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

World’s Greatest Meal to help end polio

Written by Rotarian Michelle Tanner and Polio Chair Susanne Rea

Pciture 1In May 2014, Polio Chair Susanne Rea shared her story on Rotary Voices about how the World’s Greatest Meal is striving to fund a million polio vaccines through social media. The World’s Greatest Meal (WGM) is a project created by Polio Chair Susanne Rea (Rotary Club of Cairns Sunrise, Australia) and past District Governor Mukesh Malhotra, (Rotary Club of Hounslow, England).

The concept behind the project is simple: participants enjoy a meal together, raise funds to end polio, and use the power of social media to globally raise awareness of Rotary’s polio eradication campaign.

Initially, the focus was on holding an event around Rotary’s anniversary (23 February 2014) but as the reach of the project grew, the potential to really make a difference in ending polio became evident and the decision was made to continue it throughout the year.

So, how does the World’s Greatest Meal work? First, keep the project simple. Participants are encouraged to follow four steps:

  1. Refer to the World’s Greatest Meal website or Facebook
  2. Plan an event focused on sharing a meal then click ‘register event’ and add basic details to the WGM website
  3. Hold the WGM event.
  4. Submit the funds raised to The Rotary Foundation (be sure to indicate PolioPlus) and complete the after event form.

Picture 2Social media is the backbone of this project. The first (global) Facebook page was followed by a website and many, country-based, WGM Facebook pages such as RIBI, District 7770 in the United States, and Spain. A video was created and made available in Spanish and English. Twitter and a YouTube channel followed.

Rotarians across the globe were ‘recruited’ to the project and the WGM Team was formed. The Rotary Convention in Sydney provided an opportunity for many on the team and other interested people to come together to share ideas and experiences at a post-convention meeting.

WGM aims to raise US$1m (including matched funds from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) and have 500 events registered by World Polio Day, 24 October 2014. As of 4 September 2014, 544 events have been registered in 47 countries across 5 continents. The long term fundraising target is $5 million (including matching) by December 2018.

Picture 3The WGM is an example of how an idea can grow into a global project. Contributions, small or large, are welcomed for a cause close to Rotary’s heart. What can you do to participate in this initiative? Why not mark World Polio Day on 24 October with your own WGM event – host a viewing party of Rotary’s World Polio Day 2014 Livestream event or host your own event.

More World Polio Day resources can be found on

The benefits of multi-generational membership

By Katie Ehlis, assistant Rotary Coordinator, Zone 28

I often speak to Rotarians about the importance of embracing the reality of a multi-generational membership. There are so many great things that come from clubs leveraging the different generations that make up their membership. I believe that when a club has an engaged, multi-generational membership, it has access to numerous perspectives about how to do things within your club. Some of these ideas and perspectives may have never been thought of or discussed before; all of them have the potential to make your club stronger.


Brittany Maupin from the United States (in a white shirt) and other attendees at the New Generations Celebration: Connect for Good session. Rotaract Preconvention Meeting, 31 May 2014, Sydney, Australia. © Rotary International

Members from all different generations have varying life experiences. Here are some tips on how to encourage cross-generational idea exchange and collaboration in your club:

  1. Ask members from multiple-generations to be part of your annual club visioning or to help solve a specific problem your club may have.
  2. Create a multi-generational committee. Ask members from a variety of generations to be part of it and ask them to come up with ideas on how to create awareness, find relevant speakers, and hold some fun multi-generational events.
  3. Hold generational training for your club. Have someone (maybe even one of your members) share some common traits and characteristics from the different generations. Talk about ways you can all work together.
  4. Think about the possibility of a satellite club! It’s worked for many clubs and can inject some new excitement and energy into your current membership.
  5. Set up an internal “mentoring” program and encourage all members to play the role of mentor. Consider flipping the norm – encourage younger members to mentor older members. We have a lot to learn from each other, no matter our age or life experiences. Encourage mentor partners to meet for coffee outside of club meetings, have conference calls, or even sit together during meetings.

The reality is that in some parts of the world our clubs aren’t doing a good job with sustaining a younger membership. It’s time for our clubs to think differently and shake things up! Without multiple generations engaged in Rotary we won’t be able to continue the amazing work we do for those who need it.

Still not sure how to engage multiple generations in your club? Contact ARC Katie or read the following articles to get some ideas about what might work in your club:

Tell our success story and increase Rotary’s image around the world

Written by Sambasiva Rao Patilbanda (Rotary public image coordinator, zone 5)

RPIC_Patibandla_SamRI President Ron Burton, at the Sydney convention, while talking about membership growth and how we are failing to adequately capitalize on our investment in Rotary said: “The bottom line is that Rotary’s future – it’s very survival – is up to us, we can either get up out of our chairs and really make something happen, or we can just sit there and become an endangered species and eventually die off.”

The above statement is a reflection of the situation we are in. We have to make something happen. We have to capitalize on all the good things we do around the world and encourage others to join Rotary. We have to start telling our story, our Rotary story – our success story.

Each one of more than 3000 rotary clubs in India has a success story about a project or event that can be shared with the world. Each one of more than 1, 30,000 Rotarians in India has a Rotary moment to share. Let us start telling others about how we – as Rotarians – have helped millions of people around the world lead a better life.

I and past district governor (PDG) Kamal Sanghvi, in our role as RPICs, are trained to help others tell their story in a compelling way and with a unified voice. Speaking in one voice will allow us to expand our reach into our communities and will highlight what Rotary has done around the world.

Start talking about our revamped, user friendly website; adopt our new voice and visual identity guidelines. Promote the use of Rotary tools designed to help Rotarians track progress towards their goals (Rotary Club Central) and share their projects with the greater world (Rotary Showcase). Use our Brand Center to let the public know that Rotary brings leaders together to exchange ideas and take action to improve communities everywhere.

Capitalize on our investment in Rotary by presenting ourselves to the world and sharing our stories with others. Bang the drum and don’t stop.

Rediscover Rotary and go back to basics

By Oyan Villanueva (Rotary coordinator, zone 7A)

10393968_10204222479903096_4008856637165303799_nAt the center of the Philippine and Indonesian Regional Membership Plan is  the concept of going back to basics and rediscovering Rotary. The plan’s aim is to encourage strong clubs to have clarity, relevancy, and focus.  Growing economies like the Philippines and Indonesia still encounter poverty and needs for basic necessities just outside the doorstep. As such, community service projects can easily be done anywhere, any time. This is what most of the Rotary clubs in my region have been doing for so long.

Unfortunately, by focusing too much on community service and attempting to meet every need, Rotary clubs have lost their focus on the rest of what Rotary is about.  Rotary club membership became more expensive as projects and obligations kept being added.

Through our Regional Membership Plan, clubs are being guided back to the rest of Rotary. Clubs are focusing, discovering, and capitalizing on their unique identity – and becoming more relevant to their members and communities. Through club visioning sessions, individual action plans are created based on club realities and looking for their relevancy to their communities. This is a toned-down strategic planning session and is focused on getting every club member to understand where the club needs to go.

P1030242Our membership plan addresses several key challenges for our region. The first challenge is the vast geographic expanse of the region: Some clubs are located in remote areas and are unable to receive necessary Rotary training and updates. By developing a team of passionate and capable Rotarian speakers and trainers, remote clubs are now getting updates and messaging. Clubs appreciate the presence of seasoned and knowledgeable trainers who challenge club officers and members to be innovative, and sometimes revolutionary, in their club activities. District seminars are particularly popular with Rotarians anticipating new approaches to old problems. The district membership development seminars occurring today are totally different; many participants are inspired to return to their clubs and try new ideas. Additionally, many have muttered, “Why didn’t I think of that idea before?”

Although our plan doesn’t specifically call out recruitment or retention strategies, we suggested replacing the word “recruitment” with the word “attract” has had great success.. The rationale behind this approach stems from the belief that in order for potential members to notice Rotary clubs, they first must be attracted to “something” about these clubs.

Discovering the club’s unique value proposition and establishing its identity is the key towards attracting individuals that enjoy the same activities or share the same advocacy values as existing members. Additionally, a deeper analysis of people’s reasons for joining organizations and their stage in life helps Rotary club members better identify who would be a good fit for their club.

P1030196As team lead for my area, encouraging clubs to engage members in a meaningful way is the most exciting part of our plan. Each club is responsible for making their club interesting and vibrant,  Every meeting is an opportunity to retain members by simply doing activities that everybody enjoys and cause members to come back for more. Many Rotary clubs here have a tendency to be strict and traditional; clubs are challenged to break away from norms. Many ideas have been proposed by Rotarians such as holding a themed meeting with game ideas, similar to the noontime variety shows which are popular in the Philippines. Simply put, exciting and enjoyable club meetings are worth coming to every single week.

Find more membership resources, including your Regional Membership Plan on Download Be a Vibrant Club and participate in Membership Month activities. View the recording of the recent webinar, Membership: It’s now or Never! to learn innovative ways of thinking about membership.

As little as $2 a week does a world of good


Coordinators and advisers, how do you share what donations to the Rotary Foundation can accomplish?

Originally posted on Rotary Voices:

140725_bergmanBy Teree Bergman, an assistant regional Rotary Foundation coordinator

A new Rotary year began 1 July, and that means it’s time to begin a new effort to have our members participate in Rotary’s work by donating to the Annual Fund. Rotary’s Every Rotarian Every Year (EREY) initiative empowers every Rotary member to be part of the humanitarian accomplishments of The Rotary Foundation.

Let me share a number I find unbelievable. During the year that ended 30 June, only 44 of the 666 clubs in the southwest region of the United States where I serve as coordinator earned an EREY banner. That’s a whopping 6 percent! (And keep in mind, not every member has to give $100 to qualify for the banner; the banners go to clubs that achieve a $100 average per member with every member giving some amount, however small.)  

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Using social media to boost fundraising efforts

Originally posted on Rotary Service Connections | English:

By Simone Collins, Rotary Club of Freshwater Bay, Western Australia, and Charter Chair of the Rotarians on Social Networks Fellowship

Social media is no longer a new technology – the first social media sites launched in 2000, and a number of those original sites are still around. Facebook was launched in 2004, LinkedIn in 2003, and Twitter has been around since 2006. Social media is now as vital a communication tool as a cell phone.

The power of social media is in the sheer number of users who contribute and consume information daily through these networks. Facebook currently boasts 1.3 billion active users, most of which log in daily. *Half of 18 to 34-year-olds check Facebook first thing in the morning, and 28% of those do so before even getting out of bed!

Rapid Response

Murphys Creek, Queensland, Australia. Photo courtesy of Rotary District 9830

Murphys Creek, Queensland, Australia. Photo courtesy of Rotary District 9830

In January 2011, we had…

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