By Ingrid Waugh, Assistant Rotary Coordinator and Past Governor of Rotary District 9920
During this time of physical separation and social distancing, it is more important than ever to keep our social connections. Rotarians join Rotary to do good in their community. They stay because of the connections they make. Our relationships are important, and we need to strengthen the ones we have and to build new ones. What might this look like in our changed world?
For starters, we can help Rotary stay strong, and even prosper, by working together and taking care of each other – just what Rotary members always do. All of us have had our normal routines disrupted. And when people take a break from these routines for an extended period, they sometimes find other things to fill the gap. That is why it’s vitally important that we keep our members connected and engaged in new ways.
With our creativity and innovation, we can even reach out to new people who are looking for something to get them through these strange times. People in our communities are seeking purpose, and an opportunity to contribute. We have resources to help them do that.
Here are some ideas:
- Communicate with members through email, social media, virtual meeting tools
- Make it a two-way conversation by encouraging “user generated content” to your web and social media platforms
- Convert your meetings to virtual ones. Check out this article from District 9500 for advice on keeping these meeting captivating.
- Keep a schedule of dynamic speakers, by adding them to your virtual meetings
- Hold district-wide meetings virtually
- Create a challenge that members can take part in, either a project, competition, or activity, which can be done from their homes
- Share ideas for projects that you can collaborate on together remotely
- Set up a phone tree of members to keep in contact
- Create a club buddy system to pair up members and make sure that vulnerable members are supported
- Inject some fun items into your newsletters and bulletins to lighten the mood and keep people’s minds off the gravity of these times
- Update your club website with a new tab for information on how people can get involved with your club online or virtually. You could also create a tab for listing volunteer opportunities like this district did: https://www.rotarydistrict9800.org.au/sitepage/volunteer
- Keep members engaged through Rotary online learning tools such as the Learning Center. You can take part in learning modules and webinars as a group through platforms like Zoom.
- Review and revise your club’s strategic plan
- Work together with community partners to identify the most pressing needs. Engage with other community organizations like Meals on Wheels.
- Rotary’s disaster response grants provide a fast and effective way to respond to local events. The Rotary Foundation recently added COVID-19 projects to its list of eligible activities for these grants. Learn more
- Volunteer to run errands for those in need, in keeping with whatever restriction your local and regional authorities have in place for staying safe.
Check out the COVID-19 page on Rotary.org for more information and resources for taking a leadership role in your community and reaching out to new and potential members during this pandemic. Keep up with what Rotary is doing on Facebook and Twitter at #RotaryResponds.