In looking for a new way to ‘go to the people’ and inform them about Rotary in their area Rotarians in Dargaville and Whangarei, NZ noted there were vacant shops in their local shopping areas that of they could create a display in would place them firmly amongst the crowds out shopping.  So the Rotary ‘Pop-Up Shop’ was born.

The idea was first trialled in Dargaville using store provided by a member and with the goal of informing their community who their local Rotarians are, talk about Rotary and promote the clubs activities.  To this end a display was created and ‘manned’ by local Rotarians between 10am and 3pm each day for a week.
The display of Rotary posters and projects, in a shop provided by then President Brian Burnett. The goal was to show Dargaville; who their local Rotarians are, talk about Rotary and promote the clubs activities. 
Particular emphasis was the global Polio Plus campaign, Rotary Dargaville’s ongoing response to natural disaster by providing funding for Emergency Response Kits (ERKS) and their long-term strong undertaking of supporting local youth which in particular attracted a lot of attention and discussion with visitors.  Engagement with visitors was bolstered by offering a cuppa and a daily draw for dinner at local restaurants. 
The Dargaville Rotary experience was so successful that in October the four clubs in Whangarei of Whangarei City, Whangarei South, Whangarei Sunrise and Whangarei combined to put the idea into practice themselves with a set of clearly defined objectives:
  • To raise profile of Rotary in Whangarei Community
  • To provide information on Rotary Programmes – local, national and international.
  • To inform community of the four clubs in Whangarei
  • To profile each Rotary club
  • To provide opportunities for Rotarians and public to have informal dialogue re Rotary.
  • To provide opportunity for four Whangarei clubs to work together on membership programme.
  • To provide a data base of potential members by collecting email and or phone contacts of visitors to the shop. Data was collected by means of a free raffle of three restaurant vouchers donated by sponsoring restaurants.
  • To have an enjoyable social time with members from other clubs
The shop ran for a week with two Rotarians on duty for two hour stints from 9am to 5pm. The vacant shop was free, so only cost was tea and coffee which was available to visitors and was a huge success with 86 contacts made across the four clubs and follow-up of membership leads is continuing with the Rotary Club of Whangarei City reporting at least two strong prospective members.  The initiative has shown Rotary in an immensely positive light.  It has shown the community that the clubs in Whangarei are not individual entities