Connecting Everyone to the Future

Maintaining Member Engagement during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Last updated March 27, 2020

We are living in rapidly changing environment that needs bold imaginative and timely interventions. What may be right today may well be wrong or different tomorrow so we need to be agile, responsive and willing to change as our communities need us more than ever before.
Rotary International is Monitoring the impact of the coronavirus (CONVID-19) outbreak on events and operations and has issued the following guidance note. Click link below.
As an International District we are closely monitoring the situation and also looking carefully at the advice offered by RI and both the Canadian and US authorities. Our Lead Team is meeting weekly and more frequently as necessary to ensure we can provide the optimum support to our members and clubs in these rapidly changing times.
In their efforts to maintain engagement during times when clubs have postponed or cancelled in-person meetings, projects or social events, we have developed this guide with ideas and strategies for Club Leaders to consider. The following is an offering of support, not a requirement. Club Leaders are encouraged to consult with their boards to assess and determine which strategies will be useful on the local level.
None of these strategies is a replacement for timely, transparent and regular communication with your members about your plans to continue modified operations throughout this time. Be sure that all committees and leaders in your club are equipped with consistent messaging to minimize confusion to your members and to streamline communications about changes as they arise. Consider sending brief weekly updates to your members or provide a timeline for when decisions will be reviewed and modified if necessary.
Have a great strategy that’s working for you? Send details to rotary6330@gmail so it may be added to this guide and shared with others.
Stay safe and stay connected so Together we may flatten the curve.
Tony Sheard
DG 6330
Acknowledgment: This page has been created in response to COVID 19 by Tony Sheard, Colin and Susan Macdonald with input from Richard Fox DG 7850 and District 6690 Membership Chair Membership Chair Jenny Stotts on the basis of Adopt Adapt Improve.

Quick Glance

Virtual Meetings
Learn to Zoom
Share ideas and experiences
District wide Zoom Forum Mondays at 7 pm EST
Learning Centre
Engagement through Social Media
Engagement through Service (from Afar) including ideas
Creative engagement strategies
District Event Status
Government Guidance
Rotary’s role in battling the Coronavirus
Resources: Useful links

Virtual Meetings with Zoom – The “New Normal”

We are offering the Zoom Service to ALL clubs. The cost will be fully funded by the District and this service will be made available initially until October 31, 2020 which is next license renewal. All clubs are strongly encouraged to take up this FREE offer.
To become a Zoomer apply for your Host Account by sending an email to indicating that you would like to take advantage of this free offer - including:
  • the club name,
  • the key contact for the club,
  • the email address for the account.
The key contact person (and email address) must be prepared to take responsibility for setting up and scheduling the club Zoom meetings, and should be prepared to learn the little bit that is required to schedule and host the meetings.

Learn to Zoom…

For the clubs that have accepted the free ZOOM Conferencing offer, here are some tutorials for you and to share with your club:

How to join a meeting or how how to host a meeting click here 

Already a Zoomer? Here are some Tips & Tricks for better Video Meetings
Tips for hosting a “Virtual Meeting”
  • Consider shortening the length of the virtual meeting to make it more feasible for members to “tune in.”
  • Do keep your fellowship activities if they can easily migrate online (for example, “getting to know you” activities, interesting speakers, and happy bucks/dollars)
  • Avoid taking up “video time” with elements of your meeting that would be better shared in writing such as basic announcements or upcoming dates to note – consider sending those in a follow up email once the virtual meeting concludes
  • check out Rotary resources on virtual meetings
As well as using Zoom for Club and Committee Meetings, think differently.  Why not hold a virtual coffee morning meeting or a virtual happy hour meeting just for social interaction? – Just have a chat. Think you are at Tim Horton’s or Starbucks or your local bar but you are connected from the comfort of your own home
Less Interactive – There are other tools that are still incredibly useful and may be the perfect fit, but don’t require that everyone log in at a specific time, which could be the perfect level of flexibility for your club. The suggestions below range from social media tools to project management and communication tools.

Share Ideas and Experiences 

Please share your experiences, ideas on how your club and community is coping with the situation on the District Facebook Page to help us ALL learn.

Visit our Shared Ideas and Experiences page

District Wide Zoom Forum Mondays at 7 pm
your opportunity to connect

Each Monday evening, we will be hosting a District wide forum to share experiences starting on Monday March 16th at 7 pm to 8 pm. Join us for the latest update so we may share ideas and experiences. Just click on this link on Monday evening

Learning Centre

Time on your hands? Why not brush up on your Rotary knowledge and skills from the comfort and safety of your own home. 
Of course, the BEST way to engage members is the same in-person or on-line! Get creative with ways to keep the spirit of service alive with your members!

Engagement through Social Media Tools

Social Media is a great tool for engaging members and the general community every day. Clubs can optimize and concentrate their social media channels as a resource to bolster engagement during the hiatus from in-person contact. Many of these strategies can be used once you return to business as usual, so this may prove to be a pilot for your club.

Use social media prompts to mimic the fellowship your members enjoy during your meetings. Included among the resources are social media assets that you may use to start these online conversations. Here are few examples:

  • What are you reading?
  • Picture Contest: Sunrises
  • Kindness is Contagious
Social Media Takeovers
Allow various members to “take the reins” on your social channels and let them use pictures and stories to share how they’re dealing with the changes to daily living brought on by the pandemic. Here is a useful guide:
Migrating Meeting Activities to Social Media
  • "Getting to know you" activities like Hot Seat or Member Profiles
  • Happy Bucks or Happy Dollars online (sample social assets are included in resources)
  • Asks members or “guest speakers” to record video presentations to promote through social channels. Have a member with an interesting hobby like beekeeping? Any business owners getting creative during the pandemic?  Have members who are passionate about particular service projects? Ask them to share a self-recorded video!
    • These can be recorded simply using a cell phone. Try to limit video recordings to 5-6 minutes maximum.
    • Remember to write engaging posts that encourage members and guests to interact with the content.
    • **Facebook Live is a great tool for short presentations featuring your members with interesting hobbies, because the audience can ask questions in real-time that the presenter can answer on the spot.

Engagement through Service (from Afar)

Community Needs Assessment
Once you have connected your members turn your attention to how Rotary can help in your community.
- Consider carrying out an accelerated simple community needs assessment to see how Rotary can best respond. Our motto is Service Above Self. Reach out to your local Municipality, Social Services, Schools, Health organizations, Chamber of Commerce, BIA, etc. to see what help they need. Remember those businesses that have donated and sponsored Rotary in the past, how are they coping now? These are challenging times that need bold imaginative and caring responses over the coming months. Click here for guidance on carrying out a needs study.
- Check-in with local organizations to see how they’re doing and if they need any assistance. - Be aware of community needs. As many of you have observed, if schools do close, many children will lose their primary source of food. If COVID-19 cases increase, local first responders and health care facilities will be strained and may be in need of support. Challenging times bring an increase in needs (not just for toilet paper), and we are great at serving community needs. 
- Check-in on your neighbours, especially those in the at-risk populations (the elderly and the immunocompromised) and see how they’re doing. Help out when and where you can. Physical distance may be healthy at this time, but social isolation can be deadly as it contributes to depression and allows people in need to fall through the cracks. Be a good neighbour and a good friend. 
- AND don't forget to take care of yourself and your families – pay attention to your physical and mental health. Ask for help if you need it. And even if, like me, you are one of those “it won’t happen to me” types, try to remember that your health and the public health are interrelated. While you may feel fine, you might just be carrying something harmful to others. If we stay connected and lend a hand where we can, the worst that will happen is that our communities will survive a trying global pandemic. The best that can happen is that this all passes us by and we grow stronger as Rotarians and as a community. 
As always, you can ask members to donate to The Rotary Foundation (hint: use the array of Rotary assets including videos to promote; all available on My Rotary). Other considerations include initiating “friendly competitions” with other clubs to see which can raise the most money for a particular focus area or fund to earn “bragging rights” (or maybe the “losing” club has to provide the manual labor for the winning club’s future project). Get creative and use this opportunity to bolster promotion of opportunities for Rotarians to give.
The Rotary Foundation is only taking Online Donations at this time. Here are two documents to guide you through the Online Donation Process.

Service ideas

(If you have better different or better ideas please email us at so we can add them to this list)
  • Coloured Care Card Alert System – Householders display a Coloured Card in their window or on their door to indicate GREEN ‘I am OK”, ORANGE “I need assistance” RED “I need urgent assistance”. To enable people to have a system other than online/social media of advising they need help. A simple solution to reach out to community members who may not have access to online social networking and where volunteers can take an active roll to check up on friends, and neighbours or people who do not have many community connections.
  • A variation on "Pay it Forward": For example, Pay for a meal for home delivery from a local Restaurant for some one less fortunate or send a Rose or Bunch of Flowers to cheer someone up.
  • Online Art Competition or Story Writing Competition.  The online contest will encourage children to use their imaginations and connect with each other through this challenging time and provide parents a focused activity to provide them with. Entries will be submitted to a generic email address and uploaded to a photo album to a website page, facebook and posted to instagram. A modest prize of say $50 - $100 weekly prize, in gift cards to local restaurants for takeout or local stores think may work best and also support struggling business in the community (half a cash card for the child, and half a gift card to a local restaurant so they could order take out etc.)
  • Use your video conferencing creatively, think differently why not hold a virtual coffee morning meeting or a virtual happy hour meeting just for social interaction – Just have a chat. Think you at Tim Horton’s or Starbucks or your local bar but you are connected in the comfort of your own home.
  • Offer to book meetings on your new Zoom Account to other community organizations. For example your local PROBUS Club or other non for profit community organisations to help them stay connected.
  • Why not donate a one year subscription to Zoom to another non for profit organisation to help them connect through this difficult time.
  • Choose a local charity and ask all members to highlight it using their social channels. Choose a new charity each week! This is a great way to leverage the influence of Rotarian leaders to elevate causes that matter to your local community (and it might even sprout a future project collaboration!).
  • Coordinate with local hospitals or nursing homes for members to send cards or letters to combat loneliness from isolation in facilities that have limited visitors.
  • Ask members to make blankets for My Very Own Blanket or similar organizations.
  • Challenge members to look through their homes and sort items that can be donated to charity. Once it is safe to do so, hold a group donation day to a local charity thrift store (remember to take pictures!).
  • Ask members to record themselves reading children’s books and post through your club’s social channels for parents to share with their children for “alt-tv time” during school closures.
  • Start a gift card drive. Ask members to purchase gifts cards (bonus points if it’s a local small business) and then mail them along with a note from the Rotarian to organizations that would be able to put them to good use.

Creative Engagement Strategies

Chain Letters – Start a good old-fashioned-chain letter to engage members. See resources below for a template of an easy example to distribute via email.
Pen Pals – Develop a relationship with another club near or far to start “Rotary Pen Pals.” See the sample invitation letter. This is a great way to strike up a relationship with someone you’ve met at an International Convention or a District Conference. Invite the partnering club to share mailing addresses for their members and then assign each one to a member of your own club to start exchanging letters.
”Crash” an E-Club! Or Passport Club Meeting – Share information about e-clubs with your members. Some e-clubs hold “virtual meetings” and some include online content. Anyone can peruse the websites of e-clubs and get inspired for other ways to maintain engagement without in-person meetings (they are the experts, after all!)
Board Buddies – Assign each of your board members (and possibly committee chairs) to 5-6 club members and ask them to maintain regular contact to foster engagement

District Event Status

District Conference June 19-21, 
The 2020 Conference Team are closely monitoring the situation and will develop contingency plans to cover a variety of scenarios to minimize the disruption to our operation and calendar whilst ensuring the health and safety of our members.

The District Conference 2020 will meet on March 24 to review the current situation. Options under consideration include full cancellation, postponement or offering some form of virtual conference.
PETS/Leadership Exchange - Postponed - see updates below
The current situation of a global COVID-19 pandemic requires us to seriously consider the potential risks to Rotarians at upcoming District gatherings. After careful and deliberate consideration, we believe that caution is in the best interest of our membership. Therefore, it has been determined that we will not gather in Sarnia for our Leadership Exchange (formerly known as President Elect Training and District Training Assembly) on April 3rd and 4th 2020.
We have cancelled all Hotel Bookings and Training Session Registrations.

The leadership exchange was designed to provide the opportunity to gather together, talk informally, and share ideas for both Rotaractors and Rotarians and grow Rotary!
Our plan is to have multiple Leadership Exchange sites in your area on May 30th with Rotaractors and Rotarians coming together and broadcasting from a remote location. 
More information to come as we adjust to our new reality.
Rotary Youth Exchange Program, 
The District 6330 Youth Exchange committee working closely with Central States Youth Exchange, the YEO's and the students (and their parents) to offer them the best advice available as the situation unfolds.  Based on current information and government advisories regarding travel, we feel that it is safer for students to stay in place in their host countries (travel appears to be much riskier than not travelling).  However, if parents want their child to return home, we are working with them to make it happen.  Additionally, some countries/districts have decided to end exchanges early this year due to local circumstances which is also resulting in some students being returning home early.
Letter dated March 15th, from Brent Sheppard, Chair Central States Youth Exchange
RYLA Rotary District 6330 Seminar for Tomorrow's Leaders - Cancelled for 2020
Rotary Leadership Institute Postponed
We would like to re-schedule this later in the fall but will monitor and advise if/or when.
Rotary Friendship Exchange Postponed 
The incoming Friendship Exchange from South Africa has been postponed to June or July 2021
Rotary International Convention in Honolulu, Hawaii - Cancelled
A message from President, Rotary International, 2019-2020 Mark Daniel Maloney regarding the decision can be viewed here.

Government Guidance

The latest official guidance from the Canadian and US Governments is available on the links below:
We will keep updating this note so it is the single information source as the situation unfolds.
Keep washing your hands and remember GREET with a SMILE not a Handshake!
Yours in Rotary Service
Tony Sheard
DG 6330

A message from Rotary International President Mark Maloney and President Elect Holger Knaack

Rotary’s Role in Battling Coronavirus
Dear Fellow Rotarian,
The COVID-19 coronavirus is affecting every aspect of our lives in real time, and this puts Rotarians in an unfamiliar place. As People of Action, we are most comfortable when we are fully engaged in the world – moving freely, meeting openly, and offering helping hands. These are very difficult times for people who, like us, are at our best when we are learning, growing, and serving—together.

Useful Links & Resources

Useful Links

Attached Resources & Assets
Acknowledgment: This page has been created in response to COVID 19 by Tony Sheard, Colin and Susan with thanks to Richard Fox DG 7850 and District 6690 Membership Chair Membership Chair Jenny Stotts on the basis of Adopt Adapt Improve.
2020 District Conference June 19 -21, 2020
Currently being Re-Visioned ... Please stand by ...
Have a look at our exciting Conference Video!

"Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change — across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves."

District Governor Welcome
Welcome to District 6330
Our District is truly international and connects Rotarians from north eastern Michigan along the shores of Lake Huron to west central Ontario, Canada with clubs located in rural areas and larger cities such as Flint, MI and London ON.
If you're ready to make a difference in your community and in communities around the world - Rotary is for you! You’ll find Rotary members digging wells, building schools, immunizing children, organizing food drives, supporting literacy projects and many more..! We’re building peace, empowering youth, and saving mothers and children. It’s what we’ve been doing for more than 100 years and our impact on lives is amazing.
Check out our website and social media pages and you are welcome to any of our club meetings or events. We guarantee you a warm welcome and a rewarding experience. 
Feel free to contact me to learn more about our exciting organization and how you may join us to make a difference in our world.
Tony Sheard
District Governor 2019-20
“Rotary Connects the World”
Mobile: (519) 386-9556
visitor counter
Home Page Stories
By Elizabeth Davis, Annual Giving Officer, Zone 24 East & Zone 32,

As time goes on, I will continue to do my best to keep you all up to date on how COVID-19 is affecting operations for the Foundation and donor giving.

As you all probably know by now, the majority of Rotary staff have been working remotely from home since last week. As of Saturday evening, a statewide shelter-in-place order went into effect across Illinois meaning that residents may only leave their places of residence to carry out essential activities (such as going to the grocery store, seeking medical attention, etc.). This means that until the order is lifted, no personnel are now being permitted to enter Rotary’s One Rotary Center build-ing.
The Corona Virus has impacted so many parts of our traditional Rotary experience, and now our planned Rotary East Coast Kitchen Party (RECKP).  We are not confident that by May 29th, the world will return to its old normal and people will be comfortable to be out having fun with 450 of their friends.  We are fortunate that the Hellenic Community Center has offered us a new date, Friday Sept 25th and  Shane Cook and the Woodchippers are available that same evening!!!!    So we are not cancelling, just postponing! 
That is some Murphy Irish luck for ya!
Interested in taking on a role at the District Leadership Level? 
Interested in Youth or Literacy Programs?
We are looking for 2 passionate, enthusiastic Rotarians who are interested in moving from the club level to take on a leadership role within the District.
(from Rotary Voices - May 29, 2019) - By Joe Otin, governor-elect of Rotary District 9212 (Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan)


I gravitate naturally to statistics despite the negative feelings some people have about them. I think that information is the fuel that our world runs on and without it our systems will sputter, stall, and shut down. That is because statistics are significant in decision making.

When I joined the Rotary Club of Nairobi East, Kenya, 19 years ago, I was told that good Rotarians were defined by the regularity of their attendance, the frequency of their gifts to The Rotary Foundation, and most importantly by their ability to introduce new members to the club.

But that is not what attracts people to Rotary ... to learn more - Read the rest of this post

The Council On Legislation (COL) is held once every three years with the 2019 cycle recently concluded in Chicago, Illinois from April 14 through April 18, 2019. 116 proposed enactments plus one RI board proposed position statement were presented, 47 were adopted, 55 were rejected and 15 were withdrawn. Of the 47 pieces of adopted legislation 6 items were of direct consequence to clubs.
Are you unsure where to start with your new member orientation? Have members learn more about Rotary and even test their knowledge with the new Rotary Basics course in the Learning Center. They’ll read about Rotarians from around the world, learn about our values and causes, and deepen their understanding of Rotary through this interactive course.

The Rotary Basics course was designed for new Rotarians, but it’s also a great refresher for other members — and even nonmembers — who want to know more about Rotary.

To take the class, use the link above. Anyone who isn’t signed in to My Rotary will be prompted to do so before going to the Learning Center.
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