"Why Rotary?" today is the same as "Why Rotary?" in its early, growing years. Historically, Rotary International (RI) centered on Who Rotarians Were - diverse local groups of business, professional, and community leaders with creative minds that connected to make their communities and the world better by advancing the Object of Rotary.
In the 1980s, Rotary (RI & TRF) moved off center and began concentrating on what Rotarians do; the results of Who Rotarians Are. In the 1990s Rotary began internally marketing that the Objects of Rotary and Avenues of Service were equally important; that Rotary was, first and foremost, a service organization. In reality, performing community or international service projects is not a differentiating reason to join a local Rotary club. Thousands of organizations create and support local and international health, hunger, and humanitarian projects and programs. Millions of neighbors and world citizens, without joining anything, volunteer to pick up trash and to serve in schools, hospitals, libraries, museums, zoos, food lines, packing food, food banks, etc.
The first Object of Rotary, developing acquaintances (membership) is, or at least should be, Rotary's number one priority, simply because without Rotarians it will not exist. To demonstrate the importance of this "Why Rotary?" fundamental, consider examining Rotary's worldwide service project - polio eradication. Going it alone, the World Health Organization (WHO), after spending $US billions, had little success in conquering polio. Why did Rotary leaders believe their involvement with the WHO would make eliminating polio possible? Did they intend to have Rotarians put two little drops of the polio vaccine on the tongues of all children in the world? Of course not! Those Rotary leaders believed that Rotarians - independent business, professional, and community leaders of different ethnicities, religious orders, genders, economic systems, generations, and political structures - had the vision and desire to accomplish a goal that not just anybody could. Today, the task is almost complete primarily because Rotarians used, and continue to use, their imaginative minds, personal resources, and leadership skills to influence local and national tribal, religious, and political leaders to commit to freeing their children from polio. In the mean time, using the same skill sets, they raised billions of $US to support the effort.
Who Rotarians Are! That's Rotary's Value Proposition - That's Rotary's Brand - And that's "Why Rotary?" Rotary clubs are local diverse groups of business, professional, and community leaders with creative minds who, through fellowship, connect and make their communities and the world better! That's also why a select few people continue to be attracted to the Rotary brand. Solving why they are not staying appears to be a more formidable task than eliminating polio. Rotary needs creative minds now more than ever! Where are they?