Put Your Club on the Internet
More Kiwanis clubs are creating a presence on the World Wide Web in order to further club projects and goals. Your club doesn't have to be left behind.
If you would like to put your club on the Internet, here's what you need to do:
- Talk to your club's board and get its support.
- Find a person or small group of volunteers who would be 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 (or www.yourclub.org), 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 for this, many of them free:
Hosting on Kiwanis.info
If you are interested, a low-cost site hosting plan is available to Kiwanis clubs and divisions through kiwanis.info. More information is available.
- A site belonging to a club member.
- 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. You also may find a community web site which makes space available to all non-profit groups; there are some run by newspapers, Internet Service Providers or Chambers of Commerce in various areas.
- Purchase space on a web server; fees would range from $5 to $50 per month depending on services provided, length of contract and other factors. Even lower costs can be found, especially if you are willing to pay for a longer time period.
- Some web companies offer free web space to anyone, such as Tripod or Angel Fire. They will put advertisements on your web site and you may not be happy with the ads that they include. Some ads may be moving, distracting visitors to your site from your message. The free offerings are quite limited; more features can be purchased.
If you decide to purchase space for your web site and register your own domain name, most web hosting companies offer domain registration so both jobs can be done in the same place.
- Consult the Kiwanis International Web Site Guidelines for requirements and approved practices.
- 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.
Creating a Web Site
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:
- Portal Buzz 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. Costs are based on the size of your club; they range from $150 to $400 per year.
- Club Runner provides a public web site as well as features designed to help clubs manage their activities online. Prices start at $23 per month for small clubs, and are higher for larger ones. There also is a $199 setup fee, and an additional $100 fee to have their advertising removed from your site.
- Satori Content Manager is focused more on a club's public web site than club management, but a membership roster is available. The Standard Package is $360 per year; they do not advertise costs of the other available options.
These services are mult-faceted. They will host your site, with your own domain name. They are what are known as "content management systems" which allow people to post information by completing forms in an administration area of the web site. Once they submit their information, it is displayed on the public site. Multiple club members can be involved in the process, and none of them need to know how to create or upload web pages.
In the case of Club Resource, clubs also can use many "behind-the-scenes" features to further private communication among club members and officers, as well as do club record keeping tasks.
The content manager providers require you to use a format for your site that they have available. Some options may be available, but you will not have the ability nor be required to design the site's look.
The other option is to create the site on your own from design to implementation.
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. Kiwanis logos also can be downloaded for use on club sites.
You can prepare web pages by writing them in HTML. There are many software programs available to do this, ranging from free to extremely expensive. Or the pages can be written in a program as simple as Windows Notepad.
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 seeking out start-up help from adjoining clubs or others in your community who may be able to help.