Leveraging Rotary Club Central to achieve success as a regional leader

Rotary launched many new online tools in the past few months and you (and district leaders) may find it overwhelming to learn how to use and leverage all of these resources. At the 2014 Institute, Rotary Coordinator Gayle Knepper shared how one of these tools, Rotary Club Central, helps empower coordinators and advisers to effectively do their job.

Rotary Club Central provides a high-level view of zone activity by showing how districts and clubs are performing by region. Even more valuable than this is the ability for you to hone in on a more detailed view to see how you can best assist districts that might need help.

Rotary club centralThis tool combines the most critical reporting features that contribute to vibrant clubs. District leaders can use it to set goals, make annual and long-range plans, assess progress and evaluate results. In the past, each of these actions were conducted and reported separately, so it was difficult for many districts and clubs to set and evaluate goals.

How might you use Rotary Club Central to achieve success in your region? This is how Gayle utilizes Rotary Club Central:

  • Consult effectively with districts: You can use the data available in Rotary Club Central to consult with and engage in conversations about specific trends and issues with district leaders. There is no longer a need to guess at the data since it is all right there for you to see.
  • Training: Rotary Club Central is a wonderful training tool.  Under the guise of training on Rotary Club Central, coordinators or advisers can provide education on Rotary’s strategic plan such as effective planning, member engagement, service, Rotary Foundation support, public image, and developing vibrant clubs.
  • Communicate with district leaders: Rotary Club Central provides a natural reason to communicate with district leaders.  As a coordinator or adviser, you can provide valuable observations to districts from an outside viewpoint.  It also enables coordinators and advisers to offer ideas, resources and support, specifically addressing an identified need.

A lot of districts have been slow to adopt Rotary Club Central as a goal-setting tool. This makes it harder for you to consult and communicate with leaders effectively. Have you had successes with overcoming these challenges to? How do you help districts and clubs see the value of this tool?


Webinar tips for First-timers

By Pam Russell (RRFC, zone 26) and Joan Firkins (RRFC, zone 25)

After holding their first webinar in November 2013, RRFCs Joan Firkins and Pam Russell wanted to share lessons learned. Both have been attendees or panelists on many webinars but as they found out, when you are an organizer the entire experience is different.

Joan and Pam spent time before the webinar reviewing training videos for GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar. These resources include great tips for first time tool users such as launching the application, setting up your first webinar or meeting in Citrix, and organizer training. GoToWebinar resources have tips for the specialty features available only to GoToWebinar license holders such as editing recordings, reporting basics, and panelists. Both sections have tips and best practices for engaging your audience and promoting your webinar.

Webinars1To help you identify key points and learning goals for your webinar, they recommend creating polls and surveys before sending out the webinar invitation. Joan and Pam strongly recommend holding at least one practice session with both organizers and presenters. Participants can use this session to work out logistical details such as who is doing what during the webinar, how the questions will be handled, and practice using polls.

For the live webinar, Pam and Joan found it was very effective to have two organizers: one organizer can manage and run the presentation and the second organizer can moderate the session, keep an eye on timing, and read the questions coming in. Since the audience can’t see your face, they found it helpful to put photos of presenters and moderators in the presentation. If you print out the presentation with notes prior to the live webinar, you’ll be prepared to easily follow your script. Make sure the formatting is consistent across all the slides, providing a professional and cohesive image for the attendees.

When it comes to audio, Joan and Pam found it useful to advise panelists and attendees alike to shut down unnecessary programs on their computer such as Skype or email and to move their speakers and cell phones away from their microphones. This drastically cut back on the amount of interference.

Lastly, don’t be discouraged if only half your registrants show up on the webinar – many people register, knowing they can’t attend but would like to have the webinar recording sent to them later!

Working together and leading by example: RRFCs and E/MGAs

Following a day of action-planning and team building with Rotary coordinators and Rotary public image coordinators, regional Rotary Foundation coordinators and Endowment/Major Gifts Advisers joined together from 7-8 March for two days of training focused on fundraising and their role for the upcoming Rotary year. On 7 March, Trustee Chair-elect John Kenny set the stage for a series of discussions when he laid out the Rotary Foundation Goals for 2014-15.

In breakout sessions, RRFCs and E/MGAs discussed the importance of mentoring and leading by example, two items which truly prepare one for his or her first year as a coordinator or adviser.

Coordinators and advisers talk about their year ahead on Friday, 7 March.

Coordinators and advisers talk about their year ahead on Friday, 7 March.

E/MGA Don Mebus closed out day one with an engaging summary of how coordinators and advisers serve as connectors, promoters, and fundraisers within their respective regions.

Saturday, 8 March, day two of the event, Penelope Cagney (Co-author of Global Fundraising: How the World is Changing the Rules of Philanthropy and CEO of the Cagney Company) shared insights on global fundraising trends drawn from the knowledge and expertise of over twenty international fundraisers and NPO experts. Penelope talked about seven worldwide giving trends (below), and shared her ideas about a universal optimism for philanthropy that spans the globe.

 Worldwide giving trends:

    • There is a great growth in wealth worldwide, especially outside of the traditional giving regions.
    • Nonprofit innovation is coming from everywhere, with new methods and the re-invigoration of old methods.
    • Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are growing everywhere and some giant International NGOs are emerging around the world.
    • There is a great debate focused about the roles of philanthropy and the state.
    • Fundraising is becoming more professional with standards and qualifications being developed.
    • Technology is important but nobody is sure how to it will be leveraged in the future
    • Philanthropy thrives best in structured, regulated environments.

She finished her address by thanking Rotary and its volunteers for all that we have done around the world for philanthropy and our ability to work together to address problems worldwide.  Rotary is part of the history and part of the movement forward.

After Ms. Cagney’s address, Trustee Chair Dong-Kurn Lee thanked all of those who have given to the Rotary Foundation over the years and invited all members of the Arch C. Klumph Society to join him on stage.

After Ms. Cagney’s address, Trustee Chair Dong-Kurn Lee thanked all of those who have given to the Rotary Foundation over the years and invited all members of the Arch C. Klumph Society to join him on stage.

RRFCs and E/MGAs then participated in discussion sessions about best practices for fundraising and working with donors.  The day ended with a keynote address from musician and Rotary peace follow alum, David LaMotte.

David LaMotte speaking at the 2014 Coordinator and Adviser Institute (photo courtesy of EMGA Chris Offer)

David LaMotte speaking at the 2014 Coordinator and Adviser Institute (photo courtesy of EMGA Chris Offer)

Director of Fundraising Eric Schmelling provided a farewell address to E/MGAs with a Rotary Foundation fundraising update.  He shared details about Rotary’s involvement in four different fundraising campaigns: Annual Fund, polio eradication, Major Gifts Initiative, and Endowment Fund.  He said that Rotary’s giving trends mirror some of the trends that Penelope Cagney shared earlier in the day.  More donors are giving online, donating to the Annual Fund and enrolling in Rotary Direct.  Overall, donations to the Rotary Foundation are up 16.2 percent worldwide.

IMG_126_16On the final day of the training, Rotary International President-nominee K. R. Ravindran set the stage for discussions on the importance of stewardship in grants. His message: encourage district officials to be fully transparent in their work.

Want more information or images from the Institute? E/MGA Chris Offer shared some of his photos, RPIC Günes Ertas shared photos and videos of sessions, and all presentations are now available on your Rotary Workgroup!

Membership and Strengthening Rotary are focus of day two and three of 2014 Institute

For the past two days, the 2014 Coordinators and Advisers Institute focused on membership growth and Strengthening Rotary.

Rotary staff and Institute facilitators updated coordinators on the worldwide state of Rotary club membership and reviewed statistics on member retention, age and gender, and untapped markets.

This graph illustrates one of the challenges Rotary faces in regards to membership.

This graph illustrates one of the challenges Rotary faces in regards to membership. How can we achieve greater membership growth?

Following the discussion on membership, the Institute focus centered on the Strengthening Rotary initiative. Coordinators had an opportunity to discuss Rotary’s essence, voice attributes, and how to apply these attributes to working with Rotarians in their region. More than half of the approximately ninety attendees indicated they are already incorporating the new voice and visual identity in their promotional materials!

In the next related session, coordinators applied these ideas to refreshing Rotary’s membership image.

Rotary Coordinators discuss innovative ways to engage members.

Rotary Coordinators discuss innovative ways to engage members.

Day three began with remarks from Paul M. Rand, President and CEO of Zócalo Group. He spoke about global marketing and communications, with a specific focus on how the field has changed with the advent of social media and social business. In regard to brand success, he said, “It’s not how much you spend on advertisements anymore; it’s how much people are positively talking about and recommending you.”

Paul Rand speaks to attendees about how social business and social media is changing the face of branding.

Paul Rand speaks to attendees about how social business and social media is changing the face of branding.

After his exhilarating remarks, coordinators participated in training activities and group discussions on member engagement and retention, online marketing, and media outreach.

The day ended with action-planning and closing remarks from RI President-elect Gary C. K. Huang and RI President-nominee K. R. Ravindran.

Check out this great video created by RPIC Joe Otin with highlights from the training. 

First day of 2014 Coordinators and Advisers Institute off to a great start!

Rotary public image coordinators and Rotary coordinators joined together on Monday, 3 March for the first day of their annual training institute. The day began with opening remarks from Rotary International President Ron D. Burton and RI President-elect Gary Huang.

Attendees later broke into small discussion groups, where RPICs and RCs engaged in action-oriented discussion about their role and the year ahead. Coordinators shared best practices, success stories, and challenges from their region.

Coordinator discussions included the importance of utilizing social media expertise, training district and club leaders on how to effectively tell the Rotary story via social and traditional media, the efficiency afforded by online training sessions across vast geographical areas, as well as strategies for bringing all four regional leadership groups together to support the strategic plan.


In the afternoon session focused “Rotary Resources,” coordinators and staff specialists reviewed and practiced Rotary’s online resources with a focus on how these tools can be used for greater impact in the field. These tools include the Brand Center (one-stop shop for Rotary’s new brand materials, voice and visual identity), Idea Platform (a crowd-funding site for Rotarian projects), discussion groups within My Rotary, and other programs such as SlideShare and Facebook.


Rotary coordinator Gayle Knepper shared that she uses Rotary Club Central to start a conversation with a club or district. According to her, it helps those in the coordinator role to be more effective in their region.

At the end of the day, coordinators shared the lessons learned in each session before coming together for an evening of networking and fellowship.

Meet your moderator – Peter Bundgaard!

BundgaardWritten by Christine Grodecki, Engagement Associate, Regional Coordinators Programs

Peter Bundgaard hails from Denmark, from the Lake District of Jutland which he insists is the most beautiful area in Denmark. We sat down over a morning coffee and I got to know him a little better:

So Peter, what inspired you to join Rotary?

I was invited to my first club meeting while I was a young dentist and starting my own practice. Shortly after attending a meeting, I was invited to join the club and I have been a member ever since. I have been a Rotarian for 48 years.

Wow, that’s a long time. What made you stay?

I was very inspired by projects that Rotarians do around the world. One of the first projects I worked on was in the Philippines. I served as a volunteer dentist in Vietnamese refugee camps. That was when I truly understood what it was to help others. Since then, I have served others through my vocation in places like Brazil and Montego Bay, Jamaica.

It seems like you use your vocation to do service all over the world.

I used to be an orthodontist but I am retired. My hobby is to grow Christmas trees.

Can you tell me more about growing Christmas tree? I’ve always been curious about how many trees you have to plant each year.

Well, you have to plant around 5,000-10,000 seedlings per year. The trees take between eight to ten years to grow to the proper Christmas tree size. Of course not all of these seedlings will become Christmas trees; some may grow crooked or become too tall.

That’s very interesting. Now, back to Rotary and away from Christmas. What was your favorite service project?

Polio eradication is very close to my heart. I participated in two national immunization days, in India and Niger. It was very interesting for me to see how effective the vaccination days were and how well the campaigns were managed.

We do a very unique Polio fundraiser in my region. We buy a car and decorate it with the End Polio Now logo and colors. During the months of June and July, club members drive it around the nearby towns. We sell raffle tickets and the proceeds are donated to PolioPlus. At the end the month, we draw a name and the raffle winner gets the car. It’s a really effective way to not only raise funds for polio eradication but also to show the community what Rotary is doing.

Once the word is out in the community that Rotary does good in the world, how do you encourage potential members to join Rotary?

When I first meet new people, I tell them what Rotary is doing. I focus on projects going on in my club and describe how club members work together to accomplish projects that would be impossible on their own.

If you could meet anyone around the world, who would it be and why?

I would really like the opportunity to meet Bill Gates and thank him for all the good work he does around the world. I especially want to thank him for helping Rotary.

As RC/RPIC Institute moderator, you have been very busy planning the meeting. What are you most excited about for this year’s Institute?

I am very excited about the four groups having the opportunity to be together in one place. I think this will create strong regional groups that know each other and can work together effectively. The coordinator and adviser groups are really important because they are a great help and resource for district governors, especially if they are used at district and regional meetings and events.

Meet your moderator – John Lawrence

John LawrenceWritten by Christine Grodecki, Engagement Associate, Regional Coordinators Programs

While Moderator John Lawrence was in town for the moderator meeting in November, I had the opportunity to sit down with him and get to know him a little better.

John is from Brisbane, Australia and joined Rotary in November 1988. He has always been interested in international service and attended his first club meeting at a colleague’s suggestion. As we were talking, he discussed fond memories of his time spent in Thailand working on a project called “Children of the Golden Triangle.” The project built dormitories and toilet blocks, classrooms, and infrastructure for refugee hill-tribe orphans and children. He reminisced, “Nothing compares to the feeling of being grabbed around the ankles by a group of small children and knowing that you are directly impacting their lives in a meaningful way.”

He is passionate about supporting the Rotary Foundation. When soliciting new donors, John always talks about how accountable Rotary is to our donors. He reinforces our excellent record: almost every cent that is donated is used to fund projects. He says, “Rotarians make a difference with 1.2 million members worldwide.” He is excited about our shift towards measuring outcomes and worldwide impact. He hopes the data gained from these measurements can be shared with the world, truly impressing on others the impact Rotary makes worldwide.

We wrapped up our chat by talking about the upcoming 2014 Coordinators and Advisers Institute. John is extremely excited about bringing together the four groups of regional leaders. “It’s the perfect opportunity for them to share experiences with each other and start working together.” He feels the coordinators and advisers are especially important because they broaden their impact through training and communications and are “the conduit from the board and trustees to districts and clubs”.

Before John headed back into the moderator meeting, I asked him who he would interview if he could talk to anyone in the world. He answered almost immediately: Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank, a microfinance organization.