Staying Safe and Staying Connected
Click here to view Edition #7 of the "Staying Connected" Newsletter
To see previous editions click here

Maintaining Member Engagement during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Rotary International is Monitoring the impact of the coronavirus (CONVID-19) outbreak on events and operations and has issued the following guidance note. Click link below.
District 9810 is closely monitoring the situation and also looking carefully at the advice offered by RI and Australian authorities. 
In their efforts to maintain engagement during times when clubs have postponed or cancelled in-person meetings, projects or social events, we have developed this guide with ideas and strategies for Club Leaders to consider. The following is an offering of support, not a requirement. Club Leaders are encouraged to consult with their boards to assess and determine which strategies will be useful on the local level.
None of these strategies is a replacement for timely, transparent and regular communication with your members about your plans to continue modified operations throughout this time. Be sure that all committees and leaders in your club are equipped with consistent messaging to minimize confusion to your members and to streamline communications about changes as they arise. Consider sending brief weekly updates to your members or provide a timeline for when decisions will be reviewed and modified if necessary.
Quick Glance
Virtual Meetings
Learn to Zoom
Share ideas and experiences
Learning Centre
Engagement through Social Media
Engagement through Service (from Afar) including ideas
Creative engagement strategies
District Event Status
Government Guidance
Rotary’s role in battling the Coronavirus

Virtual Meetings with Zoom – The “New Normal”

We are offering the Zoom Service to ALL clubs.
In regards to Zoom let them know there are free ones which have a 40 minute limit, so clubs can then have a break and start up 10 mins later. 
If not they can purchase Zoom and if they use the promo code "ZOOMROTARY" they will get a discount, it will be $167.92 a year instead of $200 a year.
Bec Fry, she talks about staying connected when you don’t meet face to face.  You might have to find the audio symbol and click it to turn the audio on.
Britany Arthur it gives an overview of Zoom.  She wanted to show Rotarians how it worked, 100 people showed up, Zoom has a limit of 100 so she had to cut off the numbers.

Learn to Zoom…

For the clubs that have accepted the free ZOOM Conferencing offer, here are some tutorials for you and to share with your club:

How to join a meeting or how how to host a meeting click here 

Already a Zoomer? Here are some Tips & Tricks for better Video Meetings
Tips for hosting a “Virtual Meeting”
  • Consider shortening the length of the virtual meeting to make it more feasible for members to “tune in.”
  • Do keep your fellowship activities if they can easily migrate online (for example, “getting to know you” activities, interesting speakers, and happy bucks/dollars)
  • Avoid taking up “video time” with elements of your meeting that would be better shared in writing such as basic announcements or upcoming dates to note – consider sending those in a follow up email once the virtual meeting concludes
  • check out Rotary resources on virtual meetings
As well as using Zoom for Club and Committee Meetings, think differently.  Why not hold a virtual coffee morning meeting or a virtual happy hour meeting just for social interaction? – Just have a chat. 
Less Interactive – There are other tools that are still incredibly useful and may be the perfect fit, but don’t require that everyone log in at a specific time, which could be the perfect level of flexibility for your club.
The suggestions below range from social media tools to project management and communication tools.

Zoom Precautions and Security

Goto the Zoom Security page to learn how to be safe from online predators:

Learning Centre

Time on your hands? Why not brush up on your Rotary knowledge and skills from the comfort and safety of your own home. 
Of course, the BEST way to engage members is the same in-person or on-line! Get creative with ways to keep the spirit of service alive with your members!

Engagement through Social Media Tools

Social Media is a great tool for engaging members and the general community every day. Clubs can optimize and concentrate their social media channels as a resource to bolster engagement during the hiatus from in-person contact. Many of these strategies can be used once you return to business as usual, so this may prove to be a pilot for your club.

Use social media prompts to mimic the fellowship your members enjoy during your meetings. Included among the resources are social media assets that you may use to start these online conversations. Here are few examples:

  • What are you reading?
  • Picture Contest: Sunrises
  • Kindness is Contagious
Social Media Takeovers
Allow various members to “take the reins” on your social channels and let them use pictures and stories to share how they’re dealing with the changes to daily living brought on by the pandemic. Here is a useful guide:
Migrating Meeting Activities to Social Media
  • "Getting to know you" activities like Hot Seat or Member Profiles
  • Asks members or “guest speakers” to record video presentations to promote through social channels.
    Have a member with an interesting hobby like beekeeping? Any business owners getting creative during the pandemic? 
    Have members who are passionate about particular service projects? Ask them to share a self-recorded video!
    • These can be recorded simply using a cell phone. Try to limit video recordings to 5-6 minutes maximum.
    • Remember to write engaging posts that encourage members and guests to interact with the content.
    • **Facebook Live is a great tool for short presentations featuring your members with interesting hobbies,
      because the audience can ask questions in real-time that the presenter can answer on the spot.

Engagement through Service (from Afar)

Community Needs Assessment
Once you have connected your members turn your attention to how Rotary can help in your community.
- Consider carrying out an accelerated simple community needs assessment to see how Rotary can best respond. Our motto is Service Above Self. Reach out to your local Municipality, Social Services, Schools, Health organisations, Chamber of Commerce, BIA, etc. to see what help they need. Remember those businesses that have donated and sponsored Rotary in the past, how are they coping now? These are challenging times that need bold imaginative and caring responses over the coming months. 
- Check-in with local organizations to see how they’re doing and if they need any assistance. - Be aware of community needs. As many of you have observed, if schools do close, many children will lose their primary source of food. If COVID-19 cases increase, local first responders and health care facilities will be strained and may be in need of support. Challenging times bring an increase in needs (not just for toilet paper), and we are great at serving community needs. 
- Check-in on your neighbours, especially those in the at-risk populations (the elderly and the immunocompromised) and see how they’re doing. Help out when and where you can. Physical distance may be healthy at this time, but social isolation can be deadly as it contributes to depression and allows people in need to fall through the cracks. Be a good neighbour and a good friend. 
- AND don't forget to take care of yourself and your families – pay attention to your physical and mental health. Ask for help if you need it. And even if, like me, you are one of those “it won’t happen to me” types, try to remember that your health and the public health are interrelated. While you may feel fine, you might just be carrying something harmful to others. If we stay connected and lend a hand where we can, the worst that will happen is that our communities will survive a trying global pandemic. The best that can happen is that this all passes us by and we grow stronger as Rotarians and as a community. 
As always, you can ask members to donate to The Rotary Foundation (hint: use the array of Rotary assets including videos to promote; all available on My Rotary). Other considerations include initiating “friendly competitions” with other clubs to see which can raise the most money for a particular focus area or fund to earn “bragging rights” (or maybe the “losing” club has to provide the manual labor for the winning club’s future project). Get creative and use this opportunity to bolster promotion of opportunities for Rotarians to give.
Service ideas 
  • Coloured Care Card Alert System – Householders display a Coloured Card in their window or on their door to indicate GREEN ‘I am OK”, ORANGE “I need assistance” RED “I need urgent assistance”. To enable people to have a system other than online/social media of advising they need help. A simple solution to reach out to community members who may not have access to online social networking and where volunteers can take an active roll to check up on friends, and neighbours or people who do not have many community connections.
  • A variation on "Pay it Forward": For example, Pay for a meal for home delivery from a local Restaurant for some one less fortunate.
  • Online Art Competition or Story Writing Competition.  The online contest will encourage children to use their imaginations and connect with each other through this challenging time and provide parents a focused activity to provide them with. Entries will be submitted to a generic email address and uploaded to a photo album to a website page, facebook and posted to instagram. A modest prize of say $50 - $100 weekly prize, in gift cards to local restaurants for takeout or local stores think may work best and also support struggling business in the community (half a cash card for the child, and half a gift card to a local restaurant so they could order take out etc.)
  • Use your video conferencing creatively, think differently why not hold a virtual coffee morning meeting or a virtual happy hour meeting just for social interaction – Just have a chat. 
  • Offer to book meetings on your new Zoom Account to other community organizations. For example your local PROBUS Club or other non for profit community organisations to help them stay connected.
  • Why not donate a one year subscription to Zoom to another non for profit organisation to help them connect through this difficult time.
  • Choose a local charity and ask all members to highlight it using their social channels. Choose a new charity each week! This is a great way to leverage the influence of Rotarian leaders to elevate causes that matter to your local community (and it might even sprout a future project collaboration!).
  • Coordinate with local hospitals or nursing homes for members to send cards or letters to combat loneliness from isolation in facilities that have limited visitors.
  • Ask members to make blankets for My Very Own Blanket or similar organizations
  • Challenge members to look through their homes and sort items that can be donated to charity. Once it is safe to do so, hold a group donation day to a local charity thrift store (remember to take pictures!).
  • Ask members to record themselves reading children’s books and post through your club’s social channels for parents to share with their children for “alt-tv time” during school closures.
  • Start a gift card drive. Ask members to purchase gifts cards (bonus points if it’s a local small business) and then mail them along with a note from the Rotarian to organizations that would be able to put them to good us