Member Engagement during COVID-19

Connecting Everyone to the Future

Maintaining Member Engagement during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Last updated March 26, 2020

We are living in a rapidly changing environment that needs bold, imaginative and timely interventions. What may be right today, may well be wrong or different tomorrow, so we need to be agile, responsive and willing to change, as our communities need us more than ever before.
Rotary International is monitoring the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on events and operations and has issued a guidance note.
As an International District, we are closely monitoring the situation and also looking carefully at the advice offered by RI and both the US and Bermudian authorities. Our DG Team is meeting weekly and more frequently as necessary, to ensure we can provide the optimum support to our members and clubs in these rapidly changing times.
In their efforts to maintain engagement during times when clubs have postponed or cancelled in-person meetings, projects or social events, we have developed this guide with ideas and strategies for Club Leaders to consider. The information and guidance on thse pages are an offering of support, not a requirement. Club Leaders are encouraged to consult with their boards to assess and determine which strategies will be useful at the local level.
None of these strategies is a replacement for timely, transparent and regular communication with your members about your plans to continue modified operations throughout this time. Be sure that all committees and leaders in your club are equipped with consistent messaging to minimize confusion to your members and to streamline communications about changes as they arise. Consider sending brief weekly updates to your members or provide a timeline for when decisions will be reviewed and modified if necessary.
Have a great strategy that’s working for you? Send details to so it may be added to this guide and shared with others.
Stay safe and stay connected so Together we may flatten the curve.
-DG Mahbub

Virtual Meetings with Zoom – The “New Normal”

We are offering the Zoom Video Conferencing Service to ALL clubs. The cost will be fully funded by the District and this service will be made available initially until July 20, 2020 which is next license renewal. All clubs are strongly encouraged to take up this FREE offer.
To become a Zoomer apply for your Host Account by sending an email to indicating that you would like to take advantage of this free offer - including:
  • the club name,
  • the key contact for the club,
  • the email address for the account.
The key contact person (and email address) must be prepared to take responsibility for setting up and scheduling the club Zoom meetings, and should be prepared to learn the little bit that is required to schedule and host the meetings.

Learn to Zoom…

For the clubs that have accepted the free ZOOM Video Conferencing offer, here are some tutorials for you and to share with your club:

How to join a meeting or how to host a meeting click here

Already a Zoomer? Here are some Tips & Tricks for better Video Meetings
Tips for hosting a “Virtual Meeting”
  • Consider shortening the length of the virtual meeting to make it more feasible for members to “tune in.”
  • Do keep your fellowship activities if they can easily migrate online (for example, “getting to know you” activities, interesting speakers, and happy bucks/dollars)
  • Avoid taking up “video time” with elements of your meeting that would be better shared in writing such as basic announcements or upcoming dates to note – consider sending those in a follow up email once the virtual meeting concludes
  • check out Rotary resources on virtual meetings
As well as using Zoom for Club and Committee Meetings, think differently.  Why not hold a virtual coffee morning meeting or a virtual happy hour meeting just for social interaction? – Just have a chat. Think you are at Starbucks or your local bar but you are connected from the comfort of your own home
Less Interactive – There are other tools that are still incredibly useful and may be the perfect fit, but don’t require that everyone log in at a specific time, which could be the perfect level of flexibility for your club. The suggestions below range from social media tools to project management and communication tools.
Basecamp |

Share Ideas and Experiences 

Please share your experiences, ideas on how your club and community is coping with the situation on the District Facebook Page to help us ALL learn.

Rotary clubs around the world are canceling their meals for their meetings … so what if we asked every Rotarian to consider donating each month some of what they would have normally spent on their meal, drinks, etc.  to the club to be passed through to help the local community response to the COVID 19 pandemic (Foodbank, women’s shelter, etc.) and a portion to support the business that would have provided the meal. This could be done online using an online donation platform and if your club has Charitable status you may be eligible for a tax receipt or you could arrange a simple bank e-transfer. This has the potential to be a worldwide initiative...!


District Wide Zoom Forum Mondays at 7 pm
your opportunity to connect

Each Monday evening, starting in April, we will be hosting a District wide forum to share experiences at 7 pm to 8 pm. Join us for the latest update so we may share ideas and experiences. Just click on this link on Monday evenings

Learning Centre

Time on your hands? Why not brush up on your Rotary knowledge and skills from the comfort and safety of your own home. 
Of course, the BEST way to engage members is the same - in-person or on-line! Get creative with ways to keep the spirit of service alive with your members!

Engagement through Social Media Tools

Social Media is a great tool for engaging members and the general community every day. Clubs can optimize and concentrate their social media channels as a resource to bolster engagement during the hiatus from in-person contact. Many of these strategies can be used once you return to business as usual, so this may prove to be a pilot for your club.


Use social media prompts to mimic the fellowship your members enjoy during your meetings. Included among the resources are social media assets that you may use to start these online conversations. Here are few examples:

  • What are you reading?
  • Picture Contest: Sunrises
  • Kindness is Contagious
Social Media Takeovers

Allow various members to “take the reins” on your social channels and let them use pictures and stories to share how they’re dealing with the changes to daily living brought on by the pandemic. Here is a useful guide:
Migrating Meeting Activities to Social Media
  • "Getting to know you" activities like Hot Seat or Member Profiles
  • Happy Bucks or Happy Dollars online (sample social assets are included in resources)
  • Asks members or “guest speakers” to record video presentations to promote through social channels. Have a member with an interesting hobby like beekeeping? Any business owners getting creative during the pandemic?  Have members who are passionate about particular service projects? Ask them to share a self-recorded video!
    • These can be recorded simply using a cell phone. Try to limit video recordings to 5-6 minutes maximum.
    • Remember to write engaging posts that encourage members and guests to interact with the content.
    • **Facebook Live is a great tool for short presentations featuring your members with interesting hobbies, because the audience can ask questions in real-time that the presenter can answer on the spot.

Engagement through Service (from Afar)

Community Needs Assessment
Once you have connected your members turn your attention to how Rotary can help in your community.
- Consider carrying out an accelerated simple community needs assessment to see how Rotary can best respond. Our motto is Service Above Self. Reach out to your local Municipality, Social Services, Schools, Health organizations, Chamber of Commerce, etc. to see what help they need. Remember those businesses that have donated and sponsored Rotary in the past, how are they coping now? These are challenging times that need bold imaginative and caring responses over the coming months.
- Check-in with local organizations to see how they’re doing and if they need any assistance. - Be aware of community needs. As many of you have observed, if schools do close, many children will lose their primary source of food. If COVID-19 cases increase, local first responders and health care facilities will be strained and may be in need of support. Challenging times bring an increase in needs (not just for toilet paper), and we are great at serving community needs. 
- Check-in on your neighbors, especially those in the at-risk populations (the elderly and the immuno-compromised) and see how they’re doing. Help out when and where you can. Physical distance may be healthy at this time, but social isolation can be deadly as it contributes to depression and allows people in need to fall through the cracks. Be a good neighbor and a good friend. 
- AND don't forget to take care of yourself and your families – pay attention to your physical and mental health. Ask for help if you need it. And even if, like me, you are one of those “it won’t happen to me” types, try to remember that your health and the public health are inter-related. While you may feel fine, you might just be carrying something harmful to others. If we stay connected and lend a hand where we can, the worst that will happen is that our communities will survive a trying global pandemic. The best that can happen is that this all passes us by and we grow stronger as Rotarians and as a community. 

As always, you can ask members to donate to The Rotary Foundation (hint: use the array of Rotary assets including videos to promote; all available on My Rotary). Other considerations include initiating “friendly competitions” with other clubs to see which can raise the most money for a particular focus area or fund to earn “bragging rights” (or maybe the “losing” club has to provide the manual labor for the winning club’s future project). Get creative and use this opportunity to bolster promotion of opportunities for Rotarians to give.
The Rotary Foundation is only taking Online Donations at this time. Here are two documents to guide you through the Online Donation Process.
Quick Glance
Virtual Meetings
Learn to Zoom
Share ideas and experiences
District wide Zoom Forum Mondays at 7 pm EST
Learning Centre
Engagement through Social Media
Engagement through Service (from Afar) including ideas
Creative engagement strategies
District Event Status
Government Guidance
Rotary’s role in battling the Coronavirus
Resources: Useful links