A well-attended and well conducted workshop for the EMG and CSR Chairs of Districts in Zones 4, 5 and 6A, was recently held in Delhi with the lead trainers being EMGAs PDG Ashok Panjwani and PDG K P Nagesh. Aided by a team of experts from the Rotary International South Asia Office (RISAO), the session went into great detail on all aspects of funds available for doing district and club projects.
TRF Trustee Sushil Gupta emphasised the importance of both EMGF and CSR in funding of projects by Rotary. He explained that EMGF — Endowment and Major Gifts Fund — catered to funding district and club projects.
As far as CSR was concerned, it was fortunate that all the focus areas of Rotary, except Peace and Conflict Resolution, coincide with the permitted use of CSR funds for projects. “It is up to our districts and clubs to tap such sources, who should be willing to partner with Rotary. Fortunately, Rotary has developed such an image that corporates, particularly multinationals, do not hesitate to partner with Rotary clubs/districts,” he said.
Last year we had become number two in TRF giving by just a few thousand dollars; this year, the country at the third position is a good $3 million behind us.
– TRF Trustee Sushil Gupta
As a word of caution, Gupta reminded participants on the importance of maintaining high standards in stewardship of projects. He categorically said that Rotary does not expect or accept any funding from beneficiaries. He was emphatic in stating — “Do not seek funds or contributions from beneficiaries while planning or executing projects with funds from The Rotary Foundation”.
He reminded the participants of the well-known saying by Confucius — “Let me sit near the window so that I can see the bigger world.” Rotarians need to see the bigger world, he said.
RI Director C Basker was happy to note that the District Governors had responded to his suggestion to have District Chairs for CSR and EMG. The workshop was being organised specifically for these newly created local appointments in these three Zones which he represents on the RI Board.
Stressing the importance of these two very important sources for funding of Rotary projects, he wanted the districts to properly institutionalise these two very valuable sources. Now that the GoI had introduced the CSR concept, huge funds would become available for humanitarian projects. But, he stressed repeatedly, stewardship issues in implementing projects would be minutely scrutinised and “under no circumstances should we allow misuse of funds. These should be used strictly for projects for which they are released. Any funds left over from projects can be carried forward to the next project, after approval, or even refunded to TRF but under no circumstances should these be utilised elsewhere.”
Explaining the plan for the training programme, RID Basker stated that the workshop would be conducted in three parts. Initially, the participants would be introduced to The Rotary Foundation and the basic role of District CSR Chairs and District EMG Chairs. This would be followed by detailed presentations by the staff of RISAO on these aspects. Finally, in the breakout session, the participants would be put through exercises to cover the theoretical aspects discussed in Session 2.
Don’t get involved in questionable activities on stewardship. Don’t bring bad name to your country. Everybody says India is doing great projects but at the same time these kind of activities negate everything.
– TRF Trustee Sushil Gupta
Rajeev Ranjan, Regional Head, RISAO, gave a brief outline of the role of the South Asia office. Sanjay Parmar, Senior Manager, TRF, explained the functioning of the Foundation at RI Headquarters and how the Regional South Asia office can be of assistance to districts and clubs.
Shakuntala Raha, Manager International Fundraising, explained how Endowments, Term Gifts, Major Gifts and Bequests were received and utilised by RI. She also explained how the various givers were recognised at various levels for their contributions.
PDG Vinod Bansal and Jayashree Jayaraman, Manager, in charge of CSR, explained the provisions of CSR in the new Companies Act and the type of programmes that can benefit from under this programme. Rotary, having established credibility over the years, would be able to benefit the most from such funding opportunities, was reiterated at this training session.
Roy John, Coordinator TRF, RISAO, explained in detail the process districts and clubs have to follow while applying for Global Grants. The application forms were clear and districts/clubs need to follow these rigidly. Inaccurate information will result in rejection of applications for any grants from TRF.
Rajesh Anand, Assistant Manager, Stewardship, RISAO, emphasised the importance of stewardship of funds released by TRF. He made it clear that Rotary does not allow any contribution from the beneficiary for any project. Thus to expect any beneficiary to add to the project funds or to be part donor is a complete No-No. Districts/clubs are also advised to look out for any conflict of interest in case of projects being put up for funding. Projects seeking funds should not be directly or indirectly linked to Rotarians in their personal capacity, he said.
Two District EMGAs PDG Ashok Panjwani and PDG K P Nagesh — put the participants through an exercise of a four-step process to develop donors. These steps were: Identify, Cultivate, Solicit, Donor Stewardship. The objective of the training session, as spelt out by them:
- Identify each step in the four-step fundraising process
- Understand what makes a good prospective donor
- Understand the best strategies for cultivation.
India second in TRF giving at $20.01 million
It was with great gusto and pride that TRF Trustee Sushil Gupta announced at the training session for EMG Chairs and CSR Chairs on Zone 4, 5 and 6A that in The Rotary Foundation’s Centennial year, Indian Rotarians had raised the bar and taken TRF giving to a new high — collecting a total of $20.01 million! “And like the previous year, India is once again number two in the world.” Once again Japan was at the number three slot. But what was really heartening was that while last year “we had become number two by just a few thousand dollars, this year, the country at the third position is a good $3 million behind us.”
Giving the breakup of the total of $20.01 million, Gupta said that last year Indian Rotarians had raised $2.3 million through Endowment funds, $2.2 million through Term Gifts, $1.9 million for polio eradication, and India had contributed 24 AKS members.
Gupta said that Indian Rotarians had a huge opportunity before them in the form of CSR funds that profit making corporates were mandated by law to set aside. Last year Rotarians had targeted $2 million but had fallen short to reach only the $1.6 million mark. For the current year the target was $4 million, and considering the lead given by Districts such as 3110 and 3131, he was positive we would cross this target. He urged the participants to “look at MNCs, as many of them do not have CSR programmes of their own and Rotary is a great partner with great credibility. You only need to raise the bar!” Also, there were many corporates who had funds but not the wherewithal to do their own projects and they would love to partner with Rotary because it had credibility.
District leaders warned on stewardship issues
Referring to the recent controversy over stewardship issues in one of the Rotary Districts in India, TRF Trustee Sushil Gupta read out the riot act to the assembled Rotary leaders from India, including the District EMG and CSR Chairs and District Governors. “Don’t get involved in such questionable activities. Each of us present here is holding the Rotary flag. Don’t bring bad name to your country. Everybody says India is doing great projects but at the same time these kind of activities negate everything. Please go and spread this word in your districts.”
Trustee Gupta added that while the past cannot be changed, “if something comes before us, we will definitely investigate it and if there is a culprit then he will be definitely punished. But from now onwards if anything untoward happens or irregularity takes place, then only you yourselves are to blamed and nobody else.”
He added: “The Rotary News Editor Rasheeda (Bhagat) is here; I see her taking notes, please point this out in the magazine.”
Urging Rotarians to keep three criteria in mind in order to do good projects, he said: “First of all; do a survey; and take up only what the community wants, not what you want. Secondly, it must be sustainable and the third thing is stewardship. Do not play around with CSR money. That will be the biggest disservice you will be doing to the Rotary world.”