Turn donating to The Rotary Foundation into a game with yourself

Untitled designSupporting The Rotary Foundation doesn’t have to be tedious.

The Rotary Club of St. Albert proved that last year, by combining raising funds to support the work of the Foundation with fun and fellowship. The club invited members to board a virtual canoe for a year-long journey from Rotary Park in downtown St. Albert to Sturgeon Valley Golf and Country Club, which was powered by TRF donations.

Along the way, there were quarterly stops to assess and celebrate their progress. By June 2018, the club had surpassed its TRF goal and had nearly every Rotarian “in the canoe.”

Half the money Rotarians donate to TRF annual fund is returned to the District three years later, to be used by the District Foundation Committee to support club’s local and international projects and scholarships. The remaining funds are used by TRF for Global Grants, Rotary Peace Fellowships and other scholarships.

Gamification—defined by Merriam Webster as “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (such as a task) so as to encourage participation”—of TRF fundraising isn’t limited to club-wide activities. Individuals can turn determining how much to donate to TRF into a bit of a game with themselves. 

Here are a few alternatives to a “I-guess-I’ll-write-a-cheque-again-this-year” approach to your TRF donation. They allow factors beyond your control to determine how much you’ll give—although we still encourage you to begin by meeting the Sustaining Member standard of $US100 (about $CA140), each year.

When it’s time to make your donation to TRF Canada, you can do so online and instantly receive a receipt for income tax purposes.

Here are a few suggestions for how to make donating to TRF fun:

When I published my first book a few years ago, I made a commitment that for every book I sold, I would donate one dollar to TRF ($5 if the book was purchased by a Rotarian). Unfortunately, the book never became a bestseller, but so far I have donated enough from book sales to earn at least one Paul Harris Fellowship.

Not sure what a Paul Harris Fellowship is? District Foundation chair Wayne Kauffman (RC of Edmonton Riverview) explains:

“Paul Harris Fellowship recognition acknowledges individuals who contribute $US1,000 to The Rotary Foundation.”

Haven’t written a book? There are still lots of other fun ways to determine your annual donation to TRF:

Money on the floor—Have you heard the sound as money tumbles onto the floor when you pick up a pair of pants? Have you found money on the street? Consider anything you find on the floor, on the street, or between sofa cushions as meant to be a donation to TRF. Collect the money in a jar or piggy bank until year-end, then donate what you have picked up for the Foundation.

Just one cup less each week—You’ve heard this suggestion before. If you skipped buying a latte or cappuccino at Starbucks or Second Cup just once a week, you would have an extra $5 per week to do good. By year-end, that would add up to $250 or more that you could donate to TRF. Can’t kick your daily caffeine fix? Okay, let’s approach this differently. How about every time you buy your favourite drink, you set aside a dollar for TRF? That way you will enjoy your beverage, while still making a significant donation to the Foundation.

Return your empties—This one’s simple. Donate what you receive from the bottle depot to TRF.

Pay your fine to TRF—How much do you expect to be fined at each meeting? What if you go to the meeting and the Sergeant-at-Arms ignores you? Donate what you expected to be fined to TRF. And if you were fined, how about matching the fine with a donation to TRF?

Leftover foreign currency—Spent fewer euros, pounds or US dollars than you expected to spend on your last vacation trip? Exchange them for Canadian dollars, which you can then donate to TRF.

Share your lottery winnings—Won 649 or a 50/50 draw recently? Share your good fortune with TRF by donating 10 percent of what you won. (Sorry,  but TRF won’t cover your losses.)

Environmentally friendly shopping—Part of being environmentally friendly is using reusable shopping bags when grocery shopping, but sometimes we forget. Every time you say yes to plastic bags, drop a quarter per bag into your TRF bank. 

Bring your own mug—Most coffee shops offer a discount (10 to 25 cents) when you bring a refillable mug. Donate what you save to TRF. You will be helping the Foundation do its work, while also reducing the number of takeaway cups destined for the landfill.

TRF yard sale—Share the proceeds of your next garage or yard sale with TRF. Your “customers” may buy more if you tell them that you will be donating money to support TRF’s six areas of focus: disease prevention and treatment, water and sanitation, maternal and child health, basic education and literacy, economic and community development, and peace and conflict prevention/resolution.

That’s our list. What about yours? How else can Rotarians decide what to donate? What other fun ways can you suggest to determine how much you will donate to TRF? Leave your suggestions in the comment section below.