Rotary is a global network with over 1.2 million members who strive to make the world a better place.
With more than 35,000 clubs all over the world, Rotary connects people to promote peace, provide humanitarian aid, grow local economies, support education and fight disease. A huge overlap with what we strive to do!
That’s why Rotary and The Borgen Project are a great match. Speaking at Rotary club meetings is an ideal way to mobilize and educate others about global poverty and make valuable connections.
How to Reach Out
- Find a Rotary club near you. You can find the active clubs here.
- Find the club’s contact information. Most clubs have a website listed, so you can visit their site and send a message in the “Contact Us” tab or send an email to the email provided. If the club doesn’t have a website listed or you can’t find contact information, Google the club’s name and see if any articles or other sites list their contact information.
- Prepare your request. Tell the club that you are a volunteer with The Borgen Project and that you would like to connect and speak at one of their meetings about global poverty reduction and the organization. Make sure to underline the common goals of the two organizations, use a friendly tone of voice and add a link to the organization’s website so that they can get more information about the cause.
- Send your request or make a phone call.
- Follow up. Politely send the club a follow-up email or call them if you don’t hear back within 7 days. Be proactive and ask if they need more information.
How to Prepare
- Research topics you would like to speak about. Perhaps, there is a specific topic you are particularly passionate about or maybe you prefer to give a general overview of the most pressing poverty issues—either way is great to open your audience’s eyes and encourage them to get involved.
- Outline your talk. Ask how long the club has set aside for your speech. Most clubs will give you about 30 minutes. Generally, start your speech by giving an introduction and overview of what you’ll be talking about. Then, go more in-depth and discuss your main supporting points (three main points is a good rule of thumb). End your speech by briefly summarizing the most important arguments and conclude by encouraging the audience to take action.
- For example:
- First, tell your audience about yourself, your role at The Borgen Project and what we do as an organization.
- To prepare your three main points: See the Issues tab on the website.
- Finally, mention the legislation we’re currently supporting and teach the audience how to email Congress. Have them send an email from their phones!
- For example:
- Practice. Speaking in front of an audience can be a little daunting, but preparing yourself and practicing your talk is the best way to gain more confidence and reduce your jitters.
- Ask a friend or family member to be your test audience and to give you feedback.
- Watch other speeches to learn more and feel inspired, such as TED Talks or videos of Borgen Project leadership talking about the cause. What do you like about their way of presenting? What do you want to avoid?
- Think of possible questions that might come up and prepare an answer for them.
How to Give Your Speech
- Make your speech engaging and easy to follow.
- Ask the club if they have equipment for you to show a PowerPoint. If not, prepare other visuals such as a poster or handouts for members to follow along.
- You don’t need to memorize your speech but try to speak as freely as possible rather than being glued to a piece of paper or note cards. It’s a lot more convincing and more interesting to listen to.
- Remember to smile and gesture naturally.
- Humor can be helpful to make the speech more interesting as well, but don’t overdo it—remember, you’re talking about important issues.
- Interact with the audience. Allow them to ask questions, add a point of their own or an anecdote from their life to share at the end of your presentation.
Find more tips on how to make a great speech in this video:
Have fun connecting with Rotary members and enjoy your time on stage!
Additional Clubs to Present To
- Kiwanis International – “Kiwanis International is a global community of clubs, members and partners dedicated to improving the lives of children one community at a time.”
- Lions Clubs International – “Being a Lion is about leading by example, building relationships and improving the world through kindness.”