COVID-19 Message from the District 53 Senior Team
Updated June 24, 2020
As a global community, we are facing unprecedented challenges as the result of the ongoing Coronavirus COVID19 pandemic. Per government and Toastmasters International guidance, all in-person Toastmasters meetings have been suspended until further notice. Key District, Division and Area meetings, as well as most club meetings, have transitioned to an online format for the duration of this emergency.
In accordance with research and government guidance, the District leadership team urges all Toastmasters clubs to consider themselves non-essential programs, and to delay re-opening in-person until the risk to member health is negligible according to Toastmasters International and local authorities. We do not anticipate holding in-person District events before September 1, 2020.
We encourage you to continue practicing flexibility and adaptability in your planning and club management during this time.
District 53 2020 Conference Update
The 2020 conference was cancelled and all tickets have been refunded. If you have not received your refund, please contact RegMgr@toastmasters53.org. Our next conference will be in May 2021.
We urge clubs to begin opening communications channels with their former meeting places: since many businesses and public locations may change their policies and procedures for outside groups. Clubs should ascertain whether or not they may resume club activities at their locations after
re-opening, or find a new meeting location.
The Board of Directors has made the exception that all clubs in all Districts can meet entirely online as needed until further notice. Read the March 12th statement (PDF) from Toastmasters International. We invite all District 53 clubs to begin meeting online, and to use the Internet to “close the social distance” with fellowship and community interaction in challenging times.
Publicizing Online Meetings
Looking to grow your attendance or membership and capitalize with online access? There are great ways to do that safely and securely.
Security is Important
- 1Ask for an email or other verifiable information from potential guests.
- 2Get a phone number from guests, and call them ahead of the meeting.
- 3Don’t reveal your Zoom link, webex link, or GoToMeeting link ahead of time; instead, deliver it to members and guests privately. Advertise the email or Facebook link to make contact with your club, and check that resource regularly. Call and talk to would-be guests before inviting them to the online meeting.
- 4Use social media accounts (Meetup, Facebook, Twitter, and more) to funnel potential guests toward a group of clear points of contact: a single email, facebook name, and a single phone number. Don’t make one person responsible for all methods, but designate one person as the manager of each type of contact.
"Online" Club Designation
If you are online, you can let District and Toastmasters website visitors know. Indicate that in your Club Demographic section of Club Central by clicking the "Yes" button for Online Attendance. This will let members and potential guests know that individuals can participate in the club online.
The District has a Meetup account where we promote the open clubs. If your club is meeting online and open to guests, please EMAIL us to let us know so that we can properly promote your club.
Online Meeting Resources
Toastmasters International Online Meetings Page
Five page guide to help role-holders conduct Zoom online meetings
Zoom Video Conferencing
WebEx Video Conferencing
Updated Information from Toastmasters International
Area, Division, or District events may not be conducted in person, on or prior to June 1, 2020. As an alternative, we encourage Areas, Divisions, and Districts to host events online to help clubs and members through this difficult time. We expect updated guidance from the Toastmasters International Board of Directors prior to June 1, 2020.
District Marketing Campaign
The District contracted with a marketing firm, Momentum Advertising, for a marketing campaign directed at drawing guests to our clubs’ physical locations. Due to the disruption of club meeting locations, we have paused the planned marketing campaign until further notice; our plans are to resume this campaign in the 2020-2021 program year.
Toastmasters International Coronavirus Update
Toastmasters International is monitoring the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on clubs and members around the world, as well as the effect on current and upcoming District activities. Refer to the Toastmasters COVID-19 webpage for the latest messages and updates from International Headquarters. Please watch this accompanying video from International President Deepak Menon regarding the coronavirus.