by Pam Russell – RRFC Zone 26 2013-2016, District 5340
When challenged to raise money for The Rotary Foundation, RRFC Pamela Russell, E/MGA Brenda Cressey, Past Trustee Steve Brown, and Major Gifts Officer Mike Dunlap worked with Rotary District 5340 as they set a goal of raising $15 million by October 2015 for their “Millions for HOPE” (Health, Overcoming Poverty, and Education) event. Within the first six months, they had already achieved $10 million. This great achievement stemmed from leaders working together to provide training and ongoing support on donor identification and cultivation in the district.
The leaders engaged with the district governor, district governor-elect and their entire district committee to support their campaign, “Millions for HOPE”. With strong participation from the top 20 clubs in the district, the excitement was building. A key success for cultivating donors was to encourage them to specify where they wanted their donation to go. The donors chose to give to The Rotary Foundation in support of current work, Rotary’s future, a polio-free world or a specific project important to the donor. This also allowed the district to reach their goal of $15 million in only 10 months.
On 17 October 2015, the “Millions for HOPE” Gala kicked off with a jazz performance and continued with dinner, a DJ, and dancing. With more than 500 Rotarians in attendance– including local Rotaractors and President K.R. “Ravi” Ravindran, everyone was in high spirits. After the final numbers were announced, an anonymous donor spoke with Past Trustee Steve Brown. The word was passed to President Ravi and he announced that there would be a match bringing the total donation to The Rotary Foundation to more than $31,000,000!
“Providing millions of dollars to The Rotary Foundation means providing millions of beneficiaries with opportunity” states RRFC Pamela Russell. “Raising $15.5 million as a team was already a huge accomplishment. Then to have a donor match it! It is hard to imagine what the impact is going to be. We are so pleased for District 5340 to have such a profound legacy” she continued.
It is important to realize that working as a team, the organizers were able to support the district’s successful campaign and event, leading to a meaningful impact for the beneficiaries of Rotary service projects. The skills you have as regional leaders can help districts with their Million Dollar campaigns and other events.