Top 10 things you should know about the new Rotary Foundation funding model

By Ian Riseley, Rotary Foundation Trustee, Foundation Finance Committee chair

(This post was originally posted on Rotary Voices.)

I’ve been very involved in the development of our Foundation’s new funding model and have closely followed the questions being raised about it in social media and elsewhere. The new funding model for The Rotary Foundation was developed because our ability to continue “doing good in the world” depends heavily on the Foundation having long-term financial stability. In the interests of improved communication and understanding of the changes, here are 10 important things to know about the new model, which becomes effective on 1 July 2015.

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1. Rotarians and clubs will benefit

Rotary’s strength lies in the talents and dedication of its members and clubs. The recent recession showed that we must have adequate reserves in our Rotary Foundation to ensure that we don’t have to cut programs and services in times of poor investment returns, and the increased volatility in financial markets emphasized the need for an adequate level of reserves. The new funding model is necessary to ensure resources are available to support the work of Rotarians now and in the future. The Foundation’s current policy is to maintain an operating reserve equal to three years’ worth of operating expenses.

2.  PolioPlus Fund contributions are not affected in any way

3.  Endowment Fund Contributions are not affected in any way

4.  District Designated Funds are not affected in any way

5.  5% of Annual Fund contributions are set aside from the World Fund

After Annual Fund contributions are invested, 50% will continue to go to District Designated Funds (DDF) and 50% to the World Fund. The 5% being set aside to help pay for the Foundation’s operating expenses will come from the World Fund, but will only be used if needed to pay those expenses or to fully fund the operating reserve. If they are not needed for those purposes, they may remain in the World Fund for grants.

6.  5% of cash contributions for global grants set aside

Under the current system, cash contributed in support of a grant by clubs and districts requires administration, but provides no investment income to meet the cost of that administration, because the funds are not retained by the Foundation for any length of time and therefore do not generate investment income. The 5% set aside from cash contributions for global grants will help pay the costs of processing, etc. It is not uncommon for many clubs to support a single global grant, and some clubs include payments from many members, thus requiring donor recognition to be processed for each contribution. Cash may also need to be converted into one of the 28 official Rotary currencies and then transferred to an international bank account for the project to be implemented.

7.  Up to 10% of corporate gifts set aside

Using up to 10% of large corporate contributions for operating expenses is a well-accepted practice among donors to charities. By obtaining such gifts, the Foundation can increase support for the projects in our areas of focus. Our polio eradication efforts, for example, have benefitted greatly from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s support. Up to 10% of these gifts will contribute to our administration costs, thus leaving more funds to support the grants for clubs and districts.

8.  A communication plan is in place

The Trustees recognize that open, clear communication fosters Rotarians’ continued support of, and active involvement in, Foundation programs. The first step in the funding model communication plan was an announcement on rotary.org with a link to Securing Our Foundation’s Future. Watch for more information in Rotary media, coming soon.

9.  Training and resources are being developed

Training manuals for officers and committees at the district and club levels are being updated, and webinars and e-learning modules are being developed. For details, contactfundingmodel@rotary.org.

10.  The Foundation has a record of financial stewardship and transparency

Our Foundation has consistently earned high ratings for sound fiscal management from Charity Navigator and other agencies. Find more on Foundation finances and ratings.

Questions or comments? Please, contact fundingmodel@rotary.org.

I hope you will continue to make our Foundation one of your preferred charities. Every contribution is important and deeply appreciated. The projects and work we accomplish together as Rotarians are life changing.

Media City welcomes Rotary

By Herbert Chatters, Rotary public image coordinator, Zone 17

What started as a visit to see how the media presents the nation’s news brought about a seismic change in ‘Telling the Rotary Story’.  In an attempt to bring Marketing, Public Relations and Communications district chairs (MPRCs) together to engage in bonding and strategizing prior to the new Rotary year with their district governor nominees, I organized a weekend together at MediaCity UK in Salford, Manchester, UK.

MediaCityUK is the new news hub of the UK.  It is the home of the BBC, Britain’s largest media company, the commercial ITV Granada news hub and the a variety of regional and local newspapers. It has recording studios, event space, and offers shopping opportunities for visitors. High on the agenda for the weekend was to work with the group to develop their consistency in communicating the achievements of Rotary to an internal and external audience.

To make sure all the attendees were engaged in the planning process, district governor nominees were asked to contribute their ideas to the program. Originally, the trip was limited to just MPRCs and district governor nominees. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, some MPRCs were replaced by district governor elects, district membership chairs, and district governors. This proved to be the magic formula.

The enthusiastic group visited the home of regional commercial TV (Granada), the BBC (both radio and TV) and a local evening newspaper.  The mix and different focuses of the group kept everyone on their toes throughout the day as they asked questions covering the image and achievements of Rotary.

In addition to touring MediaCityUk, the formal program included a guest speaker, sharing of successful publicity campaigns, and social media tips. The guest speaker on Friday evening was the Business Editor of a daily newspaper, who gave us tips on how to attract the attention of media in general and news editors in particular.  On Saturday, two highly successful district publicity campaigns were showcased. The first, an amazing End Polio Now awareness programme, was followed by the story of how to obtain a weekly, half page slot in your local newspaper. Both projects led to a lively discussion within the group about engaging audiences.  Social Media was also high on the agenda, with three sessions focused on the good, the bad and the ugly. A summary of best practices, pitfalls to avoid, Social Media at work, areas of concern, and mechanics of management tools to reassure users was shared.  Delegates had an opportunity to quiz the new editor of the RIBI magazine in a lively session where they presented their ideas on content, style and focus.  The event concluded with an update on Strengthening Rotary and the new image.

The attendees made strong contacts with TV, radio and the local newspapers. One of the quickest outcomes is a paper from Friday’s guest speaker, ‘How to get published’, aimed at presenting the quick route to catch a journalist’s attention. The weekend was an incredible success and I will absolutely run this event again. Because of the mix of attendees, it was a great bonding opportunity and there were a raft of ideas discussed. Next year, I will invite a wider variety of Rotary positions to join the district governors, district governor elects and district governor nominee team. This will keep the conversation fresh and interesting.  The outside visits proved so attractive that a new group is visiting the BBC in May!

What are some innovative or creative ways that you have involved Rotarians or district leaders in your public image, Rotary Foundation, or membership efforts?

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Head of news Lucy West and weather girl Kerrie Gosney tell Rotarians how it’s all done.

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A breakaway group visited the BBC Radio studios.

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Kevin Walsh x 3 as he presents on getting Rotary news in his District’s papers.

2014 Convention a success

Regional coordinators and advisers gathered together at the 2014 International Convention in Sydney, Australia. Taking advantage of this opportunity to share how they can best help club leaders achieve their goals, many served as moderators and panelists in one of the 92 breakout sessions offered at this year’s convention.

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(Photo credit: Pablo Ruiz Amo)

Before the convention started, RPIC Stewart Gilbert and Rotary staff member Christine Grodecki put together the 2014 Regional Coordinator and adviser booth. The booth continued to grow and become more vibrant as attendees congregated there and dropped off materials from their region throughout the week.

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(Photo credit: Güneş Ertaş)

On 1 June, a small but mighty group of coordinators and advisers gathered together to share conversation and catch up with each other over a coffee break.

Breakout sessions began on Monday, 2 June.

On 3 June, coordinators from Australia and New Zealand held a team training at the Novotel Olympic Park. The discussion focused on member engagement, increasing fundraising for the Rotary Foundation, and public image in Australia/New Zealand.

Convention closed on 4 June with an inspiring closing plenary. We look forward to seeing everyone in São Paulo in 2015!

Engaging your audience via Facebook

At the 2014 Coordinator and Adviser Institute, RPIC Charlie Thorp shared how he uses Facebook to interact with Rotarian and non-Rotarian audiences. The key to his success: audience differentiation.

To help target the information he shares with various audiences, Charlie created a private Facebook page for his zone. He uses this page to communicate with districts in his region; keeping the information there strictly dedicated to Rotary subjects in his region.  One recent example was a post about availability of the new Quick Start Guide for Club Websites, found on the Brand Center.Picture1

Charlie also set up a public Facebook page, which he uses to communicate with a wider audience about Rotary. He shares more general Rotary stories and images on this page to better advance Rotary’s public image.  One recent example was a shared video of a great “What is Rotary” elevator speech.

Some best practices that Charlie uses for Facebook are:

  • Make Rotary part of your everyday life – share personal stories as well as Rotary stories that are important to you.
  • If you find articles about Rotary, pass them on.  Also share stories from your connections.
  • Balance out the Rotary focused posts with stories that have nothing to do with Rotary and are personally focused.
  • Share content that you would like to see.
  • Include strong visuals such as photos or graphs with your posts.

Interested in learning more about how you can engage with your audience via social media? Learn how to better connect with your local community and the power of images through these short “how-to” vignettes produced by Rotary International. Share these with your networks and let us know if there any topics you would like to learn more about!

Building a Valuable Webinar

Written by Gayle Knepper, Rotary Coordinator, Zone 24 West

webinarsWebinars are an outstanding tool to reach district leaders. They give us the ability to offer new information and provide training much more frequently than trying to meet face to face. Webinars are especially ideal for connecting with Rotarians in districts that are spread over large geographic areas. In addition to sharing information with others, webinars accomplish more: stimulate conversations between leaders, foster requests for district-specific programs, and lead to invitations for in-person training.

There are a number of best practices to consider when planning a webinar. One of the first steps is to ask, “What is the objective of this webinar?”  This will include both the training goals to be achieved and, from our own perspective, “What do we want to happen as a result?”  An advanced training outline is also essential and the key factor to keep in mind is that the participants cannot see us. Our challenge: how can we keep them interested? A few tips:

  • Include four or five poll questions in your presentation. These polls can provide a lead in to upcoming content, “test” attendee knowledge on a certain subject, or assess current activity in the districts.
  • Use visuals as a dominant element. Although important in most presentations, visuals are especially important in a webinar. To capture and maintain interest, the majority of the slides should include interesting, action-oriented photos or other images that illustrate the point being discussed. (In other words, use text sparingly.)
  • Invite Rotarians as guest speakers. In addition to changing the voice and style of the presenter, it gives these Rotarians the opportunity to share a success story or best practice from their districts and illustrate a key learning point.
  • Encourage attendees to submit comments and questions at any time via the question and/or chat features. Discuss these comments at the first relevant opportunity, usually at the end of the current topic.  It helps participants to feel a part of the webinar.
  • Based on the number of attendees online, participants with questions or comments may also be unmuted for a discussion in his/her own words, creating a greater feeling of involvement.
  • Plan for at least 15 minutes at the end of the formal presentation for questions and discussion. This “open” time is often the liveliest segment of the webinar, with attendees sharing success stories and common issues, and making connections.

An effective webinar will motivate participants to immediately take action. To reinforce that action, it is important for us to follow up to ensure attendees have the resources they need to achieve success.

  • Review the key action points and share resources at the end of the session, along with the immediate “next steps” for participants.
  • Post the presentation and recording to a download website, such as DropBox, and send a link within 24 hours of the webinar. This gives attendees a useful reference to the information discussed in the webinar and to share it with others.
  • Post resources on the webinar topic in an easy-to-find location. These include best practices, specially-developed tools and information gathered to fit the needs of districts. My zone uses www.GreatIdeasToShare.com.

Webinars are a valuable tool for information, training and focused outreach. They complement the support and training provided by coordinators and advisers, and provide a flexible and lower-cost option that is highly effective in addressing the needs of districts. If webinars are not yet an active component of your team’s plan, it may be a tool to include during the upcoming year.

We’re “This Close” to having the World’s Biggest Commercial

We are “This Close” to a future without polio, only the second human disease to be wiped off the face of the earth.  To raise awareness and help finish the fight, Rotary launched the “World’s Biggest Commercial” on 24 October 2013, World Polio Day. All of you are familiar with the internet campaign, but do you know its effects? To date, more than 90 thousand people from 170 countries have added their image to the fight against polio… and continue to join! You can see some of the faces in this PSA.

In addition to raising awareness about Rotary and our work to End Polio Now, every person who joins the World’s Biggest Commercial can opt to have their name added to a petition urging world leaders to come together and help provide the US$5.5 billion needed to end polio forever. Participants can also make an individual donation to help make history and be part of a polio-free world. To help spur participation in the commercial, PhRMA, the largest pharmaceutical trade group in the United States, donated $50,000 to Rotary’s PolioPlus program – enough to protect more than 83,000 children against this paralyzing disease. The commercial was more than just a commercial: it became a platform to rally for polio eradication.

RPIC Pablo Ruiz poses with a group of WBC participants.

RPIC Pablo Ruiz poses with a group of WBC participants.

Many Rotarians around the world were essential to making the campaign a success – sometimes in surprising and innovative ways.  RPIC Pablo Ruiz counted on the support of a local company specialized in providing small administrative services for the picture taking on busy streets as his team talked about Rotary’s polio eradication effort with a TV station, attracted by the visual appealing setup created.

Rotarian Roberta Lopes de Moraes is responsible for the  surge of participation in Brazil.

Rotarian Roberta Lopes de Moraes is responsible for the surge of participation in Brazil.

In Brazil, Rotarian Roberta Lopes de Moraes, Rotary Club of Rio Claro, Brazil worked withshopping malls, schools and governmental facilities to produce events that would generate not only photos but also public outreach opportunities and media attention.

Rotaract and Interact Clubs also joined in the effort and were responsible for many successes. Some Rotaractors responded to a photo challenge created by Rotary, while others organized their own challenges. In Venezuela, they searched for journalists in radio and TV to support and participate in the campaign.

Rotarians and Rotaractors in Venezuela made a difference.

Rotarians and Rotaractors in Venezuela made a difference.

Local celebrities were also invited to join the commercial, raising the awareness of Rotary in local communities. The commercial was a perfect conversation starter for introducing our fight to end polio now and the participation generated attention when announced to the press. Many local celebrities reached out to their followers in social media, sharing their reasons to participate with their social networks. More than 150 celebrities have joined the commercial and were thus introduced to Rotary.

The campaign is wrapping up soon, at the end of June. We are “This Close” to having 100,000 participants and obtain the record title of the largest photo awareness campaign in the world. You can help by inviting others to participate and by sharing the PSA with your networks. Rotary public images coordinators especially can assist with procuring free placement opportunities for PSAs in TV and Internet, amplifying the reach of Rotary’s story. Contact pr@rotary.org with questions.

Rotarians in Argentina partnered with existing sporting events to raise awareness of Rotary’s polio eradication initiative.

Rotarians in Argentina partnered with existing sporting events to raise awareness of Rotary’s polio eradication initiative.

The PSA is also available in German (https://vimeo.com/91021474) and Italian (https://vimeo.com/90997050) in addition to English.

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?