegates to send, so convention organizers would be able to prepare.

These were all good reasons, but in an age of wool suits and no air conditioning it didn’t take long for practical considerations to change the date of the conventions again. In 1916 the Rotary decided to hold their future annual conventions in June to avoid the hottest days of the year. However, the July 1 date for the Rotary New Year had already become a tradition, one that continues 102 years later.