Start a GOL Program

How do I solicit for memberships, support, and publicity?

The ideal Gift of Life Committee is populated by Rotarians who represent their respective clubs, and are designated as their Club's Gift of Life chairperson. Most Districts also include as members the DG, DGE, DGN and PDGs, mostly because they wish to participate, certainly because they deserve the courtesy, and as a practical matter because it facilitates the Program's acceptance throughout the District.

Your by-laws will stipulate the composition of your trustees and the voting responsibilities. However, the committee should be open to anyone who is dedicated to the Gift of Life mission. The interactive discussions generate enthusiasm, and ideas flow easily. This is how we save lives.

Because Gift of Life is a District-sanctioned program, each club event becomes an opportunity to promote Gift of Life, as well as the individual club's own philanthropic projects. This happens often, because there is rarely a conflict of interest when comparing most other projects to Gift of Life. Of course, this is at each Club's discretion.

Each child that comes into your District for an operation or to be hosted provides an opportunity for coverage by the local media. This is often picked up by the local cable-TV operator, to run in the free community-time hours. These small-time starts sometimes are picked up by the larger media outlets, and some make it to the international airwaves.

How is a Chapter established?

To maximize the fundraising and support we recommend that a new program be established at the District level, and that the District's sanction be evidenced in the minutes of the District leadership meeting.

The District would formalize the action with a motion, discussion, and passage of the motion.

Involving Others

The initial approach is best made through a pediatric cardiologist or surgeon. Our experiences have shown that these health care professionals are in the "child business" and love their work. They"re usually willing to work with you on a pro bono basis. Offer a one-time payment of US $5,000.00-6,000.00 per child to the hospital.

Most pediatric heart centers perform pro bono outreach. Offering to house the child and parent, provide their airfare, obtain visas, provide interpreters, and generally “act as their family” for the patient's stay is very attractive to hospitals. This assistance lets the doctors do their job, which is to take care of the patient.

We suggest you make each child a high-profile media event in your community. Since hospitals are businesses, associating their program with Rotary-based outreach, such as Gift of Life, is an endorsement of their skills. Operating on a needy child demonstrates that they care.

The hospital should know that the mission of Gift of Life is to promote world peace by providing medical services to needy children worldwide. When the children and their parents go home, they become our best ambassadors of peace.

What are the legal transactions that are required?

1. The first action is to file for incorporation in your state, and then for IRS approval of your 501c3 status; you need only enough members to allow that to be done.

2. Simultaneously, the by-laws need to be prepared by the Founding Committee, and approved by the District Leadership. Gift of Life International can provide template charters and/or by-laws for you to modify to suit your District's needs and preferences, so you will not have to reinvent these documents. You can simply modify the templates to suit your own District's needs and preferences.

3. A business checking account needs to be established early, even before your chapter is approved by the IRS as a 501c3. Signatories typically are the committee chair, treasurer and an appropriate third party. Keep in mind that any contributions are not tax deductible until you receive your IRS 501c3 status.

But you do not have to wait for that approval to start soliciting donations. When you receive donations, Gift of Life International can accept the checks payable to "Gift of Life" for deposit into its 501c3 account, and recorded in your District's name, on a restricted-funds line item called "GOL RD9999". At your request, we can issue checks to whomever you designate.

4. When you receive IRS approval of your c3 status, International will clear its line item by issuing a check to your District account for the balance. There is no cost to your program for this accommodation.

We would be happy to discuss bookkeeping considerations with your accountant, treasurer, club representative, or whomever you designate, at their convenience.

Who should begin a Gift of Life Chapter?

A Founding Committee is a group of people who should ideally represent several clubs that are interested in forming a new Gift of Life Program. Having an attorney, an accountant and a financial advisor on board or available during early discussions helps to assure that legal, record-keeping, and money-handling requirements are properly designed for the long term.