A Message from District Governor Els Van Engelenburg:
Rotary Opens Opportunities… If we have learned nothing else from COVID-19 we have certainly learned to take advantage of opportunities. Our opportunities as an organization to serve and grow have never been greater. In the words of Rotary International President Holger Knaack, “Don’t try to get your club back to normal…. Create a new normal… to allow you, to go forward in a new world.”
Fellow Rotarians this is OUR time to serve and to grow and to enhance our opportunities. Together we need to look towards the future and build a STRONG foundation by serving effectively and professionally. We must provide the best experiences to our members. By doing this we will secure our future and ensure that the good work of those who came before us continues not only this year and next but for decades to come. WE are not dreamers or followers we are leaders. For the problem solvers in Rotary, this is OUR moment; we were made for this moment.
We HAVE to think differently now. Gone are the days of “We always did it this way.” That will no longer work in today’s new world or in Rotary. Change is no longer optional, think of our organization as a ball of clay, it is ours to mold, shape and create into something beautiful that will open opportunities not only for today’s Rotarians but for generations to come as well.
In this new Rotary, your new Plan B has to be even better than your old Plan A was. You have to GET INSPIRED… STAY ENGAGED… & CREATE LASTING CONNECTIONS. This will lead to NEW OPPORTUNITIES. Maintaining caring relationships with other club members is more critical than ever, because we are having less contact than ever, while needing each other more than ever. Keep your members engaged and become particularly more member-centered and service-centered than you have previously been. Virtual meetings have become a blessing in many ways. For example, they attract busy, young professionals and these young professionals are doers. They have creative ideas – listen to them. Get creative! Every week, actively seek ways to make your virtual meetings better, more interesting and more fun. Have a hat day, or a shirt day, even a virtual background day – something fun. Whatever you decide, make it fun! In weeks with no meetings, send links to videos from Rotary’s website in the Learning Center to all members you can. Also use these videos at your virtual meetings if you need a speaker. They are free and easy to use. Make sure all members, but especially new members, go to the Rotary Learning Center to learn something fun, interesting and educational about Rotary.
Consider joining a Rotary Action Group or Fellowship. There are over 100 to choose from where Rotarians share common interests and skills with Rotarians from all over the world. Just Google Rotary Action Groups. If you do not see one you’re looking for start a new one. The list is continually growing.
Regardless how classy people think Rotarians are, we have classy values! Invite people with classy values to be part of your Rotary experiences. Rotary’s success does not come from individuals, but from the collective members of all clubs around the globe who pull together in time of need. This is why membership is so critical.
It is your job, as leaders of your clubs and your communities, not to chair fund raisers or projects, but to inspire your members to want to HAVE fund raisers, to DO projects, and be people of ACTION – for the good they will create. Without a similar vision, the motivation is missing. Your job is to share the vision and to “Open Opportunities.”
Try new things. It is better to try and fail than to never attempt to do better. If your club does not use Venmo, PayPal or Zelle consider it now in this digital world. it is an easy way for Rotarians as well as non-Rotarian to donate to your club projects and efforts. It is also a great way to collect for your CART Bucket, Happy Dollars, Bragging Bucks, etc.
Use your District and Global Grants to do more in your communities and around the globe to think greater than before. If you type in Corona in Rotary Showcase… it will bring up over 1,000 project ideas from around the globe. There are so many fabulous project ideas – the possibilities of service are endless. Remember the Polio project was started by one person’s idea to eradicate Polio from the Philippines.
Polio eradication is Rotary’s number one project and WE will see it to the end. Polio efforts continue as much as possible, while we currently cannot go door to door with the vaccines, we are in constant contact with the WHO. Soon Nigeria will be declared Polio free leaving us with only two countries to complete. WE must continue on – we are literally “this close” The polio eradication infrastructure is now being used to protect the most vulnerable around the world. Thank goodness for our polio eradication support.
Of course Rotary’s priority is your health and safety first. If holding in person meetings please continue to use the recommendations of the CDC has to limit the spread of illness. Rotary has always emerged from crises like this stronger than they went in. We’ve got this. Rotary has dealt with much worse. We just have to be far more deliberate about all we do.
Thanks goodness we live in the age of technology where platforms such as Zoom and social media help us to stay more connected and to spread the good word of what we are doing.
Together we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.
Rotary Opens NEW Opportunities. What door will open for you in 2020-21?