How to handle a social media crisis

150209_burrellBy Evan Burrell, a member of the Rotary Club of Turramurra, New South Wales, Australia

There seems to be a social media crisis or PR nightmare almost every other week nowadays, and even your Rotary club isn’t immune to a potential crisis that can blow out of all proportion.

Crisis planning is essential and an effective crisis plan is based first and foremost on truth, transparency, and sincerity. Every Rotary club should have a strategy for how it will deal with a public relations disaster, either online or offline. If your club does not have a plan in place, I recommend your club devise one as a matter of urgency. Continue reading

The day Rotarians saved my exchange

Geddes and the GSE team in Colombia

Ian Geddes (back row fifth from left), members of the exchange team, and their Colombian hosts.

By Ian W. Geddes, past governor of District 1020 (Scotland)

I have many Rotary stories to tell, but this one happened in Colombia. I was chosen by my district to lead a Group Study Exchange team to Bogota. As a Spanish teacher in Scotland, my dream had long been to travel to South America. Having been chosen as leader and then having negotiated a sabbatical from my school, my team and I finally set off for Colombia.

One week into the trip, the day after we had visited the fabled El Dorado, I fell ill. At first I thought it was just altitude sickness as we traveled along the Andes at 11,000 feet above sea-level. But no, it turned out to be appendicitis. Continue reading

Building a better tomorrow for youth of Kenya

Class beside new bathrooms

The author with Kenyan students and their teacher in front of the new bathrooms provided by Rotary.

By Sarah Rolfing

No matter how many times I visit the slum in Nairobi or the poverty-stricken schools in the outskirts of the city, I’m not prepared for the feeling of despair that follows. Basic human rights, such as educational opportunity and access to healthcare, are constantly upended by poverty in many regions of Kenya. Children are often the most vulnerable, and the impact on education and the advancement of society is significant.

Lack of resources should not compromise the right to education, particularly in a society that has considerable disparities in wealth. Since 2013, the Rotary Club of Sumner, Washington, USA, has partnered with low-income schools in Southern Kenya to provide bathroom facilities for students with special needs. Lack of basic sanitation at schools across the region is common, negatively impacting health, hygiene, and attendance. Poor health makes education an afterthought, and Rotary’s investment in creating healthy environments for students in Kenya is impacting thousands on a daily basis. Continue reading

The Jam on Instagram: Why your club should use it

160513_burrell_instagramBy Evan Burrell, a member of the Rotary Club of Turramurra, New South Wales, Australia

The most engaging posts on social media are the ones that include images. That isn’t a statement, it’s a fact!

Out of all of the social media networks, I have to say Instagram is my favorite. Why? Because photos equal fun!

Although Facebook is currently the most popular social network, other platforms have Continue reading

How to get a free website for your Rotary club

Mitty Change at the International Assembly

Mitty Chang unveils the free website offer to Rotary Leaders at Rotary’s annual training event in San Diego in January.

By Jermaine Ee, Rotary Club of Los Angeles

Mitty Chang and I, founders of Candeavor, met in the lobby of a budget hotel in Sydney, Australia, while attending the International Rotary Youth Leadership Awards at the 2014 Rotary Convention.

 Although we were both from California, we came from very different backgrounds. Mitty is from the technology center of the world, Silicon Valley, while I am from the media & entertainment center of the world, Los Angeles. And while Mitty has over a decade of experience in the Rotary family (he is a member of the Rotary E-Club of Silicon Valley), I was just a newbie. Continue reading

Special car enhances Rotary’s image in New York

Transfer car

The transfer car that Rotary members gave to the Schenectady rehabilitation hospital.

By Kathy Ziobrowski, executive director of the Sunnyville Rehabilitation Hospital, Schenectady, New York

At our rehabilitation hospital, we have a piece of equipment that we use in our therapy to help patients practice getting in and out of vehicles, in preparation for their leaving our care and recovering at home.

When Rotary members in our county of Schenectady, New York, heard about the limitations of our “transfer car,” they generously stepped in to raise money to provide us with a newer model that has many additional features. The selflessness of these Rotary members speaks volumes about their motto of “Service Above Self,” and has greatly enhanced Rotary’s image in our community. Continue reading

Touching lives in Honduras

Woman turns on light

A woman in Chaguiton, Honduras, pulls the string to turn on her new ceiling light.

By Neal Beard, Rotary Club of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, USA

Since 2006, I have traveled to Honduras on numerous occasions as part of a village electrification project organized by the Rotary Club of Lawrenceburg and our Rotary district. The Rotary Club of Madison, Alabama, has also been working with us in the same area for about nine years, doing incredible work delivering healthy burning Eco-Stoves, eye clinics, and dental clinics.

Last year, I wired this lady’s home for electricity (photo at right). All she wanted was one light bulb to illuminate her kitchen. On her first attempt the string broke. I had to repair it and let her try again. Continue reading

Paul Harris on what Rotary will be in 100 years


“May our happiness increase with our usefulness. What Rotary will be one hundred years hence, none living can imagine.”

Paul Harris, soon after he started practicing law in Chicago in 1896.

Paul Harris, soon after he started practicing law in Chicago in 1896.

By Rotary Heritage Communications staff

Rotary founder Paul Harris was a semi-regular contributor to The Rotarian magazine, and the February issue often included an anniversary message from him.

In 1915, he wrote, “We are passing our tenth milestone now. May our happiness increase with our usefulness. What Rotary will be one hundred years hence, none living can imagine. There is nothing impossible to Rotary now.”

Harris noted that Rotary had demonstrated its ability to “contribute toward the world’s supply of happiness” in terms of promoting ethical Continue reading

If Paul Harris started Rotary today

Evan Burrell and Room 711

Evan Burrell, left, with other members of the Joint Committee on Alumni Relations during a visit to Room 711, a recreation of the room where Rotary began.

By Evan Burrell, a member of the Rotary Club of Turramurra, New South Wales, Australia

I wonder, as we approach yet another Rotary anniversary, what Paul Harris would think of the Rotary of today? Would he smile, or grimace? He probably didn’t imagine how far his little idea would go when he sat down for that first meeting on 23 February a full 111 years ago.

As a fun exercise, I tried to imagine what it might be like if Paul Harris started Rotary today. To do this, I first imagined what a Gen Y Paul might be like. Continue reading

Does your village need a Rotary Community Corps?

The Rotary Community Corps of Ameligan.

The Rotary Community Corps of Genesis Ameligan.

By Jerry Olson, past president of the Rotary Club of Metro Roxas Central, Capiz, Philippines

When then President-elect M.A.T. Caparas, the only RI president from the Philippines, introduced the Rotary Community Corps (RCC) program in 1985, I’ll bet he didn’t envision the effect it would be having on the world today.

His vision for RCC’s has improved the quality of life in villages, neighborhoods, and communities all over the world. There are now around 7,500 RCC’s in over 80 countries. Continue reading