Rotary’s digital strategy involves creating a roadmap for digital that improves the experience, but also creates a platform to connect Rotarians and Rotaractors, clubs, projects, prospective members Connect audiencesMagnify the power of Rotary’s network
Remember how we made connections in Rotary before email and the internet? Stamps, fuzzy black and white photocopies of project or student photos, post offices, telephone conversations when neither of us spoke the others language, answering machines, faxes. With the tools we had available in Evanston, we focused on being as helpful as possible in linking up Rotarians, and this relied heavily on producing lists: lists of projects that needed partners, mailing lists of district governors and district chairs, and the best list of all—the Official Directory. The new model is built on everything that was good about the original, but will provide new features that weren’t available to us in the past. Just as the internet is now old news, and social media is where everyone communicates, so must the marketplace for Rotary service connections move from emails between project partners to a social partnering hub.
An Online CommunityThe Board requested seven specific features to support the social business strategy. As part of the redesign of www.rotary.org, an online community will be launched with these new features (from August-December 2013). Profiles: comprehensive individual profiles with the ability to search attributes and interests, a photo, a Rotary “resume,” classification, skills, languages, and contact informationConnect: ability to create and maintain a network of contacts through My RotaryMessaging: capability to contact others through the platform without using external email accounts or sharing contact dataGroups: ability to create private groups based on Rotary business needs. This will be a place for fellowships, RAGS, and others with similar interests to meet and have online discussions.Ideas: implementation of an idea and project matching platform. Rotarians can post an idea or project to request partners for grants, volunteers for projects, and experts or connections. Calendar: creation of a comprehensive Rotary calendar containing local and regional events. Rotarians can add events for their clubs or groups. Rotary International can promote RI meetings such as the convention. Users can search by location, finding events near them, or in locations where they plan to visit.Marketplace: a clearinghouse where Rotarians who are already creating online tools can make them available via link or download to other RotariansAt launch in August 2013, these features will be available to Rotarians and Rotaractors. Future phases will include alumni, program participants, spouses, and non-Rotarians so that we can expand Rotary’s reach through the online community.
[These pictures are all taken from RAG and Fellowship websites]Of course, there are many ways that Rotarians and Rotaractors connect today: in addition to weekly club meetings, district conferences and events like the International Convention, Rotarians have started many groups organized around special interests:There are more than 60 Rotary Fellowships supporting interests as diverse as cycling, jazz and shared vocations (doctors, photographers)Another 19 Rotarian Action Groups (the board just approved the application for the newest group), organized around particular service interests, such as [click] microcredit or peace.Some of these groups are purely social; other combine their interests with service, such as when the International Fellowship of Canoeing Rotarians decided to clean up a river [click].By definition these groups have members in 3 or more countries. Some organize local or national events; others meet annually at the convention.
What if Rotary International made it really easy for these groups to connect online as frequently as members desired? Easy to establish new groups? Easy to plan events and projects and seek resources for those projects?
With the new website, Rotarians and Rotaractors will be able to do all of this and more. For launch: groups, people and messaging that allow you to connect todayFor the future: Global events calendarPeople searchEnhanced community marketplace for Rotarian-created tools
As a Rotarian or Rotaractor, when you log in to rotary.org, you will automatically become a member of the online community. Rotarians and Rotaractors will be able to search for each other based on name and affiliation.The lock icons control privacy settings: a field with an open lock will show up on the public view of the profile; a closed lock will not.
Between August and December, we plan to add additional features to the individual profile. This is a mock up of the public view of a Rotarian’s profile.Members that choose to share personal information will be able to display their Rotary resume including information such as positions held, awards received, recognition. Members can also add interests and expertise. Do you know something about literacy? Polio? Do you speak French or Mandarin? Have experience with water projects in Africa? Or, are you looking for someone with that expertise?Of course, it is up to the individual member to decide how much information he or she wants to share.
Users can join a discussion group, or create one of their own. They will be able to tap into Rotary “experts” for club activities, service projects, anything. The community will grow and adapt based on how users want to connect around various topics and interests… We will be adding functionality based on how they respond and what is of greatest value to them… This is a tool with the power to connect large segments of the Rotary world, make it easier to meet other Rotarians as they run their clubs, work on projects, travel… Members can join a discussion group, or create one of their own. Right now there are 15 proposed Fellowships trying to attract enough people in 3 or more countries to put together a viable proposal for official recognition. Rotarians and Rotaractors interested in Mountain Gorilla Tracking, Comic Book Collecting or Beer can start a group on rotary.org and start engaging with each other right away.
Now imagine that the Mountain Gorilla Trackers have established critical mass in their group and have begun discussing service project ideas.Rotary.org will have a crowdsourcing tool that allows clubs to seek resources for projects – but not only financial resources. Our idea platform will let a club specify what kinds of financial, volunteer and in-kind contributions they require. Clubs can also seek partners; particularly useful if they’re planning a global grant or other international service project.
Rotarian and Rotaractor club leaders can post projects seeking resources. If their projects directly benefit TRF and the projects have been approved by staff, those projects will be featured on the public site. Projects seeking partners or volunteers but not funds can also be featured on the public site.If the Mountain Gorilla Trackers wanted to raised funds for TRF – for example, 1 USD for every gorilla sighted – then they can set up the project accordingly. In most cases, contributions to club projects will not be eligible for tax receipting and recognition.
Club projects can be featured locally on the individual Rotary or Rotaract club website as well as shared via Facebook, Twitter and other social channels.This sample project seeking support for the local library has so far received 5% of the financial contributions sought, 50% of the volunteer time, 27% of in-kind contributions and 3x the connections they requested. Let’s look at the details.
The visitor can see the project details: what the project entailswho created ithow much time is left to contribute what’s been contributed so far andhow to contributeA user must be a club leader to create a project but anyone can contribute money, time, resources or connections.
Finally, clubs can share stories of project milestones or successes on Rotary Showcase, our first venture into welcoming user-generated content. Since we launched the tool at the convention in 2012 in Bangkok, clubs have posted more than 3000 projects in more than 100 countries. In April we added the Impact Tracker, which presents the aggregate impact of all projects posted since 1 July 2012.Rotary Showcase is now fully integrated into Rotary Club Central.
In Q2 of the new Rotary year, we plan to introduce a global rotary calendar that users will be able to search by date, location, and of course, key word.
Traveling? You will not only be able to look up club meetings by date and location. If the local clubs post meeting day, time and location, you’ll be able to find out who the speaker is. Maybe you can even participate in a service project while you’re in the area – or attend the “Buddy Rock and Roll Party”.
Last but not least, we will provide a marketplace for Rotarian- and Rotaract-created content: apps and other tools, training content, useful web sites. Rotarians and Rotaractors are natural entrepreneurs and are constantly creating things that they want to make available to other Rotarians and Rotaractors. Members will be able to upload links and descriptions of content they want to share. And members who download others’ products will have an opportunity to rate and review the content.
Do you have an idea for a group you’d like to start or join?Do you have expertise you’d like to share?Are you interested in providing feedback? Helping spread the word? Please let us know!
My Rotary: a Social Experience #RISocial
My Rotary: a Social Experience