General Details

It’s important for each District and Club to have it’s own domain name and web address. This helps with the identity of the site, helps with searching in Google and other search engines and provides links when sharing that are meaningful.

The typical Club Runner website breaks this rule and the links and names all go back to Club Runner.

The system should be designed and built on a fully integrated database that is kept up to date in a live fashion whenever data is entered. Polling the information from other websites should be a secondary option that should be used as little as possible. There should only be one record for each piece of data. For example, if a Rotarian is setup as a member in a club, is on a District Committee and volunteers for service with other clubs, then only one record should exist in the data. When a phone number or address is updated, then all the views of this data will be updated at one time preventing old and outdated data from being in the system.

The data should be able to be shared with other activities. I’ve noted with interest that there is a completely separate website for the District Conference where members have to sign up and enter their information in an area completely separate from the District Website. The Conference page could and should have it’s own domain name for simplicity but it should still be able to share relevant data. Several of these separate websites could include activities such as Student Exchange, GSE, Polio, Foundation and other groups. Each of these could have their own interested members linked from the main database and calendar of events.

The look and feel of the site should be based on Style Sheets so that future changes could be easy to make. All the pages could take on a new look and feel by updating the Style Sheets in one area instead of having to update each and every page of the website.

The Club websites should be fully integrated with the District website so that membership information only has to be entered once instead of being duplicated on both the club and the district websites. Each club would need to have it’s own domain and have a completely independent presence on the web. The look at feel of each club’s website could be managed by Style Sheets or independent programming but should share the database connection. Ideally, the District website and all the club websites would reside on the same server or group of servers to make the data sharing transparent but by having separate identities and domain names, the would appear to be independent to the untrained eye.

However, if a club chooses to use a different website for whatever reason, the District website must allow for the easy import and export of membership and other club information in an XML format. One of the basics of Rotary is that the Clubs are all important and are at the top of the pyramid. They set their own policies, procedures and priorities.

The website must also be able to accept donations for fees by credit card and print receipts. If a member of the public wants to donate to Polio or the Foundation, we should allow this. If a user wants to register for the district conference and pay online, let’s take their money.

If the ultimate direction is to create a new system instead of going with Club Runner or some other system, then the system must be based on PHP, MySQL, Apache and Linux as these are the main standards in the industry, open source and free. By having free tools, we lower the barrier to those that wish to pitch in and help. Many students in colleges and universities are familiar with these tools and they are likely to remain stable for many years to come.