Change is Hard

As you read though these pages, your first thought may be that these changes are huge and will be very hard to incorporate. Do we really need to do so many things. Change is hard and this is a natural reaction and I hope you can look past the size and scope of the ideas and look at the big picture.

Ultimately, a big project is just a series of many small projects. Each one just requires a few steps.

There are many steps that can be taken to make the changes simple. For example, we can electronically export data from other systems into the new system, saving a lot of effort and work. We already have an export mechanisim from the District website into the new system. And it's apparent that there is a lot of information missing such as actual members, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, etc. A system that is fast, easy to use and reactive will be naturally kept up to date by everyone involved from Club Presidents down to the individual members.

A simple option is after the import is done is to request each member go online and update their information. Technology today can make this very quick and easy by sending an e-mail with the current information included and a one-click link to get online, logged in and at the correct page to update the information.

Note that the simple login is needed to get more members to visit the website on a regular basis, view the newsletters, etc. Many members today have never logged into the District website and have no idea how to do this.

Regardless of what happens, change will happen, regardless of how you feel about it as nothing ever stays the same.

So saying that, change can be managed by being proactive and planning well. Part of this is to step back and look at the big picture. What do we want the system to look like from a 30,000 foot view. Then what tiny, baby steps need to be taken in each area so that when all is done, the huge change is accomplished. This might take one year or it might take two years.

Consider these options:
  1. Do nothing. Club Runner or other systems will be making changes anyway. Club Runner has just released version 2.0 ( Old news now - Summer 2010)
  2. Actively work with Club Runner to help them design a system to meet our needs so that we have some say in the changes made and get what we want and need.
  3. Use a different 3rd party system. Many districts around the world use different systems. Several have one system for the District and the clubs all together as one system, which each club having their own domain name and identity.
  4. Build our own system from scratch. This sounds like a huge project but surprisingly in the world of web development with the tools available now, this is not that hard and would give us total control.
  5. Combination of multiple systems such as using Club Runner for the membership maintenance and other systems for activities such as Student Exchange, District Convention, etc.

Options have been looked at and considered since July 2010 and the best option came down to creating our own system district wide. Unfortunately, after several discussions, both on the phone and in person, Club Runner was not able to work with us to create a fully integrated database that allowed us to link into their system with our own modules.

At many district events, meetings and training sessions, members were asked about staying with the status quo or switching to a system that would be easier to use and tailored directly to the needs of this district and there was overwhelming support to change. On July 1, 2013, the first part of the new system will be rolled out for both the district and each individual club. It's expected that it may take one year to transition everyone over because change is hard.

Bottom line is that we will have one, fully integrated website and database for the District and Clubs. Have a look at the system District Diagram to see how all the pieces will fit together District Wide and the look at the Club Diagram

By pooling all our creative ideas, requests and wish lists into this new system, we can create the system of choice for Rotary clubs and districts.