Programme for week commencing 4th October, 2012

Healthy evaluation of how things are going can be very helpful, so this week we’ve put some ideas forward and would welcome other contributions from the membership.

On the whole our E-Rotary is developing very well, we have projects underway, people still joining us and we continue to think positively about what future things we can do. Whilst there is still a need to build our team and enable people to develop their way in which they do Rotary as they get their heads around what Rotary can offer.

When starting the eClub we based our structures on a traditional Rotary Club model, does this need re-thinking? Does it work for E-Rotary?

Should we consider ourselves more of an E-Rotary Network rather than in a Club Structure? If we do that could we organise ourselves better so that those who wanted to meet up now and again could, those who’d rather just do the ‘E’ part do and don’t feel pressurised, doing their Service in their communities as Rotarians linked to the E-Network?

Rather than having Action Groups based on the Rotary Club Structure themes e.g. Membership, PR, Administration, etc, all of which overlap in what they are doing, how about a new structure based on a network?  Our Action Groups could be area based and considered as big or small HUBS linked to the E-Rotary Network e.g. Swindon Hub or Wiltshire Hub, Hereford Hub, etc.  Each Hub would then do Rotary in their areas, but linked to the main E-Rotary Network for purposes of administration, membership, networking and the weekly programme. Rotary itself is already thinking of developing satellite Clubs in traditional Club areas to enable membership expansion. With the world-wide web having no real boundaries it would make more sense for us to develop Hubs within an E-Rotary Network UK.

If we move to this E-Rotary Hub model, we could have either Area Coordinators or Vice Presidents or E-Rotary Advisers, who would hold the adviser role perhaps for areas of traditional Club themes e.g. Membership or Service Projects, for the whole E-Rotary Network. However the Hubs would need to choose their own projects local to them or work in conjunction with local Rotary Clubs.

This is not going to be an overnight change, it needs more thinking, but it would give a more flexible structure to how E-Rotary might work.  Your thoughts, ideas and comments welcome. This a blue sky thinking exercise to help create how we grow our network for Rotary in the 21st Century.

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0 thoughts on “Blue Sky Thinking

  1. Rachel Davis says:

    I have no knowledge of the structure of traditional Rotary clubs, so nothing to compare it to – but my intial thoughts are that if you start to have “hubs” then the ERotary gets disjointed and becomes several smaller groups – rather than the one biggish one that we are currently.
    I do wonder whether we should disengage with Rotary altogether though – with the problems that seem to arise from the unwillingness to change and move into the digital age – should we set ourselves aside as an independent eclub, with all the good traits of Rotary with a bit a of forward thinking?!

    • Tim Mason says:

      Thanks for your comment Rachel, it is great to have feed back. In respect of whether we should disengage from Rotary and go it alone I would suggest this is not a good idea, we have to remember we are part of the trail blazing or pioneering that will take actually help move a great organisation forward. In other parts of Rotary International such as in India or Sri Lanka, or Russia Rotary is flourishing, it is definitely a fact that Rotary in Britain and Ireland (RIBI) is lagging far behind. So I believe as you know strongly it is up to us to build E-Rotary to be a strong and vibrant modern Rotary Club. Last week at the Cirencester Rotary Club, Ola was determined we do this as he wasn’t impressed with the attitude by some towards E-Rotary.

      Part of our Service towards helping RIBI to move forward in this digital age, will be to help other Districts within RIBI develop E-Rotary, this I believe we will all be able to help with as E-Rotary members online e.g. helping in promoting by social media, welcoming the new members and getting them involved online with our activities, sharing our E-Rotary development. So when they reach the required 25 members to form a their own eClub, we will have given E-Service in this process by providing a incubator base.

  2. AG-Richard says:

    I agree that to disengage would be a mistake for the reasons already given.

    The very fact that you are up and running has started the process of old/traditioal Rotarians thinking about their club!! Simon Carter was happy to transfer to you from Tewkesbury. Jill Jonston needed to transfer from her club. So your existence is invaluable for transferees as well as new members.

    Your use of facebook has been an eye-opener. This has brought much more awareness of issues around the world, which is missed by lots of club members.

    So I strongly believe you are in a good place. Attitude change on social media will slowly accelerate, and this will help the whole movement react to the communication needs of the modern world.

    Eclub members have a role to play in this change – go to your Zone Meetings;attend the District Council Meeting and spread the word.

    Be a part of the District not a quiet bystander.

    Richard -AG

  3. Rachel-A says:

    I have to agree with Rachel that by making hubs we will be become disjointed. I would question the rationale for having set up a District eclub if we feel the need to be geographically local to make the club work. What is it that isn’t working (perceived or otherwise) that has prompted the post? Perhaps if we understand this then it is easier to comment on whether club members share this feeling and there is a need to change.

    Drawing on my own experience of either being impacted by or trying to enact reorganisations (which at its very basic level is what is being proposed), we must always question why we are changing the organisational structure or if we are focussing on this as the easiest thing to change when actually the real issues are more difficult to solve. Developing our culture as an eclub; getting members to understand how to ‘do Rotary’ in the eclub context; or building our team. All are real issues that won’t be solved by a change in structure but are vital to solve to make the club a vibrant rewarding club to be part of.

  4. Jill says:

    Having been a Rotarian in a traditional Club for nearly 20 years, the idea of Hubs very much appealed to me. That is probably because I like (and am used to) the idea of meeting up with fellow Rotarians, also because I am not sure how to do projects other that in a hands-on way. For the moment I cannot work out how to stimulate interest in Foundation + giving to our charity, other than on a face-to-face basis. Most Rotarians think of Foundation as an optional extra, rather than it being at the heart of our organisation.

    • admin says:

      Jill we’ve made a start with Foundation by your three mini-briefings, but we now need to excite our members what Foundation achieves throughout the world, through the funds of the Charity. We often talk about Foundation without telling the amazing stories of how it has made a difference. Now the eClub has agreed to 10% slice of all fund raising we need to get our members more aware of what that 10% will go to.

      • Janice Mason says:

        Tim has just said what I was thinking. I’m very pragmatic and want to know about things in context, so as we have agreed that 10% of whatever funds we do raise in the eClub go to Foundation it would be good to experience real life projects where such funds make an impact. We are now running Open Meetings once a month for all members to share what they have been up to in their businesses, community work (especially where this is not related to eClub organised things) and their lives generally. Jill, you spend an awful lot of your time working on behalf of Foundation, sharing snippets at the Open Meetings would be a very good way to help us experience what it is all about and the work it takes to enable it to function.

  5. Rachel Davis says:

    I would never have joined Rotary if it had not been for Tim posting on Twitter last year – this is why I don’t understand Rotary’s reluctance to get involved with social media? there must be thousands of other professionals that have no time/inclination to join a traditional rotary club but who stil want to get involved with helping their communities?

    • admin says:

      Rachel how can we promote Rotary and especially the eClub on Twitter? Can you help because you are more the expert than me, plus you can do it from the experience of being recruited through twitter to a new way of doing Rotary.

  6. Katharine says:

    I think the people who are negative or antagonistic towards the e.club and the use of Social Media just don’t understand it, and are often suspicious or hostile.
    Those of us who are e.club members should think of ourselves as Ambassadors for a new way of working and go out with a smile to explain how we work and share our experiences.

    If we want “hubs”and face to face contact we can join in the activities of local clubs, and attend their meetings as and when it suits us.

    I would not support restructuring the e.club at this early stage in its life. We need to consolidate and build. And we need to stay as part of Rotary because its reputation and respectability opens doors and builds networks.

    I find the e.club very refreshing and it has enabled me to meet some fantastic people both in the UK and overseas. I think that we e.club members just have to accept that we will have to travel from time to time if we want to meet members from the distant corners of the District.

  7. Yzanne Martin Hallett says:

    I like the way things work at the moment and I think it is too soon to change, we’ve not proven what we have does/doesn’t work yet. I believe what we need to be working on is what people want to be doing and ensure our projects – on the ground or virtual – meet these requirements. Thus far, unless I am missing something, I don’t feel we’re getting it right. Shoe Boxes for example – whilst it might not be everyones cup of tea – if 28 members contributed £5, we’d have £140 to spend, that’s without having to go to a shop and do anything – just make the donation and Debbie and I will do the work. As things stand, those who have expressed an interest and we know are shopping for it, are Janice, Tim, Katherine, Dave, Debbie and myself. If we’re making service projects this easy and we still can’t get interest and support, what are we doing wrong?

  8. Janice Mason says:

    I don’t think we’re talking about changing structure, we have said all along that the eClub concept is very new and will develop over time and continued development as we find our feet is really important. I think seeing ourselves as a network is key, that is what ‘e’ is all about, and having flexibility is also essential as that is how social media works. To be running traditional type committees (which is what the Action Groups are however much we try and present them differently) is trying to run on tracks built for earth bound clubs, not one running through the ethernet. What is naturally happening is that members are engaging in the things that interest them, they are picking up on things in different ways (Twitter, FB, the website, face to face) and we need to be able to facilitate this. Having hubs, which are groups of people in the same location, is a way of ensuring that all members are involved as much as they want to be, ensuring everyone is picking up on what is going on. Sue W. has never logged onto this website, yet she is a passionate member of the eClub, and at the moment she stays in touch by talking to me every time I walk into the bank where she works. Hubs also enable local groups of members to work together on local community projects, but with the support of the entire network. Some members want to concentrate on the social media aspect, raising awareness, and being part of a network enables this. Developing and becoming more flexible to enable the network to support service rather than just fund raising (including keep giving money ourselves) I believe is really important, and we can do this by encouraging sharing through social media, including the website not wholly dependent on it.

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