You can put your club on the Internet, thereby increasing the communication among club members and between the club and the community that you serve. And you don't need to spend any money or have any special skills to do it.
The job does require some planning and investigation, and a long-term commitment to keep the site up to date once it's been put online.
Club Web Site Tips
Software Options to Build a Site
District Web Site Contest
Kiwanis International Web Site Template
Guide for Web Site Template
Here are the steps you need to take to put your club on the Internet:
- Talk to your club's board and get its support.
- Find a person or small group of volunteers willing to build and maintain the site. Sites, once posted, must be kept up to date in order to maintain credibility, so an updating method must be part of your plan.
- Decide if you want to get a domain name for your club or make use of an existing web address. This issue has several components:
- Your own domain name gives you a more easily remembered address, such as www.yourclub.com, instead of www.ispname.com/~yourclubname.
- While getting your own domain name can cost as much as $35 per year, it also can make it more difficult to find free space on a web server for your site.
- Locate space on a web server where your site will be posted. There are many options available, and it is not necessary for it to cost money:
- A site belonging to a club member.
- Join with other clubs in your division to share a web hosting account.
- Several web server companies will allow not-for-profit groups to post sites for free. Talk to your local Internet service providers, which may be willing to aid a local community group.
- See if another organization in your community provides free hosting of web sites for community groups. In some areas, Chambers of Commerce or local newspapers offer web hosting as a service to community groups.
- Purchase space on a web server; fees would range from $5 to $25 per month depending on services provided, length of contract and other factors. With specials and longer agreements, you may be able to find a site for less than $5 per month.
- Consult the Kiwanis International Web Site Guidelines for requirements and approved practices. Other information also is available from that address.
- Determine what the goals are for the site. Do you want to inform club members? Members of your community? The world at large? All of the above? You need to determine who your audience will be before you design the site.
Once you've accomplished that, you can turn to the nuts and bolts of creating a web site. You can put your club on the web without having to spend months learning HTML or hiring a graphic artist.
You have two basic options when planning to build your site:
There are service providers with web site templates in place ready to accommodate your club's web site. They eliminate the need to know how to write web pages, and make it easier for several club members to individually contribute content to the site. These services, which will cost more than simple web hosting and do include the hosting as well, provide varying degrees of services behind the scenes which can be used not only for a public web site but to assist with the management of your club.
There are three main providers of this service which are tailored to Kiwanis clubs:
- Club Resource LLC is the provider which has an active relationship with Kiwanis International and with most of the Kiwanis districts in North America to provide monthly reporting service, which clubs in the districts involved can use at no charge. Clubs have the option of purchasing services which include both club management and your public web site.
- Club Runner provides a public web site as well as features designed to help clubs manage their activities online. Prices range from $24.95 to $36.95 per month depending on club size, with a $429 setup fee for new accounts.
- Satori Content Manager is focused more on a club's public web site than club management, but a membership roster is available. Costs range from $240 to $360 per year depending on services used. There is a a $100 setup fee for new accounts.
Graphics and other assistance in building a web site are available on the Kiwanis International Web site. The latest Kiwanis International club web site template and a document on its use is available from a link above.
You can prepare web pages by writing them in HTML. There are many softare programs available to do this, ranging from free to extremely expensive. More information on software options is available.
If you aren't sure how to proceed from this point, it may be best to find volunteers who are familiar with the issues involved in creating a web site, or seek help from adjoining clubs or others in your community.