Monthly Archives: July 2014

The 10% PHS Solution

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NOTE:  The 10% Solution article can be found in the NEW EDITION of the District 7620 ENGAGE Foundation Newsletter.  Each quarter you will find the best ideas, best practices, best projects, and latest messages from TRF about how to develop funds for the Foundation, and how to initiate and build service projects for the local and international community.  See the ENGAGE Foundation newsletter link in your inbox, sent to you by PMail.  (PMail is the strange form of Rotary communication that you usually don’t open.  Go ahead….give it a try.)

The 10% Solution

Clubs that step up to District 7620’s strategic goal of $200 per capita giving to the Annual Program Fund believe that our fellow Rotarians in the District are doing a great job of “doing good in the world,” which is one of the goals of The Rotary Foundation (TRF). Because of the SHARE program, where 100% of our contributions come back to District 7620 in the form of cash, credits, or available matching dollars, our generosity in giving to the Rotary Foundation ends up helping to fund our local District grant projects as well as humanitarian projects that our clubs are implementing worldwide. You will find stories about some of these fantastic programs in this edition of Engage. Our goal of $200 per capita contributions is a simple statement that we have a lot more work to do to make our local communities better places, and of course, a lot more work to do in our quest for world peace. Our contribution acknowledges that our collective efforts deserve to be funded.

But once a club decides to target the $200 giving goal, how do they go about building contributions from our traditional $100 per capita Sustaining Member goal set by Rotary International, to the new $200 per cap giving goal set here at home? There are a variety of Foundation development strategies that are being successfully implemented by clubs that perennially meet the $200 per cap level of club giving. Some of the ideas include: 1) having a Foundation Minute each meeting to raise Foundation awareness, 2) use Paul Harris recognition points as matching programs to incentivize Foundation giving, 3) including Foundation contributions on dues invoices, and 4) encouraging members to take advantage of Rotary Direct where the Foundation will charge your credit card for the $17 per month needed to reach the $200 per year goal.

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By far, the most important strategy for clubs that routinely meet their Foundation giving goals is to develop a robust Paul Harris Society (PHS) in their club. Paul Harris Society members give $1,000 every year to the Rotary Foundation providing that they can meet the financial commitment. Clearly not everyone in your club is capable of making such a substantial financial commitment, although many are surprised that you can join the PHS by making monthly contributions of only $85 per month. (NOTE: Did you know you can join the PHS by pledging to give $1,000 per year even if you’ve just started your monthly, quarterly, or annual giving commitment?) If clubs want to easily meet and exceed the $200 per cap giving goal, then they should target having 10% of their members join the PHS. Why 10%? Because if 9 out of 10 members can’t afford PHS status, and 1 out of 10 can, then the 10% of the club that makes the PHS commitment can fund 50% of the club’s annual giving goal!

I know it sounds amazing but let’s look at a table and do the math:

Members              $200 per cap goal             10% PHS Members           PHS Giving            % of goal

20                              $4,000                                      2                                                   $2,000                    50%

30                              $6,000                                      3                                                   $3,000                    50%

40                              $8,000                                      4                                                   $4,000                    50%

50                              $10,000                                   5                                                   $5,000                    50%

100                           $20,000                                   10                                                $10,000                 50%

PHS members not only have the satisfaction of giving to the best charity on the planet, they also have the incredible satisfaction of taking the pressure off of their fellow club members each year as the club strives to meet their annual Foundation giving goal. With 10% of members in the PHS every other member of the club could, ON AVERAGE, give $100 per cap and the club would far exceed the $200 per cap goal. (NOTE: These are average giving goals. Most clubs will have members that either don’t give or give some amount less than $100 every year.)

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Of course no Rotarian is required to give to the Rotary Foundation. Those who give hopefully do so because they believe in Rotary’s goal of “doing good in the world” through the Foundation’s six areas of focus, including peace and conflict resolution, disease prevention, maternal and child healthcare, fresh water, literacy programs, and economic development. And everyone recognizes that we can only give what we can afford, no matter what is in our hearts. But the clubs that identify that 10% of members who can afford to give $85 per month to the Rotary Foundation and join the Paul Harris Society are the clubs that meet and exceed the $200 per cap giving goal every year.

If you have questions about the Paul Harris Society, please contact Anna Mae Kobbe, Paul Harris Society Chair and District Governor Nominee, at 443-280-0311, amkobbe@aol.com. Or Ken Solow, Annual Programs Fund Chair and District Governor Elect, at 410-952-9743, ksolow@pinnacleadvisory.com.

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Please Don’t Even Say “District Conference”

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From right to left, the extraordinarily business-like, hard working, and good looking (well…not Rich) Frederick conference committee, including Tiffany Ahalt, Rich Glover, Kara Norman, Nancy Eller, Leah Jones, Caroline Pugh

At least you said “please.”  But, as the writer of RFA I get to exercise my prerogative to  say “District Conference” as often as I feel like writing it.  “District Conference.”  Ha!

Why, you might ask, when it seemed safe to avoid any and all references to District Conferences so early in the Rotary year, am I bringing up this subject?  Because I am spending a lot of time planning not one, but two, District Conferences for District 7620. Yup.  May 2015 and April 2016.  Which begs another question, why do it at all?  You might ask, as DGE, and then DG, don’t you have more important things to worry about?  Like Foundation giving, membership, PR, scholarships, peace fellows, exchange students, RYLA, RLI, etc.?  In a word…. Yes. (sigh)

Nevertheless, having complained endlessly about District Conference planning for an entire year, it is now evident that District Conferences are kind of like gravity, or other forces of nature…you just can’t avoid them.  Speaking of gravity, did you see the movie? Here is a clip that (I think) gives you a tremendous feeling for what it feels like to be on the District Leadership Team.

 

Unbelievable movie, wasn’t it?  George Clooney and Sandra Bullock.  But, as usual, I digress.  Since the Conference is going to happen with or without my enthusiastic participation, I’ve decided to get with the program.  And guess what?  It turns out that we have some pretty neat programs to look forward to.

I am not going to ruin the gigantic marketing campaign coming your way about this year’s District Conference being planned by PDG and Conference Chair, Andy Baum, under the direction of our esteemed DG, Bill Fine.  Andy and his dedicated conference committee are already deep into the details of this year’s conference.  They are working so hard that, on second thought, I think they deserve a well-earned plug.  Here’s just a few tidbits of what is coming your way:

The Conference is being held in Frederick.  If you haven’t heard, one out of two citizens in Frederick is a Rotarian.  You might not believe this, but you are not allowed to own residential property in Frederick without being a Rotarian.  OK…so I exaggerate, but the fact is that the Rotarians in Frederick, which means by default, the whole town of Frederick, is preparing to be the enthusiastic host of this conference.

You may not have been to Frederick, but those of you who have know that Frederick is “way cool.”  And the conference planners are making the city of Frederick the star of the show.  Think beautiful parks and band shells, a fabulous downtown shopping district, historic sites everywhere you look, fantastic restaurants, all of which will be part of the conference.

Musket Ridge Golf Course.  Nuff Said.

Weinberg Center for the Arts

A conference registration that is so inexpensive that it’s just sick.  SICK.

The Conference is scheduled for May 7 – 9 in 2015.  Do yourself a favor and mark it on your calendar now.  I’m SO tired of hearing Rotarians complain that they missed this year’s conference and they are depressed because they heard it was amazing.  It WAS amazing.  Look for more information about the conference as the year progresses.

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The Maestro, PDG, District Grants Chair, District Conference Chair, and willing to sit in tree stands for hours at a time eating jerky while patiently waiting to shoot a perfectly harmless deer, Andy Baum. Who also, in a stunning display of bad judgement, awarded me an award as Best Club President in his DG year of 2001-2002.

 

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Rotary PR – “Things Go Better with Rotary”

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I spent some time with an ex-Rotarian yesterday (I’m gonna get this guy back into Rotary.  He is an ex-award winning club president for pete’s sake) and he was complaining that “Rotary needs to rethink its marketing.”  How many times have we heard that?  If only the “Mothership” would spend tens of millions on advertising, Rotary worldwide could take its rightful place as the preeminent provider of “do-gooding” in the hearts and minds of people everywhere.

I’m pretty sure most folks have little idea of what it costs to create “brand awareness” in today’s incredibly crowded marketplace of people trying to sell us stuff.   What most Rotarians think of when they imagine the Rotary ad campaign that will resolve our membership problems is a Madison Avenue “Coca-Cola like” ad campaign.  Hey, we could steal these from Coke at any moment:  Things Go better With Rotary;  Rotary, It’s the Real Thing;  I’d like to buy the world some peace (part of our “Real Thing” campaign);  Always Rotary, or, have you seen this one?  Amazing!

Of course the problem is that Coke’s worldwide advertising budget in 2010 was $2.9 billion, so all we have to do is raise our dues by $2,416 per member,  per year, for all 1.2 million Rotarians and we got this licked.  (For a little perspective, last year Rotary’s $52 US dues per member are reported in our financials as total dues revenue of  $62.5 million.  Of our $52 per member, $9.58 goes for “messaging and communications.”  I’m not sure about this, but I think we come up a little short.)

Here’s the good news.  YOU DON’T NEED a huge Coke-like ad campaign to effectively market your Rotary club.  To raise awareness about Rotary we need to do a little “guerrilla marketing,” those unconventional, interesting, low cost, and creative techniques we can use to very effectively promote our Rotary clubs.  Public Relations is one of the big focuses of RI’s strategic plan, and it is consequently a big part of the strategic planning for District 7620.  It should be a big part of the strategic planning for EVERY Rotary club.

I know this is pretty “old school,” and low tech, but what if we think about how to use signage on our projects to promote what we do?  Here’s an idea that comes to you courtesy of the Howard County Rotary Clubs, who made a $75,000 five year commitment to fund scholarships at Howard Community College.  The clubs had already been individually supporting scholarship programs at the college, but Rotarian Joan Athen (Past President of two different Rotary Clubs, former Board Member of HCC, and all-around super woman) came up with the idea to coordinate these efforts into one five-year pledge.  To make a long story short, the pledge earned Rotary the naming rights for the Atrium of the brand new Health Sciences Building on the HCC campus.  All of which is pretty much old news around here…until I saw the actual sign.  I hope the pictures do it justice because it is a breathtaking “thank-you” from HCC to Rotary, and it can’t help to 1) make any Rotarian’s heart beat a little quicker with pride, and more importantly 2) have absolutely everyone who enters the building think about Rotary and perhaps wonder if its worth learning a little more about what we do.

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L-R, Rotarian and Development Director for HCC, Missy Mattey, Foundation Advocate Pam Kreis, Donna Frederick, AG Charlie McCabe, Yours Truly, Joan Athen, HCC President Kate Hetherington

If the large sign wasn’t enough, there is a smaller plaque that names all of the individual Rotary clubs that participated in the project.  We should all spend some time thinking about:  What does your club do in your community? What could the clubs in your area do together?  How newsworthy would it be?  How do you, or could you, promote your good work in your community?

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Missy Mattey doing her best Vanna White impression with the plaque listing all the Ho Co Rotary clubs as benefactors for the Atrium.

 

RI President, Gary Huang gets this.  He is asking us all to do a “Rotary Day” in our communities to help raise Rotary Awareness.  Pretty good idea…don’t you think?

We can do this!!!

NOTE:  For more information about the great PR tools available to Rotary clubs, try getting started at Rotary Brand Central on the RI website at https://brandcenter.rotary.org/en-GB? 

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Rotary Area Governor…The Training is Brutal

L-R: DG, Bill Fine, and the new AG's Charlie McCabe, Steve Ness, and Matt May
L-R: DG Bill Fine, and new AGs Charlie McCabe, Steve Ness, and Matt May. Not shown is new AG Barton Goldenberg.

Most Rotarians become members because they want to serve the local and international community with the idea of helping to make the  world a better place.  A good way of accomplishing this mission is to help Rotary clubs achieve their goals, whatever they may be.  Volunteering to serve Rotarians in Rotary clubs other than your own can be a challenging experience for those who step up to do it.  That’s because each Rotary club is a unique blend of personalities and traditions and Rotary International has much to say about what Rotary Clubs could do, but surprisingly little to say about what Rotary clubs MUST do.  Other than paying your dues, having a meeting, hosting the District Governor for a visit, and doing a service project, Rotary clubs can be pretty much anything they want to be and do things pretty much the way they want to do them.  Therefore what makes for a “good,” “better,” or “best” club is strictly in the eye of the beholder.

Which is why trying to give advice to Rotary Clubs can be a somewhat frustrating task, and why the Rotarians who volunteer to do it tend to be a fairly desperate breed of individual with a penchant for self-loathing.  The men and women who sign up for the very high level of abuse that comes with trying to give sound advice to Rotary Clubs are called Area Governor’s, or “AGs.” The following clip from the movie, Officer and a Gentlemen, gives you an idea of how we have to “break down” our AG Trainees in order to build them back up and gives you, the viewer, a good understanding of the fragile psychological makeup of an AG.  (NOTE:  Instead of “I want to fly jets” please substitute the line, “I want to help the Rotarians in the Rotary clubs in my area.”) (Note #2:  I’ve seen this many times in AG training over the years and it isn’t pretty, believe me.) (Note: #3:  In Rotary, “DOR” means “Drop Out of Rotary.”)

I’m kidding.  I’m kidding.  The truth is that our AGs are some of the most committed, educated, and motivated Rotarians you are likely to find.  They constantly find ways to be a valuable resource for the Rotary Clubs in their area.  If you ask them, they can tell you all about the clubs they serve and have a good understanding of their strengths and weaknesses.  A good AG can make a huge difference in the life of a Club, just because they can be an objective sounding board for ideas, as well as a great resource for club leaders to find out about the “best practices” of other clubs in the area, and of course, in the District.

We recently held a training session for our newest AGs where they had the opportunity to learn about the AG craft (yup…it’s a craft) from some of our most experienced AGs.  As we learned from some of the very best, AG Larry Leahy, AG David Miller, DGN Anna Mae Kobbe, and DG Bill Fine, being a great AG is more “art” than science, and the ability to help Rotary clubs to improve is all about building trusting relationships with the Rotarians in the clubs that you serve.

This particular group of trainees seems to have survived their AG basic training in good shape and by all appearances is going to do a great job for their clubs!  If you are wondering just how good it feels to take your Rotary service to the next level, please let your current AG, or the District Leadership team, know you are interested.  Serving other Rotary clubs through District-level service is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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L-R: Standing, Matt May, Anna Mae Kobbe, Larry Leahy, and Steve Ness. Seated DG Bill Fine, Charlie McCabe, and Dave Miller

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Congratulations 7620…You Crushed It

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The first year of a Strategic Plan is interesting if you are a procrastinator.  After all, you typically have several years to accomplish your strategic objectives, so if you don’t get anything accomplished in your first year, why worry?  You have two or more years left to declare victory.  I realize that my readers who know something about strategic planning are now throwing up, but hey….it is what it is.

District 7620’s strategic plan asked our District to step up to the goal of $200 per cap giving to the Rotary Foundation Annual Program Fund over the next three years.  And, to do it without cannibalizing our giving to Polio Plus.   The reason for the change was simple….even though Rotary asks us to give $100 each to the Foundation, we believe that there is a lot more good in the world for us to do, and doubling our TRF contributions has the effect of doubling the SHARE funds that we use to fund District and Global grants.  Since we believe that District 7620 Rotary clubs, along with their Rotary  partners around the world, have terrific ideas for making the world a better place, then it makes sense that we set our goals high enough so that we can fund more local and international projects.

Now that the Rotary year has officially ended, it’s time to see what, if anything, has resulted from our collective efforts to increase our Foundation Giving.  If you are wondering, NO, we didn’t have a specific goal for 2013-2014 giving.  Not to be deterred I am making the goal up now, and I am VERY pleased to report that we managed to CRUSH our goal of adding $1 to our total APF giving last year.  (OK…so it isn’t a stretch goal, but it is measurable, achievable, etc. etc. blah, blah, blah.)   We didn’t just build on last year’s contributions, we CRUSHED last year’s total and we did it WITHOUT cannibalizing our Polio Plus giving.

Before I get to the numbers I thought I would share two short videos that are most entertaining if you like to watch things being crushed.  I’m told this may be something of a “guy thing” so you might want to skip these videos (regardless of your gender) because for the most part they are just plain silly (stupid).  Please remember that  I only provide this kind of educational insight for my RFA readers because my goal is to entertain you.  Also, I’m trying to increase the number of visitors to RFA without spending any money on search engine optimization because this is Rotary and I’m too frugal (cheap) to spend any money on this blog.  NOTE:  There is a great fundraising idea included here for clubs with a sense of humor and a willingness to rip off Arnold.

OK…on to the numbers.  Notably, all of our contributions have not been posted.  I can just imagine the “all hands on deck” situation at the home office with 5 billion envelopes arriving from all over the world with last minute contributions.  Regardless, it’s worth reporting on what we have so far with lets say 99.5% of all contributions reported.  (I just made up the 99.5% but it makes it sound more official.)

Last year’s APF giving:  $277,872

This year’s APF giving (so far): $322,629

Last year’s Polio Plus giving: $109,102

This year’s Polio Plus giving: $126,941

I happen to know there is at least another $3,200 on the way for APF for this year, but even without counting the $3,200, the increase year over year was $44,757, or an increase of 16%!  At the SAME TIME, we increased our Polio Plus giving by $17,839, another increase of 16%!  Polio proceeds are matched by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation by $2 for every $1 we contribute, and our $10,000 of District DDF for Polio is matched 50 cents on the dollar by TRF.  So all in, we just raised $268,882 for the fight to Eradicate Polio.

Because of our generosity, in the 2016-2017 year we will have something close to $161,000 in SHARE dollars to fund our District and Global humanitarian programs.  More to come about the next steps in our campaign to get to $200 per cap giving, or $500,000 per year of APF contributions.

But for now, CONGRATULATIONS 7620 – YOU JUST CRUSHED IT!!!!

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“Do’s and Don’ts” of the DG Club Visit

DG Bill Fine and First Lady, Kathlene Graves, in their official portrait.

DG Bill Fine and First Lady, Kathleen,  in their official Rotary portrait.

It is that time of year where Rotary Clubs must fulfill one of the few duties that is actually required by Rotary International, which is to host the District Governor for the official District Governor club visit.  This is a time of great anticipation for Rotary clubs, since hosting the District Governor is THE highlight of their Rotary year.   Truth be told, the DG visit often raises a certain level of anxiety in District 7620 because there are strict rules of protocol for the DG visit and the amount of pomp and circumstance required to properly pull off the meeting without a scandal can be daunting.

Never fear, my RFA readers, because I took a moment to discuss the “do’s and don’ts” of DG visits with 7620 DG Bill Fine.  Bill is about to embark on the journey of visiting all 64 Rotary clubs in the District.  I am happy to share Bill’s expectations for how he will be received in your club.  Notably, Bill says that these requirements were passed by resolution in the recent Council of Legislation for all Rotary clubs worldwide and can be found in the Rotary Manual of Procedure.  Pat Kasuda, who is our District’s COL representative, was an enthusiastic supporter.

Music:  There does not seem to be a detailed explanation of how many herald trumpets are required for the DG visit.  Apparently your club should provide at least four herald trumpets, but it is notable that bigger clubs often have as many as a ten musicians on hand.  Here is an example of the Peter Kyle’s greeting at the Rotary Club of Frederick last year:

Rose Petals:  Rotary specifically asks Rotary clubs not to throw rice at the DG while he or she is making a grand entrance on the red carpet that is required to be rolled out for the DG visit.  The rice can actually be dangerous if it hits the DG in the eye.   Instead, Bill suggests that your club throw rose petals.  If you would like to learn more ideas of what to throw at the DG when he arrives at your clubs, read “instead of throwing rice” on Pinterest.  The link is http://www.pinterest.com/cleverwedding/instead-of-throwing-rice/

Grapes on entry:  Again, the COL is not clear on this subject.  Apparently some clubs elect to feed the DG grapes while entering the club on the red carpet while being showered with rose petals.  Other clubs simply feed the DG grapes once he or she has arrived at the table.  DG’s are highly trained in the social graces as part of their DG training, and the proper etiquette for grape eating is actually a separate class for DG’s on their junket, er, I mean training trip, to San Diego.  Here is a DG demonstrating proper grape eating etiquette:

To put club’s at ease during this year’s visits, Bill has asked me to pass along to clubs that this year they don’t need to worry about providing nubile dancing girls for the grand entrance.  Also, he would like to skip waving palm fronds this year and dispense with the ritual “attachment of the robe of power” that often precedes the DG walk down the red carpet, while trumpets are blaring AND they are being showered with rose petals AND being fed grapes.

As you can see, DG Bill is a laid back kind of guy and we shouldn’t worry at all about meeting our club expectations for the DG visit.

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