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?