Staying connected during the COVID-19 pandemic
It seems that all around the world, not a single person or community is unaffected by COVID-19. In Rotary, the pandemic has changed our daily routines and forced the cancellation of many in-person meetings and events. But for more than a century, Rotary has connected the world through fellowship and service. Even when we can’t hold our usual events as planned, we can still stay engaged, connect with one another, and continue to serve our communities.
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Here are just a few ways clubs have adapted:
  • A psychologist and member of the Rotary Club of Roma Polis in Italy spoke to the club in an online meeting about how to focus on mental and emotional health during the COVID-19 crisis. The meeting was open to everyone. 
  • To help people stay connected despite social isolation, the Rotary Club of Metro Bethesda in Maryland, USA, is creating a list of members and neighbors who live alone and developing a “telephone tree.” Volunteers will contact five people by phone, daily or weekly, and drop off colorful plants at their doorsteps, which can be left outside or brought into the home.
  • Members of the Rotary Club of Schaumburg-Hoffman Estates in Illinois, USA, made the difficult decision to reinvent their biggest fundraising event of the year. Instead of an in-person gathering, they hosted a Facebook Live event, which brought in more than $120,000 — about the same amount they would have raised with their usual fundraiser.
  • After canceling its weekly in-person meetings, the Rotary Club of Singapore hosted its first webinar. A medical epidemiologist and an infectious disease specialist responded to members’ questions and concerns. The club, which plans to continue holding online meetings as needed, is also hosting a donation drive to collect essential items for the community.
  • The Rotary Club of Brescia Veronica Gambara in Italy researched and purchased urgently needed equipment for frontline medical workers at local hospitals.
We encourage you, as leaders in your community, to find creative ways to connect with one another and local residents, and to find innovative, safe ways to provide whatever assistance your community needs at this time. Contact your local health authorities to learn what your Rotary club can do to help respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. Check with local education officials to see how you can support teachers or schools offering alternative learning options. Connect with your local labor bureau to find ways to support small businesses and their employees. Research what local nonprofits are doing and explore opportunities for club members to get involved safely. Get inspiration from other clubs’ projects or share your own service story on Rotary Showcase.

How is your club or district keeping members engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic? Share your ideas and resources or join a discussion in the Meeting Online group in learning topics.

Read Rotary International’s latest update on COVID-19.