Whose Afraid of the Big Bad 2015-16 Presidential Citation Award?


NOTE TO READERS:  This post is about winning the 2015-2016 Presidential Citation.  It’s not to late to submit this year’s 2014-15 Presidential Citation award application to your District Governor.  The deadline is March 31, 2015.

I wouldn’t describe myself as being motivated by awards.  I’m pretty much self-motivated. Several therapists have told me this is because my mother didn’t love me as much as my older brother and younger sister, but that’s not the point.  The point is that for Rotary Clubs winning awards serves several useful purposes that make winning awards worthy of being included in a club’s strategic plan.  First, the Presidential Citation is one the most prestigious awards a club can get from Rotary.  While most of us are “legends in our own minds” and believe our Rotary club is phenomenal, winning the Presidential Citation is an objective and persuasive piece of evidence that your club REALLY IS phenomenal.  I understand that this according to RI-President 2015-2016 Ravi Ravindran, who only gets to see the results of 34,000 Rotary clubs…so perhaps his opinion means something.  The award lets you affirm to your members that they are in a “Presidential Citation” club every single meeting.  It allows you to promote your club to prospective new members in the same way.  It is newsworthy to your community and will garner articles about your club in the local press.  In short, winning the award is worth our time and effort.

I am now going to show you how your club can win the Presidential Citation next year.  We covered this at our PETS with Club President Elects and the verdict is…We Can Do This!  (Note:  We are about to discuss how to win the award, which is different from improving your club.  It’s kind of like the difference between studying to ace a test versus wanting to actually learn.  Two different things.  This is all about WINNING the award.  I’ll bet you will improve your club along the way, but that’s another matter.)

Before showing you how to win the award, this blog title got me thinking about the origins of “The Big Bad Wolf” which is obviously referenced in the notion of the “Big Bad Presidential Citation.”  According to Wikipedia, The Big Bad Wolf’s origins go back to folklore that probably had to do with the real danger of wolf attacks in ancient Europe.  Aesop’s Fables (The Boy who Cried Wolf, The Wolf and the Crane, etc. and Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs, etc ) are probably best known.

However…here is a Disney take on Big Bad Wolf Daddy that is just incredible.  I always wonder who the studio musicians are who record this stuff for cartoons.  For them this was just another day at the office.  The art is fun…but the soundtrack is awesome.  I’m not kidding.  Turn the sound UP for this.

OK.  Back to business.  Winning the Presidential Citation.  You can download a PDF about the 2015-16 Presidential Citation at My Rotary, Learning and Reference, Awards.  Which brings me to my first point.  This business about using online tools making the award hard to win is just nonsense.  It’s a huge advantage for anyone who has heard of this brand new technology called The Internet.  This blog is written online, Outlook 365 is online.  My Salesforce calendar is online.  Using online tools is usually easy…and this is no exception.  All the handwringing about using online tools?  PLEASE.

There are only two mandatory activities for the PC (Presidential Citation…but you knew that.)  They are 1) Enter 15 goals in Club Central, and 2) Pay your dues on time.  Any requirement, like entering goals, that does not involve a committee, the community, other clubs, a vote, or more than 15 minutes of effort, is just too easy.  It really is the easiest one on the list.  Club Presidents just do this and that’s all she wrote.  NOTE:  Checking this off does not mean this is how clubs should set meaningful goals, but we already covered this “in it to win it” thing earlier.  Oh..and paying your dues on time?  Duh!

Next: Membership Development and Retention.  There is no denying that for many clubs any kind of net gain in membership is a stretch goal.  If you get net 1 for small clubs and net 2 for large clubs congratulations on a great effort.  But this percentage change thing for member retention is curious.  If you have a 20 member club at the beginning of the year and you don’t recruit any new members but lose 3 during the year, you end up with 17 members and a retention rate of 85%.  If you lose 2 during the year the retention rate is 90%.  I don’t see how you can’t do better than 1% retention gains.   (NOTE:  If you want to read a great blog on Rotary membership and other great Rotary stuff check out Retention Central, written by retired Zone 34 Membership Coordinator, PDG Jim Henry, at  http://zone34retentioncentral.blogspot.com/.  He writes about calculating membership retention in his March 1, 2015 post.

You might also notice that we get credit for recruiting net new female members, which is curious because we are/ or should be, doing that anyway if we want to have excellent Rotary clubs. Editorial Comment:  Could we still be having this conversation about female members? You’ve got to be kidding.  It’s embarrassing that we are still talking about the gender of our members instead of the energy, talent, and enthusiasm of our members.  (sigh!)  Anyway, the good news is the net gain in female members counts towards your overall net membership gain goal.  Heck…you could be losing overall membership and hit the 1 net new female member goal.  You need three out of four here.  Hit the overall net gain number and everything else will fall into place.

Next: Foundation Giving.  2 of 4.  Have the club give $20 to the Rotary Foundation.  REALLY? A TOTAL club giving goal of $20?  Another possibility is increase Paul Harris Fellows by at least one.  Yup…you got this.  SOMEONE in your club is hanging around within a few hundred dollars of their first Paul Harris.  And you might consider using recognition points to match a new members contribution as an incentive to give.  Just sayin.  Here’s another one.  You need 10% of the club to do recurring giving.  Have members bring laptops and handhelds to a meeting and take ten minutes to get everyone who chooses to give online signed up.  You see….this is really isn’t so hard.

Online Tool Adoption.  2 of 4.  Have 50% of club registered in My Rotary.  This doesn’t mean they have to know anything about My Rotary.  They just have to register on My Rotary.  Do this the same time you do your recurring giving.  EASY.  Post one initiative on Rotary Showcase.  Total time for this one is 15 – 30 minutes depending on who is doing it.  CHECK.

Humanitarian Service.  3 of 7.  Here’s an easy one.  Have a member join a Rotary Action Group. There are lots of Rotary Action Groups (RAGs) worthy of your time.  I’m particularly fond of RFHA (Rotary Family Health Days and Aids Prevention.)  To join go to www.RFHA.org and fill out the online form.  Total cost for annual membership..ready?…$25. If you don’t like RFHA go to My Rotary and check out the other choices.  EASY.  Here’s another easy one. Have a member attend a grant management seminar.  Get this…your MOU training counts!  Awe come on.  Last…you need 75% of members to participate in a hands on project.  So..at one of your club meetings instead of the usual fare do a service project.  Get 75% of your members to attend.  It’s your normal date and time for your meeting so the attendance goal shouldn’t be too hard.  Make sure your members know this is for the PC in advance.  You got this one, too.  And you might even have fun and do some good in the community while your at it.

New Generations.  2 of 4.  OK…I’ll give you this one.  If your club doesn’t already sponsor an Interact Club or Rotaract Club this is going to be a challenge.  Mentoring 3 Rotaract or Interact students requires a simple phone call to your District Interact or Rotaract Chair or to your Area Governor to find out local clubs that DO sponsor clubs and ask to partner on mentoring.  But let’s face it, if your club hasn’t sponsored a New Generations club it’s time you did anyway.  If you already sponsor a club, this is a done deal.  If you don’t….get to work on it starting now.  You have until April 1, 2016 to sponsor a club.

Public Image.  1 of 2.  1) Update your website or 2) update your brochure using Rotary’s new brand center tools.  This is just a gimme because New Generations might actually take some work.  This is no different from designing a golf course with a short Par 3 after a long and difficult par five.  President Ravi is just feeling sorry for us with this one.

So there you go.  Your club is now a legitimate Presidential Citation winner with official bragging rights to claim your club is truly a superior, amazing, excellent, Rotary-Leading club.  It really IS doable.  Get the Club’s Board together and go for it.  YOU CAN DO THIS. Here’s the not-so-secret sauce…along the way….while your club is doing what you need to do to win the award, you are going to be getting members interested in all of the tools and techniques of being a great Rotary club.  The result is going to be a more vibrant, fun, Rotary club.

I’m sorry, but I can’t close today’s missive without one more clip.  This is Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs performing “Lil” Red Riding Hood.”  The Pharaohs also had the smash hit Wooly Bully, which I remember as part of the soundtrack for the Tom Hanks movie, Splash.  This was recorded in 1966 and I was 9 years old when this hit the charts.  I’m ashamed that I still remember it.  In fact, to all the younger Rotarians who are about to watch this clip…I’m ashamed that this was recorded at all.  This is so unbelievably bad. (This clip goes out to current Rotary Club of Columbia Patuxent President, Tom Allen, who was attending U of Md. College Park at the time ….and tells me he remembers the first U. of Md. co-ed dorms being opened during his college career.  Yes, younger Rotarians…Tom is very old.)  This clip features bad music, the worst lip-syncing in fifty years, real live authentic Go Go girls in the background, and an almost R-Rated cartoon Red Riding Hood.