President’s Comment – 26 Feb 17

REMINDER OF GOTOMEETING THIS NEXT WEDNESDAY-1st March at 7.30pm EASTERN DAYLIGHT TIME

You will receive an email today with the link to the meeting. Please attend if at all possible.

I am back home again after a great skiing holiday.

Below is an interesting  post from a member of an E-Club in Western Australia that has a message for all Rotary Clubs I think.

How inclusive is your club?

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By Kate McKenzie, Rotary E-Club of Western Australia

Recently, I came across the concept of “conscious inclusion” when reading an article about how a bank consulted with an NGO for people with vision impairment when designing their new credit/debit cards. I started thinking about whether Rotary clubs are practicing conscious inclusion.

Unconscious bias means that we are often not aware of the needs of others. We may be willing to adjust if someone asks, but we may not be proactive about thinking ahead, asking for advice and then communicating with people that we have considered their needs.

People used to raise children in their 20s so by the time they were in their 30s they were starting to have time to do other things. Now parents often welcome their first born when they are are in their 30s and juggling career with everything else. Volunteering with Rotary could be easier if children could be a part of it. Does your venue have highchairs and maybe a small box of toys/books? Does your website mention that children are welcome? Do you plan some activities in family-friendly places like parks?

The Rotary E-Club of Western Australia

The Rotary E-Club of Western Australia

When I became a mother, I was suddenly a lot more aware of street design, building entrances and corridor width. Pushing a pram around made me aware of the challenges that people using a wheelchair must face. Has your club conducted an accessibility audit of the venue(s) where you meet? Do you consider accessibility when planning social events? Perhaps you could engage a guest speaker to help learn what you need to consider? You may find that persons with disability are more likely to join your club if your website gives them key information relevant to their needs.

In my previous Rotary club, one of our members had impaired hearing. He was taught to lip read from a young age, so didn’t use sign language. It was important, however, that we allowed him to sit where he could easily see the guest speaker and that we made an effort to face him directly during conversation. Through asking him what he needed, we learned how to make his Rotary experience more fulfilling.

Finally, many Rotary clubs come together in the act of sharing food. It’s important, however that we consider medical, ethical and religious dietary needs, so that food doesn’t divide us. Does your venue serve vegetarian or vegan options? Can kosher, halal options be made available? Do you collect information about dietary requirements in advance? If a member or visitor is fasting, can they attend without feeling obligated to pay for a meal? Is the kitchen capable of serving food that is safe for people with allergies or other medical needs?

A little forethought can go a long way to making our clubs more welcoming of diversity in our communities. Diversity makes us stronger.

 

President’s Comment – 19 Feb 17

Hi All from San Francisco

We have arrived to stay with friends in San Francisco after a fabulous week at Heavenly Resort, Lake Tahoe. Back to Australia on Friday and will be attending the RAWCS quarterly meeting in Canberra this coming weekend.

 

7 steps to increasing your club’s Facebook presence

Facebook cover photo

Use a cover photo that really speaks to your club’s mission.

By Melissa Ward, Rotary Club of Twin Bridges, Southern Saratoga, New York, USA

A Facebook page gives your club a voice on Facebook. With so much other “noise” on social media, there are several things you can do to raise your club’s page above the distractions. 

  1. Make good use of visuals. Your cover photo is prime real estate. Use a photo that really speaks to your club’s mission.Post fun, active photos.
  2. Post regularly. Share your club’s next program, a photo of a project, create an event for your next fundraiser. For example, post your speaker every Monday.  Share a photo every Wednesday. Share an article from Rotary.org every Friday.
  3. Encourage club members to LIKE and SHARE posts from your Facebook Page. This is where the magic of social media kicks in. When members share posts onto their personal Facebook page, their connections can see it, like it and increase the club’s exposure exponentially. This is key to keeping your club’s posts in the newsfeed.
  4. Your Facebook page can become a source for donations. If your club’s page has been set up as a not for profit and is verified you may be able to collect donations. See Facebook’s rules. Once your club is approved, people who like your page can run fundraising campaigns on your organization’s behalf. Note: This is currently only for USA based club’s that are or have a foundation that is a registered 501(c)3.
  5. Tag other businesses and organizations you work with. Place the @ sign in front of the business name and their Facebook page should appear. Select it and it will be tagged in the post. That sends a notice to that business, and gives them the opportunity to share your post onto their page. Now you have even MORE exposure.
  6. 170214_milestones

    Add a milestone for your charter date and major events.

    Have more than one person as a page admin. Our club page has 3 admins.  Each of us is responsible for different aspects of the page. This prevents the page from being forgotten, or from getting lost.

  7. Use Milestones. Add a milestone for your charter date, for each president, for major events or awards. Milestones increase engagement AND give you a timeline of your club’s history.

The above tips may seem like a lot, but you can do them over time. The most impactful activity is having club members like and share your club’s posts. This helps your club increase its reach and gain awareness in the local community. Using free tools like Hootsuite and Canva will make managing your page easier and more efficient.

Rotary bringing the world to Atlanta in June

Bill Gates to keynote convention

ATLANTA, Ga. (Feb. 14, 2017) – Rotary’s 108th annual international convention June 10–14 is expected to attract 40,000 Rotary club members from over 160 countries, and will inject an estimated $52.3 million into Atlanta’s economy.

Bill Gates will speak at this year’s Rotary International Convention. 

Often described as a “mini-United Nations”, Rotary’s third convention in Atlanta will transform the Georgia World Congress Center into a cultural kaleidoscope as the organization’s global network of volunteers gather to exchange ideas on how to improve lives and bring positive, lasting change to communities around the world. 

Registrants will engage in workshops and hear from a lineup of world-class speakers, including Bill Gates, co-chair, of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation and Rotary International have an ongoing match of 2:1 to support polio eradication efforts up to $35 million a year. Today in Bill and Melinda Gates’ Annual Letter they reaffirmed the important role Rotary has played in polio eradication.  

“Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have been working together on polio eradication for a long time, and our strong partnership will continue through the final years of the effort,” said Rotary International President John Germ.  “With the most effective resources in place, it’s possible that we will soon see the last case of polio in history. At the convention, Bill will say more about how we can — and will — end polio.” 

Organized by Rotary International in conjunction with the Atlanta Host Organizing Committee of local Rotary members, registrants of the convention will also get to experience Atlanta’s southern charm with visits to the World of Coca-Cola, the College Football Hall of Fame and an Atlanta Braves game.  

“The Rotary International Convention provides an exceptional opportunity to bring together more than 40,000 civic and business community leaders from throughout the world to Atlanta to enjoy our unique brand of southern hospitality,” said William Pate, president and CEO of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The addition of Microsoft founder Bill Gates as a keynote speaker reflects the importance and good work that Rotary does worldwide.”

The global eradication of polio has been Rotary’s top priority since 1985. Through the Global Polio Eradication Initiative – a public-private partnership that includes Rotary, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) – the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent, from about 350,000 cases a year in 1988 to just 37 confirmed in 2016. Rotary, including matching funds from the Gates Foundation, has donated $1.6 billion to polio eradication. 

Atlanta’s first Rotary convention took place 100 years ago, when The Rotary Foundation was established with its first contribution of $26.50. The Rotary Foundation’s assets have grown to approximately $1 billion, and more than $3 billion have been spent on projects and scholarships that promote peace, fight disease, provide clean water, support education, save mothers and children, and grow local economies.

About Rotary

Rotary brings together a global network of volunteers dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members of more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. To access broadcast quality video footage and still photos go to: The Newsmarket

President’s Comment – 12 Feb 17

Greetings All from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, USA

This a a great ski mountain but we only got to ski one day (oh but what a powder day – locals were saying it was the best day for many years ) this week as a storm on Tuesday evening flattened 17 power poles that supply the resort. Hopefully we will be be able to fly out from the airport on Saturday morning onroute to our final week at Heavenly, Lake Tahoe, California.

Jackson Hole has three Rotary clubs. Unfortunately I could not attend any as two were over before I looked and one is on Sunday for lunch before we arrived.

 

Check out Rotary.org’s modern, new look

Rotary.org, our public-facing website, has a fresh, contemporary look that clearly answers the often-asked question: “What is Rotary?” It’s the first step in a two-part update to our entire website: first Rotary.org, and then My Rotary.

For many people, our website is their introduction to the great work that Rotary members do to improve lives around the world. It’s meant to create an emotional connection that inspires potential members, donors, and partners to get involved. The latest changes to the public site do that, and more.

Some of the updates will be obvious: a modern design, increased use of imagery and graphics to tell our stories, and better organization of content to help readers find out who we are and what we’re doing. Other changes, like the improved readability and speed of the site, will be a welcome surprise.

These upgrades are made possible partly by the dues increase the 2016 Council on Legislation passed to allow Rotary to provide additional support to clubs and districts. As part of our work to refresh My Rotary, we’ll also update Rotary Club Central and the Club and District Administration pages — more information about these improvements will arrive in the coming months.

Visit www.rotary.org to see all the enhancements to our public site.

 

Bringing about reconciliation

This is a fantastic project that has had support from D9600 and Australian Rotarians and the Rotary Foundation who fund the Peace Scholarship Program.

A community reconciliation event in the Solomon Islands

A community reconciliation event in the Solomon Islands.

By Nadia Mahmood, Rotary Peace Fellow, University of Queensland, Australia

Over the past two and a half months, I have been working with Prison Fellowship Solomon Islands (PF), a grassroots peace-building organization which runs conflict resolution, restorative justice,and reconciliation programs and provides support for families of inmates.

It is honestly hard to put into words how inspiring and engaging it is to work with this team of local volunteers who exemplify everything that Rotary stands for. During my time here, I have had the opportunity to travel to different provinces to be part of restorative justice training in the prisons and help inmates write letters of apology to their victims.

Nadia Mahmood

Rotary Peace Fellow Nadia Mahmood (front center) during her applied field experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Prison Fellowship team delivers the letters to the victims’ families and mediates and counsels them to see if they are open to engaging in reconciliation. As part of this, I have been able to support the team in mediating reconciliations between individuals, communities, as well as between groups of former combatants and between ex-combatants and their own communities.

We organized a Christmas program at three locations that allowed incarcerated parents to reconnect with their families and give gifts to their children. We have also expanded our programs for a growing number of incarcerated youth and women in prison. I assisted the team in developing and delivering programs and support services to the wives of inmates. One highly successful pilot recently trained the wives in simple income generating techniques such as making snacks and jewelry items to sell at the market, and will now be rolled out on a larger scale.

During a visit to the Rotary Club of Honiara, I shared with them my experiences and explained the Rotary Peace Fellowship program. We are now working together to develop a promotion and recruitment strategy to increase the number of applications to both the certificate and masters programs from the Solomon Islands.

I will leave my field study having definitely received much more than I have given. The people I have met poured out their warmth, hospitality, and patience upon my in teaching me the language, culture, customs, and grassroots peace-building methodologies. I return to Brisbane on 14 February to complete my final semester, with the hopes of finding a way to return to the Solomon Islands after that.

I have also found time to have plenty of fun at the beach and have spent time in my friends’ villages in Savo Island and Lau Lagoon in Malaita.

I am thankful to all the Rotarians, especially my sponsoring Rotary Club of Charleswood, Winnipeg, Canada, and host Rotary Club of Brisbane Planetarium, Australia, for making this happen. I am also thankful for the amazing team of staff and professors at the University of Queensland for the excellent foundation and support they have provided me in preparing me for this experience. My entire Peace Fellow class has also blessed me with their friendship, support, and teamwork, and I look forward to reconnecting with them on my return.

Learn more about Rotary Peace Fellowships