W hen Rotarian Jeffrey Ott wanted to share his club's mushroom festival with a wider audience, the professional photographer teamed up with another club member to compose a slideshow and upload it to YouTube, complete with original music.
"It provides a quick and easy format for clubs without requiring a lot of expertise or equipment," says Ott, a member of the Rotary Club of Hawks Prairie-Lacey, Washington, USA, of the video-sharing site. "We are trying to use it more. People tend to go to YouTube first."
Video is an indispensable tool as Rotary seeks to increase its membership among younger generations. Fortunately, it has never been easier to add Rotary-related video to your club's Web site.
Rotary International launched its own YouTube channel a year ago with two goals in mind: offering Rotary video content to viewers who may not be familiar with the organization, and providing free video content to Rotary club webmasters.
The YouTube channel supplements video on Rotary's Web site by providing Rotarians the means of embedding video onto their own sites. (See Did You Know? to learn how.) Rotarians, Rotaractors, and Interactors are encouraged to select from a growing collection of pieces from RVM: The Rotarian Video Magazine and from Humanity in Motion public service announcements. Plans include highlighting user-generated video.
The channel has also taken Rotary's message to new audiences by allowing users to post the videos on non-Rotary sites. The Peace and Collaborative Development Network site features an embedded video of the Peace and Conflict Studies program at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand.
RI's YouTube Channel has more than 450 subscribers and has received over 30,000 views. Comments have been overwhelmingly positive.
"We have had a positive feedback from our club members to the inclusion of the videos on our club Web site," says Andrew Shaw, of the Rotary Club of Northampton West, England. "By having RI videos readily and easily available on our club Web site, club members find it keeps them up to date and more aware about RI activities throughout the world and enables them to talk with more confidence about how RI supports communities and individuals both nationally and internationally"
"This is a great idea," notes Howard Pell, a member of the Rotary Club of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, who has been making videos of his club’s activities for a couple of years and posting them to YouTube.