Engaging members during a pandemic

By Felix Heintz, Founder and Chair of the Rotarian Metalhead Fellowship, and member of the Rotary E-Club Bavaria International, Germany

The Rotarian Metalhead Fellowship had tons of plans for 2020: We wanted to attend the Rotaract Germany Conference as well as the Rotary International Convention to promote the loudest Fellowship within Rotary. Two major Metal festivals in Germany also wanted to collaborate with us, and we planned on promoting Rotary projects at those festivals. Due to the lockdown, all of the planned events were cancelled so we had to come up with alternative ideas to promote ourselves.

The Wacken Foundation is a non-profit organization that dedicates itself to support hard rock and heavy metal music. Every artist and every band from the heavy metal scene all around the world can receive support from the Wacken Foundation. For a lot of our members, going to metal concerts or metal festivals is a huge part of their DNA. With these events not happening, the Fellowship decided to continue to support the metal music industry through the Wacken Foundation.

We also had the impression that the lockdown helped to propagate the word of mouth about the existence of the Rotarian Metalhead Fellowship, as more members started to talk about Fellowship activities to their Metalhead friends. This enabled us to actually grow our membership base even throughout the lockdown. This was especially reflected in new members who have never been involved in the Family of Rotary.

We also continued to engage our members and grew our member through other creative initiatives:

  • While everyone was and still is staying at home, the public relations team of Rotaract Germany came up with the brilliant idea to start a social media campaign, “Smile at Home Challenge,” and asked Rotary members to share funny photos or videos, so people have a reason to laugh. The Rotarian Metalhead Fellowship was challenged to participate and created a short video of some Fellowship members meeting on Zoom, drinking beer and listening to metal music while head banging. So far, the video has received the most likes and shares in the “Smile at Home Challenge.” Rotary members who didn’t know we existed decided to join the Fellowship after seeing the video.
  • We started a fundraiser for our partner, the Wacken Foundation, and came up with the idea to produce face masks with the Rotarian Metalhead Fellowship logo and sell them to our members. Once the members received their facemask, we kindly asked them to take a photo wearing the mask to share on social media. Many Rotary members that were not Fellowship members saw them, loved our idea, and asked us if they could also purchase a mask. So far, we were able to make a surplus of 1.500 EUR (USD $1,635) while also promoting the Fellowship.
  • Together with my wife, I am the co-founder of the Rotary E‑Club Bavaria International in District 1841. The club was founded in 2014 as a hybrid E-Club and meets online as well as in-person while members from around the world can join any of our meetings. So, meeting virtually is not new to us.

I was asked to host a Zoom meeting for Rotary members all over the world. Even Rotary International President Mark Maloney attended and spoke to over 450 members. During the meeting, I shared how to host online fundraisers or virtual company tours to demonstrate the possibilities that technology has to offer. At the end, I asked all participants to actively clap their hands and do the “we are this close” finger during the last clap while the song We Will Rock You was playing in the background.

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One thought on “Engaging members during a pandemic

  1. absolutely brilliant and totally ENGAGING! There have to be a gazillion similar opportunities to perform community service for our communities …….and what a magic magnet for attracting new and younger members with brilliant and creative minds!!!

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