Planning International Projects

Checklist For Planning and Organising a Rotary International Visit or Project

May 2017 Update
Warning: If you are considering a Vanuatu project - read this warning here first.

Know where you are at all times in the planning stage – DK Mair, Rotary Hutt City



Defining the project

Consult your District International Services Committee and Stuart Batty at RNZWCS
Discuss your project idea and location with your District 9940 International Services Committee and Stuart Batty, Executive Director, RNZWCS Ltd
He has the contact details for every Rotary club worldwide. Ph./Fax 64 3 3599218,
Mb: 027 2695615,
Select a Rotary club to communicate with to start the process
Email or call this Rotary club.  Establish a rapport & build a relationship.  Ask them about current & past projects.  Ask for detailed reports so you can review
Host Rotary club
ASK - can they confirm their accounts are audited? Transparency in process must be the first step.  Check certificate of qualification?
Review data sent from Host Rotary club
Do an analysis of all data received to identify & define the critical needs. Remember it is better to pick one focus area to be successful with.
Approach aid agencies operating in that country
Establish a rapport & build a relationship.  Ask them about current & past projects.  Ask for detailed reports so you can review & analyse data & statistics.  Evaluate partnership options
Consider when you want the visit/project to start
Please remember that issues arise at changeover, so it is best NOT to push into a visit/project until October when the District Grants etc. have been paid and the new board members are all bedded in.
Considerations for the visit and/or project
Plan & schedule the entire trip
PR and Media in NZ and in the foreign country
Identify and contact partners – set up Meetings and visit successful projects
Plan meetings with Host Rotary club.  Attend their weekly meetings
Get buy-in for needs assessment (see below)
Review current data and its sources
Communicate with hosts and partners
Establish budget and project plan - area of focus
See and confirm audited accounts – Transparency
Determine who will be involved
Determine desired performance
Conduct a SWOT analysis of each potential project
Identify potential team roles and/or implementation team
Match Rotary strategic plan to community’s needs
Confirm budgets, prepare documents & applications to Rotary

Completing a Needs Assessment

Needs Assessment within a Performance Improvement Framework 
Identify needs as gaps between current and desired results.
Analyze needs and potential solutions.
Decide which course of action will best achieve desired results.
• analyze design
ACT • develop & implement
MONITOR • measure • learn
• improve
EVALUATE • measure • report
• use
Improving performance, as we use the term, is the move from achieving current results to accomplishing desired results. Thus, rather than asking people what they “need,” needs assessments more importantly define gaps in results and highlight opportunities to improve performance.
A useful needs assessment will accomplish the following:
  • Focus on results first, solutions second. 

  • Define needs as gaps in results. 

  • Align operational, tactical, and strategic performance.
  • Systematically analyze needs to inform decisions. 

  • Consider a broad array of possible activities. 

  • Compare activities against performance criteria.
  • Provide information that justifies the decision before it is made.
How Do You Determine the Scope of Your Needs Assessment?


We can break down decisions into three levels:
  • Strategic (typically involves goals, objectives, and strategic policies defining the relationship between organizations and the society they serve)
  • Tactical (includes the policies and procedures put in place to both support strategic decisions and guide operational decisions, thereby defining the goals and objectives of an organization or institution)
  • Operational (includes all sorts of short and long-term decisions that typically involve implementing projects or programs and carrying out tasks to produce results).
Plan & schedule meetings & project visits
Work out the time to effect & complete specific parts to your visit/project. Break it down into weekly slots and create small specific smart goals that will allow you to focus on the small steps to achieve the bigger goal.  Include pre deployment goals.
Add contingencies for freight/supplies not arriving on time, team members being sick, natural disasters, flight delays.  The list is endless.
Allow 1-2 days to problem solve any arising issues

Budgets, Fundraising and PR

Consider budget and scope of visit and/or project funding options
What Club funds can be used towards the project?
District Grant applications close 31 May; matched funding, local and international projects.
Note: Your club must qualify to receive a District grant by attending the District Assembly Grant workshop in the year your application is submitted.
Global Grants can be applied year-round; project budget must be min. of US$30,000 and partnered by at least one overseas Rotary club or district.
Fundraise because we do underestimate the cost
Get club members, other District clubs and or business associates to help with this.  Run a fundraising event that’s fun & get the media involved to promote Rotary positively.  Encourage fundraising for medical equipment, educational supplies, food & clothing so that these can be purchased in the country to boost their economy.
Promote trip with good PR
Include all members, local papers, social media and through Rotary newsletters & magazines

Travel, Insurance, Medical and Accommodation

Passports and Visas
Check passport expiry requirements and what visas will be required for the countries you will be visiting.
Contact airlines for best rates
Book flights early to ensure cheapest option. Some major airlines offer missionary fares, these have additional baggage & flexible change options
Rotary Insurance through RNZWCS
All Rotarian volunteers need to take out adequate Travel Insurance once they book their overseas fare. Travel policies generally exclude all cover arising out of work, either paid or as a volunteer. Arranging your insurance through RNZWCS is strongly recommended as the RNZWCS Ltd travel policy has that exclusion removed. Check out
Pre travel medical checks
If you’re visiting a developing country take your own medicines & first aid kits.  Your GP will help consider what vaccinations and medications are required. Many countries require an inoculation “yellow” card to be presented at the border (it is a must, particularly with African countries). Also check
Ask host Rotary club re: accommodation
Book safe accommodation based on your budget
Notify RNZWCS, MFAT & Safetravel
Once you have flights, passport, visas, accommodation & a schedule for your project notify these agencies. Register all travelling persons & contact telephone at