Supporting districts as they plan an effective service project

During 2013-14, with the help of more than 35 Rotarian presenters, Rotary hosted a webinar series dedicated to the lifecycle of a service project.  The overall goal of this series was to help members make lasting improvements in communities around the world through the development of strong service projects. Thank you to the more than 2,400 folks who joined us for these webinars and gave everyone the opportunity to learn from each other and share their own best practices for success.

1. First, we focused on the concept of a project lifecycle. Read these top 10 tips for conducting a successful service project.

2. Before implementing a project, get to know the community you are working with. Performing a community assessment empowers people by giving them a voice in the process. Learn more about understanding the community.

3. You completed the community assessment and have created a project plan; now you just need the resources to carry out your project. Use these ten tips to secure the resources you need.

4. After you have secured the resources needed to complete your project, ensure your project is on track by following these ten best practices.

5. You’ve completed your project and now it’s time to measure your impact, identify successes and challenges, and promote the final project. Read these ten practical tips to help you develop an evaluation and promotion plan.

Want to learn more about Rotary service projects? View the recordings of each webinar in the series here, read about Rotary grants, and view completed projects.



What are young professionals looking for?

Attendees at the Young Professionals Summit talked about how Rotary can better attract and engage young professionals.

Attendees at the Young Professionals Summit talked about how Rotary can better attract and engage young professionals.

30 Rotary members under the age of 40 gathered in downtown Chicago on 26-27 September to discuss how Rotary can better attract and engage young professionals.Chris Davidson, member of the Rotary Club of Newport News, Virginia, USA, wrote about his experience at this event recently on Rotary Voices, “Rotary offers so much to young people who have the desire to help others, make connections, and learn servant leadership in a world that desperately needs more of that.”Common themes to emerge from the event included:

  • They are looking for a fun, flexible Rotary experience.
  • Young professionals are not opposed to joining a club with older members
  • Millennials and Gen Y want to do significant acts of service and make a difference in others’ lives.
  • Young professionals are appreciative of the business and mentorship opportunities they experience through Rotary but do not feel that these benefits are being marketed effectively to their generation.

Connect with event attendees and other Rotarians in the Young Professionals Network group and discuss the future of Rotary.

Securing support for The Rotary Foundation from corporations and local companies

By Greg Stowers, district Annual Fund subcommittee chair, Zone 26

This Rotary Foundation month, explore some fresh, new ideas about ways to raise money that doesn’t involve nagging all your members. Today I want to talk to you about considering “Other People’s Money” – specifically gifts from corporations and local companies.

The following are some ideas for attracting corporate donations or donations from local companies:

  • Leverage your contributions by engaging your company’s workplace giving program.  When you make a gift or volunteer, many companies will match it with their own donation to Rotary.  Visit to see if your company has previously given to Rotary.  If they haven’t, be the first to ask your HR department about your company’s workplace giving program and double the good you do!
  • Show a possible corporate donor how Rotary projects achieve sustainable results. For example, our projects provide micro loans to women or provide computer-aided-learning to young adults with a guarantee that the majority will be employed at the end of their schooling.
  • Consider offering a publicity opportunity to a local company or corporate donor. Offer ways for them to turn their donation and the results achieved into a business story.
  • Appeal to a donor’s personal interests by connecting the product the company makes to the results achieved. For example, if a firm creates software, it could contribute to a district or global grant which sponsors a scholarship for students majoring in Computer Science. If a firm manufactures water filtration systems, it could contribute parts to a water project in Kenya or Honduras which can provide training and jobs to the local population.
  • Almost any economic and community development effort will trigger related activities, improving the local economy beyond our initial efforts. Secure joint promotion from one of your donor’s trade journals and make sure everyone in their industry knows about these activities. This type of publicity is free and can have wide-ranging impact.

Too often, when we ask corporations or local companies for a contribution, we talk about the good things that the donor’s money will do for those in need around the world, but fail to connect how a corporation or local business can benefit from this relationship.

Learn more about Rotary’s Workplace Giving Programs.

Keep in mind that if a corporation contributes to the Annual Fund, your club receives recognition credits AND it increases District Designated Funds, so that you can do larger, more impactful programs, in line with your donor’s mission.

Economist explains why it’s worth giving to The Rotary Foundation


Celebrate Rotary Foundation month by giving and thank those who have already given.

Originally posted on Rotary Voices:

The Muso pilot, a project supported by Rotarians in Washington D.C., has significantly reduced deaths from malaria. Photo courtesy of Muso

The Muso pilot, a project supported by Rotarians in Washington D.C., has significantly reduced deaths from malaria. Photo courtesy of Muso

By Quentin Wodon, a member of the Rotary Club of Washington D.C.

This is November — Foundation month for Rotary. As the co-chair of my club’s Rotary Foundation committee, together with my other co-chairs Nancy Riker and Kenneth Kimbrough, I have been asking members to donate. As an economist, I had to give clear reasons why. So here are my top five reasons to donate:

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Why your gift to The Foundation makes a difference


This Rotary Foundation month, consider sharing how greater Foundation resources allow us greater ability, as Rotarians, to meet the needs of communities locally and throughout the world.

Originally posted on Rotary Voices:

Brenda Cressey volunteering at a day care in Mexico.

Brenda Cressey volunteering at a day care in Mexico.

By Brenda Cressey, The Rotary Foundation Endowment and Major Gifts Adviser for Zone 26

November gives us the chance to build greater ownership and pride in our Foundation. We have so much to celebrate. The new grant model, Rotary’s website, our publications, and our new branding effort all focus on building a strong message — the importance of contributing to and supporting our Rotary Foundation.

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From foot surgery to biking 104 miles to end polio

Catherine Lankford trains as part of the Miles to End Polio team.

Catherine Lankford trains as part of the Miles to End Polio team.

By Catherine Lankford, Rotary staff and former RC program specialist

My upcoming participation in El Tour de Tucson as part of Rotary’s Miles to End Polio team means a great deal to me on many levels.

My first introduction and connection to Rotary began in Mexico, Missouri, through my paternal grandfather, who was a member and president of the Rotary club in that community. I remember hearing stories from him about his weekly meetings, the work he did with his club, his commitment to polio eradication (both as a Rotarian and medical doctor), and the lifelong friends he made in Missouri and all over the world. My maternal grandmother was also recognized by that club with a Paul Harris Fellow for her outstanding work as an elementary school teacher and community member.

I began working at Rotary International in March of 2011 and feel fortunate to work for a company dedicated to making the world a better place. I was drawn to Rotary primarily because of our polio eradication efforts. The Miles to End Polio ride will mark the first time that I am directly impacting that effort and I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of it. It is also meaningful to me on a personal level.

Broken bones

In April of 2013, I broke multiple bones in my foot, and spent over 10 months in a walking boot and cast. I had surgery and went through seven months of subsequent physical therapy to learn to walk again and strengthen my muscles.

This was an incredibly trying experience for me, both physically and emotionally, as there were times that it was questionable whether I would be able to run or bike again. I can’t imagine a better way to close this chapter of my life than riding in El Tour de Tucson and raising money to ensure polio is eradicated and no one else has to suffer from this debilitating disease again.

Far and away, the best part of being on a bike again and training with Team Rotary (including my first ever 100 mile ride on 28 September!) is the instant gratitude I feel for the recovery that I had, the ability to be active, and the ride to end polio in Tucson. Gratitude is the attitude!

Catherine poses with RC Henrique Vasconcelos after being recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow at the 2014 Coordinator and Adviser Institute.

Catherine poses with RC Henrique Vasconcelos after being recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow at the 2014 Coordinator and Adviser Institute.

Lankford is one of six Rotary staff members who will join Rotary General Secretary John Hewko in biking El Tour de Tucson in Arizona in November to raise money for polio eradication. Read posts from other team members, and learn how you can support the team.

Recognition points exchange leads to an increase in donations

At the 2014 Institute, regional Rotary Foundation coordinator (RRFC) Todd Lindley gave a presentation about using resources, such as reports, on to achieve success in the field. During the presentation, he mentioned using an existing Rotary report, the Club Recognition Summary, to locate large collections of unused recognition points. Rotary Foundation recognition points are awarded to donors who contribute to The Rotary Foundation through the Annual Fund or PolioPlus. Points are also awarded to donors who sponsor a portion of a Rotary Foundation grant. The Club Recognition Summary report provides club and district leadership with the recognition amount, Foundation recognition points, current Paul Harris Fellow (PHF) level, and date that PHF level was achieved for club members in their area.

Incoming RRFC Carol Govers was reminded of a recognition point exchange that occurred in district 9100, located in West Africa. District leadership took advantage of unused recognition points and exchanged them to match contributions in the region. This provided incentive for donors to contribute more and get more points, bringing them closer to becoming a PHF. Govers had more than 100,000 unused Rotary Foundation recognition points. Lindley and Govers connected after the presentation and Govers talked about the recognition points exchange that had occurred in district 9100 several years earlier. The impact on giving to the Annual fund was significant and they agreed to test out a similar strategy in one of Lindley’s districts as a way to encourage donors to contribute to The Rotary Foundation.

Lindley started a matching points exchange in a district in his region that needed some additional incentives to increase their annual giving. From 1 April to 15 May, donations $100 or more to the Annual Fund in that district could be matched one to one with Rotary Foundation recognition points. The district raised approximately $50,000 in Annual Fund contributions and the program was deemed a success. Govers and Lindley are sure that this practice could be used effectively in other parts of the world. In 2014-15, another district in Lindley’s region will be participating in a points exchange from 1 September to 15 October. Based on the success of the first matching points exchange, Lindley and Govers are confident that this model will succeed in increasing contributions.

To implement this in your region:

  1. Train districts on how to use reports – from running the data to analyzing the results.
  2. Use the Club Recognition Summary report to locate collections of available recognition points in your region.
  3. Talk to district leaders about how they can effectively use these points to engage members and encourage contributions.
  4. Reach out to recognition points owners about contributing their unused points to boost their club or districts giving to the Annual Fund.

Would this be an effective fundraising tool in your region?

Learn more about gifts to the Rotary Foundation and Foundation recognition on