Local clubs and Rotarians are the wind that turn Rotary's service windmill. It appears that present senior Rotary and staff leaders now realize this. Their problem is delivering that image to district and club leaders. The words are there for all to read, but the perception is lacking because the words are not reinforced by recognizable actions, particularly at district levels.
RI President Nominee Mark Mahoney may be planning Regional Membership Seminars centered on developing Rotarians. If so, RI's prestige is at stake with these seminars. If they do not deliver the perception that developing Rotarians is Rotary International's highest priority, they stand the chance of doing more harm than good while wasting precious resources.
Past RI membership seminars have approached membership development by:
- · classifying, considering, and treating Rotarians as volunteers who do good it their community and the world instead of local professional People of Action (most of whom are already doing good in their communities),
- · promoting The Rotary Foundation and its 4 Star Rating by Charity Navigator,
- · encouraging everyone to bask in the glow of polio eradication and,
- · persuading clubs to recruit more members so RI can do more good in the world.
Rotary clubs are centered locally. The seminars must address concepts that linger in all local leaders' minds, questions such as:
· "Why should a group of local People of Action aspire to become a chartered Rotary club?" Is it because RI is over 100 years old and does good in the World? (Boring - not a differentiating factor) or because advancing the Object or Rotary has proven to help groups make their lives better (opens the mind for more discovery!)?
· "Is the purpose of Rotarians and clubs to help RI be a worldwide service organization?" (This is irrelevant in legacy regions because local People of Action have unlimited opportunities to help local and international service organizations without joining any local organization.)
· "Which has the highest priority: Develop Rotarians or contribute to The Rotary Foundation?" (Local People of Action are more interested in expending resources to improve their local social fabrics. Anyone can financially support The Rotary Foundation without joining a local organization.)
· "Why have a membership month if developing Rotarians is a continuing priority?" (Shouldn't each monthly action relate to how it helps develop Rotarians; reinforce the concept that Rotarians are the wind that drives Rotary service windmill?)
The type education needed for district and club leaders to deliver the perception that developing Rotarians is RI's highest priority simply cannot be done with ill-equipped or improperly prepared facilitators. They must be ready to address the serious concepts that local People of Action face day in and day out otherwise RI's service windmill stands an excellence chance of becoming calm.