Sometimes, necessity is the mother invention -- or at least ingenuity.
As the COVID-19 virus prevents in-person meetings, new platforms are being used to bring people together and, in some cases, these are creating new opportunities.
That was one of the messages District Gov. Bill Pritchard relayed during the Sept. 3 Waunakee Rotary meeting on Zoom, saying times of change “can be times when the greatest opportunities present themselves.”
Most Rotary clubs in the district are meeting virtually, and the 25 to 30 percent that are able to meet in person are keeping that platform in place. In fact, for some clubs, virtual meetings are actually attracting new members who could otherwise not make meetings, such as teachers.
“The virtual element, I believe, opens doors. I strongly encourage clubs to keep the virtual element,” Bill said.
While it may pose other logistical challenges like taking attendance and charging for meals, the clubs can work through these.
Bill also brought a message from Rotary International President Holger Knaack: “Rotary opens opportunities.”
Holger asked Bill to communicate the need for clubs to dust off their strategic plans and examine what the club will be in the next three to five years, why they will exist and who will they serve. The members should reengage with each other as they revisit their strategic plans.
Many clubs are struggling with fundraisers like fish fries and service events and have had to pivot to find alternative methods. One held its annual auction online.
Bill presented some of the Waunakee club’s metrics, and said he is proud of some. The club provided more than $9,000 to the Rotary International Foundation last year, with total giving at $13,557. The goal this year is to provide $12,000, he said, or $113 per member, to the foundation.
It has 84 members, and its retention shows a strong culture. Members in the club for more than three years tend to stick around, he said.
Bill said to retain all who join, the club should find out why they did and be sure to satisfy those reasons.
We also need to raise the Rotary IQ of new members, by raising awareness of what Rotary means.
Diversity is another area to work on. Of the Waunakee club’s membership 20.24 percent are women, Bill said. But, he added, the club has attracted younger members.
In the strategic planning discussions, members can ask during a virtual meeting if the club members’ faces on the screen reflect those of the Waunakee community.
If there are areas to grow, the club could earmark a dollar amount to use to offset dues for other members. Bill’s club went to the Ho Chunk Nation and the Hmong leadership to see if the club could sponsor members from those communities.
Bill presented an award for the Waunakee’s club’s Yes Person, the one who, whenever asked to do something, agrees.
The actual award is a journal with the quote on the cover from Ben Franklin that reads, “What good shall I do today?” To learn which Waunakee Rotarian received the Yes Person award, be sure to view the Zoom recording when President Tom Kennedy emails you the link.
Other News:
-President Tom Kennedy announced that Past President Taylor Endres has a rare tumor around his spleen and liver. He will undergo chemotherapy to shrink it and then a pretty long surgery. Tom emailed his address to members earlier in the week and encouraged members to send a card.
-The board of directors will meet Tuesday.
-Members spent time at the Village Center Pond as they plan for a more accessible pier to replace the one that was removed. Roxanne Johnson has drawn some designs showing a pier extending 50 feet out with ramps and railings.
-Phil Willems said the club has a new member who has applied. Also, the Chamber golf outing is Sept. 22. On Sept. 9, members will pick up pumpkins for the online Wauktoberbest and some will be on sale for club members. Also, plans are the in the works to celebrate the village’s 150th year.
-Rotary masks have been ordered and will soon be for sale, Linda Olson said.
Birthdays: Sept. 5, Gordy Meicher; Sept. 10, Kevin Kearney; Sept. 12, Robert Sachtjen; Sept. 14, Fritz Durst; Sept. 16, Brian Franzen.
Anniversaries: Sept. 9, Linda and Don Olson; Sept. 14, Dan and Kimberly Evans; Sept. 14, Jennifer and Edward Hurley; Sept. 15, Rich and Donna Murphy.
Programs: Aug. 27 - Stay tuned!