At the September 24th meeting, PP Garry Higgins led club members in a planning exercise to consider how our club should move forwards in a world of "Covid normal". Garry indicated that the exercise was one he had conducted in his own business. Members were divided into 3 groups to consider a set of questions that will guide our future plans. See "Read more..." for details
One group, consisting of mostly "younger" Rotarians considered the questions: What is the community perception of Rotary as an organization? What is the perception of Rotary in the Maryborough Community? How effectively do we communicate with our market? Members from this group reported that local people don't seem to understand what Rotary is as an organization. They perceive it as a group of old people who "do barbeques". Locally, our organization is seen as mainly supporting overseas projects rather than local concerns. This group argued that we should use our Family Violence program as a base to get people more involved. Communication is important, and currently, our Facebook page seems to focus more on what our members do rather than issues in the local community. People see our group as one that is "pushing out", rather than one that is inviting people to come in.
The second group considered the question: How do we become more connected to our local community?
  • Speakers by Zoom – Community can join in, look to an aged care speaker
  • Communicate and reach out and use whatever we can – social media, radio etc
  • Previously well engaged and presence was up there- Media Facebook when we were doing stuff, projects were good
  • Be visible – build on what we were doing
  • Presence around town was best assets but seen as a secret society
  • Need to mix with the community- get out and get amongst them
  • Notice a lot of Rotary Clubs – Easter parades, community events, Halloween events, Xmas parades Floats. Involve the community
  • Rotary  “Something Event” Dig deep and think
  • Connect with the Community
  • There are events out there that we can do – Bike ride
  • Try to get an event that is out there that we can do
  • Need to pummel advertisement of event for increased mileage through various types of media
  • Now we are accomplished ZOOM operators- when next able to meet face to face, invite community in on ZOOM up on big screen to join in out meetings
  • Picnic days ie as in Midsummer Murders there is always something on and happening.
  • Involve seniors and elderly
  • Murals on blank walls in Maryborough- like silos but more accessible
  • Something like Newstead Live music festival
  • It will be HARD WORK but were up for it, look at conferences. Parks Elvis festival or Maryborough’s Freddie Mercury festival
  • Something to engage the entire club in running the event
  • Why are we doing what we do and did in the past
  • Meaning of Life Festival……OOH he’s a very naughty boy.
  • Check out ABC Back Roads – Nagambie music Festival for inspiration of what can happen to a community when you think outside the boxes we are comfortable sitting in
  • ITS hard work BUT IT’LL BE WORTH IT.
The third group considered the question: How well do we do things at the moment? The group highlighted the fact that we will need to do things differently in the new "Covid normal". We need to ask "Why" we do the things we do and make sure that we generate ownership by the community of the events we plan. We will certainly need to involve youth. Maybe we could expand the "Book Program" we have to something like a "Teddy Bear's Picnic" involving families.
Some lively discussion followed which included the suggestion that we develop a communication policy for our club. It was pointed out that social media allows an organization to "create its own narrative" or tell it's own story so we should exploit that possibility. Another reflection was that at present, many of the things we do really only affect a few people e.g. our 3 or 4 scholarship winners, or our 1 or 2 attendees at Science schools etc. Maybe we should be looking at events that affect more people? There was certainly general agreement that we need to get people in the community to see what is going on which returned the discussion to the need for a club communication policy.