You are the Future
Rotary leaders such as International president Ron Burton now urge us to diversify our membership in Rotary International. This was a key message at the 2014 Rotary International Convention in Sydney. New young members are needed as much as experienced ones. The organisation will only survive if membership numbers are increased.
Rotary is changing lives of the disadvantaged in developing countries. We are also empowering local citizens to improve their lives in areas such as practical work skills and wellbeing. Rotary leaders reminded us that more can be achieved through strength in numbers. This requires strategic growth of membership.
I personally believe we need to communicate the benefits which members gain, as much as what the external community gains. Sydney City Rotaract provided a social environment in exciting events such as charitable movies and trivia nights. But my active participation happened when there were opportunities to learn.
The fourth object of Rotary includes, “dignifying of each Rotarian’s occupation as an opportunity to serve society.” We need to see not just the skills Rotaractors already have, but potential skills they can possess in the future. Give learning opportunities to your members. They can then use those skills to grow your projects.
I felt involved in Rotaract, and enthusiastic about my membership, when practical participation was possible. My club’s Professional Development Director and incoming President, Rebecca Weragoda, allowed me to get creative with communications. I started writing blog posts, editing pictures on Instagram, and doing anything to communicate with publics. She empowered a mere member to contribute something practical to a project. Delegation is not just a leadership skill; it is the life of a club. Delegation benefits directors by easing their workloads. Delegation also benefits members’ engagement. Involved participation is vital if we are going to grow Rotary and Rotaract membership.
These skills are transferable in the workplace. The purpose of Rotary and Rotaract is ‘service above self.’ Service towards members is a strong marketing tool for membership growth. The general public needs to know about the practical skills they will learn at Rotaract. Yes, we will help external communities. Members will also help themselves, if you teach them how. This message needs to be communicated when we spread the word about the Rotary brand.