How Do We Make RotaryUS Sustainable?

We are faced with a daunting task if we wish to ensure that the Rotary Movement, the ideals that are at the core of what Rotarians believe in, will be not only be sustainable, but more widely valued then is the current case. We know our product is out-of-step with our culture simply because so many people try it and discard it. We all know what that would mean in our businesses.

From a RI publication, “Global Outlook, A Rotarian’s Guide To Sustainability” we learn two basic underpinnings of this theory. Meeting the needs of the present without compromising future generations’ ability to meet their own needs is the “classic” definition of sustainable. Environmental, economic, cultural, and social factors are the four broad areas of interest that are considered when one judges the sustainability of something. Using similar guidance from Rotary’s various writings on sustainability, can we begin to find a path to what we need to do in RotaryUS to reverse a decline in Membership that has been in effect since 1994? Continue reading “How Do We Make RotaryUS Sustainable?”

The Rotary That Used To Be

Caring Rotarians who are seeking to plug the membership hole try to be inventive with their solutions, looking at the world we have today and coming up with ways to make the Rotary they know fit into the culture they see. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to also look to our past, to see how Rotarians then thought of Rotary, and try adapting that conception of a much larger Movement to today’s world.

I came into possession of a hardcovered book first published in 1948: Service Is My Business. The author listed is Rotary International and no other names are evident, though RIP Percy Hodgson and James Watchurst are mentioned as the inspirations on the title page. The volume I have states it is from the 25th printing in 1981. Through its 13th printing in 1967, 270,000 copies were printed. Google Books has a copy available online. Amazon shows a soft covered version as well. Continue reading “The Rotary That Used To Be”

Rotary and World Culture

Understanding why something has stopped working is critical in finding the best way to getting it to work again. While official RI is promulgating changing or reinventing their Clubs with the hope that we’ll come across a magic sauce to turn the tide, it does so without an intellectual foundation. There are reasons for what we experience, and the starting point for solutions is in the numbers and trends here. We need to look and think deeper.

I have recently been interested in Rotary’s worldwide membership numbers to see what they tell us. While we may think that Rotary is one worldwide Movement, the independence of Clubs, the relative autonomy of Districts and Zones, and the diverse cultural environments, make following the Object of Rotary very different around the globe at any given time.

While the number of Rotary Members has been constant at 1.2 million for many years, as we learned from Director John Smarge’s groundbreaking speech in 2012, we churn (gain and lose) about 150,000 people a year. An analysis of member counts by country covering the 18 months between 1/2016 and 6/2013 reveals that most of the losses are from the westernized world in Rotary, while the offsetting gains are generally from India, Asia, and Africa. Continue reading “Rotary and World Culture”

A Rotary International Service Project Model Suggestion

To my mind, this method of buying my coffee is right up a Rotarian’s alley. This is helping individuals in other less developed communities in a direct and meaningful fashion, in a totally sustainable manner that RI prizes so highly. With a bonus benefit to me.

This is not a Rotary story per se, but may be something that coffee drinking Rotarians might appreciate. This is a model of something that could have/should have been started by one of ours. And it could serve as an example for great Rotary projects around the world for all sorts of locally produced products. Continue reading “A Rotary International Service Project Model Suggestion”

The Soul of Rotary

The point is that service work, and the benefits that flowed from it, were secondary to the goal of uplifting the Member to one who lived life with this servant’s attitude fully developed. I think the transformation of people with a better approach to living is the soul of Rotary.

A few years ago, I wrote a short piece, A Rotarian’s Examination of Conscience, for inclusion in My Club’s “New Member’s ABCs” (which are intended to provide new Members with a reference for some of what they will see and hear within our Club and the larger Rotary World). I was making the point that being a Member of a Rotary Club is not the same as being a committed Rotarian. As with many other institutions based upon ideals, ethics, and high standards, it is incumbent upon all Rotarians to periodically examine one’s conscience to determine if they are properly fulfilling their duties to Rotary.  As one answered the questions I posed, I hoped the Member would realize that there are many different and deeper aspects to Rotary. I mention it here to provide a jumping off point to answer the question implicit in this post’s title: What is the soul of Rotary? Continue reading “The Soul of Rotary”

Yet Another Example of How Members Don’t Matter To RI

As much as my standards for Customer Service are the basics for me in the retail world, they are bare minimums that should be greatly exceeded in the Membership world of Rotary.

You may have noticed on My Rotary’s New and Features section a headline “Rotary customer service earns certification” dated May, 9. Sounds good, no? If you read the short story, you’ll learn that the “Center of Excellence” certification is from BenchmarkPortal, whose “mission is to provide contact center managers with the tools and information that will help them optimize their efficiency and effectiveness in their customer communications.” This is Customer Service speak for such metrics as hold times, call and email turnaround, and contact satisfaction with these transaction characteristics. None of this indicates whether the Customer (i.e. Member) was satisfied with the results sought by the reason for contact. This does not mean that the Service Center actually HELPED anyone with the problem in a way that pleased them. Continue reading “Yet Another Example of How Members Don’t Matter To RI”