Rotarians undertake service projects all over the world to make real, tangible change in people’s lives. Their projects are the furthest thing from “virtual reality!” However, “virtual tools” can be of great help in making service ideas into tangible reality.
In order to create real change in people’s lives, service projects need resources. They need money, materials, human expertise and effort. One club might have the idea while other clubs can bring in the money, the expertise, or the understanding of local needs. How can Rotarians connect all of these needs together?
The internet has provided us with an almost limitless ability to connect with people all over the world. Based on the recent success of crowdsourcing and funding , Rotary developed Rotary Ideas. Ideas is an online crowdsourcing platform where clubs can post projects needing resources and seek contributions from other, like-minded individuals around the globe. Potential contributors can agree to support a project financially, by donating volunteers or materials, or by partnering with the club.
After a project is complete, it’s important to share the results back with other Rotarians and contributors. Rotary clubs around the world accomplish thousands and thousands of service projects every year but it has been hard to see the collective impact of Rotary. Through Rotary Showcase, clubs can post descriptions, pictures and videos of their projects. By sharing their service project with the world, clubs can raise awareness of Rotary within their communities and show their impact.
To see these tools in action, look at a recent project done by the Rotary Club of Monrovia, Liberia. In response to the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the club created a project on Rotary Ideas to seek partners to aid them as they worked to provide support for Ebola patients and health workers. Rotary Ideas introduced the project to potential contributors who were able to contact the club for more information about contributing. After the project reached it’s first milestone, the club posted an update on Rotary Showcase about their accomplishments. In this example, the club made an ideal use of the online tools on Rotary.org: seek resources on Rotary Ideas, and post project successes and milestones on Rotary Showcase.
Do you still have questions about how to use these tools? The Rotary Social team has developed many resources to help you use these two tools. Email email@example.com for user guides and video tutorials.