Thoughts of Rotary Leaders: Ian H.S. Riseley
Trustee, The Rotary Foundation, 2011–2015
All of us love our involvement in Rotary, so why wouldn’t every person leap at the opportunity to join a Rotary club? We know that there are a huge number of quality people who have never been asked to join, and it is the responsibility of us all to rectify that situation.
But when we do ask, what causes people who would make excellent Rotarians to decline the invitation to join? Could it be that most of us are reticent to emphasise the benefits of Rotary club membership to potential Rotarians?
I believe these benefits can be summarised under four principal headings:
1. Friendships: Very few people have all the friends they can handle, and Rotary is a great way to meet lots of outstanding people
2. Personal development: Rotary encourages, even requires, members to speak in public and become involved in management, administration and harmoniouslyworking with others.
3. Business development: Regularly meeting with business and community leaders can be of significant benefit to our vocation.
4. The opportunity to make a real difference: The greatest benefit! The combined efforts of over 1.2 million Rotarians results in huge positive outcomes that are outside the capacity of any individual to deliver.
So why do so many people leave Rotary after a relatively short period of membership? Probably because their actual Rotary experience didn’t meet their expectations. These expectations may have been unrealistic, but in many cases their Rotary club didn’t provide at least one of the four benefits outlined above. All clubs should be continuously alert to the needs of their members.