Best practices for successful clubs
Rotary means service and our Four-way Test conveys that each of our actions should benefit the needy. We, at Rotary Club of Navi Mumbai, have incorporated the same in most of our functions and operations. To mention a few;
Meal coupon vs Bouquets/gifts
No gifts/bouquets to any chief guest. Instead we provide a midday meal coupon signed by the chief guest and on his behalf the club provides a free meal to the needy. We accumulate these coupons over the year and feed the hungry.
We have our own premises. Apart from planting new saplings, we also emphasise on maintaining the existing trees with the trees bearing the names of the donors. Instead of elaborate celebration of our birthdays/anniversaries, we pool in the funds and use it for the maintenance of trees. A single tree maintained or grown is equivalent to planting 100 saplings, out of which very few even survive for three years, and only the photos remain! We also plan to plant a sapling in the name of presidents of the nearby clubs and rent out our premises to nearby clubs to conduct their programmes, by which they can also save expensive hotel bills. We also minimise costs by encouraging joint programmes with other clubs. Our goal is to maximise charity per square feet. Hence, we run medical centre, green nursery, yoga classes etc at our Rotary Hall.
Family and Fellowship sail on the same ship
To attract a Rotarian’s family as members, we encourage active participation of his family. We involve the Rotary Anns in activities such as inaugural address, ceremonial song, master of ceremonies or delivering the vote of thanks. This way we are able to check exits of Rotarians due to family pressure.
When in Rome, look like a Roman
Instead of the ‘suit-tie’ culture that we feel takes us away from the common man, we make it a point to wear the Rotary T-shirt for our community service programmes.
Thank our service providers
Most service providers like police, bus driver etc work in tough environments (dusty, noisy and hot climate). We have earmarked special projects like providing AC and fans at police stations with Rotary signage. This has helped us in garnering respect from civil servants. The wheel of Rotary can be moved only by the joint effort of the club and the community. The clubs are the spokes in the wheel and the community is the hub.
To win a war, be in the battle
Clubs must evaluate the substantiality of their projects and ensure that the service is going to those who really need them. It is fairly easy to donate funds or in kind and be satisfied that we have done our part. But members must actually pay regular visits to the community they serve and monitor the work.
Lead to let them light the fire
The pressure to do minimum service projects should balance with the valuable funds contributed by the members. We must reach out to the “real needy”. Involve club directors from the start, to the extent that they should be the chief guest during the service projects ceremony. A responsibility acknowledged with respect is what is needed to bring out the best out of your team/directors. This lays the foundation for having a proper succession plan for a club. Appoint a deserving person as joint director rather than appointing an uninterested /undeserving person.
With the support of IPP Rajeev Maniar and President Anand Dhruv we have implemented most of the above practices successfully and plan to continue the same in the coming years.
The writer is President-elect of RC Navi Mumbai, D 3142.