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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How E/MGA Noraseth Pathmanand achieves fundraising success!

NPThe newest members of the regional leaders team are the endowment/major gifts advisers (E/MGAs). E/MGAs are a resource for major gifts and the Endowment fund. Many E/MGAs have extensive experience raising funds for the Rotary Foundation.

E/MGA Noraseth Pathmanand joined Rotary in 1984 after a classmate at the SASIN Graduate Institute of Business Administration of Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand asked him to join him for lunch. When he arrived at the hotel, it turned out that lunch was a meeting to organize a new Rotary club – the charter Rotary Club of Bangrak. As much as Noraseth was surprised by the news that he was now a charter member of the Rotary Club of Bangrak, he happily joined the club. 30 years later, he is still active in Rotary.

Noraseth is a strong supporter of the Rotary Foundation and is passionate about raising funds for the Foundation. Noraseth’s fundraising strategy focuses on working with close friends or current supporters of the Rotary Foundation.During his initial solicitation meetings, he highlights the finer points of major gifts andcontributing to the Endowment Fund for the prospective major donor (or prospect) and he shares that he supports the Rotary Foundation for its mission and the work Rotary does in the eradication of polio. He thendetails the different programs and contribution options for the prospect to consider. For example, if a prospect is very passionate about preventing disease, Noraseth may provide more information about making a gift to that area of focus. He also encourages donors to consider different contribution options such as major gifts pledge agreements.

As an E/MGA Noraseth works closely with Rotary staff in Evanston.  He develops and sets contribution goals for each year, and provides regular updates to his fund development committee partner. He strongly encourages all endowment/major gifts advisers to lead by example and make their gifts early in the Rotary year.

Learn more about Rotary’s endowment fund, including gifts to the areas of focus, and see the 2014-15 list of regional coordinators and advisers on

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.


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 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,

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

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?

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

A breakaway group visited the BBC Radio studios.

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.

(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.

(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!