Image Rotary District 5060
There are many different websites being used by Rotary Districts and Clubs around the world. One of the most popular is Club Runner, which is a paid service. Others include free options such as Joomla which needs to be strongly customized to suit the needs of Rotary Clubs.

There are many Rotary Clubs that have made their own websites, but in each case, the Rotarians doing the works are reinventing the system. And there is a potential problem with ongoing maintenance in the years to come. Rotarians age, die, move on or quit. If one person is maintaining the site, it becomes unsustainable in the long term.

Imagine now a group of dedicated Rotarians from many clubs and districts working on a joint project to develop a common website program. This would allow for many people to be available for ongoing support and enhancements in the years to come.

But, we're not talking about one website hosting all the clubs and districts. We're talking about one web server hosting one district and all the clubs in that district. Each district using this system would have their own server hosted in the facility of their choice.

And, we're not talking about all the clubs in the district having the same look and feel. We're talking about each club having their own domain name, identity, personality, look and feel. That is, to the outside world, each club's database would look unique. This will allow services such as Google search engines to properly search for club information.

What we are talking about is having all the clubs in the district sharing a common database so that information never has to be entered twice. When a member's phone number changes, for example, it is entered once and is updated everywhere it needs to be.

For an average district with 60 clubs, if each club and the district each ran club runner, the annual cost would be somewhere around $25,000. On a shared system with one server for all the clubs and the district, the cost could be reduced to $2,000 or less per year for hosting charges, saving a lot of money.

But money is not everything. Quality counts for a lot. What we are talking about is a system with very high quality, flexibility, and low cost that allows each club to have their own look and feel.

And there is more.

When talking to people involved in other committees, a lot of other requests have come to the surface. The Student Exchange committee, for example, have a large number of items on their wish list and that website is now functional at http://youthexchange.rotary5060.com(external link)

And some committees such as the District Conference Committee have had to create brand new websites each year to allow them to customize the site to their needs. A system based on a common database might have a separate website, but would be sharing a common database, avoiding the need to duplicate names, etc. Starting in the 2013/2014 year, the District Conference Websites will be based on the same system year to year, but still each have their own information and identity. See http://conference2014.rotary5060.com(external link) and http://conference2015.rotary5060.com(external link) for the next two conferences. Note that the inside view to the conference committee will have tools to share information, budgets, plans, registration reports, etc.

The district hosts many training activities during the year, including RLI (Rotary Leadership Institute), District Training in the fall, Rotary Information Course, etc. These are located at http://training.rotary5060.com(external link) and include not just the information for the various events, but the ability to e-mail all members about the upcoming events and make the registration very simple, quick and easy. And for the events, the system will even create name tags and tent cards, spelled correctly based on the information in the main database.

This goes for other activities such as multi-club fundraising projects.

And because the database is open, other features can be added on for specific clubs or districts simply by adding tables to the database and creating some new webpages. This setup will still allow the sharing of information from the main database.

This document (Originally created in July 2010) is currently preliminary in nature and will strive to bring ideas and needs to the surface for each of the various groups, committees, clubs, etc. with the intent of having a final plan that we can go forward with. The intent is to redo the website in such a way that it will support the District for the next 5 to 10 years, even though that is a long time in computer years…….Much of the information given here is about the database and how different committees can use the system. This is much, much more than a simple website but if done right, will provide benefits for many, many years...