President’s Comment – 19 Jun 16

Welcome this week to another new member – PP Lauren Slater who is transferring to our Club from the Rotary Club of Murrumbidgee, D9700. She has great Rotary experience and is without doubt our youngest member. We are now 10 in total number with still more prospects who have not yet committed. Below is a great E-club that we can probably use as a model for our website and Club activities.

A great example of a Rotary E-Club

While Rotary may be a great ideological fit for those born 1980s to around 2000 (Millennials), it can present logistical challenges for young people who aren’t settled enough in their professional and personal lives to commit to regular meeting attendance.

That’s the problem that the founders of the E-Club of Silicon Valley – (please look at their website  – http://www.siliconvalleyrotary.com/) set out to solve when they established their club last year. “It was very much a conversation of how we can get people into Rotary who want to be a part of Rotary but always come up with the response of, ‘I don’t have the time,’” says 25-year-old charter member Yvonne Kwan. “These are people who want to do good. They want to help out. They want to give back to the community, but they just can’t make it out to the meetings every single week at a certain time.”

Kwan’s club posts its meetings online for members to “attend” at any time during the week. The club also hosts regular social gatherings – potlucks, happy hours, and, most recently, a hike in a natural area north of San Francisco. “We went out into nature, and we took a few hours and hiked up to Point Reyes,” she says. “It was beautiful.”

When members go online for meetings, they find engaging content, Kwan says. “We’ve made our meetings very visual-heavy with videos, pictures, a font that’s easy to read.”

Look at this example of a guest speaker from one of their meetings.

In addition to the standard Rotary business items, the e-club meetings feature videos of speakers from all over the world and a weekly “tech tidbit or life hack” that members may find useful or entertaining. Kwan recently posted a tip about a discovery she made when she temporarily lost her Internet connection: The Chrome browser has a game hidden in its connection error page. “It was the highlight of my day for that very treacherous time when I had no Internet,” she jokes. So she made a short video about it and shared it with the club.

Another difference between Kwan’s club and others: “We don’t have big service projects that we do as a club because we’re dispersed throughout the world,” she says. Instead, members are encouraged to partner with other Rotary clubs or nonprofit organizations, find their own opportunities, and report them to the club as service. “You can do your own service in your own time,” Kwan says. “It gives people more power to adjust their own schedules.”

Though the e-club’s meetings are online, Kwan considers the in-person interactions to be just as important. She usually invites potential members to a social event before they ever see an online meeting. “It draws them in and it piques their interest, and you get to know them a little bit more,” she says. “I think that’s really valuable. Millennials are looking for a place to give back to their community, but they need to feel like they are getting value as well.”

Ee, of the Los Angeles club, agrees. “It doesn’t matter how bad my week was. I always end it with Rotary, and I always leave with a little more good faith in humanity,” he says. “I’m really excited for the next 20 years – to see where Rotary’s going to go.”

Kim Lisagor is a freelance writer and co-author of Disappearing Destinations: 37 Places in Peril and What Can Be Done to Help Save Them.

The Rotarian

1-May-2016 

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