Kissing frogs at Rotary meetings

kissing-frogsNetworking at Rotary meetings has received an undeserved bad rap.  I have even been told it violates Rotary policy.  It does not.  Some clubs fine members for doing business or exchanging business cards at meetings.  This is unfortunate. Networking at Rotary predates the concept of Service as part of Rotary. Paul Harris and the founders of Rotary established Rotary as a fellowship and networking opportunity for members.

In Past RI President Richard King’s “to the Question Why Join Rotary” he states, “The second original reason for Rotary’s beginning is business development. Everyone needs to network. Rotary consists of a cross section of every business community. Its members come from all walks of life. Rotarians help each other and collectively help others.”

Networking is a valid reason to join Rotary. However, anyone who joins only for networking opportunities will be disappointed, the expected sales will not materialize. As source of contacts and as a valuable place to develop networking and leadership skills Rotary is second to none. Read more

Working Together for the Good of Rotary: A Membership Initiative

The Vancouver Metropolitan-Area Membership Strategy

By Gayle Knepper, Rotary Coordinator, Z24W

Proud Rotarian decal/”cling” displayed by Vancouver members in their workplaces and on vehicles.

When District 5040 (BC) leaders held the annual strategic planning meeting for the 2014-15 year, a topic discussed in depth was the health of clubs and the membership decline which had occurred over time.

In fact, when completing the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis at the session, two of the top-ranking threats were identified as:

  1. Not dealing with aging membership
  2. Not turning around the declining membership

It was critical to the future of the clubs, they determined, to focus action on these issues now, looking at new methods to turn around this troubling trend.

“Grow membership 15% over 5 years,” was the goal, to be reached through a combination of retention and new member/club development.  While they had already identified the WHAT — the issue, determined the HOW MUCH – the goal, and the WHEN to do it (now), the real job was just beginning. Leaders now faced the bigger task — HOW. Read more


109_rotaryOn February 23rd Rotary celebrates the 109th anniversary of the first Rotary club meeting. This is an opportunity for Rotary clubs and districts to promote Rotary’s public image.

There are a variety of tools on the RI website in the new Rotary Brand Center

Here are 10 ideas to celebrate Rotary Day.

  1. Create a Rotary history speakers bureau. Have Rotary club members in the community speak at the library, chamber of commerce, and schools on the value of volunteerism, using project examples from Rotary’s century of service.
  2. Have the members of your Rotary club commit to a total of 109 hours of volunteer service during the week of Feb 16 to 22.  Announce the total on Feb. 23
  3. Write a newspaper article or letter to the editor to highlight what Rotary has accomplished locally and globally in the past and why it remains relevant today. Place it in community or school newspapers. A template for a Rotary Day news release is available at: Rotary Day Press Release Template  This should be updated and personalized for the local media.
  4. Request your community’s mayor to proclaim February 23 “Rotary Day” in your town. A sample proclamation is available at: This also needs to be updated for 2014 and for your community.
  5. Write an article on the history of Rotary in your community. Focus on vocational, community, youth and international service. Submit it to your local newspaper for possible publication.
  6. Coordinate with a local television station or radio station to have Rotarians appear on a morning talk show or evening news segment in honour of Rotary Day. They can highlight Rotary history and local and international service efforts.
  7. Collect items for distribution to those in need, such as shoes, school supplies, coats, gloves, and eyeglasses, and distribute them during a Rotary Day event.
  8. Create a human Rotary gearwheel by having Rotarians, Rotaractors, Interactors, and others lie down in a field, sports stadium, or park to create the design of the emblem. Invite the media to this photo opportunity.
  9. Purchase a full-page or half-page advertisement in your local newspaper, encouraging your community to celebrate Rotary Day. Use a print (PSA) from the RI Website.
  10. Create a giant birthday cake in the shape of a Rotary gearwheel to mark Rotary’s birthday, and invite the community or media to share it.

These are just 10 ideas to celebrate Rotary Day on February 23rd and promote Rotary and your club in your community.  The anniversary is a great opportunity to tell the Rotary story and engage others in our vision of doing good in the world.