Monday, March 4, 2024

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YES! EVERY ROTARIAN EVERY YEAR IS POSSIBLE!

In over 20 years as a Rotarian I have often asked the question, “Why Isn’t Every Rotary Club able to qualify for an Every Rotarian Every Year (EREY) Banner?” At first glance it seems an easy goal.  The criteria is straight forward:  Each Rotarian in a club contributes a minimum of $25 U.S. ($35 CAD) to the Annual Fund and the Rotary club contributes a minimum per capita of $100 U.S.  For years I puzzled over how to encourage clubs to reach this important goal.

WHY ? I like to think of beginning with the end in mind. I believe that as Rotarians we are all motivated by the impactful work that our combined contributions can make to the projects within our own communities and to the lives of others throughout our world, those with less privilege and advantage.   Three years after we donate to the Annual Fund, our Rotary clubs reap the reward in the form of access to community and global grant funds. Yes, the dollars we generously donated plus interest return to our district to help fund the District and Global projects we initiate.

Last year I set a personal goal as club Foundation chair to help support our Campbell River Daybreak Rotary President, Lindsey Hodel, and our Rotary club in its journey to achieving its first ever Every Rotarian Every Year Banner. I admit it was not the challenging task it might have been because we have a most amazing Rotary club, dedicated and passionate leadership, and members that demonstrate generosity in multiple ways. That said, we had always fallen ‘just short’ of that 100% EREY contribution. And so unified by a clear club goal, we set out to earn that coveted banner for our then 59 (now 64) member club.

At the end of June, Daybreak Rotary President, Lindsey Hoedel proudly announced that our club had indeed reached that all important goal. “By working together as a board, as a club, as a team we created a great feeling in the club. In fact, I’ve challenged our current President Tom Robinson to do the same this year, and I know the club will be there to help him earn our second EREY Banner!”

Foundation Chair for the Rotary Club of Nanaimo, John Hankins, guided his club to its second consecutive banner. He advised, “Make it fun and keep the focus on a monthly review of reports—let members know how the club is doing!”. He felt by using a ‘nice campaign’ that reminds members to donate…we all feel great knowing we have accomplished something together. 

So just how did we do it?  There are no secrets…but here are just a few tips….use any or all if they help your Rotary club achieve its EREY Banner!

  1. Set your Annual Fund goal early. Share it at club level. Ensure everyone knows what the goal is (in fact repeating at every assembly might just help lodge it in mind and heart!)
  2. Invite someone to lead a Rotary Foundation program– a great opportunity to provide information and answer questions. November Foundation month is a great time for this.
  3. Showcase photos of past projects. Remind everyone WHY we are asking for donations. A photo of a project stirs memories of actions that helped transform lives. It reminds us how those who benefit are feeling….and how we as ‘People of Action’ are feeling. The seven areas of focus truly change lives.
  4. Make it easy for club members to donate. Have a Foundation desk, distribute forms for My Rotary, share a portion of a meeting demonstrating how to contribute, encourage use of Rotary Direct, celebrate November Foundation month, or know that dialing 866 976 8279 will connect you to a helpful RI staff member who will assist you.
  5. Chart club progress. I love to bring out my home made graphs to infuse meetings with some excitement and pride in the fact that we are gaining on our goal.
  6. Celebrate the awards and the people that model generosity. Make those Paul Harris ceremonies special. Teach a little about The Rotary Foundation at the same time as you honour Paul Harris recipients.
  7. Use club (or individual) Foundation points to support newer members who are just beginning the Paul Harris journey—call it a Paul Harris ‘starter kit’!
  8. Near the end of the year…I recommend May…pay attention to how to encourage those who haven’t yet contributed. I learned that if someone was listed as a member as of July 1….but had since left Rotary….they will still be counted in club EREY statistics. What did we do? We contacted past members to see if they wished to contribute to the Annual Fund and/or some club members provided sponsorship.

This article does have a very happy ending.  It is also provides an opportunity to formally acknowledge the nine clubs who were able to achieve their EREY banners this year.  Congratulations to Hawkes-Prairie, Olympia, Sequim, Sumner, Tacoma South, Twin Cities, Port Hardy, Campbell River Daybreak, and Nanaimo Rotary who can now display their EREY banners!

As I draw this article to a close I pose a formal challenge to all clubs in our amazing District 5020. I think — I know — we can dramatically increase the number of EREY Banners. Let’s make this a year to remember. Together we can and will make a difference as we continue to ‘Create Hope in the World’.

Cheers!
PDG Craig Gillis

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