Posted by Matthew McKee on Oct 15, 2020
The Rotary Club of Neponset Valley Sunrise is small but enthusiastic. For the last 18 years, we put together a Duck Race in June as our major fundraising event. This year, however, the coronavirus forced us to evolve in new ways.

Traditionally, our Duck Race was an in-person summer party, complete with bouncy houses, clowns, pony rides, and burgers. We sold adoptions at a couple of grocery stores for three weekends before the event. And, day-of adoptions always gave us a last-minute boost. The results generated a respectable amount of money for us to distribute to our various charities and non-profit organizations over the rest of the year. Along with our sponsors donations, it was a good system.
This year, we started out by postponing the event. And, then a further postponement. And, then another. The club’s conclusion was that, even if we were allowed to have an event that had more than 25 people, none of us would really want to be there. And, certainly, much of our audience would not want to attend, either. We, as Rotarians, and as human beings, are driven to help wherever we can. And, people are hurting now, more than I can ever remember. It was time to pivot and evolve. It was time to go digital with our 2020 Duck Race, which will take place on October 24 at 2:00 p.m.. We did our homework. One of our members reached out to to see how they successfully pivoted to a live-streaming event this year. After a few conversations, we decided that we should give it a go ourselves.
It starts with an idea, which becomes a concept, and then a plan. Only then can it become reality. We put our event under a microscope, to try to identify what worked in the past and why - what got people interested and what could get them to participate. As much as the idea of winning the Duck Race was a tempting offer, and certainly, having a large party with free food was a great draw, what really stood out to us was that people wanted to know that they were helping their community.
The number of people who donated at our grocery-store locations and who shared stories of how Rotary helped them was astounding. We built a website, started a marketing campaign that included past participants as well as social media, and began posting and sharing. The response to our efforts has been inspiring and jaw-dropping. We have touched audiences that, in the past, were beyond our reach. With only a few weeks left to go, we have surpassed our goals and have already started to think about how we can do this even more effectively next year, when we can bring back the in-person party!
For more information, contact Matthew McKee of the Rotary Club of Neponset Valley Sunrise at