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Service Projects

Developing effective Projects

From planning a project to acquiring the resources you need, implementing the project and promoting it, and then evaluating its results, this step-by-step approach will help you navigate the entire process. It includes the elements to make your project successful whether it's local or international and whether it's funded by a club, a grant from The Rotary Foundation, or outside sources.

Learn how Rotary's areas of focus address some of the world's most critical needs, and think about how your project can engage people in meaningful service to create positive, lasting change.

Planning & organizing

Well-planned projects are more likely to have positive and sustainable results. Every community has its own strengths and concerns, so the best approach is to work closely with people from the various groups that have a stake in the outcome. Try to maintain effective and transparent communication with all involved.

Step 1: Use your district’s local expertise

Many districts have a group of local experts or mentors (a district resource network) who can use their technical knowledge and project-planning skills to help you. Think of the district resource network as a consulting firm. Rather than spending money on temporary consultants, you can get advice from fellow Rotary members who have been through the process and understand what’s needed.

For local projects as well as international ones, ask your district international service chair to connect you with experts early in the process for guidance about planning your project or preparing a global grant application. These people can help you:

  • Understand the Rotary grants system

  • Align your project with an area of focus

  • Conduct a community assessment

  • Develop a project that’s sustainable

  • Find possible project partners

  • Identify funding sources

  • Establish measurement and evaluation standards

  • Determine if you need to adapt your strategy

  • Decide how you’ll share what you learned


Through the district resource network, you’ll connect with local and international Rotary experts including members of Rotary Action Groups and The Rotary Foundation Cadre of Technical Advisers. Learn more about how these groups can help your club.

Step 2: Conduct a community assessment

Work with the local community to identify a need, decide with residents how to address it, and find out what resources are available to do so. Make sure that community members are actively involved in every step of the process, especially the assessment and project design. A Rotary Community Corps can help you build a relationship with people in the area who have a stake in the outcome. If you’re applying for a global grant, include the results of your community assessment in your application.

Step 3: Set project goals

The goals you set for your project should be guided by the community's objectives and by the immediate results and short-term effects that you're seeking. Start by asking yourself what is the positive, lasting change that you and your community partners hope will be the ultimate impact of your work. Then determine what activities will lead to that result.

Decide how you’ll gather data before the project starts and collect information throughout the project so you can measure your progress and know if you’re meeting your goals. Monitoring and evaluation plans are required for global grants, but we encourage you to have them for all projects. If you plan to apply for a global grant, consult the monitoring and evaluation supplement for suggested project measures and sample monitoring plans.

Step 4: Work with partners

Your partners can contribute expertise and resources that improve the project, expand your reach, and increase your impact. Consider working with fellow Rotary and Rotaract members through club collaborations, as well as with Rotary Action Groups, Rotary Community Corps, or Intercountry Committees. You can also collaborate with Interact clubs, Rotary Peace Fellows, and Rotary’s strategic, service, and project partners.

Step 5: Create a project plan and budget

Developing a comprehensive project plan and budget will help you manage your resources, be ready for problems, and evaluate your project’s success. As you plan the budget, seek competitive prices for goods and services and set aside funding for unexpected expenses or cost increases. Get community members and other people who will benefit from the project involved in order to make the project sustainable. Make sure you and they understand the ongoing costs to operate or maintain the project and have the funding arranged.

Remember to include the costs of data collection, analysis, and communication in your budget, because these things allow you to measure the positive change from your project and share with others what you accomplished and what you learned. Review your implementation plans and timeline with stakeholders regularly and make adjustments as necessary. Visit Rotary’s Learning Center to find out how to join a club service projects committee or grants committee to oversee the project or global grant.

Acquiring resources

Use the guidance offered by Rotary experts through your district resource network and our partners, as well as Foundation grants and other kinds of funding, to acquire financial support and other resources for your project.

Step 1: Publicize your project plan

When you’re ready to share your project plans and goals, post your project on Rotary Showcase to raise awareness within Rotary, tell people about your club’s service, and find partners and funding. You can also publicize your project using social media, club newsletters, club websites, and other channels. 

Step 2: Participate in project fairs

Attend a project fair virtually or in person to find club or district partners to work with you on your project or to find international projects that your club can support. Project fairs give you the chance to meet host clubs, learn about their community’s priorities, and find a project to get involved with. Any club representative or Rotary member who wants to support an international service project can attend a project fair, and districts can use district designated funds to support travel to and participation in project fairs to help clubs find project partners.

Step 3: Secure funding through Rotary

The Rotary Foundation supports projects across all our areas of focus. We offer clubs and districts several kinds of funding opportunities:

  • District grants fund small-scale, short-term activities that address community needs.

  • Global grants support large international service activities with sustainable, measurable outcomes.

  • Disaster response grants support communities that have been affected by a natural disaster.

  • Programs of Scale awards support longer-term, high-impact programs that are led by Rotary members and have already demonstrated their success on a smaller scale.


Learn more about Rotary grants, including what kinds of projects are eligible and how to apply. Work with your district Rotary Foundation committee to discover what funding may be available through your district.

Step 4: Secure funding outside of Rotary

Funding for your project can come from many sources, including:

  • Special events such as a walkathon

  • Online crowdsourcing platforms

  • Individual donors

  • Corporations or local businesses

  • Other foundations

  • Nonprofit or nongovernmental organizations

  • Government agencies

  • Other clubs and districts

Implementing

As you carry out the project, be sure to keep people informed about its progress, work to raise awareness of it, and stay in contact with the experts who helped you develop your plan.

Step 1: Communicate and seek feedback

Keep volunteers, community members, partners, funding organizations, and anyone else who has a stake in the project up to date. Ask people from all of those groups for feedback on how to improve the project implementation while remaining focused on your overall goal. Clear communication is an important part of carrying out a project successfully.

Step 2: Raise awareness about your work

Use social media, messaging platforms, and your club website to let people who aren’t involved in the project know about it and to find more volunteers, spur community support, and bring people to your fundraisers.

Step 3: Ask questions along the way

Seek guidance from members of the district resource network about your implementation strategy or any unexpected issues you’ve encountered. Ask the experts your questions and share your experiences with them.

Evaluating & promoting

Your project isn’t really complete until you’ve evaluated its outcomes, measured its successes, and reflected on its challenges. This can be useful to you and your club for future projects and can help people who are trying to design and implement similar projects.

Step 1: Measure your results

Using the data that you gathered throughout your project, measure the change that you’ve had on your community. Determine if you reached the goals that you set. If not, think about what you could do differently in the future. Sometimes we need to adapt and change our strategy in order to have a bigger impact. As people of action, we stay committed to making positive, lasting change.

Step 2: Promote your project and share what you learned

The better the data that you collected, the better able you’ll be to tell your story of service and positive change. Share how you overcame any challenges you faced, what lessons you learned, and tips for how other people can best approach similar projects.

A good way to celebrate your success and inspire others is by using Rotary Showcase. Be sure to use photos and share the page on social media. Find more ways to promote your club’s project.

Step 3: Submit reports

Remember to share a final report with your partners, supporters, and others who have been involved in the project. If you received Rotary global grant funding, submit progress reports every 12 months and a final report within two months of the project being completed.

More information

  • Sign up for newsletters, including Rotary Service and Giving & Grants.

  • Read about working with local experts early in the planning process and how that can improve the quality of your projects and global grants.

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