The Future of Rotary is Opportunity
Rotary Clubs have been very traditional and structured groups around the world. The future of Rotary is evolving into a more nimble and diverse network of Rotary Clubs. The changes in Rotary Clubs are happening now:
1. More diverse membership
2. Activities & meetings are held after work
3. A less expensive variety of activities
4. More Club work done on mobile apps & online
5. Smaller, more frequent, more casual fundraisers
6. As-available service instead of required attendance
7. Members attend the closest Club’s meetings
8. Avenues of Service & Areas of Focus will merge
Merging Ages, Backgrounds, and Passions
Rotary Clubs will host events that involve a wider range of ages, backgrounds, and passions. Individuals will participate in Rotary activities without the pressure to commit to long-term attendance. Sub-groups within Rotary will merge. For example, children of Rotary members and the Rotary’s Youth leaders attend a Rotary Club’s social outing.
Rotary Avenues of Service
- Club Service
- Vocational Service
- Community Service
- Youth Service
- International Service
Rotary Areas of Focus
- Promoting Peace
- Fighting Disease
- Providing Clean Water
- Saving Mothers & Children
- Supporting Education
- Growing Local Economies
The Merge is Already Happening
The future of Rotary is the combined work of global and local communities. It is already happening.
In Australia, the Australian Rotary and the Australian United Way partnered with the overseas Imagination Library project. The project targeted literacy by providing monthly books by mail to families with young children. The local Rotary Clubs helped find families through regional early childhood centres and by word of mouth. The Australian United Way provided the national distribution of books, fundraising, and administrative support. The Imagination Library in the US provided marketing.
Clubs are designing several events each year to include the whole family, such as art markets, and outdoor fundraisers. Where the events allow, families are welcome to bring family members or a guest to share in Rotary outings. Frequently a member of the community with a passion for a single event will become a key part of the event, even if he or she does not become a full-time member. This community giving ranges from the donation of facilities, entertainment or items for sale, to volunteering to organize part of the event.
Why Does the It Matter?
The future of Rotary matters because our cultures have changed since the Rotary was founded. Rotary can often do what my taxes cannot do. Rotary can reach people and projects that don’t get support or get money without the valuable human connection.The strength of a global organization is important. The types of people who want to give their time to the organization are important.
As an individual, giving service to Rotary projects gives me a sense of belonging. The ability to travel to most parts of the world and connect to the community through Rotary is important to me.
The World Changed (in a good way)
What Are the Risks of Change?
The risks of the spontaneous, as-available service in Rotary is a loss in the continuity and controls that were once exercised through required, regular attendance. The new, future of Rotary will need to make an effort to apply the Rotary 4-Way Test more often, to ensure that the small, frequent meetings and service don’t lose Rotary’s ethics. The test is:
- Is it the TRUTH?
- Is it FAIR to all concerned?
- Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
- Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
Preserving Rotary Traditions
The Rotary traditions will be preserved at special occasions. The traditions of raising money by collecting fines for fun penalties – like a new car or a birthday – will happen at a festive event. Singing Rotary songs together and exchanging Club pennants will happen at a big event, like an annual gathering where the majority of the members get together.
- Fines and Sergeant at Arms
- Badges, pins, and pennants
- Fewer committees and fewer reports
The Future of Rotary is for You
The new Rotary works in smaller, more interchangeable groups. The old format of weekly and monthly reports is being replaced by online discussions for each, small event. In the same respect, many of the activities that used to happen at recurring committee meetings have into faster, more efficient online chats. By adding online communications to Rotary service, members who work full-time, travel for work, are raising children, or juggling other commitments can continue to give service.
The new Rotary is for you if you are looking for a connection to any community you land in. The new Rotary is for you if you want to get involved, but “can’t be everywhere all the time.” The future of Rotary is people serving the community from wherever they are, in person or online.
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