What is Your Choice?

Here’s a question guaranteed to stir controversy:  If you were a Rotary leader who had to make a choice between one of two options, one Rotarian giving $100,000 to the Foundation –or– 1,000 Rotarians each giving $100 to the Foundation, which would you choose? Sorry, “both” is not an answer, you have to choose.

My choice would be the 1,000 Rotarians giving $100 each.  My logic is that the vast majority of Rotarians in North America can afford to give $100 per year and, further, can do so every year.  Chances are that the single $100,000 donor does this once in his or her lifetime and never gives again. A Major Donor gift of $100,000 is an end; a Sustaining Member gift of $100 is a beginning.

The other, more subtle reason for preferring small donations is that once a Rotarian gives that first donation to our Foundation, he or she has made a transition from being a member of a Rotary club to being a Rotarian. The member has made an investment in our organization, both financially and emotionally.  Sustaining members get it. They are more likely to remain long term Rotarians and more likely to donate more in the future.  They are also the people who will donate more of their precious time toward the cause and are the people who will become leaders of the future.

Great Members Are Where You Find Them

Suppose you could get a lead on a new prospective member for your club and you learn that she or he has the following attributes:

  • A strong desire to make the community and the world a better place to live;
  • A stable lifestyle free of worry about getting transferred or, worse, fired;
  • The education and experience to execute successful humanitarian projects;
  • Both time and money to devote to making the world a better place.

Any Rotary membership chair would jump at an opportunity to recruit such a candidate. In many cases there are prospective new Rotarians with such traits within your own community – they are retirees.  This growing segment of our population finds itself free from the duties of tending to business and raising children and now can devote time to giving back to the community and to the world.

While Rotary’s long term growth certainly depends on bringing in younger members, we must not overlook older potential candidates who have so much to contribute. The point is that good Rotarians can come from any age group and a wise club looks toward older generations as well as to youth.


Million Dollar Dinner – How To White Papers

A Million Dollar Dinner is an effective way to attract and recognize new Major Donors into the Rotary Foundation.  This strategy, started in 2004 in a district in Oregon has proven effective in several districts within our Zones 24 and 32.  You are encouraged to consider hosting one of these dinners in your district.

Click on the following  PDF documents for information and best practices detailing how to put together a Million Dollar Dinner for your district.  For more information, please contact Jenna Steiner, Zone 32 Major Gifts Officer or Carolyn Ferguson, Zone 24 Major Gifts Officer.

Million $ Dinner – US Districts

Million $ Dinner – Canadian Districts

Update:  Please note a very successful Million Dollar Dinner was done at District 5370.  PDG Kevin Hilgers got tired of answering questions about it so created a “How-To” web site at www.milliondollardinner.net