Could this be why Rotarians, including many International leaders, struggle for a response when asked, “What is Rotary?”
Rotary clubs, according to conventional wisdom, are service clubs. Rotary International itself says its member clubs are service clubs. When we say service, we think serving the needy, the homeless, the community, etc. And that’s fine and dandy – for us individually. After all, our motto is Service above Self.
But when it comes to Rotary clubs, that line of thinking is DEAD WRONG! Businesses survive by serving their customers. Rotary clubs are not-for-profit businesses. Present and future members are their customers. To survive, clubs must serve present and future members; not the needy, not the homeless, not the community; not Rotary International; not the Rotary Foundation – present and future members. Clubs that don’t serve their members struggle to survive.
So how do clubs’ serve their members? They do so by being active in all aspects of Rotary’s Circle of Life – advancing the Object of Rotary. Soundly pursuing the first and second Objects of Rotary attracts and engages members immediately while encouraging them to engage in the third and fourth Objects of Rotary, which attracts even more members. Rotary clubs make their communities and the world better places by serving their members.
What the Rotary World does is rooted in Who Rotarians are, so when someone asks me ‘What is Rotary’ I respond with something like ‘Rotary is a network of local business, professional, and community leaders who work to make our community and world a better place to live.’
Highlighted or underlined text have links to previous Rotatorials.