Carol Colon, (middle), District 6900's annual giving subcommittee chair, and her husband Hector present a check to Rotary Foundation General Manager John Osterlund.
Only a handful of weeks into the new Rotary year, District 6900 (Georgia, USA) is already leading by example in giving to The Rotary Foundation.
On 1 July, District Governor Roy Strickland challenged all 72 clubs in his district to give to the Annual Programs Fund , the primary source of funding for Foundation programs.
"We want to condition our clubs to think 'Foundation,' and think it early," says Strickland. "We remind them that every month is Foundation month."
As has been the tradition in his district, Rotarians responded generously. Each club in the district has contributed some amount to the Annual Programs Fund already this year, and several are 100% Rotary Foundation Sustaining Member Clubs, with every Rotarian in the club having donated at least $100 to the fund.
"Our Rotarians have a good history of giving," says Strickland. "So all we have to do is remind them, and they respond.
"My passion in Rotary is the Foundation," he continues. "If I'm excited about the Foundation and I can get my club presidents excited, they in turn will get the club members excited about it. We enjoy helping the Foundation. We've had the opportunity to see all the good work the Foundation does."
In 2007-08, District 6900 had an average per capita giving of $205 to the Annual Programs Fund, a 17 percent increase over the previous year. The district has more than 200 Paul Harris Society members and added several more to its ranks this year.
"We have one of the largest Paul Harris Societies. That gives us a great start and boost toward Annual Programs Fund giving," Strickland says.
On 17 July, Hector Colon, a pilot for Delta Airlines, flew to Evanston, Illinois, with his wife, Carol, the district's annual giving subcommittee chair, to hand-deliver checks to Rotary Foundation General Manager John Osterlund.
A number of other districts have come up with special ways to promote annual giving.
In District 6920, also in Georgia, clubs are competing for the Blankenship Cup, named after 2006-07 District Governor William Blankenship, who died several months after his term.
The cup, which will be awarded for the first time this year, is given to the club with the highest average per capita giving to the Annual Programs Fund in the past three years. The trophy has room for a dozen inscriptions, with plans to have it pass from one winning club to the next.
"It was a nice way to establish a tradition and do something to remember an outstanding individual," says 2008-09 District Governor Kenan Kern. "The cup idea just sort of developed, and we presented it to our college of governors."
In District 7330 (Pennsylvania), Past District Governor Mary Berge brought along her Backpack of Dreams when she visited clubs in her district in 2008-09. The pack contained a water bottle, book, and a bag of rice and beans, each symbolizing one of the district's international service projects.
"We wanted them to have a metaphor that they could grab on to," she says.
Berge also handed out pledge cards. Club members could commit to donating $60 for a bio-sand filter project in the Dominican Republic, $75 for a project to alleviate hunger in Nicaragua, or $75 to outfit a new school in Nigeria. Though all the money went to the Annual Programs Fund, the district used the cards to determine how to allocate its District Designated Fund.
"It was a way to show them what kinds of things their money was going to support," Berge said. "We kept it under $100 because we wanted to make it affordable."
Giving to the Annual Programs Fund totaled $218,000 in her district in 2008-09, a 32 percent increase over the previous year.
Learn more about the good work your money supports when you give to the Annual Programs Fund .