Several years ago, we were asked to develop a “program for programs” as a training session for Rotary club Program Chairs.
The result starts with the realization that Rotary does very little to prepare incoming Program Chairs to do their jobs of booking speakers for their clubs. The idea behind Rotary District 5030’s “Rotary Program University” is to help Program Chairs / Committees understand what Rotary Programs should be about: Service to the club; service to club members; and service to the broader community in which the club is located. In the process, it can become a powerful membership development and club PR tool.
Rotary Program University (RPU) is a three-legged stool (an RPU Handbook, speaker recommendations and online discussion) that examines speaker selection; topic selection; pre-meeting speaker orientation (i.e., don’t ask for contributions, etc.); speaker evaluation; best practices; what your options are in event of a last-minute speaker cancellation (EVERY program chair I talk with LOVES this topic); decision-making in Program Committees and who REALLY makes the final decision; the relative values of being speaker-driven and being topic-driven; leadership succession in club Program Committees; varying ways to organize Program responsibility (one year-long chair vs. month-by-month Program Chairs and other variations); utilizing Programs to foster better/broader/deeper discussion in the local community about important community topics; inviting non-Rotarian local community leaders in to hear specific speakers/topics in which they may be interested; cataloguing Programs for future use; and other ideas.
In our opinion, EVERY Rotary District should be doing this. And, to the best of our knowledge, none are. It’s a lost opportunity that can be corrected.
Click here to access the Rotary Program University Handbook.