Posted by Elaine Thompson on Jul 02, 2018

DG Elaine’s Monthy Message - July 2018

By Elaine Thompson, Governor District 5550
Am I serious? You bet!
A new Rotary year, a new District Governor – What’s different this time?  
All the incoming Rotary Club presidents got an email from the new DG to do whaat???  “Do some homework before she shows up for her club visit?”
Something about describing your club’s “culture” and then asking for input from the clubs on the new District 5550 strategic plan for 2018-2021.
Really? Am I serious? Yes, very much so!
Shocking News:
#1. The Public has little clue about Rotary
I have repeatedly been shocked at the lack of knowledge that the general public has about what Rotary is and what Rotary does.
Questions like “Do you have a secret handshake?” suggest that we do so much of our good works so discretely (some would say “secretly”) that even some of the recipients of these good works aren’t sure who those people with jackets or vests with “Rotarian at Work” were. When told that they were members of a Rotary Club, one response was “Oh! I’ve heard of Rotary Clubs!” This member of the public never considered that a member of a Rotary Club might be called a Rotarian. Go figure! We HAVE TO do a much better job of public relations!
Are you enthusiastic about your Rotary Club – about what it does and what it means to you personally? (Hint: that would be part of your club’s culture.) Have you ever shared that enthusiasm with some of your friends, family members and neighbours? No? Why haven’t we? Rotary is NOT a secret society! Let’s share it with the world.
#2. Two million does equal zero
The number of Rotarians around the world has remained at 1.2 million members for the past 15 years. During that period, the number of clubs has grown by 15%, AND at the same time, Rotary has inducted more than 2.2 million new members! So getting new members don’t seem to be a problem, but retention IS. John Smarge, who is the 2018-19 aide to President Barry Rassin, spoke at International Assembly and said that clubs have to start working on retention BEFORE members come into our club. That’s because every club has its own culture and that needs conveying to the surrounding community to attract people who not only have the same values (e.g. the 4 Way Test) but also share the same culture. Yes, we DO need to let the general public know what Rotary is and for what Rotary stands. Let’s all of us do our part!