The core essence of what Rotary is (both at the Club level and Internationally) can be boiled down to these 6 words – Join Leaders – Exchange Ideas – Take Action. It all begins in each Club and there is no more powerful force than when community and business leaders join together (by attending Rotary meetings) to exchange ideas (looking at both local and international problems such as disease eradication, basic education, peace keeping efforts, youth and leadership training, sanitation, and even environmental issues) and then take action (by fundraising, volunteering, doing community service work, ). By donating our Time, Treasure and Talents we have achieved extraordinary results -most notably our Rotary Polio Plus which in 30 short years been able to reduce endemic polio outbreaks from the hundreds of thousands globally to less than 20 new cases in only 3 countries in 2017.
So, what is Rotary and why should you join these leaders to exchange your ideas so that we can all take action towards a better tomorrow? I will let Brad Howard a former (2015-2017) Rotary International Director explain – as I have excerpted this list of 20 (Twenty) things that Rotary members receive.
Membership in Rotary fulfills the basic human need of friendship. In fact, it was one of the primary reasons Paul Harris started Rotary in 1905. We create lifelong friendships in our local and international communities. The relationships created in Rotary’s are with a network of local and international leaders whom we address by name and are considered our equals and peers.
2. Professional Development
Rotary is a network of business, professional and community leaders, who have a culture of high level of integrity and purpose. Our members are exposed to people, every week, in a vast range of vocations that can provide assistance to our business and professional development. Although we are not a business networking organization, we afford our members to be identified to the leaders in their local community. By this association, our members not only enhance their business, they learn from and
identify with the leaders in their community. It was once said, “Rotary allows me to sit next to people every week that I would otherwise have to pay $250 an hour to meet.”
3. Personal Growth
Rotary takes ordinary individuals and puts them into extraordinary circumstance. Every week, you are exposed to new thoughts, new professions and new opportunities to learn. Our members develop broad social skills. A key part of Rotary is its internationalism, which gives our members to broaden their international scope, living and expression. Simply stated, membership in Rotary helps to make our members better – better individuals, community leaders, internationalists, and humanitarians.
4. Leadership Development
A core value of Rotary is that we develop leaders and leadership skills. We provide leadership training at all levels of our organization. Rotary’s brand of leadership is distinctive. We teach how to lead leaders in the context of a volunteer organization. If you can be an effective leader in Rotary, you will be a better can be an effective leader in your business. Serving in Rotary positions is like a college education in leadership.
Rotary clubs give our members a way to get involved in making their local communities better. Membership and involvement in a Rotary club makes an individual a better community citizen and more connected with community leaders and the needs of the community.
6. Continuing Education
Involvement in Rotary allows our members to broaden their perspective and improve their business skills. Attendance at the weekly meeting exposes our members to the meeting’s program which include speakers talking on a variety of topics. Further, training is available for Rotarians who take on responsibility in the organization. Training in fund raising, non-profit management, event production, communications, etc. will help you to grow in Rotary and develop additional business skills.
Rotary is fun. The club projects are fun. Social activities are fun. And the service is fun. Our club meetings and other events are filled with fellowship, humor and entertainment. Every Rotary club and district has parties and activities that provide social fun and camaraderie. Our members are friendly, welcoming and engaging.
8. Public Speaking Skills
Rotary club meetings and events place a high value and regard on effective public speaking. Participating in a Rotary club helps our member to develop confidence and skills in public communication, and the opportunity to use it. Rotarians who get more involved with be exposed to higher levels of public speaking training.
9. Global Citizens
Rotary is in over 200 countries and geographical regions. There are few places on the globe which do not have a Rotary club. This global presence gives our members the exclusive opportunity to create friends in both the local community and the world community. This global connection gives you the opportunity and vehicle to be a better global citizen. Members who are involved in international businesses will find access to global business, professional and community leaders a valuable asset.
10. Unique Travel Experience and Assistance
Members who travel will find that being a Rotarian will open doors throughout the world. “The Pin Gets You In!” Visiting a Rotary club while you are traveling will give you immediate access to local resources and information. Also, Rotary clubs everywhere can provide quick assistance in obtaining services of a doctor, lawyer, dentist, etc., while traveling.
11. Next Generation Programs
Rotary provides one of the world’s largest, most structured and responsible youth program. Our youth exchange program, both our academic year and short-term, summer exchange are recognized as one of the best and most cost efficient available. We also have clubs in high school and college that help students develop their leadership, social, organizational and communication skills. These youth programs are available to the family members of our Rotarians.
12. Develop Social Skills
Every week and at various events and functions, Rotary develops one’s personality, social and people skills. Engagement with Rotary during international travel helps introduce Rotarians to new cultures and languages.
13. Opportunities for the Family
Involvement in a Rotary club immediately integrates the family into a community’s support network. Lifelong relationships and friendships are created that can support a family for years. Rotary service projects are an ideal opportunity for working with your children to teach them the value of helping others. Finally, Rotary’s Next Generation programs can help the children of Rotarians to develop special skills and experiences that can distinguish them as they apply to colleges and universities.
14. Vocational Skills
Rotary fosters growth and development in each person’s profession or vocation and encourages sharing this development with others.
15. Ethics Treatment
One of Rotary’s core principles is the “4-way Test” which governs ethical standards. Rotarians are expected to be ethical in business and personal relationships. Further, Rotary presumes an ethical relationship between its members. Rotarians presume the goodness in one another, in both a business or volunteer capacity.
16. Cultural Awareness
Rotary is a cross section of the world’s most prominent citizens from every background. Rotarians learn to love and work with people everywhere.
Rotary is the oldest and most prestigious civic organization in the world. Membership in Rotary is by invitation only. Worldwide, Rotarians are recognized as some of the most prominent individuals in business, professions and the community. Being a Rotarian give you instant access these people, and helps to identify you as one of these individuals.
18. Community Connections
Membership in Rotary immediately connects you with a broad range of professions and professionals, in your club, city, region or globally. We encourage our members to do business with each other because we trust the members in Rotary. Vocational diversity is one of Rotary’s core values. Because of this diversity and our ethical treatment of one another, our members can have confidence in creating long term business relationships.
19. The Opportunity to Serve
Service is what Rotarians do. We change the lives of others in need. Your membership in Rotary gives you the opportunity, structure, know-how and resources to provide service to others. The benefit a Rotarian receives by helping someone else is extraordinary and life affecting.
20. You Can Make a Difference – Locally or Globally
Rotary gives our members the ability to make a difference, and provides an exclusive benefit to our members to follow their passion in helping others. Rotary empowers our membership to dream large in addressing needs in local and international communities. There is no other organization that has the structure, the network and resources that are available to its membership. Individual members create our projects – from the global eradication of polio, to a local beautification project, our members determine our action. What you can dream, you can create. What you can dream, you can be.