12 Questions To Ask Your Software Provider
In today’s technology driven world, we interact with so many different companies and people and share so much information about ourselves via social media, online based communication tools, and web-based software, that is has become an absolute necessity to, recognize that our service providers become partners in our club’s success by providing us with reliable service, addressing our growing list of needs, and reacting to the ever-changing landscape of web technology.
Similarly, it is important to ensure that our information is always kept secure and accessible for the long term, and that is why selecting your technology partner is a crucial decision.
Rotary clubs and any service organizations are made up of volunteers, and this means that time is scarce. Therefore it is all the more important that the software a Rotary club chooses provides time saving convenience, proper integration, and caters to your specific needs.
Here are 12 questions every Rotary club should ask their software provider, to gauge their level of commitment to you as a customer and therefore determine the success of your investment: 
  1. Is the company a Rotary International Licensee and to what level is the database integrated with Rotary International? Is it just the membership information or are club officer changes, club meeting changes and terminations also immediately updated at RI? Is there continuous work to continue developing integration for the benefit of your club? 
  2. Rotary International provides an extensive list that includes information on to which extent software providers are integrated with their database. To view Rotary International's official documentation and to download details and the status of participating vendors in OneRotary, please click here.
  3. How many full time developers do they have working on the system to make updates and fixes? Do you display these changes on your site so we can see what changes are happening? How often do you make changes to the software, and are you keeping up with the changes in the industry? 
  4. What level of customer service is available to the club? Is there a toll-free number where you can reach a knowledgeable product specialist that can answer your technical questions? 
  5. How much training do they offer customers? Are there weekly webinars, a searchable knowledgebase, video tutorials and downloadable manuals? 
  6. What is their privacy policy and terms of use and is it accessible on every page of the website? What assurances do you have as a club as to ownership of your data? 
  7. How secure is the service? How is personal information protected? Are there privacy filters available for your members to hide certain fields of their contact information from others? 
  8. What type of infrastructure is the service hosted on? Is it on a dedicated server or does it share servers with other websites? How scalable is the software? As your club continues to grow and you use the system more and more will they still be able to maintain site availability and speed? 
  9. Do they welcome customer feature requests to be implemented in the system? How do they address changing needs and wish lists? 
  10. What is their social media strategy? Does the system integrate with social media channels?  
  11. Are they able to support languages other than English?  
  12. Are they able to track the number of visitors to your site to give you insight?
  13. Do they have a free mobile app to allow your members to connect on the go through their smartphones?
A good product is not enough to make you successful. Clubs also require the support from their service provider in order to be able to accomplish their communication and PR goals. With the right provider whose goals are aligned with those of your clubs’, you have the right foundation to get organized, grow and achieve your goals.
Want to use this or other articles in your own newsletter? Please keep the credits attached, and reference the ClubRunner Newsletter as your source.