“Happy Dollars” Program

“Happy Dollars” Program – e-Club Twist

Our Club initiated a fun program beginning with the first meeting in December 2013.  We call it our “Happy Dollars” program, and it is copied off the process pursued by some traditional clubs but specially adapted to the e-club format.

In traditional clubs someone, often the Sergeant at Arms, walks around the room at the beginning of the meeting soliciting “Happy Dollars.”  “Happy” members raise their hand, pass a dollar to the solicitor and tell the rest of the membership why they are happy.  In traditional clubs I have heard reasons for “happiness” range from the serious (“my husband has just been declared cancer free”) to the hilarious (“I gave a ‘happy dollar’ last week because the grandchildren were coming to visit.  I’m giving another this week because they are finally going away!”).  In all cases, the “Happy Dollars” let Rotarians see more into the lives of their fellow members, and this helps build camaraderie within their club.  The money so collected goes into each club’s community account.

E-clubs are quite different!  Obviously, we cannot have someone walk around a meeting room soliciting the money.  We have no meeting room!  Also, consideration has to be given to the processing of the small donation amounts that often result from each week’s solicitation.  Putting the collected funds into our Community Account would be more trouble than it is worth.  And the idea of building camaraderie and strengthening friendships is critical within an e-club, where many members are miles, even continents, away from each other.

The solution to our problem was to resort to Rotary’s preeminent cause … ending the ravages of polio once and for all.  “Happy Dollar” participants pledge a donation to the PolioPlus Campaign.  This preserves the traditional club benefit of enhancing camaraderie in the Club, but it also accomplishes other objectives:

  • Money is donated to TRF’s Polio Plus campaign … our Number One charity.
  • The Gates Foundation matches each dollar Rotary spends to eradicate polio with $2 of their own.   Thus, the benefit can be ratcheted up … $1 becomes $3, $2 becomes $6, etc.
  • Members can go to the RI website to donate directly … a website they otherwise might not often access.  While browsing through www.rotary.org/myrotary, they can see a little bit of the “bigger” picture of Rotary … what we are doing as Rotarians throughout the world and why Rotary matters.


Until October 2014 people had to speak up to volunteer their “Happy Dollars.”  At this time we initiated a change whereby the “Happy Dollar” salesperson reads down the list of all attendees asking each to give a happy thought and pledge a donation to PolioPlus.  There was a little concern that this might seem to be a coercive “hard sell” and consequently be distasteful.  So a survey of attendees was conducted just after the first meeting in which the new “ask all” procedure was tried.  Results show that 70% liked the new way, so the change has been made permanent.  Reasons for the “new” way are that it gets everyone involved in a good cause, and we learn a little bit about each other … all of us.

Since the program was implemented, donation to PolioPlus has increased markedly as shown in the following table.

Our Club currently (February 2015) has 34 Active members.  Over half have been “happy,” shared their joyful events with other Members, and pledged a donation to PolioPlus.  What could be better!

For more information please contact our e-Club liaison:  foundation@rotaryeclubnextgen.org