Posted by District Governor Gerry Lambert

Happy New Year.... may all of us have a successful new year for us personally, our families and with Rotary. This month, I want to talk about an important part of Rotary- Fundraising.

Fundraising 2.0
Goal: This month I want to discuss, with the help of the District Fundraising Chair John Prim, the Art of Fundraising and how to do it more efficiently.  Members of the DG Stream, DGE Hadi Mortada and DGN Fay Campbell are committed to helping clubs be more successful at fundraising in the most efficient manner possible.
The challenges to having a successful fundraiser have become more daunting than in the past.  Some clubs are shrinking and have aging membership, others see a decline in the number of active members and most clubs have some members who snowbird in warmer climates.  For all these reasons, and many more not mentioned, running a successful fundraiser seems to become more difficult with each passing year. 

These issues, coupled with the fact younger members prefer doing hands on projects vs selling tickets, auctions, pancake days and other traditional fundraisers puts a lot of pressure on clubs when they want to raise money for the Foundation, Polio, Youth and local and international community programs/projects.
Some clubs have already taken steps to counteract these issues.  Some of their ideas are as follows:
  • consolidating fundraisers especially with clubs who are participating in President’s Councils, 
  • recruiting more outside workers to assist with events
    • Rotaract/Interact members and
    • past club members or
    • friends of Rotary
    • and soliciting support from organizations who benefit from Rotary fundraising efforts. 
These steps are proving beneficial but there is something else we can also do to help Rotarians.
That is why one of our District goals this year is to come up with strategies that will make fundraisers more successful and, therefore allow clubs to reduce the number of events needed each year.
Fundraising is a big part of Rotary. Rotarians have certainly developed a skill set and have dedicated members whose efforts in this area have benefited countless people, organizations, nations and relief efforts.  These efforts can be seen very vividly in our largest cause, Polio Plus, but can also be seen when a high school student has a life changing experience at RYLA, when a child with a disability attends summer camp for the first time, or when needy families have Thanksgiving meals on their tables.  The amount of people helped through Rotary fundraising endeavors is so vast that it is impossible to mention all of them.  One thing is certain though, the millions raised for our vast causes are exemplary examples of Rotary’s motto Service Above Self.  
While some clubs target a specific need and then go out and create fundraisers to meet that need, others approach fundraising as a target in itself, after which they determine how best to distribute the funds.
Many clubs In District 7040 do very similar things when it comes to fundraising.  We raise roughly 1.3 million dollars each year for projects other than Polio Plus.  What it we could increase that by 25%, or maybe 100%, or even 200%?  The results would be dramatic resulting in significant amount of additional money going to those in need.  
The Solutions/Answers/Tools
The best tool that can be utilized to help with fundraising is to share fundraising techniques between the various clubs in our District
Based upon some preliminary efforts, we know that there are a lot of club fundraising projects that are very similar in nature.  For example, at last count there are thirteen Golf Tournaments in our District every year.  The difference between the smallest and the largest based on gross proceeds is over 50 times.  We are not necessarily saying that every golf tournament can achieve the same results as the largest one as there are some unique circumstances involved, but all the clubs running golf tournaments can probably learn something from what other clubs are doing.
The first phase of the Fundraising enhancement effort is to collect and categorize all of the current information on District 7040’s fundraisers and compile them into a common database/ spreadsheet. 
Some preliminary work has been done over the past four years, but the information is not complete for all clubs.  Therefore, Area Governors/AGs, are being asked to collect necessary information about their club’s fundraising endeavors. Some of the specific information needed from clubs is classification of the fundraiser (Golf Tournament for example.  There is a list already compiled of the choices.), gross revenue generated, costs incurred, primary contact person and their contact information.  In preparing the information, please breakout the individual types of fundraisers.  For example, if there is a spaghetti dinner, there may also be a raffle, sale of some food products and a rummage sale, all rolled in together for a combined event.  We want to have each broken down as to their gross revenue and their costs.  Specific instructions and forms are in the process of being prepared.
Once compiled, the event information will be sorted in two ways, by club and by type of fundraiser.  The information will then be distributed to fundraising POCs.  Some of the information will also be available to all on the district web site. 
Secondly, there will be an online session monthly beginning in March 2020 coordinated by the District Fundraising chair for the POCs for a particular type of fundraiser, example golf tournament. It is also anticipated that some of the shared information will need to be compiled for further use and expanded distribution.  Perhaps this program will be expanded beyond our district to our Zone and beyond.
Finally, the District Fundraiser Chair will also hold meetings at a variety of District events to include the District Training Assembly to facilitate the sharing of the information. 
Crossing the Finish Line
However, regardless of how logical or straight forward or potentially successful this plan is we need your help...Please work with your AGs to submit the necessary information by 15 Feb so we can start our first on-line session in March. Then please participate in the on-line sessions and work with the other club POCs in order make fundraising even more successful for your club.
If you have questions please contact your AG or reach out to the District Fundraising chair Jack Prim, at .
Appreciate your support,
Gerry Lambert, District Governor
Hadi Mortada, DGE
Fay Campbell, DGN
Rotary Connects the World