Several years ago, Rotary International contracted with Levy Marketing Research to explore non-Rotarian interests in Rotary. In Levy Marketing’s 2009 report titled Non-Rotarian Focus Groups – US Markets, a 30 – 45 year old Chicago professional female, responding to Rotary’s volunteer service activities, said, quote, “I don’t need the title of Rotarian to do any of these things, I do that stuff already.” unquote. Service to others, serving the community, or even Rotary’s motto, Service above Self, does not differentiate local Rotary clubs from other charitable or service organizations. (Reference: What Is Rotary.)
Clubs must differentiate to retain and attract local business, professional, and community leaders. Whether we Rotarians admit it or not, these people already are, as the
female said, ‘doing that stuff already.’ While Service above Self is a wonderful motto
and annual themes could be effective in inspiring leadership teams, they do not
differentiate Rotary in the eyes of potential Rotarians because Rotary is not What Rotary Does; Rotary is Who Rotarians Are.
I have spent over forty-five of my seventy-seven years as a Rotarian. In that time I have participated in ‘doing that stuff’ inside and outside the realm of Rotary. I have remained in Rotary, not because of ‘that stuff’ that was or is being done by the club, Rotary International, or The Rotary Foundation. I have remained a Rotarian because I like to associate with people who get things done because they adopted Rotary's Ideal of Service; people who make an impact in our community and the world.
Rotarians did not make the world, but Rotarians certainly have helped make the world better . . . One community at the time Why? Because that’s who Rotarians are, people who get things done to help make their communities and the world better. For a great example of Rotarians getting something done, please read this short Rotatorial “Is to Too Late for Rotary”