Vinay Kulkarni, past governor of District 3131 (India) and
chair of the water and sanitation MGI committee, specializes
in working with corporations that are interested in giving to
the Foundation to fulfill India’s corporate social responsibility
requirements. The law requires corporations with revenues over
a certain amount to give 2 percent of their profits to charity.
Kulkarni says gifts advisers in his district have created a slideshow
that explains the Foundation’s work in the six areas of focus and
highlights its accountability and its four-star rating from Charity
Navigator. They then ask questions to determine which areas
interest the corporation.
One club worked with the Tata Group, a global enterprise
headquartered in India, to support projects in basic education and
literacy and made sure executives had an opportunity to witness
“They are really happy with the tremendous impact on the
community,” Kulkarni says. “And they want to come back and
do even more.”
Keep it general
When your district plans its next Major Donor event, consider
inviting people who are interested in all of the areas of focus
and discussing them all. This will help donors understand their
options. Brenda Cressey says experience has shown that many
districts have trouble finding continuing or new donors who
have just one interest.
“You might have an individual who is really interested in peace
but is torn because they want to support a water project,” says
Cressey. “When you’re just talking to them about something
specific, their interest may be somewhere else.”
“We need to understand each of the areas of focus in a way that
we can walk with that donor hand in hand from beginning to
end,” Cressey adds. “We can have so-called experts if the donor
needs or requests more information. But in most cases, they
don’t need that.”
Geeta K. Manek, a past district governor in Nairobi, Kenya, and
chair of the health MGI committee, also says she doesn’t push her
“Truly, in Africa, all six areas of focus are so important, you
cannot prioritize one over the other,” she says.
Manek finds it helpful to take potential donors to see Rotary
projects that are already making a difference. On one trip to
northern Kenya in the middle of a drought, she was surrounded
by little children who were so thin that their bones showed.
At the end of the day, she looked in her purse for candy to hand
out and found an empty water bottle. She was surprised when
the children wrestled over it, until one boy explained, “When it
rains, this bottle will save my life.”
“Examples like this are what I show my friends and say, ‘We live
and thrive as businesses, but these are the people suffering.
And it doesn’t take much to help,’” she says.
A global grant paid for medical
equipment and mobile units
that deliver dental care to
patients in hard-to-reach places
in Nuevo León, Mexico.
Women and children in
Guatemala collect water from
the community well. A Rotary
Foundation global grant enabled
community members to dig a
trench 9 km ( 5 1/2 miles) long to
install a gravity-fed water system
that delivers clean water to