Free ebook series: Let me know your ideas!

Next week, as I take time off from work, I will start working on a series of free ebooks for Rotarians and others interested in service work. The ebooks will be released in coming months. If you have ideas or know of projects that I should cover in this new series, please let me know by commenting on this post or sending me an email.

Strengthening Rotary

A first set of ebooks will be about Rotary and ways to strengthen the organization. Let me give three examples.

First, I will provide estimates of the footprint of Rotary, starting with data from the United States. For example, Rotarians know about the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. But they often do not know about the richness of the activities implemented by club foundations and how much Rotary as a whole contributes to “serving humanity”, the theme for this Rotary year. I will provide estimates of our total contribution – which is large. My hope is that these estimates can then be used to better tell our story.

Second, I will advocate for the need to invest more in partnerships, innovation, and evaluation in Rotary. I will argue for such investments, and share examples of great projects that have achieved impact in each of the areas of focus of the Rotary Foundation as well as polio through partnerships, innovation, and evaluation.

Third, I will share experiences of successful Rotary clubs, starting with my own and how we succeeded in doubling our membership in six months since July thanks in part to changes adopted at the beginning of the Rotary year. I will share lessons learned that I hope will be useful to other clubs.

Project Design in Areas of Focus

In addition, ahead of the Atlanta Rotary International convention, I will prepare a series of short ebooks providing basic facts as well as good practice advise and great project stories about our areas of focus for service work (fighting disease, providing clean water, saving mothers and children, supporting education, growing local economies, and promoting peace).

The hope is that these ebooks will help Rotary clubs and districts as well as other organizations choose and prepare great projects by building on the experience accumulated not only by Rotary (including Rotarian Action Groups) but also by other organizations.

Let Me Know Your Ideas

If you know of specific projects that I should cover in this new series of free ebooks, or more broadly of successful initiatives taken by clubs or districts that I should be aware of, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

You can do so by sharing a comment on this post or by contacting me by email if you prefer (through the Contact Me page of this blog).


12 thoughts on “Free ebook series: Let me know your ideas!

    • Hi Jenny – I guess we are a bit of both – hands-on service and also fund-raising for charitable organizations. Although I do give including as a PHS member, I prefer as you do hands-on service. But I also realize that for some Rotarians, making a donation is easier, for example due to lack of time for hands-on service. We need both, and hopefully clubs can propose both to their members.

  1. Hello Quentin. The items you create are always informative and the highest quality.

    Something I find lacking in Rotary is suggestions, resources and guidance on volunteer management. Job Descriptions, recognition, recruitment for a Committee member/Chair, etc.

    Keep up the excellent work. Ian

    • Hi Ian – Interesting suggestion which I may take up in a few months actually as I will probably struggle with this in my club – we just doubled our membership in six months, but the real challenge now is to get everybody involved and excited, especially our new members. TORs and the like mat be useful to clubs, especially if accompanied by example of successes in volunteer management and club organization. I was less worried about this as my club was small, but now I realized we may need to sharpen our structure to be functioning well.

  2. Quentin, have you done a study of the effect of Future Vision on Club and Rotarian involvement in what was Matching Grants and is now Global Grants? I wonder about Rotarian and Club participation in the grant process before and after FV. I would expect the $30,000 minimum size and the insistence on Areas of Focus and sustainability have impacted Clubs access to TRF funds. If you have, I’d appreciate the heads-up. If not, I think it would be of interest, particularly the effect on North American Clubs.

    Also, I’m embarrassed to say, I’ve only recently fully realized the amount of diversity in the Rotary world, how different Rotary is here in the US vs in Africa, or Japan, etc. It’s not just a few traditions and the food. There are compatibility issues I imagine. Have you talked about that in any fashion? I’d love to read your thoughts on how this plays out in the post PolioPlus world, and the implications for RI, TRF, and Rotary in general.

    Thank you for what you do. You are a unique voice in the Rotary world, and we all are better off for it.

    Ken Jaskot, Rotary Club of Barboursville, WV

    • Ken – interesting points.

      Rotary would probably have data on pre and post Future Vision involvement by clubs but I don’t. There are complex trade-offs involved. For larger impacts Future Vision has benenfits, but grants are not that easy to access indeed. On the other hand district grants through the districts provide some flexibility for accessing small amounts from TRF.

      Yes, there is incredible diversity in Rotary, which is one of the reasons why strategic change is often slow. What this implies post-polio is not fully clear to me, but a fundamental question.

      What I hope is that we can bring strong empirical evidence to key decisions that RI and TRF will need to make in coming years. With the tiny bit that I can do on my side, including through the ebook series, this will be one of my top priorities.

  3. Quentin, I’m not sure what “larger impacts” really means. I hope I am wrong, but my sense is that it is the impact on publicity that somehow puts more shine on the brand. What do you think? All things being equal, probably aside from administrative costs, is one $30,000 project better than six $5,000 ones? I would argue that the impact on Rotarians, in this case on the probable number who are involved in originating and realizing projects, is a consideration that may not have received sufficient weight when FV changed the rules. Things that hinder engagement, as I believe FV has, may be part of the NA membership woes.

    Is there a way to access data from RI about stuff like this? Thanks!

    • Hi Ken, my take is that for end beneficiaries, $30,000+ projects are better than many small ones because they should (on average) be better planned and executed. At the same time, if there is a loss in Rotarian involvement in service work as a result, as you point out we have an issue. I believe Future Vision was the right way to go to strengthen international projects, but we do need better ways to get members involved on the ground in local community projects as well, especially in the US/Western countries. As for metrics, my guess is that Rotary has no data that Rotarians can access to measure the impact of FV on Rotarian involvement (I may be wrong). A survey would need to be implemented on this for adequate measurement.

  4. Quentin, here are some of the ongoing deep topics of discussion in our Club and District:
    * Engagement – even what is it?
    * Attracting and retaining younger members
    * Doing good in the world in ways other than just donating money
    * The right balance between tradition, structure, and change
    * Leveraging our diversity and global distribution while also having great local relationships

  5. Ebooks can lead to effective, efficient, more fulfilled clubs. It is not only the frequency of Rotary meetings or donations that help for community service project implementation but also strategic information and communication as well as education arsenals. Ebooks well planned with contents can help Rotary to continue to do good in the world.

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