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.

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!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Tip of the Week!

Did you know that you can now add events defined in ClubRunner as well as your volunteer registrations to your own personal calendar?

This has been a very popular demand and we're happy to say that this feature is now available! We've added iCalendar (ICS) functionality to the Events module as well as the Volunteers module, so that you can easily add the event reminder or volunteer registration to your own personal calendar.

To add the event to your calendar, navigate to the events details page where you will see a calendar icon appear next to the date and time of the event. Clicking on the calendar icon will download the ICS file on your computer. Once downloaded, simply clicking on it will open the event details in your default calendar from where you can then save it.

When you sign up to volunteer for a task, the confirmation email you will receive will also include an ICS file as an attachment. Simply click on it to add it to your calendar. If you were to cancel your registration then the cancellation email you'll receive will contain another ICS file that will remove the reminder from your calendar.

iCalendar is used and supported by a large number of products, including Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and Microsoft Outlook. These are just some of the changes we're making to ClubRunner but there are a lot more on the way.

Continue to share your suggestions and feature requests with us by emailing feedback@clubrunner.ca.