How to engage members during the coronavirus pandemic

Keep members engaged through virtual meeting platforms.

By George Robertson-Burnett, Zone 34 Rotary Coordinator and past governor of Rotary District 6890

These are certainly interesting times we live in. None of us could have foreseen these extraordinary circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus. Rotary clubs everywhere are wrestling with the question, How do we maintain membership engagement during the pandemic?

Well, this is Rotary and I am sure that these challenges will bring out our considerable strengths – ingenuity, decisiveness, flexibility, and integrity.

Here in Zone 34 (Georgia, Florida, USA and Caribbean), our Rotary Coordinator team has put together a guide to assist clubs in their efforts to maintain membership engagement during these difficult times. The suggestions are not exhaustive, and many clubs will surely come up with new ideas as their ingenuity and adaptability finds new and innovative ways to maintain our fellowship. But we wanted to offer this guide to all clubs as they explore online meetings and other adaptive solutions.

One of our Rotary e-clubs, the Rotary E-Club of the Caribbean, is generously offering to set up online meetings for clubs in our zone at no charge. We suggest you check with e-clubs in your area for help and advice on structuring online meetings.

Download our Coronavirus Response Guide. You can also e-mail me for further ideas.

Share your ideas in the comments section below.

60 thoughts on “How to engage members during the coronavirus pandemic

  1. Rotary District 5170, Area 4 Rotary clubs worked together in September 2020 to obtain a $96,850 Rotary International Global Grant to assist the community healthcare response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Alameda County, California.

    The grant is funding high-priority COVID-19 medical equipment at Asian Health Services in Oakland, Axis Community Health in Livermore and Pleasanton, and Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley. In addition, Rotary will engage volunteers to participate in high-priority COVID-19 education, outreach, and support initiatives. Many who are sheltering in place need information, are lonely, and need help that volunteers can provide.

    The Rotary Club of Livermore and the Rotary E-Club of Lake Atitlán-Panajachel, Guatemala represented the Area 4 Rotary clubs to secure the grant. The effort was supported by Area 4 chapters in Castro Valley, Dublin, Hayward, Livermore, Livermore Valley and Pleasanton’s three clubs: The Rotary Club of Pleasanton, Pleasanton North Rotary and Tri-Valley Evening Rotary.
    The Pleasanton North Rotary Foundation and the Rotarian Foundation of Livermore provided additional financial support.

    Area 4 Rotary clubs have also supported other COVID-19 responses, such as smart thermometers for local school districts and organizations, food security solutions, personal protective equipment (PPE) and other equipment.


  2. Rotary Cub of Ahmedabad Prahladnagar RID 3054 – conducted 10 training programme for psychologist n psychiatrist – in latest management of anxiety n tension n depression with corona – how to manage without medicine with change in thinking.


  3. The Rotary Club of Kampala,oldest Club in Uganda adopted to the new world order after corona virus advent. We conduct our weekly virtual meetings every Thursday from 1pm to 2pm.


  4. In Israel, Amitim Naharia Rotary Club Donated 4 Coffee Expresso Machines for the Staff treating Corona affected patients in the Western Galilee Medical Center. Also donated $ 2800 to the same Hospital to buy equipment for treating Corona affected patients. This money was equivalent to the value of meetings that were canceled and took place by ZOOM instead with almost no cost . The Interact Club Amitim Naharyia made weekly telephone calls to elder people living in elder peoples homes at the time visiting was not permitted.


  5. The Rotary Club of Kalayaan Cagayan de Oro donated personal protection equipments to hospitals in Cagayan de Oor City. The club partnered with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and their sewers produced the hazmat suits and face masks. Goggles, bonnets, and surgical masks were also donated by the Rotary Club of Kalayaan Cagayan de Oro to Northern Mindanao Medical Center, the COVID 19 referral hospital in Northern Mindanao.


  6. The Rotary Club of Palm SprIngs, CA. (District 5330) has been having weekly virtual meetings and contributing to local charities. Additionally, a daily e-mailed letter, “Your Rotary Daily Laughs” is being sent to every member as well as sojourners who visit us in the winter months containing cartoons, jokes, videos, and Rotary information. Its purpose was/is to keep us connected and it is working. Over 70% of the membership has responded by sending the author of the letter cartoons and jokes for inclusion and many of them have written how much they look forward to the daily letter and enjoy it. We are Rotary family and we must keep that element of Rotary alive in spite of the quarantining.


  7. District 9400 (South Africa) The Hand Sanitizer project – Hlanza Izandla – meaning “wash your hands” is a joint venture between four clubs: Sandton Satellite, Johannesburg North Central, Benoni Aurora and Johannesburg New Dawn.
    The project was conceived at an RLI training session on 14 March by Rotarians from the above clubs, just as the virus fears were starting to grow.
    The project’s primary purpose is to support the sanitization of public transport hubs. This includes the provision of hand sanitizers, installation of sanitization units at transport hubs and a campaign to promote a culture of hand washing.
    Industrial grade sanitizer, which works for much longer than the ordinary product, has been sourced through contacts in the poultry business and the first consignment has already been received. A delivery of 1,480 Rotary branded hand sanitizers for distribution to commuters has been made to Santaco (South African National Taxi Council).
    To date, the project has received R500,000 in sponsorship from Standard Bank, who have also included Hlanza Izandla in their CSI matching programme, which will ensure further funds during the lifetime of the project. Staff at the bank have contributed a further more than R5000, matched rand for rand by the bank.


  8. Pingback: Finding opportunity in adversity – Rotary District 5450 Business Directory

  9. Pingback: Finding opportunity in adversity | Rotary Club - Almancil

  10. Pingback: Finding opportunity in adversity | Rotary Voices

  11. Pingback: Hacking a solution to the COVID-19 pandemic – 台北東門東毅衛星扶輪社

  12. Pingback: Hacking a solution to the COVID-19 pandemic – Rotary Club Lions Gate

  13. Rotary Club of Panaji Mid-Town designed, manufactured and distributed Safety Face Shields to PROTECT Doctors, Nurses and HealthCare workers in our fight against COVID19. 100 safety face shields have been delivered FREE OF COST to the Director, Dr Jose D’Sa, Directorate of Health Services at Campal. These Safety Face Shields are useful to all our Frontline Healthcare Corona Warriors exposed to COVID19

    Salient Features of the design: Sturdy and Robust Design, Adjustable head gear for comfort, Easy to sanitise, Reusable (multiple times). Innovative Material used: Thermo formed 2mm Acrylic & Construction safety harness

    We are thankful to the team who helped us on this project:
    Concept and Production: Guruprasad Khandeparkar (M/s RBS Candiaparcar, Engineers & Contractors)
    Field Testing: Dr Dwen Dias (Senior Consultant Pathologist & Chief of Lab, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, SDH, Ponda – Goa)
    Project Co-ordinator: Rtn Siddha Sardessai

    Post the first batch of 100 shields, our club received lot of requests from doctors and hospitals alike and even a re-request from the Directorate of Health Services. We have so far distributed 545 face shields to our Corona Warriors.


  14. Paul Harris tells us that we must be evolutionary and if required, be revolutionary, but we must be in tune with our environment.
    We must transform this threat into an opportunity to continue serving and to continue to make our Rotary wheel spin.
    Virtual tools allow us to remain united and thus be able to continue coordinating in favor of our communities.
    In our club, RC Chimbote Centenario D4465, we are manufacturing reusable artisan masks to avoid contaminating our environment with so much disposable.
    Together we will get through this.
    Always go ahead and go for more.


  15. Proud to keep going forward! As many of you we are connected throgh virtual technologies and celebrating our weekly meeting as always. District 4921 has a Covid-19 Fund and each club is looking for ways to give financial support to get essential items to the most vulnerable who are fighting on the first lines like our community workers. RC Gral Roca, Rio Negro. Patagonia Argentina is also working to join forces with Funda Makers Patagonia in order to help them to finance their 3D mask impression for people who make our life easier like bank and post employees, bus drivers and health workers.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. The Rotary Club of Portsmouth Virginia USA is proud to be part of connecting the world. Not only are we staying connected through a series of video meetings that we call Portsmouth Rotary’s Virtual Connect. We are looking for ways to financially support through some of our partners to get essential items to the most vulnerable. Friends of Portsmouth Juvenile Court will receive funds to bring school supplies to a local housing project to keep school aged children engaged to do better. In addition we are working to join forces with our sister club Churchland Rotary and direct district funds to the community in need at this very hard time.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Our Club Contributed NPR. 60000.00 (sixty thousands) as asked by district 3292 to to contribute to national fund raised by government of Nepal. RI District committed to contribute NPR 1 Crore (almost 100 thousand dollars) to this fund.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Rotary Club of Chittagong Heritage , RID 3282 of Bangladesh distributed hand wash materials to 200+ orphans to protect COVID’19. Besides provided 15 days’ food lower income people for 100+ families. Club also working with DGE for supplying PPE to Health Care Professionals.
    Stay Home, Stay Safe.Rtn M Mayeen Uddin

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Hello everyone from Rotary Club Talca – CHILE, 4340 District. As many of us we are holding virtual meetings each week. One of our projects was donating an important amount of N95 masks to our local Hospital. Since there´s a worldwide shortage of protection devices for healthcare workers it was a huge help.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. RC of New Kent in District 7600 (Virginia USA) First we are holding our meeting on Zoom, then we looked to see where the greatest need was in our immediate community. Our members and we have challenged all Rotarians to give to “Worth Your Weight in Food” by giving their weight in food, goods or funds to their local food banks. Since we are limited on our grocery shopping, it was suggested that they buy for another family at the same time, and this food is given to the food banks. Since so many are out of work due to Covid-19 the food banks are seeing a huge increase in the number of families needing assistance.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Here in the Philippines especially our District 3820 headed by our Champion Governor Everett Olivan with all of the 130 clubs , since Day 1 we started giving mask,PPE,ventilators etc. to all Frontliners,like our club RC Santa Rosa South headed by Pres Ryan Alegria we continue to connect to all on those who are in dire needs of this Covic19 pandemic, God bless us all.

    CP Rey Anonuevo
    Charter President
    RC Santa Rosa South
    District 3820

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Pingback: Rotary clubs help fight the COVID-19 pandemic – 台北東門東毅衛星扶輪社

  23. Industrial Club (6970) at San Luis Potosí, México, continues on line meetings every friday at 2:30, because human contact is very important. We work for keeping active our club, and different strategies for pandemia. Also the 7 Rotary Clubs and the Rotaract Clubs at San Luis Potosí City are working like one (Consejo Potosino Rotario) buying and manufacturing equipment for nurses and doctors obtain with donations (money and material), district grants, psychological support, media information. In México we are at fase 2 but very near from 3 sow we are trying to dot our best.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. At the the Rotary Club of Kona Hawaii: President John has already taken the initiative and recently reported:
    “I’m pleased to report that your board voted unanimously a week ago Tuesday to make a
    major effort to help our community during these difficult times.

    As you know, under the best of circumstances many Kona residents are challenged every day to
    put enough food on their tables to feed their children and themselves. Our club has addressed this
    challenge in part through our Meet N’ Eat efforts and our support for the Kona Salvation Army.
    On Tuesday we voted to expand that effort. We looked at our budget to find funds to help. Mav- erick identified $3,500 available in his Community Service budget. Our Treasurer, Janice, sug- gested we use the funds allocated for travel to PETS and the International Convention ($9,000)
    that we are not going to spend this Rotary year.
    $2,500 will be spent immediately to purchase food and supplies for the programs. The remaining
    $10,000 is earmarked as matching funds from which we will match donations from our members
    and the community to reach a goal of $25,500 in total. Our hope is to quickly make the money
    available to meet the nutritional needs of the less fortunate in our Kona ohana.”

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Rotary District 9500 in South Australia – Donations in Kind (DIK) – has supplied hospital beds and other medical equipment to hospitals here, being set as Covid-19 hospitals. Everything helps.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. The Rotary Club of Makati (D3830 Philippines) has donated P3.2M (US$64,000) for Nine (9) Enhanced Quarantine Facilities (15 beds/mattresses each) for PUIs or positive COVID-19 patients; P1.8M (US$36,000) for Relief goods; P700k (US$14,000) for Personal Protective Equipment (suits/hoods/masks/face shields) as part of our 100% matching program for donation of other clubs for joint efforts.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. #RotaryResponds
    (Italy – District 2060 – Zone 3)
    Rotaract Mestre Insieme, Rotaract Noale dei Tempesta and Rotaract Venezia-Riviera del Brenta

    Our national health system is close to collapse because of insufficient intensive care units compared to exponential growth of Covid-19 infection. This will lead our doctors to a choice that no one would ever want to make: choose who lives and who dies, based on age, and clinical status more or less compromised. But we’re still talking about human lives.

    As Rotaract Mestre Insieme, Rotaract Club Noale dei Tempesta and Rotaract Club Venezia Riviera del Brenta, we want to support our local hospitals in every possible way, because the capillarity of contagion requires a capillarity of support and cooperation.

    That’s why we activated a virtual fundraising. The funds raised will be devoted to the ULSS3 Serenissima (including hospitals in Venice, Mestre, Dolo, Mirano, Noale and Chioggia) addressed to the Coronavirus emergency.👇🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  28. The Rotary Club of Princeton, WV (District 7545) is partnering with a local non-profit to provide food for school children on the weekends and during spring break. Our school district is 100% free breakfast and lunch and, unfortunately, that means that many children do not eat except at school. The school district is busing weekday food to the students at this time; however, the usual programs that provide weekend meals have had to cease during our stay-at-home order, and summer programs cannot start up at this time. We have worked out a plan to pack in a local school gym that meets the health criteria for sanitation and social distancing. We are raising money and club members are packing the food. We are gearing up today for a large effort to pack food for our spring break while the schools are not delivering food.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Key note: don’t go digital – be digital. (My LinkedIn article on this in the the Rotary learning center.) Think how to be natively digital with your actions, not just move IRL onto the cloud.

    Rotary eClub | WOKE is still active in virtual service, helping a non-profit in Buffalo NY transition their fundraising efforts for their girls school in Northern Tanzania, as well as helping a women in Costa Rica with their new website (watch for the next issue of The Rotarian!).

    Rotary Connects the World. It’s the human connections…not the technological tools that make this real.

    Stay safe everyone!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good evening,
      Great idea. I have been looking for a source for 1000-5000 masks. Any ideas you can share? Thanks!
      PP Peggy Simmonds
      Rotary Club of St Thomas II


  30. As the response to Covid-19 becomes more intensive in Mauritius in the district 9220, our
    Rotary Club of Beau Bassin Rose Hill has therefore decided to partner with a state owned company‘Airports of Mauritius’ to provide Medical Equipment to support the
    Ministry of Health in this national battle. Equipment with
    state-of-the-art technologies and mainly intended for intensive care and
    cardiac units were donated at a cost of Three Million Rupees which is
    roughly equivalent to 85,000 USD. A team of technicians were at work
    at the Hospital of Souillac in Mauritius on 23 rd March, 2020 despite the
    area being considered a high risk one in terms of Covid-19 to ensure that
    the equipment were commissioned. With this new equipment, more
    patients in need of respiratory assistance and careful monitoring will
    be able to receive the required treatments. The analytical devices
    offered, such as the immunoassay analyzer, will allow the patient to
    obtain information on the patient’s biological parameters and state of
    health with precision and in a very short time. The results of certain tests
    can thus be completed in less than 20 minutes.
    Our aim was to save people lives.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Our Rotary Clubs in Petaluma, California, USA offered to host a blood drive as soon as the Covid-19 Virus became apparent. We hosted our first one yesterday, Thursday April 2, and it was a resounding success. I led the way in securing a place for the drive where social distancing would be possible, and created a sign-up genius to recruit volunteers to help with the drive. The drive had 33 people sign-in with 29 draws, which was an amazing first effort. We plan to do another one at the end of this month, and fully expect it to be completely subscribed in no time. Working together with volunteers from all three Petaluma Rotary Clubs made this so easy, and we enlisted the help of a local church to donate the church hall in order to have the space. WE know that only HUMANS can give blood for other HUMANS, and with so many blood drives being cancelled because they were being held in places that are now shuttered, we felt the need was great. and we responded as Rotarians do!
    Juli Lederhaus
    Petaluma Valley Rotary Club
    District 5130

    Liked by 1 person

  32. The Rotary Club of San Diego Foundation contributed $57,500 toward three area initiatives. Members added an additional $7,500 making our grant total $65,000. Read the press release here:

    Contact Information:
    David Oates

    San Diego Rotary grants more than $55,000 to local initiatives in response to Coronavirus
    – Volunteer organization of more than 500 local leaders to support initiatives for those dealing with food, rental, utility, income insecurity –

    SAN DIEGO – March 23, 2020 – The San Diego Rotary Club today contributed $57,500 in grants to help individuals struggling with food, rental, utility and income insecurity as a result of the Coronavirus lockdown orders.
    The volunteer organization of more than 500 local leaders will distribute the funds as follows:
    • $25,000 to the San Diego Foundation’s COVID-19 Community Response Fund. This fund started thanks to a coalition of philanthropy, government and business partners to rapidly deploy flexible resources to community-based organizations at the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak in San Diego County.
    • $25,000 matching grant to The Monarch School. The campus serves at-risk and homeless youth. With its closing last week, students require temporary assistance for shelter, food, health and mental health services. Monarch administrators sought San Diego Rotary’s help in creating a program by which the organization will match contributions dollar for dollar up to $25,000.
    • $7,500 “We Are Everywhere” Virtual Food Drive. San Diego Rotary teamed up with the Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank for a challenge match. Individuals can shop in a virtual food pantry and drag the items they want to buy into a shopping cart or make a direct donation. San Diego Rotary will match each contribution dollar for dollar up to $7,500.
    The proceeds came from club members as well as the Rotary Club of San Diego Foundation, the organization that supports the work of San Diego Rotary, the fourth largest Rotary Club in the world.
    “When we see opportunities to create a positive and meaningful impact, we act,” said David Oates, president of San Diego Rotary. “We can make this kind of contribution thanks to the amazing, generous spirit of our members. I’m grateful for their desire to step up and take this leadership role at a time when San Diegans everywhere need support most.”
    About San Diego Rotary
    As the fourth largest in the world, San Diego Rotary provides its members with unmatched opportunities to drive meaningful change at home and around the world. Boasting more than 500 local members of all ages, backgrounds and business sectors, the organization creates a rich network of passionate individuals that fuel weekly programs and drive impactful community projects through its 55 committees. More information is available at

    # # #

    Liked by 1 person

  33. The Rotary Australia World Community Services Donation in Kind at Edinburgh Park South Australia loaded the last of seven truckloads of Medical equipment for the SA Health COVID-19 Hospital being setup in the old Wakefield Hospital. This in addition to 120 beds to the SA Health Collinsgrove site last week & 6 Ventilators to the Royal Adelaide Hospital earlier this week. The Donations in Kind team feel privileged to be able to help in this time of need.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Rotary Club of Jodhpur Roundtown (District 3053) is distributing 2300 food packets every day to the needy people in Jodhpur (India) since 23rd March. Club will be doing this during the entire lockdown period.
    #RotaryResponds #Rotary

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Pingback: I Rotary club aiutano a combattere la pandemia di COVID-19 - Rotary Club Poggio Renatico

  36. Pingback: Rotary clubs help fight the COVID-19 pandemic – Rotary Club Lions Gate

  37. Preston Trails Rotary Club suspended all meetings until further notice. Funds were donated to our local charity/foodbank to go towards feeding the hungry and local children out of school. We placed our flags from our flag program around our town square in unity and I make a post weekly on our facebook page in lieu of meetings. I am working on setting up a zoom account so we can meet face to face virtually.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. It is very important to engage the members as most of the countries are going through Lockdown and Rotarians are eager to contribute their best in this hour of calamity.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Pingback: Embracing virtual meetings for your club – Rotary District 5450 Business Directory

  40. Lake Worth Beach Rotary Club meetings canceled until further notice
    Last Thursday the board of directors held a emergency teleconferenced meeting, with the question asked, “What can we do to help people in Lake Worth Beach who have been impacted by the Coronavirus?”
    The fact that our weekly meeting has been suspended until further notice and we all have already paid for our meals it was decided to take some of those funds and give each of the fourteen waiters and waitresses at Brogues Down Under, where we meet each week, a Publix $50.00 gift cards, as their employment is day to day and Rod Regan, the owner, is thinking that the state could possibly close all restaurants.
    He said turnout for St. Patrick’s Day was down 70% and business is very light and a large part of the waiters and waitresses pay are gratuities.
    We are also actively looking to help other local needs and asking anyone with a suggestion to contact Rotary Club President Brian Betron, Phil Albertz or Pat Growney

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Pingback: Embracing virtual meetings for your club | Rotary Voices

  42. District 6440 (Northern Illinois, USA) is underwriting the cost of a Zoom Pro license (for one year) for its clubs, asking them to create a Virtual Meeting Coordinator who will receive advance training and lead the club’s virtual meeting processes, encouraging members to take part. Many of the clubs have already begun meeting online. A district Virtual Meeting Team is coordinating the district-wide effort, including holding an online meeting with club presidents and presidents-elect to share ideas.

    Liked by 2 people


    Liked by 1 person

  44. If Rotary Clubs do not adopt online, virtual meetings they will lose a lot of members when we get to the other side of this pandemic, meetings keep us together and informed. I feel that Clubs should also to contact regularly those members without access to a PC and basically socialise with others over the phone, Skype, FaceTime … because that is Rotary, friendship and looking after each other.
    Rotary Club of Milton-Ulladulla, D9710, NSW Australia

    Liked by 1 person

  45. Don’t you think that it can transmit through water and based on this it can be more hazardous meaning we can if we get to sanitize the water before we use it it can work rather than using just purified water

    Liked by 1 person

  46. George Thank you for this. We will be adapting in D1100 to fit our needs but it is a very helpful start and well will be circulating to all clubs and District officers. We’ll update on how it is received,. For information I have just spoken to the District Treasurer and we will be offering 2 budgets next year one for a standstill membership and one for a reduced membership. The age profile of our District is skewed to the over 60s and we may lose people who no longer have the habit of going to a rotary dining event very week. Out of this there are opportunities but we will have to work on them.

    Liked by 1 person

  47. Rotary after the Corona virus 🦠 pandemic… New ways to connect!
    In Lebanon 🇱🇧 (District 2452) most clubs have moved to virtual meetings.
    Hope this crisis will pass with less damage…
    Stay Safe Stay @ Home 🙏🏻😘

    Liked by 1 person

  48. Our District (5080) is finding that there are many silver linings in this dark cloud: it’s forcing us to learn the technologies we should know already; it will be easier to engage outside club boundaries; unique opportunities for District Leadership to sharpen their skills.

    Liked by 1 person

  49. Yes, I think that we will have two kinds of Rotary: one is the Rotary before coronavirus pandemic and the other will be the Rotary after the coronavirus pandemic!

    In Brazil, all clubs are begining with virtual meetings.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.