1. Your Rotary Club & Technology

    One of the challenges facing many non-profits in this economic downturn is the sudden reality that many donors simply are going to be unwilling to give as much as they have in the past. Solving this problem is going to require a shift in tactics on the part of many Rotarians, in an effort to gather the funds necessary to help support our programs.

    A simplified discourse on marketing the Rotary club successfully through technology and available social networking.

    One of the challenges facing many non-profits in this economic downturn is the sudden reality that many donors simply are going to be unwilling to give as much as they have in the past.

    Solving this problem is going to require a shift in tactics on the part of many Rotarians, in an effort to gather the funds necessary to help support our programs.

    Change Your Thinking

    Our solution comes from not focusing on the amounts of donations or the geographic location of donors.

    Problem: Donation Amounts – With the economy in it’s current state, we’re not going to be seeing many large-donation checks… sure, there will be some, but we can’t depend on them.

    Problem: Geographic Limitations – This factor applies to just about any Rotary. Each club is housed in it’s own little bubble of influence.  Attempts to move beyond this “area of influence” are rarely successful and traditional thinking would keep most clubs from even attempting this.

    A New Approach

    Our new path should focus on leveraging available technology and social networking avenues to include a much larger audience for our fundraising attempts. Instead of trying to hit up local businesses in the area for donations being the sole focus, we should be including a much larger group of people in our efforts.

    What if instead of hitting-up 300-400 people for donations ranging from $10-$500, you could promote your campaign to 1.5 million people who are willing to possible donate from between $1 to $5 (inset much larger number here)?

    Social Networking & Technology

    Many members of Rotary are aware of certain web-communities or social networks where many people congregate with friends and family to share their “online life”.

    Though thought by many to be the domain of a much younger generation, these online communities are growing to encompass families; from children as young as thirteen to grandparents.

    The Facebook Powerhouse

    First, many people equate Myspace as the “big” social networking site. While this is partially true, it is mostly in the 13-25 age group, and it’s pretty difficult to find a serious audience in that community.

    Our focus will be on Facebook (www.facebook.com). This particular community has been growing at an astonishing rate and is becoming a house-hold name for family members old to young.

    General Growth:

    • More than 300 million active users
    • More than half of Facebook users are outside of college
    • The fastest growing demographic is those 30 years old and older

    User Engagement:

    • Average user has 100 friends on the site
    • More than 3 billion minutes are spent on Facebook each day (worldwide)
    • More than 3 million users become fans of Pages each day

    International Growth:

    • More than 35 translations available on the site, with more than 60 in development
    • More than 70% of Facebook users are outside the United States

    Connecting With Facebook

    By connecting your Rotary club with Facebook, and having your members interact through Facebook, you are growing your audience and donation potential by an astronomical amount.

    Steps To Success

    • Create a Facebook Page for Rotary
    • Entice Rotary Members to join and participate
    • Create Causes for Rotary events and donations
    • Promote those Causes through members and their friends.

    Typically, this is enough to get the ball rolling for a good cause. The social and viral aspects of Facebook instantly kick into play, promoting through feeds and updates to members and their friends, requiring little work for the actual organization.

    Facebook provides a powerful, dynamic, environment for information that when combined with an inquisitive human mind can have amazing potential to promote worthwhile causes.

    Of Note:

    • Simple, easy to use website interface with very little learning curve
    • Unobtrusive focus that makes it easy to stay private online
    • Easy to organize club members through discussion and membership management

    Media sharing tools for video, audio and photography

    Website Integration

    With the current Rotary website (www.whidbeyrotary.com), the club has given itself a powerful platform where program information and details about the club are published regularly.

    Continual improvements and updates to the site will make this a great place to send people who are interested in seeing what our club is doing in a more formalized location.

    By using the website as a “base” and the social networks as the marketing tool, we create a powerful plan for promoting our programs with greater success and visibility.

    Next Steps

    Prepare to step outside your technological comfort-zones. There are many great possibilities and options out there on the web for your club if you can just make an attempt at trying new things.

    Sign Up for Facebook – You may not know anyone currently using Facebook but at the same time, you might be surprised! Even if it’s just you, get started making an account and filling out a few details of yourself.

    You’ll be one step ahead of everyone else!