Posted by Evan Burrell, Assistant Rotary Public Image Coordinator, Zone 8
The ongoing issues around the COVID-19 Coronavirus have many Rotary Clubs trying to sort out ways for their members to engage with the club remotely, aka “Doing Rotary from home”. For many, a stay at home, social distancing regime will be an entirely new experience. Thankfully technology has improved massively, so it’s possible to stay engaged and do Rotary from the comfort of your own home. Here’s some tips to help you with a new online way forward.
1. Have a dedicated space at home: It is possible to have a video meeting from your rec room with your feet up, but that’s generally a bad idea. If you can, set yourself up with an actual “home office” space to work from, because that way you can block yourself off when you’re in that space to do work and Rotary-related tasks. Even a little corner of the kitchen table can make a huge difference in letting you get your head into that “Rotary" space.
2. Hardware needs: You can already use your own a laptop or desktop computer or even a smart phone. Upgrade these items if you think it is overdue and also you may need to buy a web camera if using a desktop computer.
3. Your meeting needs: Sorting out how your Rotary meetings are meant to work when you’re not face to face can be a bit of a headache. Make sure there is an agenda for the meeting and think about utilizing other forms of club communication like a private club Facebook group or club WhatsApp group chat.
4. Software: There are many online meeting products like skype, google hangouts or the popular Zoom video meeting software. Work out which low cost product best suits your clubs needs and encourage your members to sign up and download the software. In many cases it is free to use and as a side note Rotary International has a 20% discount on Zoom through the global rewards program.
5. Data Usage: Be sure to check your current home internet connection and mobile phone data plans. Consider price and data speed of your current plan as you may find you will be using a bit more of your internet data than what you’re previously used to. But if you binge watch Netflix all night and use your phone for Facebook all day then you are probably on the right data plan.
6. Engagement: This is the most important tip. The world is changing so rapidly, and we don’t know when this crisis will pass, so as far as your club is concerned stay engaged with it. This may be all new to you meeting online, but we need to embrace this change, stay engaged and keep the wheels of Rotary turning. As Paul Harris said “This is a changing world; we must be prepared to change with it. The story of Rotary will have to be written again and again.”